Further information

Further information about the Postgraduate Doctoral Loan is available via the government services website.

EU fee rates from 2021

EU students will no longer be able to claim tuition fee loans or the lower EU fee rates for programmes starting from 2021.

Continuing students, who commence prior to 2021, will retain their fees and funding for the duration of the programme.

For more information please see the UK government statement.

If you are a Home student, you can apply for the Postgraduate Doctoral Loan (PDL) of up to £29,390 from the UK government for postgraduate doctoral courses beginning in 2024-25.

The PDL is not means-tested, so it doesn't matter what your household income is. In addition you will not repay any of your Undergraduate loans or Postgraduate Loan for Master’s study whilst you are studying.

The loan is to contribute towards the cost of your postgraduate study, and you can choose whether you put this towards your tuition fees or living costs.

The PDL will not be available if:

  • you have or will receive Research Council funding which includes stipends and or tuition fee support
  • you are receiving a social work bursary
  • you are eligible to apply for an NHS Bursary
  • you are still studying another course and are in receipt of payments from Student Finance
  • you already have a doctoral degree or equivalent/higher qualification
  • you are receiving a doctorate by publication
  • you are behind in repayments for any previous loans from Student Loans Company

Additional information, including how to apply, can be found on the UK Government's Doctoral Loan webpages.

Accordion widget for PDL info

Eligibility Criteria


On the first day of the first academic year of the course students must be:

  • a UK, Irish or Islands national; or
  • an EU national with settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme; or
  • a non-EU national with indefinite leave to remain so there are no restricitons on their stay

Students must also be:

  • ordinarily resident in England for at least three years other than for the purposes of study; and
  • under 60 years old.

Academic years are determined by course start dates:

a. 1st September
b. 1st January
c. 1st April
d. 1st July

Applications may be subject to individual assessment, with up to three years' address history required.

Eligible courses

  • Standalone doctoral programmes, such as PhD/ DPhil (Doctor of Philosophy), EdD (Doctor of Education) and EngD (Doctor of Engineering),
  • Integrated doctoral programmes, even if you already have a master’s degree, and
  • Distance Learning doctoral programmes 
  • due to start from 1 August 2018 onwards
  • full-time or part-time, for the duration of 3 to 8 academic years
  • taught, research based or combined doctoral programmes.

Where your course is delivered by more than one university, and one is overseas you will still be eligible for the PDL provided:

  • the UK university is the lead institution
  • you spend at least 50% of your study time over the whole course in the UK.

How does it work?

Students can:

  • apply for a non-means tested loan of up to the maximum
  • apply up to 9 months after the academic year start date
  • request a change to the loan amount up to 1 month before the academic year end date

The PDL is not means-tested, so it doesn't matter what your household income is.

How do I apply?

Applications can be completed online or via paper forms through Student Finance England; who will administer the loans.

How will I be paid?

  • Payments are made on the start date of term one, then the last Wednesday of the 4th and 7th month after the course starts
  • Payments are split 33%, 33% and 34%

Do I have to pay it back?

Yes. Repayments will be based on your income, not what you borrowed. You will repay 6.1% of your income over the threshold towards your loan. Repayments will normally start the April after you finish or leave your course.  When it comes to repayment there are a couple of differences from other student loans that you should be aware of:

  • Interest will be charged from the day the first payment is made to you until the loan is repaid in full or written off. It won’t vary depending on your income after you finish your course.
  • The interest rate is updated in September every year, using the RPI from March of that year. 
  • If you started your undergraduate course on or after 1 September 2012 and have any other loans from the Student Loans Company you will repay these at the same time. This means you will repay
    • 9% of your income over £27,288 towards the student loan you took for your undergraduate course and
    • 6% of your income over £21,000 towards your Postgraduate Master’s Loan and
    • 6% of your income over £21,000 towards your Postgraduate Doctoral Loan

Outstanding balances of English and Welsh loans which are remaining 30 years after you're due to start making repayments will be written off.

Will interest be charged?

Yes. Interest is charged from the day the first payment is made to the student until the loan is repaid in full. Interest will be charged at the Retail Price Index (RPI) plus 3%.