How you will finance your Master’s study is not as overwhelming as it might seem, and there are lots of options to help you pay your tuition fees and support yourself through your studies.  

At UEA, we want students to have access to inspirational, world-class education, whatever their circumstances. We know that funding can be a barrier, which is why we want you to know there are a number of opportunities to get funding for your study, and ways to support yourself through the course. These options can help make things a bit easier for you to complete your Master’s. It’s best to start considering your options as soon as you can, so you can have something in place before you begin your course.

You may be able to obtain funding through scholarships, loans, bursaries and grants, or maybe from your employer. We’re here to help you make an informed funding decision and offer advice on supporting yourself through your Postgraduate degree.  

WHAT MIGHT IT COST?

There are a few things you have to consider when it comes to costs for a postgraduate degree. It’s the hidden costs, as well as the usual ones, that you need to consider:

  • Tuition fees are the most obvious. They range widely depending on institution and course – check out our fees here.

  • Accommodation is another important one. Make sure you’ve looked into the cost of renting a room either at the uni or privately – we have a lot of options for postgraduate students. We’re here to help you find the right accommodation for your needs, and International students are guaranteed accommodation. Or if you are considering staying at home, make sure you know your contribution to this, and any commute costs.

  • Living expenses also need to be a consideration. You’ll need to work out an idea of cost for things such as food, all bills (household and other), socialising and travel. Norwich is one of the most affordable UK cities to live in for students (Student Living Index 2020), so it’s a great place to live and study!

  • Materials to assist in your study can also be a cost – think about books, technology, printing, etc.

  • If you are an International student, the UKVI recommends £1,015 per month in addition to your tuition fees to cover the cost of living. UK students may have different costs, so make sure you’ve assessed it all based on your circumstances.

FindaMasters has some great information on the average student living expenses, on top of your tuition fees. We’ve also compiled a handy page of breakdowns and advice on this.

If you’re an International student, you may also want to look at some more specific information on fees and scholarships relating to your circumstances, as well as the below.

FUNDING OPTIONS

University Bursaries and Scholarship

 

Many universities have a number of scholarships or bursaries available for postgraduate applicants. These awards can vary in amount and most universities will have a range of awards available. Some may be set one-off payment amounts, like £1,000. Sometimes, others could cover the cost of your tuition fees, while a few will be large enough to cover both your tuition fees and some of your living costs. These awards are often limited in number, so make sure you give time and consideration to your application, and that many scholarships may have an early application deadline.

Scholarships are usually awarded based on academic excellence, although some may also specify other criteria such as working for a specific company after you graduate or taking extra responsibilities at the university while you study. These are often competitive to apply for.

Bursaries are lump sums or annual funds available to any student who qualifies. There are a variety of qualifying measures, so look to see if you are eligible for any.

If applying for a scholarship or bursary, please read any criteria carefully to make sure you are a suitable candidate. You may need a specific degree, come from a certain region or country, or belong to a minority group. Others will be open to all applicants. And make sure you fully understand what funding you are applying for, and which one you would most like to take. 

Where do I look?

  • Check the university’s webpages of the course you’re interested in, as they may have information on there about relevant scholarships, bursaries or funding from the university.

  • If you are studying your undergraduate degree still, talk to your current teaching staff. They might have information about relevant funding, or be able to talk about how previous students have funded their studies.

  • Check for alumni discounts with your current/previous university. Many offer a discount for alumni – UEA offer a 10% reduction in tuition fees scholarship to any UEA alumni applying for and attending postgraduate study back at UEA, and those who have just graduated with a 1st class degree could get a 50% tuition fee reduction, if they continue onto their course within 6 months of graduating!

  • Contact the department you want to study with and ask what funding is available for your chosen course. Not only does it show your seriousness in your application, but they may also know about lesser-known funding options.

  • Consider funding from charities and trusts.

Remember:

  • Apply as early as you can.

