Higher Education

Postgraduate programs

Postgraduate programs include Masters and Doctorates (PhD) courses, also funded by Student Finance England for UK residents. You can undertake postgraduate study after you complete a Bachelor degree.

If you’re studying full time Master, your course can last for 1 or 2 years. If you’re studying part time you can study for 2 to 4 years.

A Doctorate can last 3 or 4 years if you choose to study full-time and 6 or 8 years part-time.

Depending on the number of years your chosen course has, the loan will be divided equally across each year of your course. Having a loan from a previous undergraduate course won’t affect your eligibility for a Postgraduate Loan.



Whether you qualify for a Postgraduate loan depends on your:

  • Your age
  • Nationality and residency status
  • Previous studies
  • Your course
  • Your institution

You must be under 60 on the first day of the first academic year of your course to get a Postgraduate Loan.

To apply, you must:

  • Be a UK / EU national or a family member of one;
  • An EU applicant must be ordinarily resident in the UK or elsewhere in the EEA and/or Switzerland for the 3 years immediately before the 1st September of the year in which you start your course (you can ignore any short absences, such as holidays).
  • Non-UK nationals must have settled status on the first day of the first academic year of the course – which could be 1 September, 1 January, 1 April or 1 July.
  • International students can also apply if they have been resident in the EU for the last 3 years or have been a resident in the UK for the 5 years prior to the start of their course, with an immigration status that allows them to stay in the UK, with no restrictions.


You may also be eligible if you:

  • Are a refugee;
  • Have humanitarian protection (as a result of a failed application for asylum);
  • Are a migrant worker;
  • Are the child of a Swiss national or Turkish worker who is working in the UK;
  • under humanitarian protection or a relative of someone who has been granted it;
  • not a UK national but you’ve lived in the UK for at least 20 years (or at least half of your life);
  • a serving member of the UK armed forces (or their spouse or civil partner or a dependent parent living with them);

Having a loan from a previous undergraduate course won’t affect your eligibility for a Postgraduate Loan. You can only get a Postgraduate Loan if you don’t already have a postgraduate Master’s qualification or a higher-level qualification like a PhD. If you take a Postgraduate Loan for a course but don’t complete it you won’t be able to get a second Postgraduate Loan.

The course you’re studying must be in the UK and lead to a Master’s 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)


You can’t get a Postgraduate Loan for postgraduate level 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)/ Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE);
  • Integrated Master’s;
  • Master of Architecture (MArch);

The university you’re studying at must be in the UK and either:

  • publicly funded (paid for by the government); or
  • privately funded but running individual courses that receive public funding;