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PhD student loans coming in 2018

Borrow up to £25,000

PhD loans

The Government are introducing new doctoral loans of up to £25,000 in 2018. These loans will be for UK students who are looking to study a PhD or equivalent postgraduate research programme in 2018/19.

The Government is currently considering making EU students eligible for this loan, so an update will be provided as soon as an announcement is made.

Who will be eligible?

  • The loan will be available up to a maximum of £25,000 (non-means tested)

  • The loan will be available for UK nationals resident in England and beginning a PhD or equivalent postgraduate research programme at a UK university in 2018/19

  • Students aged 59 and under will be eligible for this loan

This loan can be combined with funding from BU or other sources, but not with Research Council funding, NHS funding or other direct government funding.

You are not eligible for this loan if you already hold a qualification at PhD level or are studying a research Master's degree.

Which courses and levels of study are eligible?

  • PhD loans will be available for doctorates studied at all universities across the UK, including equivalent qualifications such as the DPhil 
  • There will be no restrictions on subjects, disciplines, research areas or topics
  • The only restriction concerns PhDs by publication. These are sometimes awarded to candidates whose existing body of work makes an original contribution to knowledge sufficient for a PhD. PhD loans are postgraduate student loans and therefore require the borrower to be following an 'active programme of study.'

A more complete list of appropriate qualifications is likely to be released before the loans are launched. 

What about repayment?

  • The PhD loans will be repaid under income-contigent repayment terms, so will be deducted from your earnings at 6% of any annual salary over £21,000
  • You will only begin repaying your PhD loan once you have completed you course.
  • Interest will accrue at a rate of RPI +3% 
  • Postgraduate loan repayments are intended to be combined. This means that you will repay a single debt amount of up to £35,280 if you have both a Master's and a PhD loan. However, the rate at which you repay will also be adjusted, so instead of making two repayments at 6%, you will only make one repayment.
  • Regardless of how many student loans you have, you should only ever repay a maximum of 15% of your annual income over the threshold.

How do I apply?

Applications are likely to open in Spring/Summer 2018. More information will be provided nearer the time.

Will a PhD loan cover all the costs?

The PhD loans are intended as a general contribution to the costs of postgraduate study. This means that they aren't tied to the specific cost of a doctoral programme or the living costs incurred by PhD students.

In practice, both of these amounts will vary depending on factors such as the fees charged by your institution and the cost of living in your local area.

£25,000 should significantly reduce the financial burden of PhD study, but it won't necessarily cover full fees and living costs for a three year doctorate.

Cliffs in Dorset

Fully Funded PhD Studentships

Find out more about our PhD studentships, how to apply and which fully funded doctoral opportunities are available.

This information is provided using the helpful summaries prepared by FindA PhD Ltd. We've provided this information with good intention, but cannot be held liable for its accuracy. For latest and full information, visit