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This guide will not apply to all EU nationals starting a course in September 2021 or later.  Please see the section that explains who this advice guide is for.

Who is this Advice Guide for?

About this guide

This guide provides information about possible sources of funding for Postgraduate study that you may be eligible to apply for before the start of your programme, as well as possible funding options if you are in financial hardship during your programme.

The Changes to your Studies section also explains about academic options if your circumstances change during the course, for example if you need to take time out, as well as explaining the financial implications of such a change to your studies.

When you are planning your funding, you will need to know how much your expenses will be. You can use our useful budget planning resources, including a spreadsheet to help you calculate what your cost of living will be.

Who is this guide for?

Following Brexit, the information in this guide may not be relevant for all EU/EEA/Swiss nationals who start a new course in September 2021 or later. 

This Advice Guide is for home students (England domiciled) and for European national students who are paying the Home/EU rate of tuition fee and who are, or will be, studying a postgraduate programme (taught or research) at Queen Mary University of London. 

International Students and nationals of the EU, EEA and Switzerland who move to the UK from 1 January 2021 onwards with Student immigration permission and who pay the international rate of tuition fee should read the international money pages for information about funding and the international immigration guidance

You can read and download all our advice guides from the Advice and Counselling Service website

Once you have read the relevant information, if you have further questions and would like advice about your individual situation, please contact a Welfare Adviser in the Advice and Counselling Service. You can do this at any time during your programme of study, as well as before you start at Queen Mary University of London.

 

As you read through this guide you will see shaded EU+ boxes on some pages containing important extra information for European Union (EU) students only. UK students can ignore the EU+ boxes. 

EU+

Shaded EU+ boxes like this one have important extra information for European Union students only. UK students can ignore the EU+ boxes.

Overview of postgraduate funding

Undertaking postgraduate study is a big financial commitment. It is also a serious undertaking in terms of your time and hard work. To make sure you can optimise the opportunity to study at postgraduate level, it is essential that you secure a reliable package of funding that will cover your tuition fees and living costs in full, for the duration of the programme, before you enrol. Finding adequate financial support once you have started studying is very difficult and you could risk having to interrupt your studies or even leave your course if you don’t have enough money.

You can use this guide to explore the possible options for funding postgraduate study. Once you have read this guide, if you have questions or would like individual advice about your circumstances, please contact a Welfare Adviser in the Advice and Counselling Service.

What are my funding options?

The UK government offers Postgraduate Loans for Master's courses and Doctoral programmes.

Another type of public funding available for postgraduate study is from Research Councils, which are government funded agencies engaged in all aspects of research across different academic disciplines. Research Council funding is given to universities to administer to their students in the form of research studentships: these are grants for living costs and tuition fee waivers (see next section of this guide).

In addition to research studentships, there are some other university bursaries or scholarships – what is available depends on whether you are a research or taught student, and on your subject area. We explain in this guide what is available from Queen Mary University of London.

It is essential to identify ways of funding living costs as well as tuition fees before enrolling onto postgraduate study. For many students a combination of loans, personal savings, family support, and part-time work can be a viable way of funding postgraduate study. In this guide we explain the various options that may be available to you.

Studying part-time, which allows you to spread the cost over a longer period and to earn money while you study, can also be a viable way of funding yourself as a postgraduate. If you have just finished your undergraduate degree, you may need to consider delaying postgraduate study until you have worked and saved enough money to pay your fees and living costs.

Where can I find more information?

If you have not decided whether postgraduate study is for you or what programme you would like to apply for, there are several websites dedicated to postgraduate funding where you can find more information:

Findamasters.com

Findaphd.com

The Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding

Prospects (graduate careers website)

The Student Room (includes a forum where you can chat to other prospective postgraduate students)

Postgrad.com Postgraduate Funding Guide

Scholarship Search

Queen Mary University of London Postgraduate Research Studentships

Queen Mary University Postgraduate Research Studentships are available to applicants of any nationality and across all research areas. 

