To apply for a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan students must:
- be a UK national or Irish Citizen or have ‘settled status’ under the EU Settlement Scheme or indefinite leave to remain so there are no restrictions on how long they can stay in the UK
- normally live in England
- have been living in the UK, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or Ireland for 3 continuous years before the first day of their course, apart from temporary absences such as going on holiday
If they have been living in the UK, Islands and Ireland for three years, the student may be eligible for a loan to study at a university in England.
They may also be eligible if they're a UK national (or family member of a UK national) who either:
- returned to the UK on or after 1 January 2018 and by 31 December 2020 after living in the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein
- was living in the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein on 31 December 2020 and has been living in the UK, the EU, Gibraltar, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein for the past 3 years
If they’re an EU national or a family member of an EU national they may be eligible for a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan if all of the following apply:
- they have pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme
- they have normally lived (also known as being ‘ordinarily resident’) in the UK, the European Economic Area, Switzerland or the Overseas Territories for the past 3 years
- they’re studying at a university in England
Irish citizens do not need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.
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 their residency status is one of the following:
- refugee (including family members)
- humanitarian protection (including family members)
- migrant worker from the EEA or Switzerland (including family members) with settled or pre-settled status
- a family member of a settled person, who has lived in the UK and Islands for three years and their family member must be resident in the UK on the first day their course starts.
- child of a Swiss national and they and their parent have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme
- child of a Turkish worker who has permission to stay in the UK - they and their Turkish worker parent must have been living in the UK by 31 December 2020
- a stateless person (including family members)
- an unaccompanied child granted ‘Section 67 leave’ under the Dubs Amendment
- a child who is under the protection of someone granted ‘Section 67 leave’, who is also allowed to stay in the UK for the same period of time as the person responsible for them (known as ‘leave in line’)
- granted ‘Calais leave’ to remain
- a child of someone granted ‘Calais leave’ to remain, who is also allowed to stay in the UK for the same period of time as their parent (known as ‘leave in line’)
- they’ve been given settled status (‘indefinite leave to remain’) because they’ve been the victim of domestic violence
- they’ve been granted indefinite leave to remain as a bereaved partner
- they or their family member have been granted leave under the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) or the Afghan Citizen's Resettlement Scheme (ACRS)
- they’ve been granted leave to enter or remain in the UK under the Ukraine Family Scheme, the Homes for Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme or the Ukraine Extension Scheme
UK nationals and their family members who have resident status in Gibraltar and lived in the UK, Gibraltar, the EEA or Switzerland for the past three years can also apply for funding.
They could also be eligible if they’ve been living in the UK, the European Economic Area, Switzerland or the Overseas Territories for the past 3 years and they have one of the following:
- pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme and you’re an EU national or the family member of an EU national
- pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme and you’re the family member of an Irish citizen or a person of Northern Ireland
- Irish citizenship and living in the UK on 31 December 2020. Where residence has been in the UK, Islands or Ireland for three years, they do not need to be in the UK on 31 December 2020
- Gibraltarian status as an EU national or family member
They could also be eligible if they are not a UK national and are either:
- under 18 and have lived in the UK for at least 7 years
- 18 or over and have lived in the UK for at least 20 years (or at least half of their life)
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 or a higher-level 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 can be:
- a full-time course lasting at least three years,
- a part-time course lasting up to eight years,
Students won’t be able to get a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan if they are getting any Research Council Funding.