Top tips from our in-house Student Finance team and some of our current students on how to stay in control of your finances when studying a Master’s at Portsmouth.
7 min read
*This information is applicable to Home (UK) students. For information for International and EU students, please refer to our page on tuition fees for international students.
Figuring out how to fund your Master’s degree can play a big part in your decision to continue your studies. We want to help you find the right financial support, from the many options available.
We’ll start by breaking down the costs, and then you can use this guide to find out more about the funding options that could work for you.
Tuition Fees and study costs
Unlike undergrad degrees, fees for Master’s degrees vary from course to course.
If cost is a concern for you, it could be worth shopping around as you may well find you could make a considerable saving with a different university.
At Portsmouth, we’re proud to offer affordable Master’s study to everyone wanting to pursue their ambitions. Our tuition fees typically range between £7,800 - £10,900.
What your tuition fees cover
Your tuition fees cover everything from registration, to supervision, campus facilities like the Library, Support Services, the Student’s Union, IS services, to examinations and graduation.
Depending on your course, you may also need to consider additional study costs for things such as field trips, specialist software, equipment or materials. If you’re attending an Open Evening, this is something you can discuss with your Course Leader or current students. You can also find out more on our individual course pages.
Spreading the cost of your degree
Most universities will have payment plans available. At Portsmouth you can pay your tuition fees over four instalments (September, December, February and April) for September starts. Or, (January, April, June and August) for January starters.
Living costs and budgeting
If you're planning on living here while you're studying with us, it’s a good idea to plan your spending, and create a budget for your rent, food and household bills, plus socialising, travel and insurance.
To help you budget, below are the typical weekly student living costs in Portsmouth:
|Rent||£90 – £110|
|Bills (gas/electricity/water/internet)||£35 – £40|
|Food/housekeeping||£35 – £40|
|Travel||£5 – £10|
|Phone||£5 – £10|
|Contents insurance||£2 – £3|
|Social costs||£30 – £40|
|Total per week||£195 – £241|
|Total per academic year (40 weeks)||£7,800 – £9,640|
Loans, scholarships and bursaries
There are many ways to finance your Master’s. Most postgrads pay using loans, scholarships and bursaries, and often a combination of the three. In case you're not sure of the difference between the three – loans need to be repaid, but scholarships and bursaries don't.
Most UK students take out a Government Postgraduate Master’s Loan of up to £12,167, which is paid directly to them. They then take on responsibility for allocating the funds as required, to help cover tuition fees, living costs and any other study costs.
You only start repaying your loan after you’ve completed your course, once your annual income is more than £21,000. You apply online at Gov.UK.
If you achieve, or have already achieved, a first class honours degree (if you’re new to Portsmouth) or a first or upper second honours degree (as a current Portsmouth student) you could get £3,000 off your course tuition fee with our Master's Scholarship.
This scholarship can be used alongside the Government Postgraduate Loan scheme. See if you’re eligible on the fees and funding page on our website.
As a student from the University of Portsmouth, I was automatically awarded a discount for a 20 per cent reduction on my tuition fees.
Mwila Kasase, MSc Information Systems
If you studied your undergrad degree with us here at Portsmouth, you could be eligible for a 20% discount off your course tuition fee. The Alumni Tuition Fee Discount cannot be used in conjunction with the Master’s Scholarship. *Conditions apply
I used the saved funds from the Alumni Tuition Fee Discount to sign up for sports clubs and the gym, buy self-development books, and invest in my hobbies. This directly improved my overall wellbeing and how I perform academically, and introduced me to a lot of opportunities to become a better version of myself, both physically and psychologically
Hasan Altooq, PhD Mathematics
Course specific funding
There are a handful of Master’s courses that receive funding similar to how undergrad courses work, either in terms of tuition fee or maintenance loans, or bursaries.
If you’re planning to get into teaching you can apply through Gov.Uk for a tuition fee loan and a maintenance loan to fund your course. Depending on your circumstances and the course you choose, you may also be eligible for a bursary or scholarship that you won't need to pay back:
Secondary PGCE Bursaries
Planning to teach Computer Science, Mathematics, Languages or Science? If you're training to teach at a secondary school in 2022/2023, you may be able to get a bursary of up to £26,000 from the Department of Education. The amount you receive depends on the subject you study and how well you did in your undergraduate degree.
The £1,000 bursary is a really nice bonus that most other places don’t offer. It removes the financial stress and gives me some more disposable income. It also provides added motivation - it’s like a thank you for all your hard work.
Liberty Bourke, PGCE Primary
If you plan to study Architecture, and do so within 3 years of completing your undergraduate degree, you can apply through Gov.UK for a tuition fee loan and a maintenance loan to fund your course.
MSc Social Work
UK students studying an MSc in Social Work may be able to get a bursary from the NHS. The bursary consists of a grant of up to £4,052 towards course tuition fees and £3,362 towards your living costs. You might also qualify for a further maintenance grant of up to £2,721. To apply for this bursary you’ll need to visit the NHS Business Services Authority website.
Additional funding for students living with a disability
If you have a disability, mental health issue or long-term illness, a Disabled Student’s Allowance can help cover your extra study costs. The amount you receive is based on your needs, not your income. The maximum allowance for Master’s students is £20,000.
This allowance can only be used to help with study related costs. These include: travel costs, specialist equipment, or to pay for a non-medical helper to assist with your academic needs, such as note-taking.
If you think you’ll need DSA funding, apply as soon as possible as it can take up to three months to process applications and arrange an assessment. If you need assistance with applying, our Additional Support and Disability Advice Centre can help.
Financial support for students who are parents
Becoming a student doesn’t affect your entitlement to Child Benefit, and as a full-time Master’s student you can apply for Universal Credit (UC), if at least one of the following applies to you: you're a lone parent, living as a couple with another student and you have 1 or more dependent child, getting Personal Independence Payment or Disability Living Allowance, or you’re making a joint claim with a non-student partner who is eligible for UC in their own right.
To receive support for housing costs, you must be living in rented accommodation and have a formal tenancy agreement in your name.
Universal Credit applications are administered by the Department for Work & Pensions and have replaced the support that was previously available via Tax Credits and Housing Benefit.
Our In-house Student Finance Centre
If you have any questions about funding your Master's study or would like some help with calculating a budget or completing your loan application, you can can contact our Student Finance Centre at email@example.com.