Students Staff

Postgraduate loans

Postgraduate Doctoral Loan for UK / EU students

A Postgraduate Doctoral Loan can help with course fees and living costs while you study a postgraduate doctoral course, such as a PhD.

  • £26,445, if your course starts on or after 1 August 2020
  • £25,700, if your course starts before 1 August 2019 and 31 July 2020
  • The amount you’ll get isn’t based on you or your family’s income.
  • The loan is paid directly to you. You can use it for your course fees and living costs.
  • The loan will be divided equally across each year of your course.
  • Eligibility

    Whether you qualify depends on:

    • your course
    • your age
    • your nationality or residency status

    You won’t be able to get a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan if:

    • you’ve received or will receive Research Council funding (for example, studentships, stipends, scholarships and tuition fee support)
    • you’re receiving a social work bursary
    • you’re eligible to apply for an NHS bursary (even if you’re not receiving it)
    • you’re already getting payments from student finance for another course that you’re studying
    • you’ve received a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan before - unless you left your course due to illness, bereavement or another serious personal reason
    • you already have a doctoral degree, or a qualification that’s equivalent or higher
    • you’re receiving a doctorate by publication
    • you’re behind in repayments for any previous loans from the Student Loans Company

    Your course

    Your course must:

    • be a full, standalone doctoral course (not a top-up course)
    • have started on or after 1 August 2018
    • last between 3 to 8 academic years
    • be provided by a university in the UK with research degree awarding powers
    • it can be full-time or part-time
    • it can be taught or research-based, or a combination of both

    Examples of postgraduate doctoral qualifications include:

    • PhD / DPhil (Doctor of Philosophy)
    • EdD (Doctor of Education)
    • EngD (Doctor of Engineering)

    Integrated doctorals

    You can apply for a loan if your doctoral programme includes an integrated master’s degree (even if you already have a master’s degree).

    You must register for a full doctoral degree.

    Your age

    You must be under 60 on the first day of the first academic year of your course.

    Your nationality or residency status

    You can apply for the Postgraduate Doctoral Loan if all of the following apply:

    • you’re a UK or EU national, or have ‘settled status’, so there are no restrictions on how long you can stay
    • you normally live in England, and didn’t move there just to study
    • you’ll have lived in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for 3 years before starting your course

    You may also be eligible if you’re an EU national and all the following apply:

    • you’re living in England on the first day of the first year of your course
    • you’ve normally lived in the European Economic Area or Switzerland for the past 3 years (this is also known as being ‘ordinarily resident’)
    • you’ll be studying at a university in England

    To read more about Postgraduate Doctoral Loan eligibility please visit GOV.UK.

  • How to apply

    You can apply for funding for the 2020/21 academic year now via GOV.UK.

    Student Finance England have produced a video about applying for Postgraduate Loans:

  • Repayments

    The earliest you start repaying is when your annual income is over £21,000 and it’s either the:

    • first April after you leave your course
    • April 4 years after the course started

    Contact Student Finance England if your circumstances change or you leave your course early. You’ll have to pay back any overpayment straight away even if your income is less than £21,000.

    You’ll pay back 6% of your income over the minimum amount (‘threshold’). This is £21,000 a year, £1,750 a month or £404 a week.

    If you already have a Postgraduate Master’s Loan then you’ll make a combined repayment of 6% covering both postgraduate loans. You must repay any undergraduate student loans you have at the same time.

    You’ll be charged interest from the day you get the first payment until your loan is repaid in full or cancelled.

    For more information about Postgraduate Loan repayments please visit GOV.UK.

  • Loan payments

    You’ll need to register on your course and have your loan confirmed by Student Loans Company (SLC) before any payments can be made. You must return your signed declaration to the SLC in order for official confirmation to take place.

    The loan will be paid in 3 instalments of 33%, 33% and 34% each year. After your application has been approved you’ll be sent a letter with your payment dates or you can check them in your online account.


Following the UK's decision to withdraw from the European Union, the Government has confirmed that EU students starting in 2018, 2019 and 2020 will be eligible for a loan for the duration of their course.

EU students starting in 2021 will be charged fees at the International rate, and will no longer be eligible to receive a loan from the UK Government.

Postgraduate Doctoral Loan: Wales

If you're a student from Wales and starting a full-time or part-time postgraduate Doctoral course (such as a PhD) from 1 August 2020, you can apply for a loan of up to £26,445. This can help with course fees and living costs while you study. To check eligibility and for further details please visit Student Finance Wales.

Private loans

The best option when financing your studies is a government-funded student loan, but if that isn’t enough to cover all your expenses, or you’re not eligible for government support, Future Finance offer loans to UK, EU and international students with a UK domiciled address. They offer amounts from £2,000 - £40,000 to cover both tuition and living costs.

US Direct loans

If you're from the United States, you may be eligible for a federal direct loan from the US Department of Education.