CANADA

Overview

A Postgraduate Doctoral Loan can help with course fees and living costs while you study a postgraduate doctoral course, such as a PhD.

There’s different funding if you normally live in Wales. Moving somewhere to study does not count as normally living there.

You can also get extra support if you have a disability.

You will not be eligible for an Adult Dependants’ Grant, a Childcare Grant or Parents’ Learning Allowance from Student Finance if you’re studying a doctoral course.

When you can apply

You can now apply for funding for the 2021 to 2022 academic year.

When you repay your loan

You’ll have to start repaying your loan when your income is over a certain amount (the ‘threshold’ amount).

You’ll be charged interest from the day you get the first payment.

What you’ll get

You can get up to:

  • £27,265 if your course starts on or after 1 August 2021
  • £26,445 if your course starts between 1 August 2020 and 31 July 2021
  • £25,700 if your course started between 1 August 2019 and 31 July 2020

The amount you’ll get is not based on you or your family’s income.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) may take account of the loan when working out any benefits you receive.

The loan is paid directly to you. You can use it for your course fees and living costs.

The loan will be divided equally across each year of your course.

If you apply after your first year

You can apply for a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan in any year of your course. But if you apply after your first year, you might not get the maximum amount.

You can get up to:

  • £11,570 each year if your course starts on or after 1 August 2021
  • £11,222 each year if your course started between 1 August 2020 and 31 July 2021
  • £10,906 each year if your course started between 1 August 2019 and 31 July 2020

When you’re paid

You get the first payment after your course start date, once your university or college confirms that you’ve registered.

The loan will be paid in 3 instalments of 33%, 33% and 34% each year. After your application has been approved you’ll be sent a letter with your payment dates or you can check them in your online account.

Eligibility

Whether you qualify depends on:

  • your course
  • your age
  • your nationality or residency status

You will not be able to get a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan if:

  • you’ve received or will receive Research Council funding (for example, studentships, stipends, scholarships and tuition fee support)
  • you’re already getting a social work bursary
  • you’re already getting an Educational Psychology bursary and your course starts on or after 1 August 2020
  • you’re eligible to apply for an NHS bursary (even if you’re not receiving it)
  • you’re already getting payments from Student Finance England for another course that you’re studying
  • you’ve received a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan before – unless you left your course due to illness, bereavement or another serious personal reason
  • you already have a doctoral degree, or a qualification that’s equivalent or higher
  • you’re receiving a doctorate by publication
  • you’re behind in repayments for any previous loans from the Student Loans Company

Your course

It must:

  • be a full, standalone doctoral course (not a top-up course)
  • have started on or after 1 August 2018
  • last between 3 to 8 academic years
  • be provided by a university in the UK with research degree awarding powers

If more than one university delivers your course and one is overseas, you’ll still be eligible for the Postgraduate Doctoral Loan so long as:

  • the UK university is the lead institution
  • you spend at least 50% of your study time over the whole course in the UK

It can be:

  • full-time or part-time
  • taught or research-based, or a combination of both

Examples of postgraduate doctoral qualifications include:

  • PhD / DPhil (Doctor of Philosophy)
  • EdD (Doctor of Education)
  • EngD (Doctor of Engineering)

Integrated doctorals

You can apply for a loan if your doctoral programme includes an integrated master’s degree (even if you already have a master’s degree).

You must register for a full doctoral degree.

You will not be able to apply for a separate Postgraduate Master’s Loan.

Distance learning

To qualify for a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan for distance learning, you’ll need to be living in England on the first day of the first academic year of your course.

You’ll also need to live in:

  • England for the whole of your course, if you’re an EU national
  • the UK for the whole of your course, if you’re not an EU national

This usually does not apply if you’re:

  • serving in the armed forces
  • a spouse or civil partner of a serving member of the armed forces
  • a dependent parent living with a serving member of the armed forces

Your age

You must be under 60 on the first day of the first academic year of your course.

