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PGR Student Loans

PGR Loans

PGR students may request loans from the UK Government to support their study, whether that is for tuition fees, living or other costs assosiated with their PGR programme. Eligibility is dependent on:

  • the programme
  • your age
  • your nationality or residency status

Masters or Doctoral Loan?

The type of loan that you are eligible to take out will depend on whether you are completing a Masters by Research or a Doctoral programme:

  • Doctoral Loans are available for students registered on an MPhil/PhD programme or other programmes at Doctoral level (level 8 in the National Qualifications Framework). Doctoral Loans are administered by Student Finance England or Student Finance Wales. Further information about eligibility and how to apply is available at Doctoral Loan: Overview - GOV.UK (
  • Postgraduate Masters Loans are given to students who register for a Masters by Research programme. Further information about eligibility and how to apply for the Masters Loan is available at Master's Loan: Overview - GOV.UK (

The amount of money that you can borrow will depend on the type of loan that you take, and this is decided by the programme that you register for. The repayment of the loan and the terms and conditions are also different. It is therefore essential that you consider the implications of any changes to your programme on your loan.

Upgrade from Masters by Research to Doctoral Study

Students who are considering upgrading from Masters by Research to PhD are advised to read the following section and must contact your PGR Support Team to discuss further and before they submit an intention to upgrade form.

In order to be eligible for a Doctoral Loan, you are required to start a new doctorate from scratch, which means that you cannot take time into account from a previous programme and be eligible for a loan. This includes upgrade from Masters by Research to PhD.

If you are on a Masters by Research programme and are in receipt of a loan, you are expected to complete your course in full before you are able to take out a new loan. This means that if you end the programme early (including upgrading to PhD) your Masters Loan payments will cease, and you will be required to pay back the loan from the next repayment window.

It is also not possible to transfer a Masters Loan into a Doctoral Loan.

If you are a Masters by Research student and are in receipt of a Masters Loan and considering upgrade and would require a Doctoral Loan to complete a PhD, you are strongly encouraged to complete your Masters by Research Programme and apply for an MPhil/PhD as a new programme. If you wish to discuss your circumstances further, and still wish to upgrade, you must contact your PGR Support Team to discuss your individual circumstances before proceeding with the upgrade. 

You should note that upgrading from Masters by Research to PhD is likely to result in the curtailment of your Masters Loan and you not being eligible for a Doctoral Loan.


Postgraduate Masters Loan

The postgraduate Masters loan is available on a Full Time and Part-time (0.5FTE) only. The loan is not available on a variable part-time basis (0.6-0.9). If you are on any part-time FTE, you will receive a loan at 0.5FTE – you cannot opt to have a loan at the full-time rate even if it is closer to their actual FTE.   

If you are transferring to a part-time mode of attendance and in receipt of the student loan for a Masters By Research programme, you will need to take this into consideration before changing your mode of attendance.  

Doctoral Loans

If you are changing to a part time mode of attendance and have a Doctoral Loan, you must declare this when you submit your request to change mode of attendance. The PGR Administration Team will submit a Change of Circumstances form to the Student Loans Company on your behalf to confirm the change to your submission deadline. It is important to note that all future loan payments will be adjusted and it is your responsibility to ensure that you have budgeted accordingly. 

You can apply for the loan at any time during your period of study but may not be entitled to the full amount if you apply later in the programme. The loan payments will be spread out for the remainder of your programme. 

No, the loan payment is scheduled evenly across the maximum duration of the programme (please see for full details for your programme). When entering the loan request paperwork, please ensure that you enter your completion deadline according to MyPGR (add the login here Log-in to Exeter SRS - Web Access to your data) to avoid delays to the loan payment.  

If your contact or payment details change, it if your responsibility to update your personal details with the SLC. 

It is your responsibility to spread the funding of your loan over 4 years to avoid running out of funding before the end of your course. 

If you interrupt then the payments will pause until you return to study unless you have already received a payment for the period of interruption, in which case you should keep the funds safe and use them for when you return to study (i.e. for the extended period of your programme).

No, it is not possible to transfer a Masters Loan into a Doctoral Loan. We encourage you to contact your PGR Support Team to discuss your individual circumstances before proceeding with the upgrade.

Yes, if you complete your MByRes, you can apply for a Doctoral Loan for when you start your PhD.

It is likely that the loan for your Masters by Research will come to an end and that you will be required to start making repayments. You are unlikely to be eligible for a Doctoral Loan as the loan is only available for new programmes, and not where work started on other programmes has been transferred. 

If an applicant is intending to use Accreditation of Prior Learning or indeed any credit transferred into a research programme then they will not be eligible for a student loan via the Student Loan Company (SLC). Therefore, in such a case applicants are expected to research their own sources of funding and read the Terms and Conditions carefully before embarking on any course of study.

We encourage you to discuss any concerns with your PGR Support Team in the first instance, where possible. If you must contact your loan provider directly, you can find contact details at Guidance on contacting the Student Loans Company - GOV.UK (