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Postgraduate Study Series: II, How will I fund a postgraduate degree?

As we previously looked at the benefits of a postgraduate degree and the advantages to studying at Queen Mary, we will now explore available funding resources.  

7 July 2015

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According to research conducted by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), we have over 650,000 postgraduate students at UK Universities (including a doubling between 2002 and 2010!). However, this increase in domestic students is just at 16% with almost half the students in the UK coming from overseas. The division is perhaps reflective of the financial means of our domestic students, many having incurred significant debt in their undergraduate degrees. In their analysis on this divide, the Sutton Trust urges for improvements in social mobility where we attract postgraduates based ‘on merit rather than money.’ Apart from the personal benefits of postgraduate study, Britain’s economy as a whole benefits from brighter minds bringing forth innovative ideas.

Whilst postgraduate funding remains a concern for UK students, there are many financial resources available, perhaps just not all from the same place. In this post we will explore some of the different sources of funding currently available for postgraduate study at Queen Mary.

*Please note that this list is a brief overview and is not exhaustive. QMUL’s Advice and Counselling Service provides a more comprehensive guide on further funding options.

Fees for full-time taught postgraduate degrees (MA, MSc, MRes):

  • £6,450 for classroom-based subjects
  • £8,200 for lab-based subjects
  • Research degrees: RCUK rate £3,996 for full-time students, but expected increases for 2015-16

Institutional Awards

  1. QMUL Masters Support Scheme 2015 will award 105 scholarships worth £10,000 each for masters study in 2015. This is part of the Government’s three-stage plan to address the gap in postgraduate finance. In order to qualify you must have a minimum:
    • Be a UK or EU citizen
    • Be graduating this year from an undergraduate degree that started in 2012 from a UK university and have been charged £9,000 per year
    • Have received a maintenance grant from the Student Loans Company for your final year of study
    • Apply to and receive an offer for one of our full-time Masters degrees
    Find out more about funding a Masters.
  2. Academic departments may also offer specific funding, which applicants are automatically considered for.
  3. QMUL Loyalty Award offers QMUL graduates £1,000 for a masters programme within our Faculties of Humanities and Social Sciences, Science and Engineering or Medicine and Dentistry. Students will be automatically considered and part-time students are eligible for 50% of the award.

Professional and Career Development Loans (PCDLs)

These loans are offered by the Skills Funding Agency through the Co-op and Barclays banks, whereby they pay interest on your loan while you are studying and for one month afterwards. Amounts can range between £3,000-£10,000 and are awarded considering your individual circumstances.

Please visit the PCDL website for more information and read pages 9-12 of QMUL’s Advice and Counselling Service Guide for more specific requirements.

Other loans and student overdrafts are also additional options you can explore.

Your own resources from savings, part-time and vacation work

As some students choose to study a postgraduate degree after being in the workforce for several years, personal savings may contribute towards programme costs.

But for students entering a postgraduate programme shortly after their undergraduate studies, personal savings may not be a substantial resource. Given the greater flexibility of some programmes (more self-study then scheduled class time), students may be able to take up part-time work, whether in the University or throughout London. This flexibility may also mean students study part-time so they can work a more substantial number of hours. QMUL Careers and Enterprise Centre provides students with resources for finding part-time work and have produced a very informative leaflet with further information.

Employer Sponsorship

Some employers may sponsor their employees to do postgraduate study if you can convince them it is a good investment for their business (remember, a better educated workforce benefits the overall economy)! More information can be found here.

These are just a few starting points, but please share any other postgraduate funding options you are aware of in our comments section below!

  • Carolyn Minaudo is a final year student at Queen Mary, studying an accelerated two-year Law degree. Originally from Toronto, she also has a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature and Political Science from Queen’s University in Canada. Carolyn came to London for the first time to begin studying at QMUL and hopes through sharing her student experience you’ll be inspired to join her!

 

 

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