If you are undertaking a postgraduate course there is only one situation where you are able to obtain financial support, if your studying for a postgraduate course of initial teacher training. English and Welsh Students may be able to obtain a bursary for postgraduate study in social work.

Studentship Rates

Research councils fund research and Masters Studentships, which cover fees and maintenance. The following are the basic rates for maintenance in 2005/2006. These rates do not include any grant for tuition fees, which is usually paid in addition. The rate for this in 2005/2006 is 3,085.

Table of Studentship stipends

AHRC = Arts and Humanities Research Council
ESRC = Economic and Social Research Council
NERC = Natural Environment Research Council
MRC = Medical Research Council
EPSRC = Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
PPARC = Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council
BBSRC = Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

Additional allowances may be available if you have dependents or are a mature student, and some research councils will fund part time study.

Disabled Students Allowance

Both full and part-time postgraduate students studying recognised taught and research courses are eligible for a disabled students allowance. A recognised course is one which normally requires a first degree qualification to enter, is at least one academic year long, is provided by a publicly funded institution and is not a course of initial teacher training.

The course should be eligible for awards from research councils or equivalent to a course which is eligible for awards.

Part time courses should be no longer than a year, but no more than twice as long as the equivalent full time course.

Contact you local education authority for help and more information.


1) MRC and EPSRC have changed funding so that individual institutions allocate the number of studentships and the level of stiped. A minimum level is set as noted in the table.
2) EPSRC sets no minimum for masters studentships.
3) BBSRC has similar scheme to MRC and EPSRC for its doctoral (research) studentships only. The minimum level is set as indicated in the table.

Income affecting means-tested benefits

Career Development Loans
These are treated differently depending on what they are paid for.
Disregard any amounts paid for:

  • Tuition Fees
  • Course Costs

Any amounts paid for living costs are treated as income. This amount should be divided over the period for which the loan is paid.

Professional Studies Loans
Loans paid to postgraduate students by banks for vocational study are treated in the same way as career development loans.

Postgraduate Grants
Postgraduate maintenance grants and dependants grants awarded by a research council are taken into account as income.

You should ignore the following:

  • Disabled students allowance
  • Grants for tuition fees
  • Grants for residential study away from your normal home
  • Grants intended to meet the costs of books and equipment


Thanks to Child Poverty Action Group: Student Support and Benefits Handbook and the Seven Research Councils for information.