Close up of orange flowers in a quad
Flowers in the quad at Pembroke College
(Image Credit: Edvard Glucksman / Graduate Photography Competition)

Master's loans for 2021-entry

If you are undertaking your first master's degree, Postgraduate Master's Finance may be available to you from the UK government to contribute towards your course fees, your living costs, or both.

How much is available?

The type and amount of support you can apply for depends on where you are ordinarily resident.

England (and Republic of Ireland)

You can apply for a loan of up to £11,570 which you can use towards your course and living costs.

If you’re studying for two, three or four academic years, the loan will be divided equally across each year of your course.

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

Wales

You can apply for a combination of a loan and a grant, up to a total of £18,025, which you can use towards your course and living costs. 

The minimum grant is £1,000 and is available to all students. Students with a household income less than £59,200 can apply for an increased, means-tested grant of up to £6,885. The loan you can receive is the amount required to bring your total funding to £18,025.

Household IncomeGrantLoanTotal
£18,370£6,885£11,140£18,025
£30,000£5,209£12,816£18,025
£40,000£3,767£14,258£18,025
£59,200 +£1,000£17,025£18,025

If you’re studying for two, three or four academic years, the loan will be divided equally across each year of your course.

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

Scotland

You will only be eligible for support if your course is not available in Scotland and is studied on a full-time basis.

You can apply for a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500. This is paid directly to the University.

Students can also apply for a loan of up to £4,500 towards living costs. This is paid into your bank account in regular instalments during the academic year.

If your course is one year in duration, you can receive the maximum loan in that year. If you are studying for two academic years then your loan is divided equally across each year of your course.

Northern Ireland

You can apply for a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500 (for those students starting in 2020/21). This is paid directly to the University.

If your course is one year in duration, you can receive the maximum £5,500 in that year. If you are studying for two or three academic years, the loan will be divided equally across each year of your course.

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 Postgraduate Master's Finance 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. Those students resident in England and the Republic of Ireland who are eligible to apply to Student Finance England for a Postgraduate Master’s Loan should refer to the England information across these Master’s Loans pages.

Who is eligible?

The information in this section is presented as a guide only. You should refer to your regional funding agency's website for further details.

To be eligible for Postgraduate Masters Finance, you must be:

  • aged under 60 on the first day of the first academic year of the course (on 1 September 2021 for courses starting in October 2021);*
  • starting an eligible master's course in the 2016/17 academic year or later (on or after 1 August 2016) if you are from England, or the 2017/18 academic year or later (on or after 1 August 2017) if you are from Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland; and
  • 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; and
  • have been ordinarily resident in the UK, Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or Ireland, for three continuous years on the first day of the academic year of your course start date.

In addition, you must not:

  • already hold a master’s or higher level qualification (borrowers holding postgraduate diplomas and postgraduate certificates are still eligible). Please note that if you hold an integrated master's degree, you will not be eligible to apply for Postgraduate Master's Finance;**
  • have outstanding student loan arrears or have previously been found to be ‘unfit’ for student support (e.g. because of attempted fraud); or
  • have received Postgraduate Master's Finance 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.

You can find full personal eligibility details on the UK government website or your regional funding agency's website.

* There is no age limit for students from Northern Ireland

** Students from Scotland and Northern Ireland may still be eligible for a master’s loan if they have a postgraduate qualification, as long as this was not publicly funded.

*** Students from Scotland may still be eligible for the living cost loan, but not the tuition fee loan, if they have received funding for a previous postgraduate course.

Which courses are covered?

The information in this section is presented as a guide only. You should refer to your regional funding agency's website for further details.

England

Taught, research or professional stand alone master’s courses in any subject (eg MSt, MSc, MSc(Res), MPP, MBA, MPhil). Funding is not available for those students undertaking a partial master’s course requiring a lesser number of credits as a result of previous study.

Eligible postgraduate master’s courses must be either 1 or 2 years full-time in duration or 2 to 4 years part-time at a minimum 50% intensity of full-time. 2 and 3 year part-time courses with no full-time equivalent are also eligible, with no minimum intensity requirement. Funding is not available to students undertaking a part-time modular course with an advertised duration of 2 to 4 years.

Wales

Taught, research or professional stand alone master’s courses in any subject (eg MSt, MSc, MSc(Res), MPP, MBA, MPhil). Funding is not available for those students undertaking a partial master’s course requiring a lesser number of credits as a result of previous study.

Eligible postgraduate master’s courses must be either 1 or 2 years full-time in duration or 2 to 4 years part-time. Students wishing to apply for postgraduate finance for a part-time modular course with an advertised duration of 2 to 4 years should contact student.funding@admin.ox.ac.uk and we can then make arrangements for the appropriate course to be set up with Student Finance Wales.

Scotland

You will only be eligible for support if your course is not available in Scotland. You will need to submit an application to SAAS, who will determine your course eligibility. If both you and the course are deemed eligible, SAAS will contact the University to confirm the course details before finalising the assessment of your application.

The course must be a taught or research master's programme or a postgraduate diploma, studied on a full-time basis.

Eligible postgraduate master’s courses must be either 1 or 2 years in duration. Diplomas should be no longer than 1 year in duration.

Please note that there is no provision for part-time study undertaken outside Scotland.

Northern Ireland

Taught, research or professional master’s courses in any subject (eg MSt, MSc, MSc(Res), MPP, MBA, MPhil), postgraduate diplomas and postgraduate certificates.

The course must last no more than three years whether studied full time or part time.

How to apply

Applications for students starting in the 2021/22 academic year 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?

England and Wales

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. 

Northern Ireland and Scotland

Interest will be charged at the flat rate of RPI or at the bank base rate plus 1% (whichever is the lower) whether in study or in repayment, and regardless of income. 

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.

Students from Scotland and Northern Ireland have a different income threshold. This is currently £19,390 a year (2020-21 tax year). Scotland has committed to increasing the repayment threshold to £25,000 by April 2021.

If you are studying full time you will start making repayments the April after you finish or leave your course. If you are studying part time you will start making repayments the April two years after the start of your course or the April after you finish or leave your course, whichever comes first.

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 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.

Was this page useful?*