Postgraduate funding

Master's loans

Postgraduate Loans (PGLs) are available from Student Finance England to study a master's course. Master's students under 60 can access a loan of up to £11,222 as a contribution towards the cost of their study. This is part of the government's long-term commitment to enhance support for postgraduate study.

Student Finance Wales also offer a Postgraduate Loan but the amount of loan is different from Student Finance England.

View current details of the 2020/21 postgraduate loans scheme

Bank loans

High Street Banks may offer a similar type of loan to support you with further study. You will need to contact individual banks to find out what type of loans they have on offer and whether it would be suitable for your needs. It is important that you check all the terms and conditions and ensure that the repayments are affordable before committing to a bank loan.

Employer sponsorship

You may be able to get paid leave for study, funding for some or all of your tuition fees and other course-related costs from your employer. However, this may only be possible if your course is directly relevant to your work.

Trust funds and grant making charities

There are a number of trusts and charities that make awards to students. Many have very particular qualifying criteria, meaning that very few applicants get awards. The following websites are good places to start looking for funds:

Research Council Funding

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funds postgraduate training at both the doctoral and master's level. They do not give money to students directly, but fund universities through Doctoral Training Accounts (DTAs) and Collaborative Training Accounts (CTAs).

Natural Environment Research Council

The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) funds around 1,400 postgraduate students each year. The majority of these students are carrying out research and training in a three-year programme leading to a PhD. The others hold one-year studentships which support them whilst they study for an MSc or MRes degree.

Arts and Humanities Research Council

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) provides support for students taking taught postgraduate courses and research in the humanities. Each year, they make around 550 awards from their research schemes and around 1,500 awards from their postgraduate schemes.

Economic and Social Research Council

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) provides studentships for postgraduate training and research in the social sciences.

These Councils provide a variety of awards which may cover some or all the tuition fees, a maintenance grant or bursary and a contribution towards programme-related expenses. Please note that competition is strong and only a small percentage of candidates are successful. For more information, see UKRI.

Postgraduate Doctoral Loans

Postgraduate Doctoral Loans (PGDLs) are available from Student Finance England and Wales if you wish to study a PhD course. PhD students under 60 can access a loan of up to £26,445 in total for PhD courses lasting between three to eight years. The loan is spread evenly over each year of the course.

The PhD loans work in the same way as the PGLs outlined above. It is important to be aware that it will not cover the costs of both tuition fees and living expenses, so you will need additional funding to cover those costs.

You can find out more by reading the government's PhD loan information and watching Student Finance England's video guide.

PGCE and training bursaries

If you are an English resident, you may be eligible to apply to Student Finance England for the fee loan and living cost support for full-time programmes in the same way as undergraduates. See the undergraduate funding information to find out more.

If you are an EU student, you may be eligible to apply to Student Finance for the fee loan for your full-time PGCE programme. There are circumstances where EU students can also apply for living costs support in addition to the fee loan.

If you have children, a disability or an adult dependant, you could be eligible for further support from Student Finance. More details can be found on the Teaching Agency website.

You can use the student finance calculator to estimate the amount of Tuition Fee and Maintenance Loans that may be available to you, as well as any additional support.

Finance for part-time PGCE programmes

Part-time PGCE students will be covered by the funding arrangements for part-time undergraduate students with access to a tuition fee loan. New part-time students already holding a qualification equivalent or higher in level than their PGCE remain eligible for this support. Please see more details of part-time undergraduate funding.

Training bursaries for 2020

UK and EU students on eligible PGCE courses (who are not employed as a teacher), are eligible to apply for training bursaries. The amount of bursary will be based on the teaching subject.

How to apply

There will be a link to the application form within the joining instructions which will be sent to you via the Welcome portal over the summer. The bursary is paid in ten instalments from October.

The table below summarises the standard training bursaries available. This is an overview only and we recommend that you visit the Teaching Agency website for more detailed information and conditions.

Eligibility 2020/2021 Trainee with 1st, 2:1, 2:2, master's or PhD
ITT subject/phase Bursary
Physics £26,000*
Maths £26,000*
Computing £26,000
Geography £15,000
Chemistry £26,000*
Languages £26,000*
Biology £26,000
English £12,000
Design and Technology £15,000
Religious Studies, Music and History £9,000
Primary with Maths £6,000

*Trainees may also be entitled to an early career payment of £6,000. Please see the Teaching Agency website for terms and conditions.