The studentships cover tuition fees and provide money for maintenance support. They are tenable for up to three years of PhD study.

There is detailed information including how to apply on the postgraduate research students web page.

UK Research Council Doctoral Studentships

The UK Research Councils provide studentships to cover tuition fees and maintenance in the form of Doctoral Training Centres (DTCs), Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) and Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs) at Queen Mary.

The programmes available at Queen Mary are listed here

UK students are eligible for all schemes and International students are eligible for up to 30% of the awards for each scheme

Queen Mary funding opportunities for current students

The Queen Mary Postgraduate Research Fund

This fund is open to all postgraduate research students at Queen Mary. It is designed to support travel (e.g. conference attendance) and other expenses (but not consumables or equipment) related to a students’ doctoral studies. 

Awards are up to a maximum of £2,000. There is no minimum threshold. You will need to show you have sought funding from both internal and external sources (if available) before applying to the fund.

For detailed guidelines and an application form click here.

Enquiries should be sent to qmpgrf@qmul.ac.uk

The Queen Mary Doctoral College Initiative Fund

The Doctoral College Initiative Fund (DCIF) is designed to support and promote creative and imaginative activities organised by postgraduate research students which will enhance their research experience, intellectual and/or professional development. The Doctoral College anticipates supporting a wide range of activities or events ranging from, but not limited to, seminars, conferences, debates and specialist training activities.

Awards range between £100 and £1,000. You will need to show you have sought funding from both internal and external sources (if available) before applying to the fund.

For detailed guidelines and an application form click here.

Queen Mary University of London funding for taught programmes

There is a list of available scholarships and bursaries online, which you can search according to academic school and your nationality to see which ones you may be eligible for. Please check the information for each award carefully including whether you will automatically be considered as part of your university application or whether you need to make a separate application, and if so what the relevant deadlines are. 

 

 

Loans 

 

What do I need to consider before taking out a loan?

It is important to check whether the loan company offering you a loan is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) so you can protect yourself from fraud or other unauthorised activity. The FCA website which explains how you can do this and where you can check the register of authorised firms.

You should also make sure you fully understand the terms and conditions of any loan or credit that you take. Before you decide to take out a loan first check:

  • how much you need to borrow
  • how much your monthly repayments will be
  • what the interest rate is and whether this is fixed or variable
  • the length of the loan agreement
  • the frequency and timing of payments
  • how you will repay the loan from your future earnings
  • at what point in your studies to take the loan – this will depend on your own circumstances; some students may need the money earlier in their studies, while others may need it later
  • what happens if you take longer to complete your studies than originally planned
  • whether you can reduce the amount you need to borrow by exploring other sources of funding or reducing your spending
  • How much in total you will end up repaying

Contact a Welfare Adviser in the Advice and Counselling Service if you would like some help thinking through these issues before you make a decision about taking out a loan. 

Student Finance England Postgraduate Master's Loans

Postgraduate Master's Loans are intended as a contribution towards the cost of study, so eligible students can use them as they wish to (e.g. for tuition fees, or living costs, or other costs). 

The Masters Loan is paid directly to you, not the University. Unlike undergraduate funding there are no additional loans or grants available to pay course tuition fees , support children or pay childcare costs or to support other dependents.

The loan is non-income assessed and has to be paid back. 

*Please note that Advanced Learning Loans and tuition fee loans are not available for postgraduate study.

How much can I borrow?

Eligible students can borrow up to a maximum of:

  • £11,222 for students who started in September 2020 or January 2020
  • £11,570 for students starting in September 2021 or January 2022
  • £11,836 for students starting in September 2022 or January 2023 

This is the maximum for the whole duration of the course.  If the course is longer than one year, the total loan amount will be split across the number of years of the course, for example on a two year course starting in September 2021 you would get up to £5,785 per year.

If you initially choose to borrow less than you are entitled to, but later decide that you need to borrow more, you can ask SFE to amend the loan amount. You need to complete a ‘loan request form’ which you can download under the 'change an application' section (you cannot make this request online). The deadline for doing this is the end of May in the first academic year if your course is one year long, or by the end of May in the second academic year if your course is more than one year long.

