To apply for a Postgraduate Master’s 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 Master’s Loan.
They may also be able to apply for a Postgraduate Master’s 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 university whilst they’re 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, or
- the child of a Turkish worker.
They must be under 60 on the first day of the first academic year of their course to get a Postgraduate Master’s Loan.
If they have a loan from a previous undergraduate course, it won’t affect their eligibility for a Postgraduate Master’s Loan.
They can only get a Postgraduate Master’s Loan if they don’t already have an equivalent Master’s qualification or a higher-level qualification such as a PhD.
MAs from Scottish universities, the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge or Trinity College Dublin are at a lower level than a postgraduate Master’s qualification. If they have an MA from one of these universities, they may be able to get a Postgraduate Master’s Loan.
If they take a Postgraduate Master’s Loan for a course but don’t complete it, they won’t be able to get a second Postgraduate Master’s 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 Loan.
The course they’re studying must be in the UK and be a full postgraduate Master’s course of at least 180 credits leading to a qualification such as:
- Master of Science (MSc)
- Master of Art (MA)
- Master of Philosophy (MPhil)
- Master of Research (MRes)
- Master of Law (LLM)
- Master of Letters (MLitt)
- Master of Fine Art (MFA)
- Master of Education (MEd)
- Master of Business Administration (MBA)
A Postgraduate Master’s Loan is not available to students wanting to ‘top up’ a lower-level qualification to a Master’s degree. The course must be a full standalone master’s course.
They can’t get a Postgraduate Master’s Loan for certain postgraduate courses, such as PgCert (Postgraduate Certificate), PgDip (Postgraduate Diploma), or where the postgraduate course is funded by undergraduate student finance, such as:
- Initial Teacher Training (ITT) or Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE)
- Integrated Master’s
- Master of Architecture (MArch)
If they’re studying a MArch course they may be able to get a Postgraduate Master’s Loan if undergraduate student finance isn’t available to them, for example, if they’re studying part time.
Students can choose to study their course at the university in person or by distance learning, and their course can be:
- a full-time course lasting one or two academic years,
- a part-time course lasting two academic years that has a one year full-time equivalent,
- a part-time course lasting three or four academic years that has a two year full-time equivalent, or
- a part-time course lasting up to three years that has no full-time equivalent.
The university they’re studying at must be in the UK and either:
- publicly funded (paid for by the government), or
- a recognised private provider.
Any student who started a course in academic year 2016/17 then transferred to a university from academic year 2017/18 which doesn’t have degree awarding powers, will remain eligible for the Postgraduate Master's Loan.