To apply for a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan students must:
- be a UK or EU national or have settled status (this means they have no restrictions on how long they can stay in the UK)
- normally live in England
- have been living in the UK for at least three years before the first day of the first academic year of their course
If they’re an EU national and have been living in the EEA or Switzerland for at least three years before the start of their course, they’ll also be able to apply for a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan.
Most EU, other EEA and Swiss nationals starting courses on or after 1 August 2021 will not be eligible for support from Student Finance England.
Students whose courses start before 1 August 2021 will continue to get student finance for the rest of their course.
Find out more on GOV.UK.
They may also be able to apply for a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan if they’re:
- a member of the Armed Forces, or a relative of someone in the Armed Forces and studying on a distance learning course at a UK institution whilst they are posted abroad,
- a refugee, or a relative of one,
- under Humanitarian Protection, or a relative of someone under Humanitarian Protection,
- 18 or over and have lived in the UK for at least 20 years or at least half their life,
- an EEA or Swiss migrant worker, or a relative of one,
- the child of a Swiss national
- the child of a Turkish worker, or
- a stateless person (including eligible family members), or
- granted leave to remain or a child of someone granted leave to remain, under section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016
They may also be eligible if:
- they’re granted ‘Calais leave’ to remain, or they’re a child of someone granted ‘Calais leave’ to remain, and their course started on or after 1 August 2020. To be eligible with ‘Calais leave’, they must have been living in the UK for at least three years before the first day of the first academic year of their course.
- they’re granted indefinite leave to remain as a victim of domestic violence or abuse
They must be under 60 on the first day of the first academic year of their course to get a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan.
If they have a loan from a previous undergraduate course or Postgraduate Master’s Course, it won’t affect their eligibility for a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan.
They can only get a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan if they don’t already have an equivalent Doctoral qualification such as a PhD.
If they borrow a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan for a course but don’t complete it, they won’t be able to get a second Postgraduate Doctoral Loan. However, if they have to withdraw from their course for compelling personal reasons, such as illness, they may still be able to apply for another Postgraduate Doctoral Loan.
Uni and course eligibility
The course they’re studying must be at an eligible uni or college in the UK and be a full postgraduate Doctoral course leading to a qualification such as:
- Subject specialist doctorates: a formal programme of study such as a PhD
- Integrated subject specialist doctorates:a supervised research project undertaken alongside a more structured taught course, or may depend on successful completion of taught elements and be undertaken in later years. Integrated doctorates normally offer exit awards at Master's level based on successful completion of taught modules. (Students must register for the doctoral degree at the outset to be eligible for Postgraduate doctoral loan.)
- Professional and practice-based doctorates: post experience qualifications aimed at mid-career professionals, for example an Engineering Doctorate (EngD)
A Postgraduate Doctoral Loan is not available to students wanting to ‘top up’ a lower-level qualification to a Doctoral degree. The course must be a full standalone Doctoral course.
They can choose to study their course at a university in person or by distance learning, and their course must last between 3 and 8 years.
Students won’t be able to get a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan if they are getting any Research Council Funding or an Educational Psychology Bursary.