Postgraduate doctoral loan

Students living in England and Wales can apply for a postgraduate doctoral loan of up to £25,700. This can help with your course fees and living costs while you are studying for a postgraduate doctoral degree, such as a PhD.

Eligibility

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

England

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

Wales

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

EU students starting a course in 2020/21 are eligible for UK postgraduate doctoral loans. This has been guaranteed regardless of Brexit, subject to meeting eligibility requirements.

You may be eligible if you are a child of a Swiss national or child of a Turkish worker. You may also be eligible if you have the residency status of: refugee, humanitarian protection, EEA or Swiss migrant worker, or have a family member in any of these categories.

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.

We will continue to update our Brexit information for prospective students page whenever further information becomes available.

How much can I borrow?

The postgraduate doctoral loan is not means-tested and can be worth up to £25,700. 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:

Repayment

You will start to repay the loan in the April after you’ve finished or left your course, so long as you are earning over £21,000. If you had previously taken out a postgraduate master's loan, your doctoral loan will be added to it.

The repayment rate for your postgraduate loan will be 6% of the amount you earn above £21,000 per year. If you also have a loan for your undergraduate study, you will repay this at the same time once you have exceeded the income threshold.

Any outstanding doctoral loan balance will be written off 30 years after you're due to start repayments.

Interest is charged at Retail Price Index (RPI) plus 3%. You will be charged interest from the date your first loan instalment is paid. The doctoral loan will attract better than commercial interest rates or match commercial interest rates with better terms. 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:
student-funding@bristol.ac.uk

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

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