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Postgraduate Master's Loan

Worth up to a total of £11,222 for students starting in 2020/21, these loans are available for both full and part-time masters courses.

The information on this page is for students who will be applying for funding from Student Finance England. If you normally live elsewhere in the UK, please refer to the website of the relevant funding body in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.


See the latest information on Brexit and implications on funding for EU nationals.

Funding advice

Contact the Student Advice Service for further guidance on funding your course.


To be eligible for the Postgraduate Master’s Loan, you must be under 60 years old and studying on an eligible course. You must also meet certain residency requirements.

Your course

It must be a stand-alone full-time or part-time master's course, not a top up from a lower level qualification. Distance learning courses are eligible if you meet the following residency requirements:

You must be living in England on the first day of the first academic year of your course. You will also need to live in:

  • England for the whole of your course if you’re an EU national
  • the UK for the whole of your course if you’re not an EU national.

There are some exceptions for those serving in the armed forces.

The following courses are not eligible:

  • Flexible mode courses as the duration cannot be determined at the outset.
  • Integrated Master's as you may be eligible for Undergraduate funding instead.

Your nationality and residency

You can get a Postgraduate Master’s Loan if all of the following apply:

  • You're a UK 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’ve been living in the UK, the Channel Islands or Isle of Man for 3 years prior to the first day of the first academic year of your course.*

You may also be eligible in the following scenario:

  • You're an EU national or the family member of an EU national who has lived in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland during the 3 years prior to the first day of the first academic year of your course.*

The following people may also be eligible, subject to guidance:

  • the child of a Swiss national
  • the child of a Turkish worker
  • EEA or Swiss workers in the UK and their family members
  • refugees or those granted humanitarian protection and their family members
  • those who are not a UK national but have lived in the UK for at least 20 years or at least half their life
  • those granted stateless leave by the Home Office and their family members.

Previous study

You won’t be able to get a Postgraduate Master’s Loan if

  • you received a Postgraduate Master’s Loan before - unless you left your previous course due to illness, bereavement or another serious personal reason. Contact the Student Advice Service for detailed advice about how to prove this to Student Finance England.
  • you already have a master’s degree, or a qualification that’s equivalent to a master’s degree or higher.

*The first day of the first academic year of your course is 1 September for courses starting in October or 1 January for courses starting in January.

Receiving the loan

You can borrow up to £11,222 for the whole of your course. If you’re studying a course that’s longer than 1 year, the loan is divided equally across all academic years of your course. The loan is paid directly to you and you’ll receive the first instalment after you’ve enrolled on your course. You're paid 3 instalments of 33%, 33% and 34% each year.

Once your application is approved, Student Finance England will send you a letter with your payment dates or you can check your online account.

Note that:  

Student Finance considers an academic year to be 12 months. If your course includes a partial academic year, the total course duration is rounded up to the nearest full academic year and instalments spread over this duration. This means that you may not receive your instalments equally across your course.

For example:

Our 4-term courses starting in October 2020 and ending in December 2021 have a course length of 1 year and 3 months. Student Finance consider these courses as having a duration of 2 academic years and the loan instalments are split as follows:

Year 1 £5,611 paid in 3 instalments in October 2020, January 2021 and April 2021.

Year 2 £5,611 paid in 3 instalments September 2021, October 2021 and November 2021.

You must consider carefully how you will pay your fees as the University instalment plan may not match with your loan payments.

Paying your tuition fee

According to the University’s Student Fees Policy, students on master's courses are required to either:

  • Pay each year’s tuition fee before they enrol onto that year of the course, or
  • Set up an instalment plan and pay the first instalment of this plan before they enrol.

As you will only receive the first instalment of your Postgraduate Master's Loan after you enrol, you must consider how you will pay your first fee instalment.

If you have any concerns about meeting this requirement, please contact the Fees Manager at the relevant College.


Detailed information about interest and repaying your Postgraduate Loan can be found on the Student Loan Repayment website.


You can apply online or by post when the applications system opens which is expected to be in summer 2020 for those starting in the 20/21 academic year.

If your course includes a partial year, you must round up the total course duration to the nearest full year. You enter this course duration on the Postgraduate Master's Loan application form. See the Receiving the loan section for further information.

Funding advice

Contact the Student Advice Service for further guidance on funding your course.