Funding a Master’s degree

Are you considering a Masters on completion of your undergraduate degree? To help you make the transition from undergraduate to postgraduate study, why not read our Postgraduate Funding advice guide, packed full of information and advice. In this blog we’ve listed some key points to be aware of from the guide.

Funding a Masters is different to undergraduate study. It’s usually a bigger financial commitment and, unlike undergraduate student finance, your funding is likely to come from a variety of different sources such as loans, an overdraft facility, earnings and savings. You may also wish to look into trusts and charities and crowdfunding.

It’s important to plan everything well in advance, so if one funding option fails, you can still explore alternatives, as once you have started the course, due to the intensity of postgraduate study, there may be limited time to resolve any funding issues.

Remember that you will need to budget for 12 months in an academic year not 9, though some courses start in January rather than September. You can use our budgeting resources to help you plan your finances, which include a postgraduate spreadsheet, money saving tips and ideas for increasing your income and reducing your spending.

As well as several websites which are dedicated to Master’s funding which we list in the guide, Queen Mary also offers a significant number of postgraduate scholarships in a range of subject areas. Make sure you meet the eligibility criteria and apply by any stated deadline.

Applications for Master’s Loans  open in June. Eligible students starting in 21/22 can borrow up to £11,570. The loan is paid in three instalments; either September, January and April for September starters, or January, May and August for January starters. The loan is paid as a contribution towards costs, so you can choose how you spend the loan. Most students use it to pay tuition fees and use any remainder for living costs. There are no additional loans or grants for childcare or dependents, or a postgraduate Queen Mary bursary. If your course is longer than a year, the maximum loan is split across the number of years of your course.

Many postgraduate students work part-time to boost their income and gain valuable work experience, though it’s important to achieve a balance between work and academic studies. Our Part time and vacation work advice guide, written jointly by Advice and Counselling and Queen Mary Careers and Enterprise Centre has lots of advice and information about employment you might find helpful.

During the academic year, if you have a shortfall in living costs funding, you can apply to the Financial Assistance Fund. The fund cannot help with tuition fees. Our guidance explains more about eligibility for the fund, as the assessment criteria is different for postgraduate students.

If your funding or other money is temporarily delayed, you can also apply for an interest-free short term loan from the university and from the student union.

Once you fully enrol on the course, you become immediately liable for 50% of the tuition fee with the remaining 50% due by January 31st.

If your Master’s loan won’t cover your full tuition fee, although it’s paid in three instalments in September, January and April, you will need to pay 50% of the difference fee at enrolment and the remaining 50% by January 31st.

It’s really important not start your course, unless you have a clear idea of where your funding is coming from, as interrupting due to financial issue can be disruptive. It can also be expensive, if you need to repeat either Semester A or B which would incur an additional 50% or 100% of the tuition fee.

Once you have successfully completed your Masters, you may wish to consider further study. Eligible students starting a research degree in 21/22 can apply for a Doctoral Loan of £27,265. We have comprehensive guidance which explains more about Doctoral Loans.

Once you’ve read our Postgraduate Funding advice guide, if you still have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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