Funding for Master's study can be limited, so most students piece together different funding sources to cover their costs. Find out about the available options below.
This guidance is for students studying for an MA, MSc or MRes at UCL and includes:
- How much does a Master's cost?
- Government loans
- Funding for disabled students
- Other sources of funding
- Current Master's students
When calculating the cost of a Master's there are two elements to consider - tuition fees and living costs.
Tuition fees will vary from programme to programme, and depend on whether your fee classification.
Below are the full-time tuition fees for the 2021/22 academic year - they do not include fees set by other providers. Part-time or modular fees are normally charged pro-rata. Check the Graduate Prospectus for information on what your fees may be for any particular programme.
UCL tuition fees (2021/22 entry)
£9,250 – £34,100
£18,800 – £51,370
£5,525 – £20,600
£22,230 – £31,310
The amount spent on living costs may vary greatly from student to student and depend on lifestyle and individual circumstances.
For a single graduate student living in privately rented accommodation, an estimated average would be £254 per week or £13,208 for the 52-week academic year.
More information on the cost of study and the figures above can be found on UCL's cost of study page.
Some governments offer loans for students pursuing postgraduate study. Check with your home government to see what funding they may offer.
Postgraduate Master's Loan from Student Finance
Some students may be eligible for a Postgraduate Master's Loan from Student Finance. Unlike undergraduate Student Finance, this is a single loan that acts as a contribution towards the cost of study. It is unlikely that it will cover the cost of both tuition fees and maintenance. For courses starting in the 2021/22 academic year, you could get up to £11,570.
The loan is paid to you directly to use in any way you choose. This means you will be responsible for arranging payment of your own tuition fees, as the loan will not go directly to UCL like an undergraduate tuition fee loan.
Information on the loan including full eligibility details can be found on the Student Finance Master's Loan website.
Please note that you must be doing a full standalone Master's of 180 credits to be eligible for the loan. You will not be eligible for the loan if you are studying on a modular/flexible mode of attendance, or are using credits from previous study towards your Master's under UCL's Recognition of Prior Learning scheme.
How your Postgraduate Master's Loan might affect your benefits
If you receive means-tested benefits, 30% of the maximum Postgraduate Master's Loan is treated by the Department for Work and Pensions as being for living costs and hence will be considered income when assessing any benefit award. For benefit purposes, you will be treated as having this amount, regardless of whether you actually take up the loan.
Interest and Repayment
You’ll be charged interest from the day you get the first payment until your loan is repaid in full or cancelled.
Find out more about interest and repayment of Student Finance loans on the Student Finance repayment website.
The government has been looking in to the possibility of an alternative Sharia-compliant funding system which would be available alongside traditional student loans. However at present this system is not yet in place.
UCL participates in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program (Direct Loans). This is the main U.S. Federal funding available to American students in the UK.
The processing of loans at schools outside the US is different from the process when applying to a school inside the US. Students applying to Direct Loans for study at UCL should follow the instructions carefully as we will not be able to administer your loan unless you submit that application to the Student Funding Office as outlined in the guidance.
Students from Canada may be able to apply for Canada Student Loans and provincial or territorial student assistance.
UCL and some external organisations provide scholarships to Master's students.
There are a number of scholarships available to postgraduate students. You can use the scholarships finder to search for awards that you might be eligible for. Your academic department will also be able to provide you with more information about funding.
Online aggregators like Postgraduate Studentships, Scholarship Search, Postgraduate Funding and International Financial Aid and College Scholarship Search contain information on a variety of external schemes.
Postgrad.com has a selection of bursaries that are open to postgraduate students from anywhere in the world.
If you have specific circumstances or ethnic or religious background it is worth searching for scholarships/bursaries/grants that relate to those things. Some schemes are very specific.
Master's students who have a disability may be able to get extra funding for additional costs they incur to study.
Disabled Students' Allowances
If you're a Home student, you can apply for Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) to cover some of the extra costs you have because of a mental health problem, long term illness or any other disability.
You can get the allowances on top of your other student finance. You won’t need to repay DSAs.
UCL Student Support and Wellbeing provide information around DSAs and other support available for disabled students at UCL.
Disabled students who are not awarded a Disabled Students’ Allowance may be eligible for a Student Health Association Bursary.
Disabled students may also wish to read more information about the Snowdon Masters Scholarships which are offered by The Global Disability Innovation Hub and the Snowdon Trust.
Disabled International Students
UCL recognises that disabled students may have to incur additional costs in order to pursue their studies. If you are an international student who would like to discuss this further please contact Student Support and Wellbeing.
As a student, it is unlikely you will be able to claim benefits unless you have a disability or have children.
The charity Turn2Us have guides on what benefits students may be eligible for.
If you are experiencing problems with your benefits, contact the Student's Union UCL Advice Service.
Some charitible organisations provide small amounts of money to students with particular backgrounds or studying particular subject areas.
From time to time external organisations contact the UCL Funding team with funding opportunities. We place these on an online notice board. UCL does not administer or take responsibility for any of these schemes.
Some students choose to apply for personal loans provided by private finance companies. UCL is not affiliated with or able to endorse any private loan providers. Information on these types of private loans can be found here.
The Turn2Us Grants Search database contains information on over 3,000 charitable funds offering welfare and educational grants, as well as other support and services.
The Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding Online is a portal for alternative sources of funding - especially charities - which can make awards (fees, maintenance, research costs) to any student regardless of subject or nationality. UCL has purchased a licence to the Guide so it’s free for all students and staff to use. If you are a prospective student who has applied to the university email student funding to get an access PIN.
Lists of charitable grants and awards are kept in the following directories which are held in UCL libraries - see references below:
Charities Digest: Selected charities & voluntary organisations
- 1x Main Library - Reference R 20 CHA
- 1x IOE Library - Reference Collection, Level 4, RF3 HEW CHA
Directory of Grant Making Trusts
- 2x Main Library - Reference R 20 DIR
- 1x IOE Library - Reference Collection, Level 4, RF3 HEW DIR
- 1x Main Library - Ref Collection M, Reference R 20 GRA
- 1x School of Pharmacy Library - Reference Shelves, Pharmacy 378.3 GRA
Guide to Educational Grants
- 1x Main Library - Reference R 20 GUI
- 1x IOE Library - Reference Collection, Level 4, RF3 EDU
Guide to Grants for Individuals in Need
- 1x Main Library - Reference R 20 GUI
There are a number of sources of financial support for Master's students who are currently enrolled at UCL.
The Financial Assistance Fund
The Financial Assistance Fund is a fund for UCL students who fall into unexpected financial hardship.
Limited cash loans of up to £250 are available to students who have experienced a delay in their normal funding being paid.
External grants and funding
Some charities and organisations give financial support to current students studying particular subjects or in particular circumstances.
The charity Churches Together in Britain and Ireland who have a hardship fund for international students from developing countries who are facing financial hardship in the final stages of their course.
Reduce costs and increase income
If you are struggling to cover the costs of study, you can look at ways to reduce your costs and increase your income.
As a postgraduate student, you have the opportunity to become a Student Residence Adviser and eliminate your accommodation costs completely by living in UCL halls. In exchange, you work in a team supporting the undergraduates who live in halls, dealing with pastoral and disciplinary issues.
Student Residence Adviser positions are advertised on the UCL Jobs site in February for the coming academic year.