Close up of a plant infront of the Bridge of Sighs
The Bridge of Sighs, part of Hertford College
(Image Credit: Alyssa Ovadis / Graduate Photography Competition)

Doctoral loans for 2021-entry

The English and Welsh governments introduced a loan scheme for doctoral courses from 2018/19 entry. If you are a new entrant for 2021/22, find out if you are eligible and how you can take out a loan through the information on this page.

How much is the loan?

You can apply for a loan of up to £27,265 towards your course and living costs.

The loan will be divided equally across each year of your course in line with the number of years course fees are payable.

The loan is paid into your bank account in three instalments during the academic year.

More information

You can find full details about eligibility, application and repayment in the sections listed across the top of this page. An overview of doctoral loans and details of how to apply is available from your regional funding agency's website:

For courses starting on or after 1 August 2021, the UK government has confirmed that EU, other EEA, and Swiss Nationals will be eligible for student finance from the UK government if they have UK citizens’ rights (i.e. if they have pre-settled or settled status, or if they are an Irish citizen covered by the Common Travel Area arrangement). The support you can access from the government will depend on your residency status. Further details on eligibility can be found on the UK government website.

Who can take out the loan?

The information in this section is presented as a guide only. You should refer to the UK government website for further details.

To take out the doctoral loan, you must be:

  • Aged under 60 on the first day of the first academic year of your course (on 1 September 2021 for courses starting in October 2021).
  • Starting an eligible doctoral course in the 2018/19 academic year or later (on or after 1 August 2018).
  • A UK or Irish national, or have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme or indefinite leave to remain so there are no restrictions on how long you can stay.
  • Normally live in England or Wales.
  • Have been ordinarily resident in the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man or Ireland for three continuous years before the first day of your course.

You will not be eligible for the doctoral loan if:

  • You already have a doctorate or higher level qualification.
  • You have received or will receive Research Council funding.
  • You are eligible to apply for the NHS bursary.
  • You are already receiving funding from Student Finance for the same academic year.
  • You have outstanding student loan arrears or have previously been found to be ‘unfit’ for student support (e.g. because of attempted fraud).
  • You have received a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan before - unless you left your course due to illness, bereavement or another serious personal reason.

EU students should refer to our dedicated webpage for information on the impact of the UK leaving European Union membership.

Which courses are covered?

The information in this section is presented as a guide only. You should refer to the UK government website for further details.

Taught and research standalone doctoral courses in any subject are covered by the loan. Courses must start on or after 1 August 2018, and be 3 to 8 years in duration. Courses can be studied on a full-time or part-time basis.

Doctoral courses that include an integrated master’s degree are eligible for the Postgraduate Doctoral Loan, but you must be admitted to and enrol on the doctoral course. You would not be able to make a separate application for Postgraduate Master’s Finance.

How to apply

Applications for students starting in 2021/22 are now open. You are encouraged to apply as early as possible via your regional funding agency's website to ensure that funding is in place for the start of your course.

The information below is the University's best understanding of the current position. Any changes the government make to repayment arrangements are outside the control of the University.

Will I be charged interest on my loan?

Interest is charged at the Retail Price Index (RPI) plus 3% from the day your first payment is made until your loan is repaid in full.

How do I repay my loan?

You have to repay any loan you borrow, but not until your income is over £21,000 a year. Repayments will be based on your income, not what you borrow.

You will start making repayments the April after you finish or leave your course, or the April four years after the start of your course.

You will only start making repayments once your income is over the current threshold of £404 a week, £1,750 a month or £21,000 a year. You will repay 6% of what you earn over the threshold. So if you are paid monthly and earn £2,500 before tax you’ll repay 6% of the difference between what you earn and the threshold (£1,750):

£2,500 - £1,750 = £750

6% of £750 = £45

So your Postgraduate Loan repayment would be £45 that month.

What if I already have a student loan?

If you already have a Postgraduate Master’s Loan then you’ll make a combined repayment of 6% over the income threshold of £21,000 covering both postgraduate loans.

If you have had any other loan from the Student Loans Company then you will continue to make separate repayments alongside those for your postgraduate loan.

More information

You can find further information on repayments at the GOV.UK Repayments website.

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