What is the interest rate on the Master's loans?

Interest is charged from the date you receive your first loan payment.  The rate of interest and how repayments are made is explained further on the SFE Gov.uk Repaying your Loan page. 

How is the Master's Loan paid?

Payment will be released into your bank account once your university has confirmed to SFE that you are fully enroled and attending your course.

For courses with a normal duration of one academic year, the Master's Loan is paid in 3 equal installments over the academic year.

For courses with a normal duration of two academic years (full-time or part-time), the Masters Loan is divided across both academic years and 50% paid in 3 equal installments over year one and 50% paid in 3 equal installments over year 2.

For example for courses that begin in September the payments dates are as follows:

Payment 1 – Once you have enrolled on your course (normally in late September or early October)

Payment 2 – at the start of the Semester 2 in January

Payment 3 –  at the start of Semester 3 (normally end of April/start of May)

For one year courses that start in January payments are normally made in January, May and September.

For 9 month courses that start in January payments are normally made in January, May and August. 

Student Finance England has confirmed that the Loan can only be paid into a UK bank account. If you are eligible for the loan it cannot be paid to you until you provide your UK bank details. This will affect you if you are applying for the Masters Loan outside of the UK and do not already have a UK bank account.  You may be unable to open a UK bank account until you have a UK address and can provide evidence of this.  This will delay receipt of your loan so you should ensure you can cover your costs, including being able pay your tuition fees, until the loan can be paid to you.  Once you have opened a UK bank account, even if this is after the start of your course, the full loan will still be available to you.

SFE may require some Masters students to have a National Insurance Number before releasing a payment of loan. 

How and when do I apply for a Master's Loan?

Applications should be made online to Student Finance England. Applications for courses that start in the 2022/23 academic year are now open. Apply as soon as you can to allow time for your application to be decided and your loan made available by the start of your course.  

The deadline for submitting an application is the end of May of the final academic year of the course.  This means you must apply no later than the end of May in your first year if your course is one year long, or by the end of May in your second year if your course is more than one year long. 

The application deadline may be extended if you were not eligible for the Postgraduate Loan at the start of the academic year but only became eligible part way through.

You can submit your online Terms and Conditions (OTC) via your online account with an Electronic Signature (E-Signature) so you will not need to sign any paper forms and send them by post.

You only need to apply once for the Postgraduate Master’s Loan, even if your course is longer than one year. Student Finance England will write to you in the summer to tell you how much you’ll get in the next academic year.

What's the Eligibility Criteria?

eligibility depends of a number of factors such as the course eligibility, personal eligibility and previous study.  Take a look at the Eligibility Section of this guide for information.

Which Courses are eligible?

This is explained in the Eligibility Section of this guide.

What documents will I need to provide?

This is explained on the gov.uk website on the "How do I apply" page.

You will need proof of your Identity.  If you are a UK national you will need to provide your UK passport details on your application form.  If you don't have one you will need to provide a valid birth certificate.  If you are a non UK national you will need to provide your orignal ID documents.

When posting information to SFE always include your name and address and your SFE customer reference number if you have one. This is an 11-digit number. You can find it on letters or emails you’ve had from Student Finance England.

If you are an EU/EEA National who is required to provide an EUSS Share Code on your application form it is  the ‘general code’ SFE need. They can’t accept a Share Code generated for one of the specific purposes as the Home Office won’t accept them from SFE. When presented with the options you just need to select ‘another reason’ which should generate the general code.

Other documents may be required depending on your circumstances. For example SFE may ask you to provide evidence of your residence prior to the start of your course. If your funding eligibility depends on employment e.g. to prove you are a migrant worker,  you will need to provide evidence of this.  If your funding eligibility depends on a family member e.g. a parents or spouse, you will be asked for documents relating to them. 

Do I need a National Insurance Number (NINO)?

