Postgraduate Masters Loans

Key points

  • Loans are available to students studying eligible Masters courses.
  • Students must be under 60 years old to be eligible.
  • The loans are non-means tested i.e. your income will not affect the amount you receive. 
  • Apply online at:
  • The majority of Masters courses are eligible, but there are some exceptions.
  • Students with a previous Masters qualification, or with an equivalent or higher level qualification, are not eligible.
  • Repayments will be calculated as 6% of income above £21,000.
  • The loans will attract interest of RPI+3%. This interest will accrue from the date of the first loan instalment. 

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Further information

How much can I borrow?

Students who start their course on or after August 1st 2018 can borrow up to £10,609. The loans are intended to be a contribution to the costs of studying a postgraduate Masters course.

For students who started in 2017 the loans are up to £10,280.

There is no minimum loan request amount and you can amend the amount of loan requested up to 1 month before the end of the academic year.

How will the loans be paid?

The Student Loans Company will pay your loan directly to you in three instalments per year of study. Each year’s amount will be paid in three instalments of 33%, 33% and 34%.

Payments will be made following confirmation from the University that you are in attendance and are on track to complete the course within its specified duration. The payments will be scheduled as follows:

Payment 1: Course start date

Payment 2: 4 months after the course start month (last Wednesday of the month)

Payment 3: 7 months after the course start month (last Wednesday of the month)

If you are studying over 2 years or more you will receive half of your loan in your first year and half in your second year.

For courses starting in or after August 2017, if you are studying for 3 or 4 years your loan will be divided equally and paid each year of your course.

Can the loan be used to pay tuition fees in three instalments?

As part of the registration process you can decide to pay your fees in two, three or four instalments across the year.

Is there an age limit on the loans?

You must be aged under 60 on the first day of the first academic year of your course to be eligible for the loan. The academic year is the period of 12 months starting on 1st September, 1st January, 1st April or 1st July (depending on when your course starts).

For example where a student starts a course on any date in August to December inclusive, the first day of the academic year is 1st September. You must be aged under 60 on that date.    

Which courses are eligible?

The loans can be used for eligible Masters courses, in any subject, at any degree awarding UK institution. If you're not sure whether your course is eligible you should email

Courses eligible for funding will result in a Masters qualification in any subject. Courses should be at Level 7 typically attracting 180 credits, with 150 of these at level 7, and result in a postgraduate Master’s qualification for example MA, MSc, MBA, MEd, MFA and LLM.

Courses must be either 1 or 2 years full-time in duration.

Courses may have an overseas element but this cannot exceed 50% of the total course.

Masters courses that are currently funded by the undergraduate support system, such as integrated Masters and Masters of Architecture, will not be eligible. Neither will other postgraduate qualifications that do not result in a Masters qualification, such as a Postgraduate Diploma. 

Are part-time courses eligible?

The loans will be available for postgraduate Masters courses on a part-time study basis. Courses may be 2 to 4 years lasting no longer than twice the length of the full-time equivalent course.

Part-time courses may also be 3 years, where no full-time equivalent course exists.

For courses that started in September 2016 all payments will be made over the first two years of study where courses last more than 2 years.

For courses starting in or after August 2017 equal payments will be made across each year of the course.

Can courses be delivered by distance learning?

Eligible courses may be delivered through distance learning.

Can I study abroad?

You cannot use the loan to study a course in another country. If you are considering a course at an institution within Europe you may want to consider an Erasmus+ loan (

Can I apply for a postgraduate loan and a healthcare bursary?

Students are not eligible for a postgraduate loan where they are eligible to apply for a healthcare bursary or are in receipt of a social work bursary from National Health Service, Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety or Student Awards Agency Scotland.

Will repeat years of study be funded?

Repeat years of study will generally not be funded (even where a previous postgraduate course was not completed, or less than the maximum loan amount was requested). A repeat year will only be funded where there is proof of compelling personal reasons for repeating an academic year. 

