Female University of Portsmouth PhD candidate on Southsea beach

funding your research degree

Explore the different options for funding your postgraduate research degree – from government loans to alumni and staff discounts

If you're thinking of starting a research degree with us, you'll have fees and costs to cover while you're here – but there are plenty of loans and bursaries available to help fund your studies.

Whether you're a UK, EU or international student, you'll find information on this page about the general funding options open to most applicants and details on how to apply for them.

Self-funding your PhD

If you're self-funding your PhD or postgraduate research degree, there are plenty of funding options available. Find out what's on offer, who's eligible, and how to apply. If you are looking for tuition fees for our postgraduate research programmes, these can be found via our Research Degree Subject Area page, in the relevant PhD subject areas.

UK government doctoral loans scheme

Postgraduate Doctoral Loans are Government loans you can use for tuition fees, living costs and other course costs, if you're applying for a PhD or Professional Doctorate with us. The loan is paid directly to you, and you can apply online here.

The amount you’ll receive isn’t based on your or your family’s income. So you can choose how much you borrow (up to £27,265 over your whole course). The loan will be divided equally across each year of study. 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 will start repaying your loan after your course if your annual income is more than £21,000. If you took out a Postgraduate Master's loan these 2 balances will be added together. If you had an undergraduate loan, you’ll pay both at the same time.

Eligibility for a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan depends on your course, your age, and your residency status. Your course must be a full, standalone doctoral course (not a top-up course) and last between 3 and 8 academic years. You must be under the age of 60 at the start of your course.

You must also:

  • be a UK national, or have EU settled status or indefinite leave to remain
  • normally live in England, not moved here just to study
  • have lived in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for 3 years before starting your course

Further criteria apply, please check the official government website.

You won’t be able to get a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan if you’ll be receiving any Research Council funding or are on a paid studentship. Some courses may not be eligible – if yours isn't, it will say so on the course page.

Postgraduate Master's loans

If you're applying for an MPhil or MRes course, you might be eligible for a Government Postgraduate Master's Loan.

International Scholarships

We have various scholarships available for International and EU students which can be found via our dedicated Scholarships page

University of Portsmouth Transition Scholarships for European residents

In recognition of the ongoing uncertainty regarding Brexit, if you’re a student resident in the EU, EEA or Switzerland, and you join the University of Portsmouth in 2021/22 or 2022/23, you'll be eligible for a Transition Scholarship. The scholarship will apply to new undergraduate, postgraduate taught and postgraduate research students.

The scholarship will be applied to your fees throughout the length of your course. As a result, the actual fee you'll pay will be equivalent to the fee for UK students in 2021/22 and beyond. The scholarship will be set at different levels for different courses.

If you already meet the conditions to be classed as a UK student for fees and funding purposes, you won’t receive the scholarship. You’ll pay the same fees as UK students. Find out more via our Tuition fees for EU students page.


See our guide to postgraduate Loans, scholarships and bursaries

Available discounts

Alumni discount

You may be able to get an alumni discount if you have previously studied at the University of Portsmouth. This is a 20% discount on any self-funded element of your tuition fees on a full-time or part-time postgraduate course. 

Staff discount

If you're a member of University staff, you can get a 30% discount on fees you pay personally.

This is for part-time courses only. You can apply to pay your fees in 6 instalments (completing in March) by deduction from your salary. Please note, you cannot claim more than one of these discounts against each fee.

Further funding advice

We can also help you identify other potential funding sources and provide letters to support your applications.

You can also search and apply to charities and other funding bodies on the Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding website. (Choose the ‘I am a prospective student’ option and enter our PIN – 7517 – and your email address to get your username and password.)

Resources such as the Grants Register, Charities Digest and Directory of Grant Making Trusts, which may be available at your library or careers service, will also have information on organisations that may be able to fully or partially fund your research.

Other routes to a PhD

Explore the other ways you can start a PhD at Portsmouth.

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