Payments will not normally be released until a valid National Insurance Number (NINO) has been received and verified, although there are some exceptions. If you have already had your NINO verified as part of an earlier SFE application, the NINO does not need to be verified again.

What if something changes after I have applied?

If any personal information changes after you submit your application, such as a change of address or bank account details, you can update this information via your online account.

If other changes happen, for example you decide to enrol at a different university or on a different course, you cannot change this online, so you need to download and send in a ‘change of circumstances form’.

I already hold a Masters or higher level qualification – can I get a Master's Loan?

You won't normally be eligible for a Master's Loan if you already hold a Masters degree or an equivalent or higher level qualification, regardless of how it was funded or whether or not it was achieved in the UK. 

I started a previous Masters but did not complete it – can I get a Master's Loan?

Eligibility for a Master’s Loan is not affected by previous postgraduate study if you did not achieve the qualification and did not receive the Master's Loan. However in order to receive a Master's Loan you must undertake a full master’s degree course and not a partial course topping up from previous study or experience.

If you started a Postgraduate course, did not complete it and received a Masters Loan you cannot normally obtain a Masters Loan for a new course. However, SFE can consider awarding a second loan to a new course if they accept you left the first course because of compelling personal reasons. This is only possible once and the new course must be taken in full and cannot be a partial course topping up from previous study or experience. This applies even if you did not receive full payment of your loan. Academic performance alone will not constitute a compelling personal reason, although each case is considered individually. SFE will require evidence to consider your request.

We have further information about obtaining a Postgraduate Loan for a second course in our Postgraduate Funding guide, Changes to your Studies Section.

Contact a Welfare Adviser if you think this applies to you and would like to discuss your circumstances further. 

EU nationals should also refer to our page that explains How to stay in the UK after 31 December 2020 as this explains about the EU Settlement Scheme. Most EU nationals who do not hold EU Settled or Pre-settled Status or who are not eligible for the EU settlement Scheme and who move to the UK after 31 December 2020 will require immigration permission.  If you are outside of the UK and have already been granted EU pre-settled status or settled status, you should read the information that explains how time spent outside of the UK could affect your right to stay in the UK indefinitely.  

How will loan repayments work?

Loans are normally repayable from the April following course completion. For example, if you study a one year programme starting in September in the 2021/22 academic year, you will become liable for repayments in April 2023.

The Postgraduate Loan repayment information on the Find a Masters website has worked examples and a calculator you may find useful to help you calculate your individual repayments. Gov.uk also has Loan repayment information.

If you are repaying from overseas, the repayment threshold will be based on the cost of living in your country of residence.

What happens if I don't complete my Masters?

If you do not achieve your Masters qualification, or if you are awarded a lower level qualification, Master's Loan funding that you have already received will not be considered an overpayment. However, further Master's Loan funding will not be available for a new course unless Student Finance England accept that you failed to complete the first course due to compelling personal reasons.

Where can I get more information?

https://www.practitioners.slc.co.uk/products/postgraduate-education/postgraduate-masters-loan/ 

https://www.gov.uk/masters-loan

www.findamasters.com/funding/guides/new-uk-postgraduate-loans-scheme.aspx 

 

Student Finance England Postgraduate Doctoral Loans

If you’re starting a Postgraduate Doctoral course, you may be eligible for a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan to help towards your tuition and living costs.

Postgraduate Doctoral Loans are non-income assessed and have to be paid back. 

What's the Eligibility Criteria?

eligibility depends of a number of factors such as the course eligibility, personal eligibility and previous study. Take a look at the Eligibility Section of this guide for information.

Which Courses are eligible?

This is explained in the Eligibility Section of this guide.

Distance learning courses that require no attendance: Doctoral Loans are also available for designated distance learning Masters courses. In addition to meeting other eligibility requirements students must be resident in England on the first day of the first academic year of their course and must also continue to live in the UK for the duration of the course.  If a student leaves the UK they will no longer be eligible for the loan.  

Note: If a course starts in September the first day of the first academic year will be 1 September, if it starts in January it's 1 January.  

