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Doctoral student loans

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Doctoral student loans

The UK government has introduced a loans scheme for students starting their doctoral degrees. Here's a brief overview of individual and course eligibility and exclusions. See government website for full details.

Key points

  • You can borrow up to £26,445 for your whole course if you start in the academic year 2020/21.
  • The loan is paid directly to you. You can use it for your course fees and living costs.
  • You get the first payment after your course start date, once your university or college confirms that you’ve registered.
  • Whether you qualify will depend on: your course; your age; your nationality or residency status; other funding you receive.
  • The earliest you start repaying is when your annual income is over £21,000 and you'll pay back 6% of your income over the minimum amount.
  • Please note that your loan will be paid over the normal length of your course. The normal course length covers the period from initial registration up to the expected final thesis submission. For a full-time PhD this is 4 years in total (generally 3 years of research and 1 year of writing up) and for a part-time PhD this is 7 years (generally 5 years of research study plus 2 years of writing up).


  • Your course must be a full, standalone doctoral course (not a top-up course) and have started on or after 1 August 2020.
  • Your course must last between 3 to 8 academic years.

How to apply

Contact us

If you'd like to discuss any aspect of this, get in touch with Student Support Services on 0114 225 3813 or email us.

Further information

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