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Doctoral Loans

A Postgraduate Doctoral Loan can help with course fees and living costs while you study a postgraduate doctoral course, such as a PhD.

What are doctoral loans?

Student at cash machine

The UK Government provides loans of up to £28,673 if your course starts on or after 1 August 2023. The amount you’ll borrow is not means-tested meaning all eligible applicants can borrow up to the full amount.

The loan will be paid directly to you in three instalments each year, after your application has been approved, you’ll be sent a letter with your payment dates or you can check them in your student finance account online.

This information covers postgraduate loans for Student Finance England. If you apply through a different national Student Finance service, please refer to that particular provider. Please note that there is currently no postgraduate doctoral loan offer in Scotland or Northern Ireland, though this may change in the future.

Am I eligible?

If you apply through Student Finance England, you may be eligible for this loan if you:

  • are under 60 on the first day of the first academic year of your course,
  • are a UK national and normally live in England, and have lived in the UK, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or Ireland for three continuous years before starting your course,
  • are an EU national living in England on the first day of your course, have settlement status under the EU Settlement Scheme and have been ordinarily resident in the EEA or Switzerland for three years before the start of your course,
  • will be studying a course lasting between 3 to 8 academic years,
  • do not already have a doctoral degree or a equivalent qualification or higher.

For more information about eligibility for doctoral loans, visit

If you apply through a different national Student Finance provider, please refer to their websites for further information on eligibility.

What about repayments?

If your loan is provided through Student Finance England, you’ll have to repay this loan, but only after you’ve finished your course and your income is over £403 a week, £1750 a month or £21,000 a year.

If you have any other student loan to pay (an Undergraduate or Postgraduate loan), you’ll make both repayments at the same time.

If you apply through a different national Student Finance provider, please refer to their websites for further information on repayments.

How do I apply?

For Student Finance England, you only need to apply once for the Postgraduate Doctoral Loan, they will write to you in the summer to tell you how much you’ll get the next academic year.

The fastest way to apply is online:

Explore other funding opportunities

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Financial advice

Need advice? Our student finance team are here to help. They can offer guidance on fees, loans and money management.

Contact the team at, tel: +44 (0)115 848 2494.