I already hold the same or higher level qualification – can I get a Doctoral Loan?

You won't normally be eligible for a this loan if you already hold the equivalent or a higher level qualification, regardless of how it was funded or whether or not it was achieved in the UK. 

I started a previous Research Degree but did not complete it – can I get a Doctoral Loan?

Eligibility for the Doctoral Loan is not affected by previous postgraduate study if the qualification was not achieved and you did not receive the Doctoral Loan. However in order to receive a Doctoral Loan you must undertake a full Doctoral degree course and not a partial course topping up from previous study or experience.

You will be ineligible for a second Doctoral Loan if you undertook a previous postgraduate doctoral degree, did not successfully complete it and received a Doctoral Loan for the course. However, SFE can consider awarding a second loan to a new course if they accept you left the first course because of compelling personal reasons. This is only possible once and the new course must be taken in full. You must undertake a full postgraduate doctoral degree and not a partial course to top up from previous study or experience. This applies even if you did not receive full payment of your loan. Academic performance alone will not constitute a compelling personal reason, although each case is considered individually. SFE will require evidence to consider your request.We have further information about obtaining a Postgraduate Loan for a second course in our Postgraduate Funding guide: Changes to your studies Section.

If you think this applies to you and would like to discuss your circumstances further contact a Welfare Adviser.  

How much can I borrow?

The following fugures are the maximum amounts available for the duration of the course:

If your course started in the 2019/20 academic year, you can borrow up to £25,700

If your course starts in the 2020/21 academic year, you can borrow up to £26,445

If your course starts in the 2021/22 academic year, you can borrow up to £27,265

If your course starts in the 2022/23 academic year, you can borrow up to £27,892

This is not income assessed. 

How is the Doctoral Loan paid?

The total loan will be divided equally across each year of your course. For example, if your course starts in the 2021/22 academic year and you apply for the maximum amount of Postgraduate Doctoral Loan and study over four years, you’ll get £6,816.25 in each year of your course.

The amount of loan you can receive each year will be split into three installments and payments will be spread across the year. After your application has been approved you’ll be sent a letter with your payment dates or you can check them in your online account. You will usually get the first payment shortly after you have enrolled.

Student Finance England has confirmed that the Loan can only be paid into a UK bank account. If you are eligible for the loan it cannot be paid to you until you provide your UK bank details. This will affect you if you are applying for the Loan while outside of the UK and do not already have a UK bank account.  You may be unable to open a UK bank account until you have a UK address and can provide evidence of this.  This will delay receipt of your loan so you should ensure you can cover your costs, including being able , until the loan can be paid to you.  Once you have opened a UK bank account, even if this is after the start of your course, the full loan will still be available to you.

How and when do I apply for a Doctoral Loan?

You should apply online as soon as possible to ensure your funding is in place before you start your studies. Applications are open for the 2021/22 academic year.

The deadline for applying depends on when you start your course.

You need to apply within 9 months of the first day of the last academic year of the course. The 'first day of an academic year' depends on when your course start date falls.  If your course start date falls between:

  • 1 August and 31 December inclusive, the first day of the last academic year is 1 September;
  • 1 January and 31 March inclusive, the first day of the last academic year is 1 January;
  • 1 April and 30 June inclusive, the first day of the last academic year is 1 April;
  • 1 July and 31 July inclusive, the first day of the last academic year is 1 July.

What Documents will I need?

This is explained on the gov.uk website on the "How do I apply" page.

You will need proof of your Identity.  If you are a UK national you will need to provide your UK passport details on your application form.  If you don't have one you will need to send a valid birth certificate.  If you are a non UK national you will need to provide your orignal ID documents.

When posting information to SFE always include your name and address and your SFE customer reference number if you have one. This is an 11-digit number. You can find it on letters or emails you’ve had from Student Finance England.

If you are an EU/EEA National who is required to provide an EUSS Share Code on your application form it is  the ‘general code’ SFE need. They can’t accept a Share Code generated for one of the specific purposes as the Home Office won’t accept them from SFE. When presented with the options you just need to select ‘another reason’ which should generate the general code.

