Information for postgraduate research students

Your funding options

Research councils, loans and sponsorship - these are just some of the sources of funding that could help you finance your studies

Postgraduate research students, you'll find a list of potential sources of funding below. The Prospects website also contains useful funding information for postgraduates. Similarly, the Alternative Guide to Funding is a helpful resource, which could help you find funding via a charity.

Possible sources of funding

Below you'll find possible sources of funding and details about the two types of PhD scholarships you could apply for – a fully-funded PhD scholarship and a fees-only PhD scholarship.

  • Research councils
  • PhD scholarships
  • Trusts
  • Charities
  • Alternative Guide to Funding
  • Grants – check the Grants Register (Palgrave Macmillan) and the Directory of Grant Making Trusts (Directory of Social Change)
  • Government departments

EU students

The Government has confirmed that EU nationals starting a course in the 2020/21 year will continue to be eligible for ‘home fee status’, which means they will be charged the same tuition fees as UK students. They will also be able to access financial support for the duration of their course on the same basis as is available today. For more information, please contact us.

Student fee waiver

Liverpool John Moores University operates a limited student fee waiver scheme for postgraduate researchers. Contact the relevant School or research area to discuss your eligibility for this support.

LJMU Alumni Award

20% tuition fee discount

If you’re a former Liverpool John Moores University student, you could be eligible for a 20% discount on your postgraduate tuition fees. The fee reduction will apply automatically to eligible students. You do not need to apply. The 20% reduction will be applied to all years of the postgraduate programme being studied, not just the first year and applies to Home and EU LJMU graduates.

  • You have successfully completed a degree programme from Liverpool John Moores University, irrespective of when you graduated
  • The Award can apply to any taught postgraduate masters level or research degree programme (see Exclusions below)
  • You can either be paying your own fees or in receipt of sponsorship from a third party (see Exclusions below)
  • The 20% award only applies to new programmes of study that commenced in the 2017/18 academic year onwards
  • It is open to students from the UK and the EU
  • The Award will only apply to one programme of study therefore if you are attending more than one eligible programme you will have the award applied to the programme with the greater fee value
  • You'll only receive the award once during your studies. Subsequent further study will not be eligible if you have already been in receipt of the Award. Awards cannot be applied retrospectively

Eligibility will be assessed from information held by LJMU regarding your prior study declared in your admission application, you'll receive a letter prior to the start of your studies advising you of the fee reduction.

  • PGC/DE programmes
  • If you are in receipt of a fee bursary for the following programmes you will be excluded: MA Social Work, MSc Environmental Planning
  • CPD programmes
  • MSc/PgDip/PgCert Clinical Pharmacy for Primary and Interface Care and MSc/PgDip/PgCert Clinical Pharmacy for Secondary and Tertiary Care are not eligible for the LJMU Alumni Award
  • Liverpool John Moores University staff who are fully sponsored under the University’s Staff Development Policy will be excluded
  • If you are in receipt of an LJMU tuition fee scholarship you will not be able to receive both awards and will be allocated the award with the highest value
  • If you are an international student you will not be able to claim the Award. Find out about International Student Scholarships
  • If you are currently in receipt of the 20% Alumni Award, you will continue to receive the 20% discount until completion of your programme of study

To find out more about the LJMU Alumni Award, please contact the Academic Registry team.

Government postgraduate loan scheme - students from England, Wales and the EU 

If you are eligible you could borrow up to £17,489 if you are from Wales or £11,222** if you are from England or the EU as part of the government’s postgraduate loan for masters courses.

The loans will be available to students studying a full-time or part-time course. Normally part-time courses need to be studied at 50% intensity of the full-time equivalent.

**subject to parliamentary approval


Once your course is completed, you will not need to start repaying your loan until the following April and you will only begin to pay back your loan when you are earning more than £21,000. Repayments will be made at a rate of 6% of your income above the £21,000 threshold.

Am I eligible?

If you’re studying an eligible course, the following students should be able to receive the postgraduate loan: 

  • Students who are ordinarily resident in England, Wales or the EU. See below scheme for students from Northern Ireland.
  • Students under the age of 60 at the start of their course
  • Those who already have a masters level qualification will not be eligible

Eligible courses

Eligible courses include:

  • MSc
  • MA
  • MRes
  • LLM
  • MBA
  • MPhil

Please note, this list is not exhaustive. To be eligible, courses need to be full masters standalone courses.

Courses that are not eligible

Postgraduate Certificate and Postgraduate Diploma courses are not eligible.

Postgraduate loans for students from Scotland

Students who are normally resident in Scotland can apply for a postgraduate tuition fee loan up to a maximum of £5,500* for full-time courses that are not available (or similar to those available) in Scotland. Eligible students can also apply for a living cost loan of up to £4,500*. This funding is not means tested. For more information and repayment details see the Student Awards Agency Scotland.

Students who want to study at postgraduate level on a part-time basis can apply for a tuition fee loan of up to £2,750* per year. Living cost loans are not available for part-time students from Scotland studying in England.

*Figures quoted are for 2019 and may increase for 2020.

Postgraduate loans for students from Northern Ireland

Unlike the loan for students from England and Wales, the loan from the Government of Northern Ireland is for tuition fees only, with no government funding available for living costs. The loan for tuition fees will be paid direct to LJMU. The maximum loan is £5,500* per course. This means in some instances the loan will not cover your tuition fees in full and you will need to make alternative arrangements to pay the balance as well as source funding for your living costs.

Visit Student Finance Northern Ireland

*Figures quoted are for 2019 and may increase for 2020.

Government doctoral loan scheme

Value: up to £26,445**

A non-means-tested loan of up to £26,445** per student is available to assist with the cost of a postgraduate doctoral qualification.

The loan is for students who are normally domiciled in England, Wales and the European Union only.

To be eligible you must:

  • be aged under 60 on the first day of the first academic year of your course
  • not already hold a doctoral level qualification
  • not be in breach of any obligation to repay a student loan
  • not be eligible for any research council funding for the course

Further information is available on the GOV.UK website.

**2020 rate subject to parliamentary approval

Course eligibility:

  • must be a full, standalone doctoral course (not a top-up course)
  • you have started your course on or after 1 August 2018 (so if you are already on a doctoral course that you started prior to this date you will not be eligible)
  • lasts between three to eight academic years

Examples of eligible courses:

  • PhD / DPhil (Doctor of Philosophy)
  • EdD (Doctor of Education)
  • EngD (Doctor of Engineering)

Courses can be:

  • full-time or part-time
  • taught or research-based, or a combination of both

You only need make one application for a loan. Payments are then made in three instalments per year over your entire course. The first payment is made at the start of the course, with the second and third payments made in the last week of the fourth and seventh month after the notified start of the course.


You will make one monthly repayment for the postgraduate loan for masters students and postgraduate loan for doctoral students if applicable. However, in the case of the doctoral loans the repayments can commence in the April after you complete the course or the April four years after you commence your course (whichever comes first) should your income be over the postgraduate threshold of £21,000. The repayment rate is currently 6% of your income over the £21,000 threshold. 

If you have an outstanding balance on an undergraduate loan, this will be collected at the same time at the appropriate rate.

Further information for students based in England can be found on the Government's website. For information about doctoral loans in Wales, visit Student Finance Wales.