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Postgraduate Master's Loan

Worth up to a total of £10,609 for students starting in 2018/19, these repayable loans are available for most research and taught masters courses, for both full and part-time modes of study.

Impact of Brexit on government funding

Following the UK vote to leave the EU, Student Finance England has confirmed that the eligibility criteria for funding remains unchanged for EU nationals, or their family members, who will be starting a course at a university in England in the 2017-18 and 2018-19 academic years. Students who are assessed as eligible to receive funding in the 2017-18 or 2018-19 academic years will be eligible for this funding for the duration of their course.

The loans are intended to be a general contribution towards the costs of studying. It's up to you to decide how to use the money, be it for living costs, tuition fees or a mixture of both.

The information on this page is for students who will be applying for funding from Student Finance England.

If you normally live in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, please refer to the website of the relevant funding body:


To be eligible for the Postgraduate Master’s Loan you and your course must meet certain criteria.

Your course

  • It must be a full, stand alone Masters course, not a top-up course or an Integrated Masters.
  • It can be:
    • full-time, lasting 1 or 2 academic years, or
    • part-time, lasting 2 to 4 academic years and no more than twice the length of the equivalent full-time course, or
    • part-time for up to 3 years, where no equivalent full-time course exists
    • a distance-learning course and you meet the residency requirements

Note that students on our flexible masters courses are not eligible to apply for a Postgraduate Master’s Loan. This is because the duration of such courses cannot be defined at the outset.

Your age

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

Your nationality and residency

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

  • You are 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 if all the following apply:

  • You are an EU national or the family member of an EU national.
  • You’ve normally lived in the European Economic Area 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

Residency requirements for those starting a distance learning course

To qualify for a Postgraduate Master’s Loan for distance learning, 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

This usually doesn’t apply if you’re:

  • serving in the armed forces
  • a spouse or civil partner of a serving member of the armed forces
  • a dependant parent living with a serving member of the armed forces

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 course due to illness, bereavement or another serious personal reason
  • you already have a master’s degree, or a qualification that’s equivalent or higher
  • you already have a lower level qualification e.g. PG Cert  and are ‘topping up’ to a Masters requiring a lesser number of credits

Seek advice from the Student Advice Service if you are in one of these situations.

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

Receiving the loan

The loan is paid directly to the student and is intended to be a contribution towards costs of studying, which means it can be used for either fees or maintenance.

If your course lasts more than 1 academic year, the loan would be split equally between all academic years. The table below shows examples for a student who takes out the maximum loan of £10,609.

Course lengthMaximum loan in each year
2 years£5,304.50 in each year
3 years£3,536.33 in each year
4 years£2,652.25 in each year

The loan amount for each year is split into 3 instalments of 33%, 33% and 34% paid during the course of that year. Once your application has been approved, Student Finance England will send you a letter indicating estimated dates on which you will receive these.

Note that:

  • Students receive the first instalment shortly after their course start date and only after UAL has confirmed they have enrolled.
  • Student Finance considers an academic year to be a maximum of 12 months. If your course duration includes a partial academic year, the course duration will be rounded up to the nearest full academic year and instalments spread over this duration. This means that you will receive some instalments after your course has ended.

For example:

Our 4-term courses starting in September 2018 and ending in December 2019 have a course length of 1 year and 3 months. However, Student Finance consider these courses as having a duration of 2 academic years and the loan instalments are split as follows:

Year 1 £5304.50 paid in 3 instalments in September 2018, January 2019 and April 2019.

Year 2 £5304.50 paid in 3 instalments September 2019, January 2020 and April 2020.

This means that the January and April 2020 payments will be paid after the course has finished. You must consider carefully how you will pay your fees if part of your loan will be paid after you finish your studies.

Paying your tuition fee

According to the University’s Student Fees Policy, students on masters 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 would only receive the first instalment of your Postgraduate Master's Loan after you enrol, you must carefully consider how you will comply with this policy.

If you have any concerns about complying with this policy, please contact the Fees Manager at the relevant College:

Chelsea, Camberwell and Wimbledon College of
Central Saint
London College of
London College of Fashion


  • Your repayment period would begin in April, either:
    • After the end of your course, or
    • After you withdraw from your course, or
    • After the second academic year of your course, if you study a part-time course lasting 3 or 4 years.
  • Repayments would be taken on a monthly basis, but only when earnings are over the monthly equivalent of £21,000 per year.
  • The monthly repayment amount is 6% of your income which is in excess of the £21,000 per year.
  • Repayments for the Postgraduate Loan would occur alongside, and in addition to, repayments for any Student Finance England loans taken out for further education and undergraduate study.
  • You can choose to make additional voluntary repayments at any time and there are no financial penalties for doing so.
  • You’ll be charged interest from the day you get the first payment until your loan is repaid in full or cancelled.

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


When to apply

Students who have applied to start a course in September/October 2018 or January 2019 are encouraged to apply now. A confirmed place on a course is not required in order to apply.

Applying now will mean that you receive confirmation of your loan to provide to UAL when enrolling onto your course, and that you receive your first instalment shortly after enrolling.

How to apply

You can apply online or by post.

Common problems

Finding your course in the online application form

If your course includes a partial year, you must round up the duration to the nearest full year on the Postgraduate Master's Loan online application form. See the Receiving the loan section above for the relevance of this.


The Student Advice Service is available to provide further information and support on financial matters related to your course.