Postgraduate funding

Useful websites

Postgraduate loans

English domiciled students

Student loans for Masters degrees were introduced by the government for the 2016/17 academic year of entry, and are available up to a maximum value of £10,280 in 2017/18.  Key features include:

  • The loans are available for both taught and research Masters programmes.  Loans are being introduced for PhD students in 2018/19.
  • The loan is non-means tested (not dependent on household income).
  • Students aged under 60, on the first day of the academic year will be eligible for Masters loans.
  • In order to be eligible you will need to be a UK national and resident in England for at least 3 years (not including study periods), or an EU citizen.
  • Loans are only available to students studying their first Masters degree.
  • Postgraduate loans are available for all one year full-time, two year part-time and three year part-time Masters courses, where there is no equivalent full-time course.  
  • If you are studying part-time for three or four years, you'll get all your loan payments in the first two years of the course.
  • The loan is paid in three instalments during the academic year, directly to you – month one (33%), month four (33%) and month seven (34%).
  • Loans will be subject to an interest rate of RPI+3%.
  • Repayments will be income-contingent and made concurrently with undergraduate loans. Rates will be set at 6% of annual income over £21,000.

Applications can be made via the Student Finance England website when the 2017/18 application cycle opens.

Welsh domiciled students

Student Finance Wales have announced that postgraduate loans up to £10,280 will be available for Welsh domiciled students studying master’s level courses at any UK university in the 2017/18 academic year.  Full details are subject to regulatory approval in April 2017, but key features include:

  • The loans are available for both taught and research Masters programmes.  
  • The loan is non-means tested (not dependent on household income).
  • Students aged under 60, on the first day of the academic year will be eligible for Masters loans.
  • In order to be eligible you will need to be a UK national for at least 3 years and ordinarily resident in Wales (not solely for educational purposes), or an EU citizen.
  • Loans are only available to students studying their first Masters degree.
  • Postgraduate loans are available for all one year full-time, two year part-time and three year part-time Masters courses, where there is no equivalent full-time course.  
  • The loan is paid in three instalments during the academic year, directly to you – month one (33%), month four (33%) and month seven (34%).
  • Loans will be subject to an interest rate of RPI+3%.
  • Repayments are likely to be income-contingent and made concurrently with undergraduate loans. Rates are likely be set at 6% of annual income over £21,000.

Applications can be made via the Student Finance Wales website when the 2017/18 application cycle opens.

Northern Irish domiciled students

Student Finance Northern Ireland have announced that postgraduate loans will be available for Northern Irish domiciled students studying postgraduate courses at any UK university in the 2017/18 academic year.  The details are yet to be finalised, but key features are likely to include:

  • The course fee loan is available for Taught and Research Masters degrees, Postgraduate Diplomas, Postgraduate Certificates.
  • Postgraduate loans are available for full-time and part-time courses over one, two or three year’s duration. 

Course length

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Up to 1 year

£5,500

n/a

n/a

2 years

£2,750

£2,750

n/a

3 years

£1,833

£1,833

£1,834

Further details of this loan scheme are expected to be confirmed in spring 2017.

Applications can be made via the Student Finance Northern Ireland website when the 2017/18 application cycle opens.

Scottish domiciled students

Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) have confirmed that postgraduate loans of up to £10,000 will be available for Scottish domiciled students studying at any postgraduate level up to MSc in 2017/18.  Key features include:

  • Tuition fee loan up to £5,500 and a non-means tested living cost loan of £4,500.
  • Available for all eligible one year full-time taught postgraduate students and part-time students undertaking an eligible course over two years.
  • Postgraduate loans will be added to a student’s existing undergraduate loan and repaid as a single loan balance.
  • Postgraduate loans are offered as long as the course is not available in Scotland.

Applications can be made via the SAAS website when the 2017/18 application cycle opens.

Summary

Postgraduate Loans Across the UK

 

England

Northern Ireland

Wales

Scotland

Value

£10,280*

£5,500

£10,280**

£10,000

Level

Full Masters

Up to Masters

Full Masters

Up to Masters

Courses

Taught & Research

TBC

Taught & Research

Taught

From

2016

2017

2017

2017

*The maximum amount for English postgraduate loans will rise from £10,000 to £10,280 in 2017.

**Wales also proposes a combination of means-tested and non-means-tested grants and loans from 2018.

Please remember that, with the exception of England, these schemes aren't fully finalised.  They also work slightly differently.  As such the comparison here should be taken as a rough guideline only.

Access to Learning Fund

In addition to the postgraduate scholarships, UK students are eligible to apply for financial support from the University's Access to Learning Fund if they can demonstrate the need for such assistance. Applications can only be made once you have registered as a student.

Disabled Students Allowances (DSAs)

DSAs are grants to help students meet the extra costs of studying they may face as a direct result of a disability or a specific learning difficulty. They are available for postgraduate students whether full or part-time, are not means-assessed (i.e. do not depend on your household income) and do not have to be repaid. The amount you receive depends on your individual circumstances and - if you are part time - the intensity of your course.

You will need to show your local education authority written proof of your disability from an appropriate medical professional. If you have a specific learning difficulty, such as dyslexia or dyspraxia, the local authority may ask you to have an independent assessment carried out to establish this, which you will have to pay for, although you may ask Harper Adams for help towards it through our Access to Learning Fund.

To apply you may either:

  • Ask your local education authority to post you an application form, or
  • Download the application form DSA1 and the information booklet 'Bridging the Gap' from www.direct.gov.uk

Other sources of funding

Postgraduate funding is not straightforward and may involve some research on your part. The following is a list of suggestions, but you may well find others, depending on your contacts and area of interest.

  • UK Research Councils (various councils catering for different subjects - UK students only)
  • Specialised funding schemes appropriate to rural/land-based study
  • Charities and trusts
  • Funding through employment including sponsorship by employers, research and graduate teaching assistantships, part-time work, part-time study or research
  • Other forms of finance including personal savings, parental/family contribution or loan, Career Development Loans, bank loan, grant from a trust or charity, access funds.

International students should contact The British Council or their country's education ministry for advice on alternative sources of funding.