Postgraduate Loan for Masters Study

The new Postgraduate Loan (PGL) for Masters degrees in the UK is available for students normally residing in England.

In the summer of 2016, the UK Government introduced a new loan of up to £10,000 per student for postgraduate Masters study, this has increased to £10,609 for academic year 2018-19 onwards. PGL will be a contribution towards the costs of study and whether the loan is used towards fees, maintenance or other costs will be at your own discretion.

There are separate loans for students domiciled in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Key information

The main details of the new Postgraduate Loan are as follows:

  • A loan of up to £10,609 will be made available to students applying to taught and research Masters courses from the 2018-19 academic year onwards. 

  • The loan will be available to students across all discipline subject areas for full-time, part-time and distance learning Masters programmes, so long as you do not have existing qualifications at Masters-level or above (which includes undergraduate integrated Masters qualifications, such as MSci or MEng etc).

  • The loan will be paid directly to you, into a UK bank account.


  • The loans will be non-means tested and available to students under the age of 60, on the first day of the first year of the programme.

  • The loan is available to UK nationals who have been ordinarily resident for three years by the first day of their course (though a temporary absence for study or travel will not harm an application).

  • Students must also have been most recently resident in England, which means that Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish applicants need to already be living in England to be eligible (and not have moved to England just to study). For students from other parts of the UK, please see the following pages for postgraduate loans in WalesScotland and Northern Ireland.

  • The loan is also available to EU students (Nationality and residency rules for EU nationals apply).

  • Distance learning applicants must reside in England.

  • Students who already hold a Masters qualification (or an equivalent or higher-level qualification, which includes undergraduate integrated Masters qualifications, such as MSci or MEng etc) will not be eligible for the loan.  
  • PGLs are not available to students wanting to ‘top-up’ a lower level qualification to a Master’s degree. The course must be a full standalone master’s course. Therefore, PGLs are not available 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:

    • ITT (Initial Teacher Training)

    • Integrated Master’s (MSci, MEng)

  • Those wishing to use Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) credits will not be eligible to apply for the loan. APL refers to the process by which this University (and many others) gives credit against learning achieved by an individual before entry to a programme of study at Birmingham.
  • Students are not eligible for PGL where they are in receipt of any other bursary from any of the following organisations:
    • National Health Service (NHS)
    • Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS)
    • Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS)
  • Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSA)

    Postgraduate students can apply for a single allowance DSA payment of up to £10,362 to support them in their course.  They don’t need to apply for the Postgraduate Loan to receive this support.  However, in all instances, when DSA support is required for a Master’s course, students should complete a DSA1 full form in all circumstances. 

For more information, or to seek clarification as to eligible programmes, check the Government Postgraduate Loan website.

How to apply

  • Online applications are now open for 18/19 courses via the Postgraduate Loans website.

  • It is recommended that you apply for a place on your course at the University of Birmingham prior to applying to a Postgraduate Loan.


  • There is no minimum loan amount that can be requested. The requested can be altered up to one month before the end of the course. 

  • Money will be paid directly to the student, it is at the discretion of the student how they intend for their tuition to be paid. Information on paying for your tuition fees can be found here.

  • Payments for a part-time course are made for a maximum of 2 years and a maximum of £5000 will be paid in the first year for all programmes.
  •  Payments will be made in three equal instalments per academic year, scheduled as follows: 

    • Payment 1: Course start date once the University confirm attendance.

    • Payment 2: 4 months after the course start month (last Wednesday of month)

    • Payment 3: 7 months after the course start month (last Wednesday of month)

  • As with undergraduate support, students will need to provide both valid UK bank details and a National Insurance Number (NINO) in their own name.


  • Interest will accrue at a rate of RPI + 3%.

  • Repayments will start to become due on April following the academic year in which the course is completed.

  • Repayments for students on the first year of the scheme (academic year 2016-17) will not begin until 6 April 2019.

  • Repayment threshold will be £21,000 in tax year 2019/20 (may vary if living overseas).

  • The repayment amount will be 6% of income above the relevant threshold.

  • Repayments will be made concurrently with any other student loan repayments due. If you are repaying both an undergraduate and the new postgraduate loan you will have a 15% (UG 9% and PG 6%) total deduction taken from your salary.

  • Any outstanding balance will be written off after the 30th anniversary the repayments became due.

Change of Circumstances

  • Transfers between eligible postgraduate Master's courses are permitted.
  • Repeat years of study will not be funded (only in exceptional circumstances as determined by the Student Loans Company).
  • Further funding is not available where the course is not completed in the specified length. Although, students can suspend and resume their course (no payments are made during the suspension period).


For more information about the Postgraduate Loan, visit the UK Government website or Student Finance England.

Alternative Funding

For alternative sources of funding for masters study for which you may be eligible, please visit our Loans, charities and trust page.

Information for EU students

Following results of the EU Referendum in the UK, there will be no immediate change to your immigration status and associated fee status or to your access to student loans as a result of the vote.  If you will be starting your studies in 2018 or 2019, you will continue to be charged the UK fee rate applicable at the time (may be subject to annual increases for inflation) for the duration of your course.  You will also continue to have access to the Postgraduate Master’s Loan from the UK Government for the duration of your course.