With data indicating that postgraduate degree holders earn a significant amount more than their bachelor’s degree holding peers, a growing number of UK-based students are staying longer at university to earn postgraduate qualifications.
One of the biggest questions on many would-be postgraduate students is the matter of paying for their degree. While postgraduate courses are typically less experience per year than most undergraduate courses, fees can often add up to £10,000 or more per year of study.
Below, we’ve covered the financing options that are available for postgraduate students based in the UK, as well as the additional costs that students should be aware of before starting any postgraduate study programme.
Postgraduate Degrees Cost £7,000 to £12,000 Per Year
The cost of a Master’s degree can vary hugely from one university to another, with well-known, acclaimed institutions typically charging the most. Most postgraduate Master’s programmes are designed to help students earn an MA (Master of Arts) or MSc (Master of Science) degree.
Certain universities may also offer other Master’s degree programmes, including MEng (Master of Engineering), MFA (Master of Fine Arts), LLM (Master of Laws) and other qualifications.
In general, the cost of a postgraduate degree in the UK can vary from £7,000 to £12,000 a year, although this can vary depending on the university.
Although Master’s degree programmes are the most common, other postgraduate students may continue studying towards a PhD, or doctorate, qualification — a more advanced course that can require extensive study.
Because PhD programmes are longer than Master’s degree programmes, they’re typically more costly.
Funding Options for Postgraduate Degrees
A variety of funding options are available for postgraduate degree programmes, some of which allow students to have part of all of their education funded on their behalf.
Many students that pursue postgraduate study make use of scholarships. A diverse selection of scholarships are available for both Master’s and PhD programmes, many of which offer funding for some or all of a student’s educational costs.
In addition to scholarships for educational expenses, some postgraduate scholarships pay for a student’s accommodation expenses and/or general living costs.
While scholarships are a welcome form of assistance for postgraduate students, they generally aren’t widely available. In addition to this, many students that qualify for scholarships still have significant educational and everyday expenses that often aren’t fully covered.
As such, many postgraduate students make use of postgraduate loans to pay for some or all of their educational expenses during a postgraduate degree programme.
In the UK, postgraduate loans are offered by the government, with the amount available varying from one academic year to the next. For courses starting from August 2020, the UK government postgraduate loan amount is £11,222.
For postgraduate doctoral courses (PhD), the UK government offers loans of up to £26,455 for courses starting from August 2020.
Although loans offered by the government are sufficient for many postgraduate students, others make use of private loans offered by banks and specialist lenders. These loans are available for larger amounts but often have more costly repayments than loans offered by the government.
One advantage of private loans is that they’re available for older students, as well as those who already have advanced qualifications.
In addition to government and private sector loans, some students may be able to access other forms of funding for their studies. For example, the UK government offers extra financial support for students with disabilities who take part in postgraduate study.
All in all, while gaining a postgraduate degree is far from cheap, it’s an investment that, with the right approach, can pay dividends for life in the form of a higher salary and a far wider range of career opportunities.