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Doctoral Loan

If you're studying a postgraduate doctorate course, you can apply for a loan worth up to £27,265 from Student Finance England. All of the criteria and application guidance are provided by but here are some key details:


Your course:

  • must be a standalone doctoral course, not a top up from a lower level qualification
  • must be full-time lasting at least 3 years or a part-time course lasting up to 8 years.

You can't get a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan if:

  • you’ve received or will receive Research Council funding (for example, technē and other studentships, stipends, scholarships and tuition fee support)
  • you’ve received a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan before - unless you left your 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 doctoral degree, or a qualification that’s equivalent or higher
  • you’re receiving a doctorate by publication.

Nationality, residency and immigration status

Following the UK's exit from the European Union there has been significant changes to the eligibility rules for EU, EEA and Swiss nationals. If you're starting a course on or after 1 August 2021 you must have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme to receive the loan. In most cases, you must have moved to the UK before 31 December 2020 to be eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme.

You can get a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan if all 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 in the UK.
  • You normally live in England.
  • You’ve been living in the UK during the 3 years immediately before the first day of the first academic year of your course.*

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

There are many other ways you can be eligible for the loan so please check the criteria carefully. You can also contact the Student Advice Service for guidance if you're unsure.


  • You can apply online now if your course started on or after 1 August 2018.
  • If you're starting your course in 2021/22 you can apply from May/June 2021.
  • You can apply for a loan in any year of your course but you might not get the maximum loan amount if you apply after your first year. You must apply within 9 month of the first day of the last academic year of your course.

You must repay your Postgraduate Doctoral Loan at the same time as any other student loans you have. You’ll be charged interest from the day you get your first payment. The Student Loans Company provide detailed information about interest rates and repaying your loan.

Paying your tuition fees

Students on master's courses must:

  • pay each year’s tuition fee before they enrol onto that year of the course, or
  • set up an instalment plan

Find out more about how your instalment plan will work and contact your college Fees Manager if you have any questions.


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


Contact the Student Advice Service for further guidance on the loan.