Postgraduate doctoral loan

Students living in England and Wales can apply for a postgraduate doctoral loan. This can help with your course fees and living costs while you are studying for a postgraduate doctoral degree, such as a PhD.


Funding for postgraduate loans is different depending on where in the UK you normally live.


If you live in England, your application will be assessed by Student Finance England. Find the loan eligibility criteria on the GOV.UK website.


If you live in Wales, your application will be assessed by Student Finance Wales. Find the loan eligibility criteria on the Student Finance Wales website.

Scotland and Northern Ireland

If you are a UK national living in Scotland or Northern Ireland (or have settled status in the UK and live in Scotland or Northern Ireland), you are not eligible for the postgraduate doctoral loan. 

European Union

If you are an EU national, or a family member of an EU national, you may be eligible for a doctoral loan if you meet certain eligibility requirements. A list of the eligibility criteria for EU students can be found on the GOV.UK website.

EU nationals who completed their undergraduate degree in England or outside the UK should apply through Student Finance England. EU nationals who studied in Wales should apply through Student Finance Wales. Further details can be found on the GOV.UK website.

How much can I borrow?

The postgraduate doctoral loan is not means-tested and can be worth up to £27,892 if you are supported by Student Finance England or up to £27,880 for students supported by Student Finance Wales. The amount varies depending on when your course starts and the year of study in which you choose to apply. You do not have to apply during your first year of study, you can apply during any year of your course.

You can use the loan as you wish towards the cost of your qualification, whether on tuition fees, living expenses or any other costs associated with study. It will be paid directly into your bank account in three instalments during each academic year.

The loan will be divided equally across each year of your course.

You will stop receiving your loan if you withdraw from your PhD or transfer to an ineligible programme, but you will still be liable to repay what you have borrowed.

How to apply

You can apply for your loan during any year of your course. The latest you can apply is nine months after the start of the last academic year of your course.

Apply online at:


You'll only repay your student loan when your income is over the threshold amount for your repayment plan. The threshold amounts change on 6 April every year. 

The earliest you'll start repaying is either:

  • the April after you leave your course
  • the April 4 years after the course started if your course is longer than 4 years. For example, if you're studying part-time or doing a Postgraduate Doctoral course.

Your repayments automatically stop if either:

  • you stop working
  • your income goes below the threshold.

How much you repay depends upon the student loan payment plan you are on. These terms will be monitored and are subject to review. For the most recent information, see the Student Loan Repayment website.

Funding enquiries or money worries

General funding queries:

Call our Student Services:
+44 (0)117 428 3000

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