You’ll be able to see how much postgraduate fees are when you search for courses. Getting funding for postgraduate study isn’t always as straightforward as the process for undergraduate study, but there’s still a range of options you can look into.
If you’re thinking of starting a master's course on or after 1 August 2016, you could be eligible for a loan from the UK government of up to £10,000.
What are the fees for postgraduate degrees?
- What you pay will be determined by the duration of the course, its perceived quality and reputation, its level and how much it costs the university to manage.
- A doctorate costs more than a master's, a MBA more than a PhD. Tuition fees range from around £4,900 a year to over £30,000, with the average around £11,000 per year.
- Fees are normally higher for international students.
How much are tuition fees for international students studying in the UK?
- The average cost per year of study in the UK for international students is around an average of £11,000 per year in tuition fees. However some fees can be £8,000 to £9,000 a year or up to £30,000 a year.
- Normally, you will pay the 'home' fee if you have a EU passport. But other international students can qualify too.
- Find further details on the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website.
What other expenses should I take into account?
- The cost of renting a room.
- Materials used in your studies.
- Travel costs.
- Food, phone, local council tax, heating, lighting and water costs, and other general expenses.
Average student living expenses are estimated between £8,000 - £11,000 a year. The location of your university will affect your housing costs. Our regional guides give details of average local rents.
Will it help me financially if I study part-time at postgraduate level?
Tuition fees per year are lower for part-time qualification. However, it will take you longer to complete your studies. So, overall, the amount you pay will be the same or maybe even higher. The main advantage of studying part-time is that it allows you to balance work/home life and study.
If you require a Tier 4 student visa to study in the UK, you will be unable to study a part-time course.
I don’t want a loan, won’t the university fund me?
- That really only happens for a select number of PhD students, although some universities do offer discounts and scholarships on their courses.
- The majority of master's students, those studying for a MBA and doctorate level postgraduates need to secure their own funds.
Is there help for students with disabilities?
You may be entitled to Disabled Students Allowances (DSAs) for physical or mental impairments, long-term or mental health conditions, or specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia. This funding covers the cost of the support you need – e.g. specialist equipment and non-medical helpers – like a note-taker or reader.
- First you’ll need either a letter from your doctor or consultant confirming your impairment or health condition, or a diagnostic assessment of your learning difficulty from a psychologist or specialist teacher.
- Then you can apply for DSA through your regional funding organisation – Student Finance England, Student Finance Northern Ireland, Student Awards Agency for Scotland or Student Finance Wales. It can take up to three months to arrange, so make sure you apply early.
- If you’re eligible, you’ll then have an assessment to work out what you need – find an assessment centre near your course provider via the DSAs Quality Assurance Group website.
- Once everything’s arranged, the money will be paid directly to your service/equipment providers, or to your bank account.
How do I pay my tuition fees?
You will usually have the option to pay for your tuition fees either by credit/debit card or by bank transfer. Many universities will let you pay in instalments – often for a small charge.
What sources of funding are available in the UK for international students?
- Chevening Scholarships – the UK government’s global scholarship programme, funded by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) and partner organisations. The scheme awards to outstanding scholars with leadership potential from around the globe to study postgraduate courses at UK universities.
- The Commonwealth Scholarships and Fellowships Plan for students from particular commonwealth countries.
- Scholarships for international students who want to study in Scotland
It’s also worth contacting the national branch of the British Council to see if there are other forms of help. And your own government, private companies or charities in your own country may also be able to help.
What about loans or help from my employer?
Professional and Career Development Loans are bank loans to pay for courses and training that help with your career or help get you into work.You may be able to borrow between £300 and £10,000. Loans are usually offered at a reduced interest rate and the government pays interest while you’re studying. Find out more on the GOV.UK website.
A number of banks and specialist financial organisations also offer loans specifically for MBA students.
If your employer is generous enough to fund your postgraduate study, you will almost certainly need to guarantee to work for them for a set period of time – or pay them back.
Tuition fee reductions
Depending upon your country of origin, postgraduate tuition fees may be cut, because of government support given to your university. Often tuition fees are reduced at postgraduate level, with the difference made up by a course provider’s public funding.
Studying a second master’s, or another ‘equivalent or lower qualification’ (ELQ)?
If you’re now doing another postgraduate course at the same level as one you’ve already completed, you’ll have to pay the full tuition fees.
International and EU students
EU students are eligible for the course provider’s public funding, but other international students usually pay the full costs. However, you may be eligible for some of the other funding options outlined below.
- Take a look at the Scholarship Search website.
- Use the Prospects postgraduate funding search.
- Search for funding at The Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding Online website.
- Look for Government funding from the seven UK Research Councils – for this option, you’d normally apply through your course provider. They may donate funds to your university for a limited number of scholarships for students who study a taught master's followed by a PhD. Other funding bodies exist – e.g. Arts & Humanities Research Council – but most will also ask universities to allocate their money.
- Apply for Studentships – postgraduate positions that come with funding.
- Employers are also potential sources of funding.
- Charitable trusts and societies – many offer a modest number of small grants. Your university careers service may have a directory of these organisations.
- UK students wanting to study at postgraduate level in Northern Ireland – some financial assistance is provided by the Department for Employment and Learning.
- Scottish students wanting to study at postgraduate level in Scotland – some financial assistance is provided by the Student Awards Agency for Scotland.
Apply for a loan
- Professional and Career Development Loans can be used for courses or training programmes that help you with your career.
- UK, EU and international students enrolling on postgraduate and professional courses may be able to use StudentFunder to fund their studies.
How to manage your money during your course
Many students wonder how they'll afford everything during their studies. There's a lot to handle – from tuition fees and accommodation, to food, course materials and a social life.
- Figure out a budget – making your money last through each semester can be hard, so in our Undergraduate section, you can find a budgeting checklist so you’ll know how much money you can spend.
- Balance your work and studies – if you work part-time during your studies, here’s how to find a good balance, plus how you can find a job.
- Manage debts – many of us end up with debts one way or another, but rather than panicking about them, the important thing is to find a way to make them manageable.