Postgraduate Funding Sources 2022
Unsure how to fund your postgraduate studies? Let’s take a look at what your options are, from scholarships to employer funding.
If only all things in life were free. Unfortunately, just like your undergraduate degree, a postgraduate degree comes at a price in tuition fees and living costs.
There’s no doubt that further study’s financial aspects are likely to weigh heavily on your mind.
Thankfully, there are plenty of options to help you along the way, whether it’s a Postgraduate Loan, help from your university, or even sponsorship from a company. But where do you even start when looking for them, and how much can you get? We explore your options here.
How to fund a master’s or PhD
These are the best ways to get funding for a postgraduate degree:
1. Postgraduate Student Loans
The first port of call for your postgraduate funding will likely be Student Loans from the government. While there are loans for master’s students in each part of the UK, Ph.D. loans are only available in England and Wales. But, if you’re not eligible for a Student Loan, don’t worry – we have plenty more funding options below.
Loans for master’s students
Here are the maximum loans available for master’s students from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales in 2022/23:
- England – £11,836 (for tuition fees and living costs)
- Northern Ireland – £5,500 (for tuition fees only)
- Scotland – £10,000 (£5,500 for tuition fees and £4,500 for living costs)
- Wales – £18,430 (for tuition fees and living costs).
Loans for Ph.D. students
If you’re doing a Ph.D. and you’re from England or Wales, it’s worth applying for a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan. These are the maximum amounts you could receive as a Doctoral Loan, depending on when your course started:
- If your course starts on or after 1 August 2022, you can get up to £27,892
- If your course started on or after 1st August 2021 and 31st July 2022, you can get up to £27,265
- For courses that started between 1st August 2020 and 31st July 2021, you can get up to £26,445.
2. Research grants (studentships)
Research Councils are the main public investors in research in the UK and provide funding in several different subject areas.
To be eligible for a studentship, you’ll usually need to have a 2:1 at the undergraduate level, but relevant work experience can sometimes make you the exception. For courses starting in autumn, we recommend searching and applying for research grants around spring.
So, how much can you get? Students who are successful in getting a studentship will have their fees paid for them, and may also be given a living cost grant.
3. University Postgraduate Funding
When it comes to university postgraduate funding for courses, the options vary hugely from one institution to the next. There is a wide choice of studentships, scholarships, and bursaries (see below) or possibly fee discounts for alumni.
Some universities even offer finances for specific courses in the form of field trip funding or help with research.
Graduate Teaching Assistantships
Some universities offer the opportunity for graduates to teach at the same time as completing their postgraduate course to help with their costs – this is known as a Teaching Assistantship.
The required hours for studentships differ a lot between universities – check the job description of your chosen uni for more info. The role would likely be pretty varied, possibly requiring you to teach seminars and tutorials, as well as mark essays and assignments.
In return for the work, most students with Teaching Assistantships will receive the same type of funding as a studentship in the form of a fee waiver and additional payments to cover living costs.
Scholarships and Awards
If you excel in your field of research, you may be offered a scholarship or award from your university or a funding body. The funding amount will vary, largely depending on your chosen university and field of study.
If you’re really struggling for money during your course, get in touch with the financial advisors at your uni – they’ll have some money set aside to help students in financial hardship, so they may be able to help you out. Universities offer students money from their hardship fund on a case-by-case basis, so the funding isn’t guaranteed, but it’s definitely worth at least talking to them about it if you’re in need of emergency cash.
4. Part-time Jobs
As well as applying for the other funding options on this list, you could also consider working part-time to help with living costs.
But, some courses will involve more hours of study each week than others, so a part-time job might not always be feasible. If you do think you could manage it, though, it would be worth it.
5. Family and Savings
If your family is willing and able to help fund your education, then it can really help to receive financial support from them. As well as this, we also recommend trying to save up a bit of cash before starting your postgraduate degree.
One option is to take a year out, get a full-time job, and perhaps live at home for no or little rent. We know it’s not ideal if you’re keen to get straight into your studies, but you could save a fair amount of money by doing this, making it easier to get by when you do start your postgrad.
6. Crowdfund Your Postgraduate Degree
Crowdfunding your degree is by no means easy, but it is possible. We’ve heard of plenty of students who have run successful crowdfunding campaigns and managed to secure the funding they need to cover their postgraduate degrees.
If all else fails, and you’re really willing to devote time and energy to your campaign, crowdfunding could be a great option for you. Our guide to crowdfunding a degree has all the info you need to get started.
You might also have come across adverts from companies such as Future Finance, promoting private loans aimed at students.
While these loans can appear tempting, we would strongly advise that they should be treated as a last resort, after trying the other lower-risk alternatives first – like the ones in this list.