Doctoral loans

The English and Welsh governments introduced a loan scheme for doctoral courses from 2018/19 entry. Find out if you are eligible, what kind of support is available and how you can apply through the information on this page.

Who can take out the loan?

Full eligibility details can be found on your regional funding agency’s website:

For courses starting in the 2018/19 to 2020/21 academic year students from the EU are eligible to apply to Student Finance England for a Doctoral loan.

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.

How much is the loan?

The amount of loan you can apply for depends on the year you started your course.

First year of courseLoan amount
2022/23£27,892 (or £27,880 for students from Wales)
2023/24£28,673 (or £28,395 for students from Wales)

The loan can be used to fund your course and living costs and is paid into your bank account in three instalments during the academic year.

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

You can apply for a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan in any year of your course. But if you apply after your first year, you might not get the maximum amount.

Course eligibility

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 the Postgraduate Master’s Loan. You would not be eligible to receive a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan if you are transferring from a Masters to a Doctoral course.

If your DPhil course commences in Hilary or Trinity Term please contact the Student Fees and Funding team and we can arrange for a Hilary or Trinity Term start version of your course to be set up within the Student Finance application portal if it has not been added previously.

How to apply

Applications for funding opened in the June preceding the start of your course. You are encouraged to apply as early as possible to ensure that funding is in place for the start of your course.

You can apply for a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan in any year of your course. But if you apply after your first year, you might not get the maximum amount. You should refer to the UK government website for further details.

The final deadline for applications is 9 months after the first day of the last academic year of the course. For courses which start in Michaelmas Term this is 31st May, for courses which start in Hilary Term this is 30th September, and for courses which start in Trinity Term this is 31st December.

Will I be charged interest on my loan?

The information below on repayments and interest rates 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.

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 £403 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.

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

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.