Postgraduate Funding – What Will It Cost?

Tuition fees for postgraduate courses vary enormously but the overall cost of study will depend on many factors, such as the institution you choose, the course, location and funding opportunities. It could cost less than you might think.

Typical postgraduate fees at UK universities

According to the latest Reddin Survey of Tuition Fees, full-time fees range from a high of £55,000 for a one-year MBA at the University of Oxford’s Said Business School for UK, EU and overseas students, to £2,340 for the Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching/ Supervision at The Glasgow School of Art, for UK or EU students.

For international students, typical fees are around £17,000.

MBAs cost more than most other postgraduate degrees and are particularly expensive at a highly-ranked university such as Oxford.

Correspondingly, taught Masters degrees cost a good deal less, particularly at less high-profile universities. At City, University of London, a postgraduate course in Creative Writing (non-fiction) is £6,000 (£8,500 for overseas students) – while an MSc in Finance is £28,000 for all students (though it is cheaper than the MBA, which is £41,000).

In most cases a classroom-based and a laboratory-based course often cost the same for UK/EU students; whereas classroom-based courses are usually cheaper than laboratory-based courses for international students.

Research degrees are cheaper than taught courses.

In 2018-19, the UK Research Council's indicative fee is £4,260 for UK and EU students. Universities may charge more than this, and fees will be higher for international students. Full-time PhDs take from three to four years, or up to seven years if part-time, and most require students to have already completed a Master's degree.

Humanities PhDs generally cost least, while science – and business – can cost significantly more, depending on the area of research.

Full-time vs part-time postgraduate courses

In general, part-time fees are proportionate to full-time fees. If you are doing only half the syllabus of the full-time cohort, you will usually only pay half the fee. Executive MBAs, which develop the skills of those who are already at managerial level, can be the exception to this.

It will of course take longer to complete your studies ­– however it may also be easier to work while studying.

Postgraduate loans

Students can apply for a postgraduate loan of between £5,500–13,000, depending on where they reside in the UK. In 2018–19, the maximum Master's course loans for eligible students are as follows. In England, students can borrow up to £10,609 to cover course fees and living costs, while Wales offers £13,000. In Northern Ireland and Scotland there's £5,500 for fees, plus Scotland offers £4,500 to cover living costs for students studying full-time courses.

For courses that are longer than one year, the loan is split evenly. For example, in 2018 students in England starting a two-year course would be able to get £5,304 in their first year, and £5,305 in the second.

Household income or other funding that a student may receive, such as a bursary, will not affect eligibility for the loan.

Repayments will begin when the student is earning over £21,000 (or £18,330 in Scotland or Northern Ireland) and interest will be included.

The postgraduate fee will cover use of the library, IT equipment and other university study facilities, as well as tuition and supervision.

To find out more, if you live in England visit the government Master's Loan guide, for Wales, see Student Finance Wales. Those in Northern Ireland can find information from Student Finance NI and in Scotland, see the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS).