The Postgraduate Master's Loan is to help with your course and living costs while you’re studying, and has to be paid back. The amount you can get doesn’t depend on your household income.
You can apply for a Postgraduate Master’s Loan of up to £11,222 if your course starts on or after 1 August 2020 as a contribution towards your course and living costs.
If your course started between:
- 1 August 2019 and 31 July 2020, you could get up to £10,906
- 1 August 2018 and 31 July, you could get up to £10,609
Your loan payments will be spread out across all the academic years of your course. For example, if you apply for the maximum loan amount in 2020/21, and are studying over two years, your payments would be £5,611 in each academic year. The loan is then paid in three instalments throughout the academic year.
You’ll have to repay any Postgraduate Master’s Loan you borrow.
If you’re thinking about studying a part-time master’s course, your payments will be spread out over the full course duration. For example, if you apply for the maximum amount of Postgraduate Master’s Loan in 2020/21 and study over four years, you’ll get £2,805 in each year of your course.
If your part-time course doesn’t have a full-time equivalent, it can only be a maximum of three years in length.
Disabled Students' Allowances
If you have a disability, including a mental health condition, long-term health condition, or specific learning difficulty, such as dyslexia, you might be able to get Disabled Students’ Allowances. These don’t have to be paid back, and you don’t have to be getting a Postgraduate Master's Loan to apply.
Whether you can get a Postgraduate Master’s Loan depends on your:
- personal circumstances
To get a Postgraduate Master’s Loan, you must meet certain criteria on nationality and residency, age, and previous study.
Nationality and residency
The course you’re studying must be at an eligible uni or college in the UK, and must be a full postgraduate master’s course, leading to a qualification such as:
- Master of Science (MSc)
- Master of Art (MA)
- Master of Philosophy (MPhil)
- Master of Research (MRes)
- Master of Law (LLM)
- Master of Letters (MLitt)
- Master of Fine Art (MFA)
- Master of Education (MEd)
- Master of Business Administration (MBA)
A Postgraduate Master’s Loan is not available to students wanting to ‘top up’ a lower-level qualification to a master’s degree. The course must be a full, standalone master’s course.
You can’t get a Postgraduate Master’s Loan for certain postgraduate courses, such as PgCert (Postgraduate Certificate), PgDip (Postgraduate Diploma), or where the postgraduate course is funded by undergraduate student finance, such as:
- Initial Teacher Training (ITT) or Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE)
- Integrated Master’s
- Master of Architecture (MArch)
You can choose to study your course in person at the university, or by distance learning, and your course can be:
- a full-time course lasting one or two academic years
- a part-time course lasting two academic years that has a one-year full-time equivalent
- a part-time course lasting three or four academic years that has a two-year full-time equivalent
- a part-time course lasting up to three years that has no full-time equivalent
If you’re not sure if your course qualifies for a Postgraduate Master’s Loan, you should check with your university.
Master of Architecture
If you plan to study a full-time Master of Architecture (MArch) part 2 course which leads to a qualification as an architect, you should apply for undergraduate support. These courses are prescribed by the Architects Registration Board (ARB) and may include RIBA courses.
The Postgraduate Master’s Loan will only be available for your MArch if any of the following applies:
- you’re taking a part-time course
- you’re not eligible for undergraduate funding for another reason, for example if you withdrew from a previous course
- it’s not a Master of Architecture part 2 course which leads to a qualification as an architect
You can apply now!
You can apply for the full Postgraduate Master’s Loan amount in any year of your course.
The quickest and easiest way to apply is online at www.gov.uk/studentfinance as soon as the application service opens.
- Set up a student finance account
If you have taken out a loan with Student Finance England before, sign in to your existing account to apply. If it’s your first time applying, when you register, you’ll be given a unique Customer Reference Number and asked to create a password and secret answer. Keep these safe, as you’ll need them to sign in to your account to check the progress of your application.
- Fill in and submit your application
You’ll be asked for proof of identity. You can easily do this by giving Student Finance England your valid UK passport details. If you don’t have a UK passport, you may have to send them evidence.
You’ll be asked how much Postgraduate Master’s Loan you want, up to the maximum for your course. If your course is longer than one year, you’ll be asked how much you want in your first year.
To get a Postgraduate Master’s Loan, you must apply no more than nine months after the first day of the first academic year of your course, if you’re studying a one-year course. If your course is longer than one year, you must apply no later than nine months after the first day of the second year of your course, or nine months after the first day of the final academic year of your course. If you're a new student, you must apply no more than nine months after the first day of the final academic year of your course.
- Send any evidence Student Finance England asks for
They may contact you to ask for evidence to support your application.
If you don’t have a UK passport, you may have to send Student Finance England evidence, such as a non-UK passport, or your UK birth or adoption certificate.
You should send this as quickly as possible to avoid any delay in your application being processed. Remember to include your Customer Reference Number with everything you send them.
In some circumstances, you may be asked to send Student Finance England additional information or evidence, for example, evidence of your previous addresses or documents from the Home Office. They can’t process your application until they have everything they need, so you should send them anything they ask for as soon as possible, so your application isn’t delayed.
Changing your details
If any of your details change after you’ve applied for student finance, don’t worry – you can simply update your application. You can use your online account to make changes to your personal details before or after your course has started. To update any other details, such as your university or course, you need to send Student Finance England a completed postgraduate 'Change of circumstances' form. You can download this from www.gov.uk/postgraduateloan.
What happens next?
Once Student Finance England has assessed your application, they’ll send you a letter confirming how much Postgraduate Master’s Loan you’re getting. The letter will also show the dates they expect to pay your Postgraduate Master’s Loan to you. You should keep this letter safe, as your university might ask to see it when you register.