Other documents may be required depending on your circumstances. For example SFE may ask you to provide evidence of your residence prior to the start of your course. If your funding eligibility depends on employment e.g. to prove you are a migrant worker,  you will need to provide evidence of this.  If your funding eligibility depends on a family member e.g. a parents or spouse, you will be asked for documents relating to them. 

What is the interest rate?

Interest is charged from the date you receive your first loan payment.  The rate of interest and how repayments are made is explained further on the SFE Gov.uk Repaying your Loan page. 

How will loan repayments work?

Repayment begins in the first April after you leave your course or  if you study part-time, in the April four years after your course started (whichever is sooner). 

The rate of interest and how repayments are made is explained further on the SFE Gov.uk Repaying your Loan page. 

Where can I get more information?

https://www.practitioners.slc.co.uk/products/postgraduate-education/postgraduate-doctoral-loan/

https://www.gov.uk/doctoral-loan

https://www.findaphd.com/funding/guides/uk-phd-loans-scheme.aspx​

I am from Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland 

If you normally live in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, your package of government Student Finance will be different. You need to contact the funding authority in your home country. 

The Student Awards Agency for Scotland usually only fund students at PG level when they study within Scotland. There can be special dispensation if a student wants to study a course elsewhere that is not available in Scotland, or where a reasonable equivalent is not already available in Scotland. 

Postgraduate Master's Loan:

The findamasters.com website explains how much Postgraduate Master's Loan is available for students from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland who are studying in the UK.  Also visit Student Finance Wales Student Awards Agency Scotland and Student Finance northern Ireland.

Doctoral Loan:

Visit Student Finance Wales to find out about their Doctoral Loan and The Student Awards Agency for Scotland

If you have moved to England from Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland or internd to move to England also read the information in our Eligibility section  specifically for students from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. 

Shariah-Compliant Loans

Islamic Sharia law prohibits 'Riba', which means the paying and receiving of interest for profit. The prohibition is usually applied to excessive or unreasonable interest but is sometimes deemed to include the commercial rate of interest paid on a Professional and Career Development Loan, Student Finance loan, bank overdraft or credit card. For more information on Shariah-Compliant loans see the Advice and Counselling Service Student Loans and Shariah law webpage.

Other Loans

Other bank, private and payday lending loans are available. They may seem attractive but their terms and conditions such as high interest rates or immediate repayments tend to make them unsuitable for students.

A credit card is another type of loan which enables you to borrow money. Unless you pay off the balance in full every month, you will be charged interest. Although there are some 0% interest and balance transfer offers, there can be hidden charges such as transfer fees as well as high interest rates once the offer period ends. Always check the terms and conditions before taking a credit card and make sure you know what the interest rate is, how you will afford the repayments and what you will be charged if you fail to make the minimum monthly repayment.

If you already have credit cards and cannot afford to make repayments or you are only making the minimum monthly repayment and being charged high levels of interest, contact a Welfare Adviser in the Advice and Counselling Service for advice about your options. You might also find it helpful to look at the debt section of our website and you could contact the charity Stepchange for advice about your options.

Charities and Trusts

Funding from charities and trusts is one of several options you may wish to explore to help you fund the cost of your postgraduate study. You might explore this option when planning your funding as a prospective student, or it may be an option to consider if you are already a postgraduate student but your planned funding has been disrupted, or you are facing an unexpected cost.

It is not advisable to rely on charitable funding as a main source of income, but if you are successful, it could contribute to the overall package you need to put in place to cover your fees and living costs. Many charities aim to assist only the most vulnerable members of society but some can offer help with educational costs if you meet their criteria.