The academic year is a period of 12 months starting on:

  • 1 September, if your course starts between 1 August and 31 December
  • 1 January, if your course starts between 1 January and 31 March
  • 1 April, if your course starts between 1 April and 30 June
  • 1 July, if your course starts between 1 July and 31 July

Your nationality or residency status

You can apply for the Postgraduate Doctoral Loan if all of the following are true:

  • you’re a UK or Irish national or have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme or indefinite leave to remain so there are no restrictions on how long you can stay
  • you normally live in England
  • you’ve been living in the UK, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or Ireland for 3 continuous years before the first day of your course, apart from temporary absences such as going on holiday

You may also be eligible if you’re a UK national (or family member of a UK national) who either:

  • returned to the UK on or after 1 January 2018 and by 31 December 2020 after living in the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein
  • was living in the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein on 31 December 2020 and has been living in the UK, the EU, Gibraltar, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein for the past 3 years

If you’re an EU national or a family member of an EU national

You may be eligible if you’re an EU national, or a family member of an EU national, and all the following apply:

  • you have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme (no restrictions on how long you can stay)
  • you’ve normally lived in the UK, Gibraltar, EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein for the past 3 years (this is also known as being ‘ordinarily resident’)
  • you’ll be studying at a university in England

You could also be eligible if you’re:

  • the child of a Swiss national and you and your parent have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme
  • a migrant worker from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, or a family member of one with settled or pre-settled status
  • a resident of Gibraltar who is a UK or EU national, or their family member

Student finance for EU, Swiss, Norwegian, Icelandic or Liechtenstein nationals from August 2021

If you’re starting a course on or after 1 August 2021, you must have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme to get student finance.

You need to have started living in the UK by 31 December 2020 to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. The deadline to apply was 30 June 2021 for most people. You can still apply if you have ‘reasonable grounds’ for being unable to apply by the deadline – for example, you had an illness or were the victim of domestic abuse.

Irish citizens do not need to apply for a visa or to the EU Settlement Scheme. They can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme if they wish to – for example, to apply on behalf of a child.

If you have a different residency status

You may also be eligible if your residency status is one of the following:

  • refugee (including family members)
  • humanitarian protection (including family members)
  • child of a Turkish worker who has permission to stay in the UK – you and your Turkish worker parent must have been living in the UK by 31 December 2020
  • a stateless person (including family members)
  • an unaccompanied child granted ‘Section 67 leave’ under the Dubs Amendment
  • a child who is under the protection of someone granted ‘Section 67 leave’, who is also allowed to stay in the UK for the same period of time as the person responsible for them (known as ‘leave in line’)
  • granted ‘Calais leave’ to remain
  • a child of someone granted ‘Calais leave’ to remain, who is also allowed to stay in the UK for the same period of time as their parent (known as ‘leave in line’)
  • you’ve been given settled status but not under the EU Settlement Scheme
  • you’ve been given indefinite leave to remain because you’ve been the victim of domestic violence
  • you’ve been granted indefinite leave to remain as a bereaved partner
  • you’re the family member of a person of Northern Ireland and you have pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme

If you’re a non-UK national and have lived in the UK for a certain number of years

You could also be eligible if you’re not a UK national and are either:

  • under 18 and have lived in the UK for at least 7 years
  • 18 or over and have lived in the UK for at least 20 years (or at least half of your life)

You must have been living in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for 3 continuous years before the first day of your course.

How to apply

You can apply now for courses that start or started in the following academic years:

  • 2021 to 2022
  • 2020 to 2021
  • 2019 to 2020

Check whether you’re eligible before you apply.

You only need to apply once for the Postgraduate Doctoral Loan. Student Finance England will write to you in the summer to tell you how much you’ll get in the next academic year.

You will not be eligible for an Adult Dependants’ Grant, a Childcare Grant or Parents’ Learning Allowance from Student Finance if you’re studying a doctoral course.

Apply online

If you’ve taken out a loan with Student Finance England before, use your account to apply.

If you do not already have one, set up an account.

Apply by post

If you cannot apply online, apply by post – the address is on the form.