Trainees with degrees from outside the UK

If you hold a degree from outside the UK, please contact UWE Bristol Admissions to help determine your bursary eligibility. You will need to check whether your qualification is comparable to a British bachelor (honours) degree standard. Alternatively, you can find information on the Teaching Agency website.

Training scholarships for 2020

Trainees in Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Computing, Geography and Languages with a 2:1 or above are able to apply for a teacher training scholarship with the appropriate professional body. You can still apply if you have a 2:2, but you will need to provide evidence of significant relevant experience. Scholarships are awarded in place of a bursary.

For more information see the Teaching Agency website.

Students from Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland

To receive a bursary or scholarship, students from Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland will need to be eligible for financial support from their country’s student finance body. Please contact Student Finance Wales, Student Awards Agency Scotland or Student Finance NI to find out about your eligibility for funding.

Part-time fee waivers

You will not be eligible to apply for a fee waiver if you are able to obtain a postgraduate loan from Student Finance England for your course. This rule will allow the Waiver Scheme to support students who have no alternative method for paying for their tuition fees.

Please note: Existing recipients of the fee waiver will remain unaffected up until the completion of their current studies, providing they continue to meet the qualifying criteria outlined below:

  • Part-time postgraduate students who have been in receipt of a means-tested benefit continuously for at least six months prior to either Tuesday 1 September 2020 or Friday 1 January 2021 (dependent on your course start date).
  • Care leavers can now apply for a fee waiver without needing to be in receipt of the qualifying benefits. To qualify, you must have been in local authority care for three months between the ages of 11 to 16 and not returned to live with parents since then. If you meet this criteria, please let us know by emailing

Eligibility criteria

To qualify for a UWE Bristol fee waiver for your postgraduate part-time course, you need to be:

  • studying at postgraduate level for the first time. This means that you have not already achieved a qualification at the same level as your new course. If you have a master's qualification, you can apply for a waiver for a course at PhD level
  • considered a UK resident ('home') or EU student for fee purposes and
  • registered on a designated part-time postgraduate course that lasts for at least one academic year and
  • registered for 80 credits or fewer and
  • in receipt of a means-tested benefit on Tuesday 1 September 2020 (or Friday 1 January 2021 if you are starting your programme in January 2021), and continuously for the previous six months or a care leaver.

If you meet the above criteria, UWE Bristol will consider a waiver of 75% of your tuition fees for the 2020/21 academic year.

If you are eligible to apply for the new Postgraduate Loan for master's courses, you will not be entitled to the fee waiver.

Please note: the funding available for fee waivers is limited and demand is usually high. We cannot, therefore, guarantee that every eligible student will be awarded a fee waiver.

Which benefits count?

The relevant benefits for this fee waiver are:

  • Income Support
  • Employment and Support Allowance (income-based)
  • Pension Credit
  • Jobseeker's Allowance (income-based)
  • Housing Benefit or Council Tax reduction
  • Universal Credit (to include either Income-based JSA/ESA or Income Support or Housing Benefit).

Tax credits do not count as a qualifying benefit for the fee waiver.

How to apply

Care leavers:

If you are a care leaver, please email providing evidence of your status. You do not have to complete an application form.

Receiving means-tested benefits:

If you receive means-tested benefits and are starting your course in 2020/21, please download the relevant form for you:

Please return the completed application form to us by emailing it to, along with six months annotated bank statements showing receipt of means tested benefits.

Continuing students

If you are a continuing student who already receives this fee waiver, you will have already been sent an application form by email.

Student loans and Sharia Law

Some Muslims and members of other faiths may be deterred from taking out the UK government's student loans, due to the interest payment system. We have prepared this document on student loans and Sharia Law (PDF) for undergraduate and postgraduate students who need to finance their education, and who also have questions or concerns about Sharia compliance.

Postgraduate funding explained

With multiple funding support options available, postgraduate study is more accessible than ever before. Graham, one of our Student Money Services Advisers, provides all the information you’ll need about your options and managing financially as a postgraduate student.