Are you starting a Doctoral course (e.g. a PhD) in the next academic year? You might qualify for a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan to help fund your course and living costs.
Funding from Postgraduate Doctoral Loans can help finance a part-time or full-time master's degree. This guide explains the eligibility criteria and how much you might get.
It is important to understand that studying for a doctorate would exclude you from student finance for getting:
But, extra support is available for disabled students (e.g. disability related benefits). The section below has further details and information.
You start repaying your student loan once your income goes over the 'threshold' amount. But, they will charge interest from the date of the first payment.
Note: Student Finance Wales has different rules on funding for a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan for students who live in Wales. In general, moving to somewhere to study is unlikely to count as 'living there'.
The amount of student funding you get is not based on income (yours or that of your family) and it could be as much as:
Money received from a Doctoral Loan is paid directly to the student [you] and divided equally across each year of the course. So, you will be able to spend it on course fees and living expenses.
Students can apply for a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan during any year of their course. But, applying later than the first year would mean you may not receive the maximum amount available.
Hence, you might get up to a maximum of:
The university or college needs to confirm your registration. Following that, you would get the first payment after the start date of the course.
There are three (3) instalments for loan payments (i.e. 33%, 33%, and 34% each year). Following the approval of your application, you will get a letter confirming the payment dates. You can also check them in your online account.
Note: The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) may take Doctoral Loan funding into account when working out your entitlement to receive welfare benefits.
Qualification for a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan depends on three factors, that being your age, your nationality (or residency status) and the actual course that you are studying.
Besides that, you would be ineligible for this kind of funding, if you:
You would need to be under the age of sixty (60) on the first day of the first academic year of the course. In this case, the academic year is a period of twelve (12) months, beginning on:
To get a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan in the United Kingdom, you must (all):
As an EU national, you may also meet the qualification criteria if ALL these apply:
In some cases, eligibility would also apply for individuals who are:
The full-time or part-time course that you are studying must:
In some cases, more than one university will deliver your course, and one of them may be overseas. If so, you can still get the Postgraduate Doctoral Loan, providing:
Your chosen course can be full-time, part-time, taught, or research-based (or a combination of both). Typical examples of postgraduate doctoral qualifications include:
Postgraduate Doctoral Loans also apply to doctoral programmes that include an integrated master's degree (even if you already have one). Even so, you must register for a full doctoral degree.
Note: You would not be able to make an application for a separate Postgraduate Master's Loan.
You would need to be living in England on the first day of the first academic year of the course to qualify for a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan for distance learning. Besides that, you would also need to live in:
As a rule, these restrictions on distance learning would not apply for individuals who are:
Once you have checked your eligibility for a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan you can apply for courses starting on or after the 1st of August 2018.
Note: There is no need to apply more than once. You get a letter from Student Finance England in the summer stating how much you will get in the next academic year.
You can apply through your Student Finance England account if you already used this method to get a loan. If not, you would need to set up an SFE account to apply online for a Doctoral Loan.
You can also apply for a Doctoral Loan by post if you are unable to apply online. You will find the relevant postal addresses written on the forms.
The start date of the course determines the deadline for applications (see above for details). But, you would need to apply within nine (9) months of the first day of the last academic year of the course.
Your application needs to include valid United Kingdom passport details (not the actual passport). You can also use the form titled 'UK passport details' to send details after making an application.
What if your UK passport has expired or you do not have one? In this case, you would need to use the form titled 'Birth or adoption certificate' to send your birth or adoption certificate.
Note: Send your passport or national identity card instead if you are an EU national.
You can use your Student Finance online account to change your personal details (e.g. bank account or contact details). If not, there are several other ways to contact Student Finance England (by phone or by post).
You must inform Student Finance England (and the institution) without delay if you decide to withdraw from the course. Note that withdrawing can affect future payments and eligibility for postgraduate doctoral funding.
Note: Student Finance England (SFE) produced a short video to help anyone starting a postgraduate Doctoral course this year.
The Student Room website has more information about postgraduate student finance in the United Kingdom. You can also contact Student Finance England to get answers on other relevant questions.
Student Finance England Postgraduate Loan Team
Telephone: 0300 100 0031
Textphone: 0300 100 0622
Monday to Friday: 8am to 6pm
Information on call charges
Extra help is available for people with a disability, a long-term health condition, a mental health condition, or a specific learning difficulty (e.g. dyslexia). Find out more information about applying for:
How to Get a Doctoral Loan in the United Kingdom