Before deciding whether to apply for this type of funding, there are some key points to consider. You need to:

  • apply well in advance of the year you need funding for so you can make alternative plans if you are not successful
  • set aside enough time to research and apply to several individual trusts and charities as most will offer successful applicants small amounts of money rather than a larger lump sum
  • make sure you meet all of the eligibility criteria before you apply as most charities have strict criteria such as an upper age limit or living in a certain location
  • apply by any stated deadlines

We explain below some ways of searching for charitable funding:

 

The Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding

Queen Mary University of London has subscribed to the Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding. The Alternative Guide is a website featuring a database of over 750 charities. It was written by two postgraduate students who between them have won over £45,000 from 55 different charity awards to fund their own postgraduate studies. Read the 'Student Stories' section of the guide for helpful advice from real students who have secured funding. The guide will take you through the whole process, from identifying charities to making applications for funding. You can use the database whether you are looking for a large amount of funding, or a small amount for a specific project or conference attendance, whether you need help with tuition fees or for living costs. 

Current Queen Mary students and staff can access the information for free via the Alternative Guide Gateway by registering with their Queen Mary e-mail address, or logging on automatically from campus.

If you are a prospective student, you can also access the guide for free, by entering a PIN. To get the current PIN please e-mail resdev@qmul.ac.uk

Learned Societies

A Learned Society is an organization that exists to promote an academic discipline or profession, or a group of related disciplines or professions. They are mostly non-profit organisations. Some also act as professional bodies. Learned Societies may offer their members a range of funding opportunities, including grants and awards.

You can use the list of Learned Societies on the Queen Mary website to see if there is one related to your academic discipline or profession, and if so, whether they have any funding opportunities which you could apply for.

Turn2us grant search

If you have particular circumstances, you could try using the Turn2us grant search which allows you to filter your search by criteria.

Some examples of relevant circumstances include:

  • coming to university from care or homelessness
  • belonging to certain professions (you or your family members)
  • having a particular health issue or support need
  • belonging to a particular religion

The Turn2us website includes detailed information about what help is available from charities and trusts, how to search the grants database, and how to apply for charitable funding.

Examples of Charities and Trusts

The Gilchrist Education Trust provides grants to students who have made proper provision to fund a degree, or higher education, course but find themselves facing unexpected financial difficulties which may prevent completion of it; also from students who are required, as part of their course, to spend a short period studying abroad.  Applicants must be full-time students at a British University. Grants are in the region of £500.  Visit their website to read about more detailed information abut their eligibility criteria and application deadlines. 

Funds for Women Graduates.  FfWG provides Foundation Grants that are designed to help women graduates in the final year of a PhD or DPhil with their living expenses. They do not provide funds to cover fees. To be eligible you must be registered for study or research at an approved institution of higher education in Great Britain and doing the bulk of your study in Great Britain. Foundation Grants can be up to £6,000 and are awarded in July for the following academic year.

FfWG also provide Emergency Grants of up to £2,500 to graduate women who face an unforeseen financial crisis whilst engaged in study or research at an approved institution of higher education in Great Britain. They are awarded in May and November. Applications will be considered from women studying in the UK of any age or nationality and any subject or field of study who have completed at least 6 months of their studies.  Evidence that you have the funds to pay tuition fees is required. 

Visit the FfWG main site for more detailed information about their grants, eligibility criteria and application deadlines.

When should I apply? 

Each organisation has their own closing dates.  Many trustees meet only once or twice a year to assess applications, so it is important that you apply before the relevant deadlines. Some trusts may agree to offer funding at the start of your course and then a small top up in each subsequent year of your course. It is usually a good idea to apply well in advance of the first year you need funding for and by any stated deadline to ensure your application stands the best chance of being considered. Other trusts may offer one-off help to students who find themselves in financial hardship once their course has started, particularly if you are near the end of your course. These trusts may also have deadlines which you would need to check before applying. 

How do I apply? 