If your course starts in the 2021 to 2022 academic year

Download Postgraduate Doctoral Loan application form and notes – 2021 to 2022

Download ‘Student loans – a guide to terms and conditions’

If your course started in the 2020 to 2021 academic year

Download the Postgraduate Doctoral Loan application form and notes – 2020 to 2021

If your course started in the 2019 to 2020 academic year

Download the Postgraduate Doctoral Loan application form and notes – 2019 to 2020

Courses that started before 1 August 2019

Contact Student Finance England Postgraduate Loan Team if you cannot apply online.

Read the student finance privacy notice to find out how the information you provide will be used.

When to apply by

The deadline for applying depends on when you start your course.

You need to apply within 9 months of the first day of the last academic year of the course.

The academic year

The academic year is a period of 12 months.

Course start date betweenFirst day of academic year
1 August and 31 December1 September
1 January and 31 March1 January
1 April and 30 June1 April
1 July and 31 July1 July

ExampleIf your course started on 17 October 2019 and you’re studying for 3 years, you need to apply before 31 May 2022.

Proof of identity

Include valid UK passport details in your application.

Use the ‘UK passport details’ form if you need to send the details after your application. Do not send the passport itself.

If you do not have a UK passport (or it has expired), send your original birth or adoption certificate to Student Finance England.

Include your name and address. You should also include your customer reference number if you have one. This is an 11-digit number. You can find it on letters or emails you’ve had from Student Finance England.

If you’re an EU national, send your passport or national identity card.

If your course starts in the 2021 to 2022 academic year:

Download ‘UK Passport details form’ – 2021 to 2022

If your course started in the 2020 to 2021 academic year:

Download ‘UK Passport details form’ – 2020 to 2021

If your course started in the 2019 to 2020 academic year:

Download ‘UK Passport details form’ – 2019 to 2020

Supporting information

You should use the evidence return form for extra information to support your application, for example evidence of your residency status.

You may also be asked to complete the UK employment status form.

If your course starts in the 2021 to 2022 academic year:

Download ‘Document return form’ – 2021 to 2022

Download ‘UK employment form’ – 2021 to 2022

If your course started in the 2020 to 2021 academic year:

Download ‘Document return form’ – 2020 to 2021

Download ‘UK employment form’ – 2020 to 2021

If your course started in the 2019 to 2020 academic year:

Download ‘Document return form’ – 2019 to 2020

Download ‘UK employment form’- 2019 to 2020

Change an application

Use your online account to change your personal details, for example bank or contact details. Contact Student Finance England directly if you do not have an account.

Change the amount you’ve asked for

Use the loan request form to change the amount you’ve applied for – you cannot do this online.

If your course starts in the 2021 to 2022 academic year:

Download ‘Loan request form’ – 2021 to 2022

If your course started in the 2020 to 2021 academic year:

Download ‘Loan request form’ – 2020 to 2021

If your course started in the 2019 to 2020 academic year:

Download ‘Loan request form’ – 2019 to 2020

Other changes

Use the change of circumstances form if you need to change any other details, for example your university or course. You cannot do this online.

If your course starts in the 2021 to 2022 academic year:

Download ‘Change of circumstances form’ – 2021 to 2022

If your course started in the 2020 to 2021 academic year:

Download ‘Change of circumstances form’ – 2020 to 2021

If your course started in the 2019 to 2020 academic year:

Download ‘Change of circumstances form’ – 2019 to 2020

Taking a break or withdrawing from your course

Contact Student Finance England Postgraduate Loan Team and your institution straight away if you need to withdraw from your course. It may affect your future payments and eligibility for funding.

Extra help

You may qualify for other funding, for example grants from charities or trusts.

Student Finance England also has more information about other kinds of student finance.

You will not be eligible for an Adult Dependants’ Grant, a Childcare Grant or Parents’ Learning Allowance from Student Finance if you’re studying a doctoral course.

Disabled students

If you have a disability, long-term health condition, mental health condition or specific learning difficulty (for example dyslexia) you can apply for:

You may also qualify for disability related benefits.

Further information

You can learn more about the Postgraduate Doctoral Loan at the Student Room website.

Contact Student Finance England if you have further questions.

Student Finance England Postgraduate Loan team
Telephone: 0300 100 0031
Textphone: 0300 100 0622
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Find out about call charges