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Postgraduate Doctoral Loans

If you're a Home or EU student starting a Doctorate at an English University, you may be able to apply for a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan (PGDL)

From September 2018, new, Home/EU students starting a full Doctoral course may be able to apply to the Student Loans Company (SLC) for a loan of up to £26,455

The money is provided by the SLC and is paid to you in instalments. Repayments are income-contingent and are made when you are earning over £21,000 a year.

What is a Doctoral Loan?

A Student Loan for Doctoral level qualification lasting up to 8 years in all subjects

If you are applying for SLC funding for Masters by Research, you must apply for a Postgraduate Masters Loan

How much are they worth?

Up to £27,892. Postgraduate Doctoral Loans are not means-tested so the amount you can borrow isn’t affected by your income or savings

All of the money is paid directly to your bank account for you to use towards your doctoral course fees, research expenses or other costs

Do I have to borrow the full £27,892?

No. It is up to you to decide how much you want to borrow up to the value of £27,892. Whatever you request, your payments will be divided evenly across your doctoral course, in 3 instalments per year

Can I apply for the higher loan of £27,892 if I began my postgraduate doctoral study prior to the 2021/22 academic year?

No. The £27,892 rate has been set fornew students commencing their studies in 2022/23. There are different loan amounts for students who began their course in previous years.  

What if I choose not to apply for a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan in my first year, but decide I would like to apply in my second year?

You can apply for the loan and begin receiving payments later in your doctorate. However, you can only borrow up to £11,836 per year. This means you might not receive the full £27,892 if you apply after the first year of your course.

e.g. if you apply for the loan in your second year of a three-year course you could only receive £11,570 per year, totalling £23,140.

Am I eligible?

PGDL’s are available to UK/EU students who fit the following criteria:

  • Nationality – you must be a UK citizen or have settled status or an EU citizen
  • Residency – UK applicants must have been living in the UK for the past 3 years and be ordinarily resident in England. EU applicants must have been living in the EU, EEA or Switzerland for the past 3 years and be either ordinarily resident in England or coming to study at an English University
  • Age – All applicants must be below 60 on the first day of their course
  • Existing qualifications & study – You cant already hold a PhD (or other doctorate) or be applying for a PGDL for a course that began before 1 August 2018
  • Other funding – you cannot combine a PGDL with a Research Council studentship or any other Government funding (such an NHS Bursary)

Eligible Doctoral Courses:

Level 8 doctoral degree courses including:

  • Subject specialist doctorates
  • Integrated doctorates
  • Professional and practice-based doctorates

*Please Note* You must be stuyding a full, standalone Doctoral course (not topping up)

Do I have to be studying full-time?

You can study full-time or part-time provided your doctoral course lasts between 3 and 8 years. The length of your course will be based on the submission date set for your thesis (and agreed with UH when you apply)

How do I apply?

Once you have received your PGR programme offer, please email so that we can add your programme to the SLC courses database. You then need to login or register at the Student Finance England website. Alternatively, you can download an application form (PDF) to apply by post.

If you already have an account with Student Finance England, you should use this to apply for a PGDL. You’ll need to give details about your course, residency status and how much you want to borrow

Is there a deadline to apply?

You have to apply within nine months of the first day of the final academic year of your doctorate

Remember: The information you provide during the PGDL application process will be used to assess your funding entitlement. It is your responsibility to ensure the information is true and correct. Any false/inaccurate information provided will result in the funding being withdrawn.

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Student Funding and Financial Support

Student Finance

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