When can I apply for a postgraduate loan?

Applications for the postgraduate loan are now open for courses that started in September 2017. You can apply up to 9 months after the first day of your course. If you are studying for 2 or more years you can apply up to 9 months after the first day of the second academic year of your course.  

The quickest and easiest way to apply is online at:

Are the loans for everyone in the UK and EU?

Postgraduate loans will be available to UK Nationals (and individuals with settled status in the UK) who have been ordinarily resident in the UK and Islands for three years on the first day of the first academic year of your course. You must have been most recently resident in England, and must not have moved there from elsewhere in the UK and Islands solely for the purpose of education. Temporary absences from your home address, such as for education or travelling, will not prevent you being eligible for a Postgraduate Loan.  

You may be eligible for a loan if you intend to study in England and are an EU national or family members of an EU national, or if you have residency status of a refugee, humanitarian protection, EEA migrant worker, child of a Swiss national or child of a Turkish worker.

The UK government has confirmed that EU students starting in September 2017 will continue to be eligible for student loans and grants - and will be for the duration of their course - even if the UK exits the European Union during that period. The government has made the same commitment for EU students starting in September 2018.

If you are a UK national and have most recently been a resident in Scotland there are postgraduate loans available from Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) from September 2017. You can borrow up to £3,400 (£1,700 for part-time courses) towards your fees and £4,500 towards your living costs (part-time students cannot access the living costs loan). Further details can be found on the SAAS website

If you are a UK national and have most recently been a resident in Northern Ireland there are postgraduate tuition fee loans available from Student Finance Northern Ireland from September 2017. You can borrow up to £5,500 towards your tuition fees. Further information is available from the Student Finance Northern Ireland website.

UK nationals residing in Wales can apply for a postgraduate loan of up to £10,280 from September 2017. The repayment details of the loans have now been confirmed and can be found below. Further information is available from the Student Finance Wales website.   

I already hold a Masters qualification, am I eligible?

If you already hold a Masters qualification, an equivalent level qualification or a higher level qualification you will not be eligible for the loan (this includes integrated masters). Qualifications obtained outside the UK will also be taken into account.

I've already received a Postgraduate Loan, can I apply for another one?

If you have already received a Postgraduate Loan for a Masters course you will not be eligible for repeat funding, even where you haven't completed the course, unless you have compelling personal reasons for receiving repeat funding for a year of study.

Can I get a postgraduate loan and a Professional and Career Development Loan?

You can apply for a postgraduate loan and a Professional and Career Development Loan (PCDL). You will be expected to apply for a postgraduate loan first and then demonstrate any shortfall in funding as part of your PCDL application. 

Will my loan affect any benefits?

The Department for Work and Pensions will include your loan when calculating any benefits you receive.

If you would like further guidance on the loan's impact on your benefits you should contact the Student Advice Centre in the Students' Union (0114 222 8660/

When will I pay my loan back?

Loan repayments will commence the April after course completion and when you have an annual income of £21,000 or more. Repayments for students starting their course in 2016 will be delayed until April 2019 (borrowers will be able to make voluntary repayments before this time if they wish). The threshold for repayments will be frozen until April 2021.

If you decide to live abroad after your course the repayment threshold applied will be based on the cost of living in your country of residence.

How much will the repayments be?

The Masters loan repayment will be calculated at 6% of income above the £21,000 threshold. Repayments will be made concurrently, alongside repayment of any outstanding undergraduate student loan.

How much interest will the loan attract?

The loan's interest will be calculated at RPI+3%. This interest will accrue from the date the first loan instalment is paid.

Are the terms and conditions fixed?

The proposed repayment terms and interest rates are planned to be fixed until 2021 and subject to review.

Will my loan ever by written off?

Any outstanding balance will be written off 30 years after repayments are due to start.

Further information on the loan is available from the Government’s response to the Consultation on Support for Postgraduate Study.