  • Most schemes will have specific deadlines, so check them carefully.

  • Check carefully the terms of the scholarship, such as how you need to apply and at what point during the stage of your Master’s application you need to apply for the scholarship.

  • The spring term is peak time for applications (January-April of the academic year before the course starts), but some will be available outside of this timeframe.

  • Do not underestimate how long the application will take. Get organised early – sort academic references, write your statement, get copies of degree certificates, do your research, and gather all the forms and details.

  • It’s a competitive environment, so double-check your applications and get them as perfect as you can. It’s worth applying for a few different ones to increase your chances.

Government and Student Finance England Loans

 

Postgraduate Master’s Loan

If you’re starting a Master’s degree, you could get a Postgraduate Master’s Loan to help with course fees and living costs, if you meet eligibility requirements. You can get up to £11,222 if your course starts on or after 1 August 2020. You will repay this loan alongside any undergraduate loan you have.

  • The postgraduate loan will be repaid based on your income at a rate of 6% of earnings over £21,000

  • Repayments will usually start in the April after you graduate

  • Any unpaid debt will be cancelled after 30 years.

Charities and trusts

 

Charities and trusts sometimes provide repayable and non-repayable grants, often for students with financial difficulties or those who’ve achieved academic excellence. You can find out more information online Prospects: Funding from charities and trusts, or visit The Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding.

Alternatively, there are a number of offline publications that might be able to help – check out a local library to find them:

  • the Educational Grants Directory

  • the Charities Digest

  • the Grants Register

  • the Directory of Grant Making Trusts

Professional organisations, charities and other bodies also offer funding to people who are studying certain courses in certain subject areas. One useful website with a search facility that fits this criteria is Charity Choice UK.

Funding yourself

 

Self-funding is also a viable option, and one students on taught Master’s courses may consider. There are a number of ways you could fund yourself rather than applying for grants or support:

  • save up prior to starting the course

  • gain a loan or gift from family

  • work a small number of hours during your study

  • study part-time and work part-time or full-time hours while you study

  • if you are an international student, you can work part-time during your study – however you cannot use proposed part-time work as proof of funds for visa purposes.

If you want to self-fund your course, you need to consider all your options. Make sure you know roughly how much you would need for living costs and tuition fees each year. Also take into account the location you choose to study and live, and your family circumstances.

You will also need to look into any restrictions the university has on working hours. And make sure you’re prepared to be able to work and study, and how they will affect each other. If working to support your studies is your chosen route, it is worth considering whether you study full or part-time.

Funding through work

 

If you are currently working and want to do postgraduate study in an area connected to your work, which will benefit your professional development, then your employer may help to fund your studies. Talk to the relevant people at your workplace and see if they can help you, and if they can, find out how to apply directly with them.

Specific courses options: teacher training, social work, medical and healthcare

 

Certain study areas such as teacher training, social work, and medical and healthcare courses, may have specific funding and bursary options. Look into what support you could get if you want to apply to any of these courses. For example, you can apply for funding:

Other options

 

There are other ways you could also get support or funding for your studies. For example, you might be able to:

IS IT RIGHT FOR ME?

Postgraduate study can be a sizeable investment, but it doesn’t mean it’s not worth it. You stand to gain so much, both professionally and personally, from taking on a postgraduate degree course. 

If you get the right course and the right funding for you, postgraduate study gives you not only the opportunity to enhance the skills you developed at undergraduate level, it will allow you to develop a personal or professional interest. It can also make a real difference to future career prospects, and make you stand out to employers. 

We know it’s a big decision, and one that you need to think really carefully about before you go for it. Take your time to look at your options, and make sure you’re choosing the right course for you. 

While you’re considering your options, try to save some money to support yourself, so that you have a fund ready for when you’re studying. And make sure you apply for funding as soon as you can, so you have a chance to apply elsewhere if you need to. Whatever route you decide to go down, we know it will be worth it once you’re on your course!