Before undertaking a postgraduate course of study it is best to consider how you could fund it. Obtaining funding for postgraduate courses can be difficult. The level of support which you may have experienced at undergraduate level is not available at postgraduate level. Postgraduate students therefore normally fund their studies through a number of different options.

TEF Silver Award

Research Councils

You are recommended to apply for funding from Research Councils 1.5 to 2 years before commencement of your course of study.

Research Councils are government funded councils who as part of their remit are responsible for postgraduate funding. There are seven councils and the competition for grants is intense.

Usually the Councils themselves do not accept direct applications from individual postgraduates though this is not always the case. Research Councils tend to allocate funding to individual departments and institutions and you should enquire directly to the department in the institution in which you want to study.

Alumni Loyalty Discount

The Alumni Loyalty Discount, a tuition fee waiver of £1,000, may be awarded to full-time and part-time U.K. and E.U. Masters students, irrespective of their financial means, who progress to a University of Bolton Taught Masters Course, having first completed an undergraduate Higher Education (H.E.) course of study at University of Bolton. You must also have registered to become a member of the Bolton Alumni and Friends Association (BAFA). Students must be studying on a full 180 credit taught masters course in order to be considered for the award.

To register to become an Alumni member and for more information about Alumni and the scholarship please visit the link below:

Taught Masters Excellence Scholarship

The Masters (Taught) Excellence Scholarship is available to full-time U.K., EU and International Masters students, irrespective of their financial means, who progress to a University of Bolton Taught Masters Course, having attained a First Class Honours degree from a U.K. or E.U. institution. Students must be studying on a full 180 credit taught masters course in order to be considered for the award.

There will be a maximum of three awards made in academic years in which the award is running, paid as a tuition fee waiver of £1,500. Please visit: for further information.

Disabled Students Allowance (DSA)

Students with disabilities may be eligible to receive DSA which can provide funding towards the cost of equipment, support tutors, travel and other course related costs.

Postgraduate Loan Scheme

Students commencing a taught or research Masters course from September 2017 may be able to apply for a loan from the Student Loans Company of up to £10,280. The loan will be paid directly to the student. To apply students must be aged under 60 and be a resident of England or the E.U. The loans are available for first full 180 credit taught masters courses only. Application forms for the loans are now available from:

For further information on postgraduate loans please visit:

Educational Trusts and Charities

Alternative Educational grants may be available from numerous other sources depending on your individual circumstances. A list of these should be available from public libraries and include:

  • The Educational Grants Directory
  • The Charities Digest
  • The Grants Register
  • Directory of Grant Making Trusts

The Educational Grants Advisory Service is an independent advice agency for students seeking funding (with a focus on postgraduates). Please visit or telephone 020 7241 7459

Professional and Career Development Loans

Professional and Career Development Loans are bank loans that can be used to help pay for work related learning. You can borrow between £300 and £10,000 to help support the cost of up to two years of learning (or three years if it includes one year’s relevant unpaid practical work). The Young People’s Learning Agency will pay the interest on the loan while you are learning and for one month afterwards. The loan can be used to pay course fees or other costs such as travel and living expenses. You can also use the loan to supplement other forms of support such as grants or bursaries. Because the Professional and Career Development Loan is a commercial loan product, they should only be considered as an option once all other student funding options have been investigated.

For further information on financial assistance to support your learning, please visit or Careers Advice on 0800 100 900. Our learning provider registration number is 1188.


Whilst each company’s commitment to staff training is different successful students have managed to convince their employer that it is in the companies’ interest to fund their studies. Some other employers may also take the initiative on this matter and actively push their employees into postgraduate and professional study.


If no funding options are available to you and you are intending to fund the course yourself you will need to consider the full cost of tuition fees and living expenses, especially if you are considering giving up employment to study. The majority of students will supplement their studies with working part-time and a large proportion will study part-time so that they can maintain their full-time careers and levels of income.

Page last reviewed and updated January 2018.