Funding for postgraduates

Postgraduate opportunities

Postgraduate Loans (PGL)

A postgraduate masters loan is funding to help with course and living costs whilst studying a postgraduate masters-level course.

When the programme started Maximum loan fee amount
On or after 1 August 2018 £10,609
During the academic year 2017/2018 £10,280
The loan is paid directly to you as a contribution towards the cost of postgraduate studies and can be spent on tuition fees, accommodation, books, general living expenses etc.

Am I eligible?

You must be under the age of 60 at the commencement of the course

Loans are available for both full-time and part-time study.

You'll need to meet certain residency criteria (Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales resident students are not currently eligible) –
Masters courses covered include:

  • MSc (Master of Science)
  • MA (Master of Art)
  • MPhil (Master of Philosophy)
  • MRes (Master of Research)
  • ResM (Research Masters)
  • LLM (Master of Law)
  • MLitt (Master of Letters)
  • MFA (Master of Fine Arts)
  • Med (Master of Education)
  • MBA (Master of Business Administration)
Postgraduate loans are not available if you have an equivalent or higher level qualification already with the exception of PgDip or PGCE).

Other exclusions

You'll not be eligible for PGL if you have outstanding student loan arrears or have previously been found to be ‘unfit’ for student support (e.g. because of attempted fraud).

You must register for the full 180 credits in order to receive the loan. Prior Accredited learning cannot be used to reduce the number of credits taken.

How do I apply for a loan?

You can apply online for a loan to Student Finance England from late June 2018 online at Applications can be made up to nine months after the start date of the programme. Where the course lasts two years or more, applications can be submitted up to nine months after the start date of the second academic year. You can request that the amount of the loan be changed up to one month before the programme end date.

When will I receive the loan proceeds?

You must firstly be registered on the programme of study. Payment is made into your UK bank account in three termly instalments during the academic year. If the programme is longer than one year you can apply for up to £5,304.50 in the first year and the remainder in year two. If you are studying on a part-time basis you can only receive the payments in the first two years of the programme.

  • 1st instalment of 33 per cent – payment is due on the start date of the programme
  • 2nd instalment of 33 per cent  – payment is due on the last Wednesday of the fourth month of the programme. For September starters payment will be received in late December.
  • 3rd instalment of 34 per cent – payment is due on the last Wednesday of the seventh month of the programme. For September starters payment will be received in late March. 

When am I expected to repay the loan and what interest rate will I be charged?

The loan is repayable but not until you have left or finished your course and your income is over £21,000 a year. Postgraduate loans will be repaid under income contingent repayment terms. The repayment terms differ from those that apply to undergraduate student loans. Interest will accrue at a rate of RPI + 3 per cent on all outstanding PGL balances.

Visit a student loan repayment website for more information about repaying a postgraduate loan.

Further information

Professional and Career Development Loans

Professional and Career Development Loans are bank loans to help pay for courses and training that help with your career or help get you into work. You may be able to borrow between £300 and £10,000. Loans are usually offered at a reduced interest rate and the government pays interest while you’re studying.

CDL loan factsheet

Care Leavers Bursary

Our care leaver bursary is an annual £2,000 non-repayable grant. It is available to postgraduate students on taught courses at Plymouth University who are care leavers or are current Foyer (or similar residential housing) residents and satisfy the eligibility criteria.

Find out whether you are eligible, what evidence is required and download an application form.

Postgraduate master's loan explained 2018/19

Thinking of starting a postgraduate master’s course this year? You could get help to pay for your course and living costs. This film created by Student Finance England explains what you can get.

Postgraduate doctoral loan explained 2018/19

Find out about what help you can get if you’re applying for a postgraduate doctoral course by viewing this video created by 
Student Finance England.

PhD loans


The government has announced the introduction of new doctoral loans worth up to £25,000 for new PhD students available from 2018/19. 

The loan can be spent on fees, study-related costs or to help cover living expenses. 

Am I eligible?

  • You must be aged 59 or under at the commencement of the course
  • You must be a UK national ordinarily resident in England
  • Your programme must last between three and eight years.

Most PhD programmes, Professional Doctorates and PhDs 'upgraded' from Master of Philosophy (MPhil) will be eligible, provided they are hosted by a UK university.

PhD loans are not available if you began your PhD before 2018/19.

Other exclusions:

You’ll not be eligible for a PhD loan if you already hold a PhD or equivalent qualification or are receiving a Research Council studentship (including fees-only), NHS funding or other government finance towards your PhD.

How do I apply for a loan?

Details of how to apply will be made available in spring/summer 2018 before applications open for the 2018/19 academic year.

Details of repayment requirements and the interest rate payable

Repayments will start once you have completed your PhD. You’ll pay at a rate of 6% of your income once you're earning at least £21,000 per year.

Further information

University of Plymouth alumni discretionary awards

A 20 per cent alumni discretionary award is available in all faculties if you are:

  • a home/EU graduate of the University of Plymouth
  • enrolled on a full-time or part-time taught postgraduate programme on which a postgraduate fee is charged and no student loan is available
  • self-funded
  • part funded/sponsored the discount will apply to the self funded element of the tuition fee only.

Please note:

  • The award is only available for postgraduate programmes commencing from 2018/19
  • The award is not available from postgraduate to postgraduate programmes.
  • The following programmes are not covered by this postgraduate discount: PGCE programmes, Master of Architecture, ResM programmes and Certificate of Diploma programmes.
  • The award of twenty per cent off the fees will be applied against the relevant fee in each year of study.
  • Students must have graduated with an honours degree, no award will be made for certificate or diploma graduates.
For further information about potential awards and scholarships for current students, visit our alumni awards and scholarships page.

Santander scholarships 

The University has officially launched a number of new scholarships courtesy of its partnership with Santander Group.

The scholarships range from £200 to £5,000 and they include funding for research projects in the UK and overseas; language exchange programmes; funding for strategic sectors such as ocean renewable energy projects; and initiatives to promote volunteering and the development of employability skills.

Visit the Santander scholarships pages for further information

Roland Levinsky Memorial Fund

The Roland Levinsky Memorial Fund offers current students (undergraduate and postgraduate) the opportunity to enhance their University experience through extra-curricular activities.

Awards of up to £1500 enable you to take part in activities which could include anything from participation in a society or field trip, to undertaking a research expedition overseas.

Visit the Roland Levinsky Memorial Fund awards pages to learn more

Dr Manning Award

The Dr Manning fund aims to encourage the study of biological and biomedical sciences at Plymouth University, through alleviating financial hardship and recognising academic excellence in this area. An annual award of up to £1500 will be made to provide financial support for one female student. Visit the Dr Manning Award pages for more information.

Programme-related scholarships

More information on programme scholarships can be found in our subject and course specific funding page.

Programmes include:

  • Law
  • International Relations
  • Business & Management 

Scholarships for international students

The University has a variety of scholarships if you are a postgraduate student from overseas. More information can be found on our  funding for international students page .  

Postgraduate research studentships

Information about postgraduate studentships.

Our studentships are administered by our Graduate School and details can be found on the postgraduate research studentships page.

Postgraduate fees

The current fee rates for taught and research programmes can be found on the fees list page

Master Your Future – Faculty of Business Professoriate Scholarships

The Faculty of Business Professoriate Scholarships of £1,000 are awarded to selected students undertaking postgraduate study each year.

The opportunity to apply for a professoriate scholarship is available to applicants currently in receipt of an offer for postgraduate study.

Find out more and how to apply