In the March 2017 Budget, the government stated its intention to introduce postgraduate doctoral loans. No further information was confirmed. We provide a summary here of what has been announced to date.


At Budget 2015, the Government announced its intention to review how to broaden and strengthen support for postgraduate research and subsequently published a consultation on support for postgraduate study.

Analysis showed strong support for the introduction of a new loan scheme for postgraduate doctoral students where this complements existing funding mechanisms and supports excellent research. Respondents were keen to ensure that support is maintained for existing funders that serve postgraduate research, such as through the Research Councils. The Government confirmed its commitment to introduce income contingent loans for doctoral study and its intention to offer these loans in addition to grant funding.

What is the proposed PhD loan?

The key terms of the proposed loan are as follows:

• Eligible individuals would be able to borrow up to £25,000.

• The maximum course length would be six years.

• The loan is intended as a contribution to the cost of study, rather than to specifically cover tuition fees or living costs.

• The loan would be available to individuals studying any Level 8 doctoral qualification.

• The loan would be available to eligible students who are not in receipt of a Research Council studentship (including fees only awards).

• The loan will not be available until academic year 2018/19. It is intended that the loan would be available to eligible UK nationals ordinarily resident in England and other students that meet the loan’s eligibility and residency requirements in place at the time. Full details of eligibility will be published in advance of the Student Loans Company opening applications for academic year 2018/19. Eligible students ordinarily resident in England would be able to take their loan to any UK university offering a doctoral programme.

The government ran a public consultation in late 2016 to hear the views from existing and prospective students, higher education institutions, as well as the research community and their representative bodies, and employers and their representative bodies.

We will update this page regarding the PhD loan as details are announced. Sign up for email updates for further information as well as the latest PhD funding and opportunities as they are added to PostgraduateStudentships.

Next Steps

Looking for PhD funding? Attend our annual PhD Funding Fair in December

Search our listings of the latest PhD Funding available by subject area