Postgraduate study

Government PhD loan

From 2018, the UK government will introduce new doctoral loans of up to £25,000 for PhD and equivalent postgraduate research degrees.

The UK government PhD loan is for English-resident students looking to study PhD programmes from summer 2018. Any amount up to £25,000 can be borrowed, and can be used to pay for your tuition fees or other costs associated with studying, such as accommodation or travel expenses.

Other government student loans won't affect your eligibility for the PhD loan. If you already hold a PhD or an equivalent (level 8) qualification, you will not be eligible for the UK government PhD loan, however MPhil graduates can apply.

Am I eligible to apply?

You will be able to apply for the UK government PhD loan if you are an UK national, ordinarily resident in England and starting a PhD starting from summer 2018. You must also be aged 59 or under and must not have studied a PhD in the past.

You can choose to study your PhD full-time or part-time, as long as the maximum length of study is no longer 8 years. Government PhD loans can be combined with funding from other means, but not with Research Council funding, NHS funding or other direct Government funding.

It is possible that you will be eligible for the loan if you are an EU national or family member of an EU national, or if you have the residency status of refugee, humanitarian protection, EEA migrant worker, child of a Swiss national or child of a Turkish worker. However, this has not yet been confirmed, so keep checking the direct.gov website for updates.

How will I repay the loan?

Repayments will begin when you have completed the PhD and begin earning over £21,000. Salary deductions will be made at 6% of your yearly income over £21,000. Government PhD loans will be subject to interest, which is planned to be +3% above retail price index (RPI). Interest will begin accruing as soon as your first loan payment is made.

Repayments will be combined with your government master's loan if you have one, so instead of making two repayments at 6%, you will only make one repayment. Regardless of how many government student loans you have (undergraduate, master's, PhD), you should only ever repay a maximum of 15% of your annual income over the threshold.

How do I apply?

Applications are expected to open in Spring/Summer 2018. You're likely to need your passport, your National Insurance (NI) number, details of your chosen PhD programme and the name of the university where you want to study. You'll also need details of your bank account and proof of your residence in England.

Find out more

For more information and updates, including details of how to apply, please visit the direct.gov