Full-time Home/EU postgraduate student funding (not PGCE)
Postgraduate Masters loans
Postgraduate Loans (PGLs) are available from Student Finance England to study a Masters course. Masters students under 60 can access a loan of up to £10,609 as a contribution towards the cost of their study. This is part of the government’s long-term commitment to enhance support for postgraduate study.
Professional and Career Development Loan (PCDL)
A PCDL is a loan from the Co-operative Bank for between £300 and £10,000. The loans are only available to UK resident students on a course of up to two years in length, or three years if they include one year of work experience. The main advantage of this scheme is that during your programme and for up to one month afterwards, the interest payments are met by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC). After this time you are required to repay the loan and the interest is then comparable to other commercial loans. The loan must be repaid between one to five years after course completion.
For more information on PCDLs or to speak to a PCDL Adviser visit the Professional and Career Development Loans information on Gov.uk.
Trust funds and grant making charities
There are a number of trusts and charities that make awards to students. Many have very particular qualifying criteria, meaning that very few applicants get awards. The following websites are good places to start looking for funds:
Research Council Funding
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funds postgraduate training at both the Doctoral and Masters level. They do not give money to students directly, but fund universities through Doctoral Training Accounts (DTAs) and Collaborative Training Accounts (CTAs).
Natural Environment Research Council
The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) funds around 1,400 postgraduate students each year. The majority of these students are carrying out research and training in a three-year programme leading to a PhD. The others hold one-year studentships which support them whilst they study for an MSc or MRes degree.
Arts and Humanities Research Council
The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) provides support for students taking taught postgraduate courses and research in the humanities. Each year, they make around 550 awards from their research schemes and around 1,500 awards from their postgraduate schemes.
Economic and Social Research Council
The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) provides studentships for postgraduate training and research in the social sciences.
These Councils provide a variety of awards which may cover some or all the tuition fees, a maintenance grant or bursary and a contribution towards programme-related expenses. Please note that competition is strong and only a small percentage of candidates are successful. For more information see Research Councils UK.
PhD loans - Postgraduate Doctoral Loans (PGDL)
Postgraduate Doctoral Loans (PGDLs) are available from Student Finance England and Wales if you wish to study a PhD course. PhD students under 60 can access a loan of up to £25,000 in total for PhD courses lasting between three to eight years. The loan is spread evenly over each year of the course.
The PhD loans work in the same way as the PGLs outlined above. It is important to be aware that it will not cover the costs of both tuition fees and living expenses, so you will need additional funding to cover those costs.
You can find out more by reading the government's PhD loan information.
Other sources of funding
Funding may also be available through postgraduate scholarships.