Fees and funding
Fees, funding and how to find it
Money is the single biggest barrier to people undertaking postgraduate study, and securing funding for your Masters or PhD is vital to realising your ambitions.
These pages will help you estimate how much studying for a postgraduate degree will cost, explain how to search for scholarships, studentships, bursaries and other awards you might be eligible for, and introduce a number of alternative ideas that can help you fund your postgraduate studies.
Specific fees are listed in every programme entry under the 'Finance' tab. You can find out more about our fee structure and your fee status on our fees page.
If you apply for a full-time taught postgraduate programme, when you receive an offer you will need to pay a tuition fee deposit to confirm your place. Find out more on our tuition fee deposits page.
As a member of the Russell Group, we attract funding to support postgraduate study and research from all major research councils through a number of high profile Doctoral Training Partnerships, and via a multitude of philanthropic sources, as well as investing heavily ourselves.
You can also search for funding via our funding database - which contains details of every single PhD studentship and Masters scholarship we offer, as well as numerous bursaries and non-academic scholarships. You can search via subject, fee status, campus, level of study and more to find funding that fits you.
Proposed UK government postgraduate loan scheme
A new system of postgraduate loans for Masters programmes is being developed for students at English universities. Initially announced as part of the Chancellor’s 2014 Autumn Statement, these government-backed student loans could revolutionise postgraduate funding in the UK.
The proposal is still under consultation, so no details are currently finalised. Loans are proposed to be introduced from 2016 and provide up to £10,000 a year for taught Masters courses in all subject areas.
You can find out more about the proposed scheme at the Find A Masters guide to the postgraduate loan scheme.
How much will it cost?
Your tuition fee is only one part of the cost of doing a postgraduate degree: you also have to live somewhere and feed, clothe, clean, and entertain yourself.
The three main costs to budget for when planning to study a postgraduate degree are Tuition fees, Accommodation, and Living costs.
We give this figure as a guide only; depending on your priorities and how you budget it could vary significantly in either direction.
Many postgraduate programmes at Exeter follow a standard fee pattern, which can be viewed on our general postgraduate fees page, together with information about whether you will pay UK/EU or International fees. However, each programme's tuition fees are detailed in full under the Finance tab on each programme page, so we advise you to refer to the relevant programme page for the exact fee you will be charged as there is some variation.
Accommodation costs will vary depending on whether you live in private or University-owned accommodation. More details regarding accommodation, including costs, are available on our accommodation page.
The National Union of Students estimates student living costs, including accommodation, to be approximately £12,000 per year outside London.
Living costs are, to some extent, up to you. You will need to make choices about how you live and what your priorities are, but make sure you factor in:
- food and toiletries
- clothes and laundry
- mobile / telephone / internet charges
- Visa fees (for international students)
- Council Tax (part-time students are eligible to pay)
- travel costs, particularly if you want to visit home in vacations
- books and other course materials
- leisure, sport and entertainment
- sundries, such as haircuts, prescriptions etc
Funding hints and tips
I am funding my Masters (tuition fees and accommodation) with inheritance. However, I also get help with the cost of course and music books, my laptop, e-reader and travel for educational purposes (eg. a music society trip) from a local charity called The Sarah Rolle Foundation, which supports educational costs other than tuition and accommodation.
I apply to them and they refund the costs of these items against receipts. It's a very low-key Foundation and isn't very widely known even in the villages where I'm from - I was lucky that my parents found out about it when we moved to the area.
Rowena Pitkin, MA Translation.
There are several things to consider when you're starting to look for funding for your postgraduate degree.
Start early and think outside of the box
If you have an inkling that you might want to do a postgraduate degree, then you can start planning and saving right from the off. Wages from weekend or summer jobs, siphoning off small chunks of your undergraduate student loan, and any other small bits of long-term saving you can do will really help, especially if you put this money somewhere sensible where it will grow and where you can’t give in to temptation and spend it on a whim.
Talk to your supervisor
If you're applying to do a PhD it's worthwhile talking to your potential supervisor about funding early on. Many academics have access to funds from multiple sources that can be diverted to provide a bespoke studentship for the right candidate. These types of opportunities are rarely promoted as they're not standard studentships from research councils. Academics may also know about other potential routes to funding only promoted via specific academic networks.
Sell yourself in applications
When applying for funding remember that awards are competitive, and sell yourself accordingly; tell the funding body or institution why you deserve this money more than the next applicant and what you plan to do with your postgraduate qualification when they’ve helped you pay for it.
Think small as well as big
Don’t just look for big, eye-catching scholarships; everyone else will be chasing these too, and you can normally only hold one scholarship from a university or Research Council, which is where most large awards come from. There are hundreds of small, often very local charities that specialise in providing small grants – maybe £500 – for educational purposes, and you can hold as many of these as you can apply for and successfully be awarded. Receiving a handful of small awards like this can quickly take a sizeable chunk off your tuition fees.
There are more ideas about how to pay for your postgraduate degree on our alternative funding page.
Making your money go further
Be clever with textbooks
Undergraduate students can only borrow 15 items from the University library system, but Masters students can borrow 25, and PhD students and other postgraduate researchers can borrow 40, meaning you can avoid buying every text book and piece of further reading. eBooks can help further still.
Selling your old textbooks if you don’t need them anymore can also make you a surprising amount of money, especially if they’re in good condition and still current editions.
A more mature approach to shared living can really help a postgraduate student house save money; planning food shops together and batch cooking so you can freeze meals in advance is much more economical. Taking a packed lunch to campus might make you feel like you're at school again, but will save you money.
Work on campus
Universities usually offer plenty of flexible and part-time work that can fit itself around postgraduate study, especially if you’re studying part-time. This might be teaching undergraduates if you’re working towards a PhD, or it could be working in a customer service or admin role, for instance as a student ambassador.
If you have to travel to campus then minimise the amount of journeys you make by coordinating campus-based activities to be on the same day. Or think about getting a bicycle if it’s not too far.
Remember you're still a student
Don’t forget student discount; many retailers offer this, and you’re still eligible as a postgraduate.