Postgraduate: External funding

Options available to finance your postgraduate study

There are many ways to obtain additional funding or loan support from outside the University. Depending on your circumstances and your course there may be more funding options available than you realise.

Government-backed Postgraduate Master's Loan

If you’re starting a master’s degree, you could get a Postgraduate Master’s Loan to help with course fees and living costs. You can get up to:

  • £11,222 if your course starts on or after 1 August 2020
  • £10,906 if your course started between 1 August 2019 and 31 July 2020
  • £10,609 if your course started between 1 August 2018 and 31 July 2019

Career Development Loans

You may also be eligible may be able to take out a Career Development Loan (CDL)

Research Studentships

Studentships are an amount of money awarded to a student to work on a research project at a university. These types of awards are often found on job vacancy areas of University websites, visit Bedfordshire's Job Vacancy section

To find out more about studentships, loans and bursaries visit:

ProspectsResearch Council Grants

Research Councils UK are made up of seven awarding bodies. Between them they offer funding in mostly all areas of postgraduate study. Each year they award around 6,000 studentships so there is quite a bit of competition. For more information and to find out what your options are; visit the postgraduate website Prospects

Support from an employer

This is could be an option for you if you are currently working and would like to progress further in the company you are already in. Employers may wish to sponsor your whole degree or partially fund some of it. Some companies already have sponsorship programmes in place so it is worth doing your research.

Employer sponsorship could also extend to a contribution to the cost of books and materials, day release to attend classes or the provision of study time.

Local Education Authority (LEA)

While there are no mandatory awards for postgraduate courses your Local Authority may make limited discretionary awards for postgraduate study, so it is always worth making an enquiry. Take a look at the Family Action website where you can search for grants.

Educational trusts and charities

There are a number of trusts that may be able to provide funding for postgraduate study, including the British Academy (for Social Sciences courses), The Royal Academy of Engineering, and the Royal Society (for Science courses). For the most up-to-date information visit:

Disability support

If you have a disability that may result in extra course costs for such things as specialist software or any additional travel costs due to your disability, you may be eligible for a Disability Student's Allowance. To find out if you are qualify for the loan and how to apply visit

Part-time/casual work

Many postgraduate students have to work alongside their studies- so you won't be alone. Our award winning Careers and Employment Service at the University specialises in helping students find part-time work and will fully understand your needs and commitments when finding you a part-time job.

National Careers ServiceNational Careers Service

Contact The National Careers Service to find out more information about funding options and what is available to you in your individual circumstances.

There are many other external organisations that offer funding, and you can use the following search engines to carry out an in-depth search:

For international students there are other funding opportunities available to you. Visit the International section of the website to find out more.


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