UK Government Doctoral Loans 2020/21

If you've started or are starting a research degree from August 2020 you may be entitled to a loan of up to £26,445.

Apply for 2020 entry (

A postgraduate doctoral loan can help with your course fees and living costs while you study a postgraduate doctoral course.

We expect details of this loan scheme ( for 2021/22 entry to be confirmed in Spring 2021. 

Key facts

  • Up to £26,445 over the duration of the course.
  • How much you get does not depend on your household income.
  • The loan is paid directly to you in three installments each academic year.
  • Available in all subject areas for PhD-level qualifications lasting between three and eight years.
  • You must be ordinarily resident in England or Wales.
  • At least 50% of study over the whole course must be undertaken in the UK.
  • Available to students aged under 60 on the first day of their course without Research Council studentships (including fees only awards) or NHS Bursaries including Social Work bursaries.
  • You won't start making repayments until you're earning £21,000 or more.

You can also get extra support ( if you have a disability.

Students already holding an equivalent or higher level qualification are ineligible.

Whether you qualify depends on:

  • your course
  • your age
  • your nationality or residency status

Find out more ( information about whether you're eligible.


You can receive a loan to study a full, standalone postgraduate programme that awards a Doctoral qualification. Eligible courses include:

  • PhD/ DPhil
  • EdD
  • EngD

Mode of study

Full-time, part-time and distance learning courses are all covered.

Course length

Your course must last between three to eight academic years.

Your loan will be paid to you in three installments over the academic year, subject to confirmation of attendance by the University. After your application has been approved you’ll be sent a letter with your payment dates or you can check them in your online account. These will be evenly spaced across your course.

The loan will be paid directly to you. You will be responsible for using the money to contribute towards tuition fees and other expenses as you see fit.

Your loan will be paid alongside your tax, in the same way as an undergraduate or masters loan.


  • You won't begin to repay your loan until you're earning £21,000 a year or more.
  • This will begin in April after you complete your course, subject to meeting the income threshold, or April 4 years after the course started.

What does this mean?

Once you're earning more than £21,000 you'll start making payments on your loan. These payments will be set at 6% of anything you earn above £21,000.

Example: You earn £2,500 a month before tax. This is £750 over the monthly threshold. You’ll repay £45 (6% of this amount) each month.

Contact Student Finance England ( if your circumstances change or you leave your course early. You’ll have to pay back any over payment straight away even if your income is less than £21,000.


  • Loan interest will be calculated at RPI+3%.
  • Interest will begin to accrue from the date you receive your first instalment.