Cost & Financial Aids



Course fees vary a great deal from one university to another, and different courses at the same university can charge different fees. For example, a one-year master's course in computing at Sheffield University costs £2,840. At the University of Essex the fees are £3,395, while at the London School of Economics, master's course fees are a minimum £6,288 and most are £9,684. MBA degrees at all institutions generally cost more, typically between £7,500 and £20,000. Research degrees including PhDs and MPhils attract annual fees in the region of £2,700.


Most universities offer some bursaries for PG students. These may be tied to one department or held centrally. It is always worth asking the institution course organiser and registrar whether they have any suitable bursaries for which you might apply.

The Directory of Grant-making Trusts and The Grants Register, both available in good careers libraries, provide an excellent source of organisations that provide funding for a vast range of activities. If you find one that matches your circumstances an application for funding is definitely worthwhile. Most offer hundreds rather than thousands of pounds. An approach to your local Rotary Club may also be fruitful.

Individual Learning Accounts

There are also Individual Learning Accounts available. These offer discounts on course fees of up to £150 (see the DFES website for details). The Scottish Awards Agency for Students supports some postgraduate students who are on postgraduate diploma courses in Scotland and a few Scottish students who decide to study such courses abroad (including in England). Competition for these grants is intense because the number of applications (over 6,000 already this year) far exceeds the number of awards.


Most postgraduate students are not eligible for loans from the Student Loan Company that undergraduates benefit from. The exception is trainee teachers on PGCE (Postgraduate Certificate in Education) courses. There are no fees for these courses, and in addition to a loan PGs can get a training salary of £6,000 a year. Students planning to teach shortage subjects such as science, maths, English, modern foreign languages, or design and technology may also receive an extra £4,000 once they have started work as a teacher.

Career Development Loans

The Department for Education and Skills offers Career Development Loans though four banks:

  • Barclays

  • Co-operative

  • Clydesdale

  • Royal Bank of Scotland.

These banks can provide a loan of up to £8,000 (£10,000 if you are unemployed) to cover up to 80% of your course fees. The loan can also be used to cover the additional costs you face if you are disabled. No interest is paid while you are studying, but the moment you stop, interest begins to accrue.

Funding bodies

Most full-time students can apply for funds from a range of sources. The major sources are featured below:

  • The Research Councils and the Arts and Humanities Research Board ( AHRB ) provide some funds for postgraduate study.

Each covers its own area of research degrees and taught master's courses. They include:

  • BBSRC - the Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council

  • EPSRC - the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

  • NERC - the Natural Environment Research Council

  • ESRC - the Economic and Social Research Council

  • MRC - the Medical Research Council.

Students who obtain an award from the BBSRC to study outside London receive £7,380 a year, while in London the figure is £9,440. The NERC and EPSRC pay £6,800 and £8,500 respectively. Students with the BBSRC doing research for an industrial firm also get an extra £2,500 from the firm and £350 from the BBSRC. UK residents will also have their course fees paid up to a maximum of £2,740.



Additional allowances are available from Research Councils for: . people with disabilities. A disabled person can receive up to £10,506 to pay personal helpers and £4,155 for additional equipment.

  • lone parents

  • mature students.

Students who are at least 26 years old can also receive an extra £1,550

Other sources

Charities such as the Wellcome Foundation, the Cancer Research Campaign and many others also offer funding for research students working on topics that are relevant to them. Addresses for these organisations can by calling Directory Enquiries. The Association of Medical Research Charities Handbook is a useful place to look for organisations such as these. Ask your university's career service to see their copy.