You will need to carefully research the criteria of trusts and charities and then make separate applications to each relevant trust or charity, explaining your situation and how you meet their criteria. You may need to complete an application form, which the trust can send you or which you can download from their website. If there is no application form, you will need to write a letter to the trustees who will decide your application. It is advisable to write a letter even if you have completed an application form as a letter enables you to explain your situation more fully, which maximises your chances of success. Once you have written your letter , you can contact a Welfare Adviser if you would like your letter checked. The Welfare Adviser may also be able to write a letter to go with yours, if that is required. However, if evidence of your academic ability is required, you would need to request this from your personal adviser, tutor or student support officer in your academic school. However, you can still contact a Welfare Adviser in the Advice and Counselling Service to get feedback on your application and supporting evidence. 

In your letter, explain the following clearly:

How you meet the eligibility criteria

If the trust only helps people in a certain age group, or who live in a particular area, state clearly at the beginning of your letter your age, or the area where you live. If it is not clear to the trustees that you are eligible to apply, they might reject your application.

About your studies

Explain what course you are studying and where, which academic year you are in and when you expect to complete the course.

Trusts and charities usually have very limited funds, and they want to be sure that any money they give you will enable you to complete your course. For this reason many trusts are more likely to help final year students, so if this is the case, emphasise this strongly. If you are not in your final year, try to explain how you plan to fund any future years of your course, so that the trustees can see that you will still be able to complete your course.

It can also be helpful to explain why you are studying this course, for example, what career you hope to do after graduation. This helps to demonstrate how serious you are about the course and how important it is for you to complete it, which can make your application more compelling.

Why you are in financial need

The trustees need to understand your financial situation and why you are asking for financial support. If you have a main source of funding but it is not quite enough to cover all of your costs, explain this. If your main source of funding has been temporarily disrupted or it has ended, explain this. If you have exceptional circumstances, such as long term illness or disability, or childcare responsibilities, explain this. Make it clear whether your financial difficulties are a one-off problem, affecting you only in the current academic year, or if they will continue throughout your course.

How much money you need

You need to present a clear budget listing all of your income and essential expenditure, so that the trustees can see your shortfall (how much money you need). If you are applying part way through an academic year, you will just need to show how much money you need to complete the academic year. You can use the budget planner spreadsheet which you can download from the budgeting pages of the website and the Advice and Counselling Service Advice Guide. 

If you need further help with this, contact a Welfare Adviser.

Where else you are applying

Explain how many other trusts and charities you are applying to, so that the trustees understand that you are not expecting them to give you enough money to cover your entire shortfall. If you have already been granted money from another trust or charity, or from the University, make this clear, and if possible include evidence, such as the award letter.

Employer sponsorship

Some employers are willing to sponsor their employees to do postgraduate study, on either a full-time or part-time basis as part of their career development. If you are in employment you could consider asking your employer whether they can assist with the funding of postgraduate study. You will need to be able to convince them that a postgraduate qualification is worth their financial investment, in terms of the benefits that it will bring to you and to the business.

 

Your proposal to your employer will need to show that you have researched suitable courses, explain how studying a course will benefit you and your employer, and how you anticipate being able to manage the time commitment of studying alongside your job.

 

If your employer agrees, they may ask you to sign an agreement tying you into working for them for a specified period. Make sure important terms and conditions are agreed in writing, for example how much of the tuition fees your employer is paying, will you be given time off work for revision and exams, and will this be extra study days or will it be deducted from your annual leave entitlement?

 

There is useful information about employer sponsorship on the Prospects website.

 

The gov.uk website has information about employee rights to ask for time off work for training or study.

Part-time work

It is very common for postgraduate students to work part-time to top up their funding. Some academic schools have their own guidance about the maximum number of hours a week you should work to avoid this impacting negatively on your studies.

Many postgraduates study part-time so that they can work a more substantial number of hours each week alongside their studies.

For detailed information on working, including calculating how many hours a week you might need to work to meet any shortfall in your funding, the minimum wage, income tax, national insurance, where to look for a job and the rules for EU students see the Part-time and Vacation Work advice guide, which has been written by the Advice and Counselling Service and the Queen Mary University of London Careers and Enterprise Centre.

I need to reduce my hours of work to start my postgraduate course

If you have been working full-time for several years, you are likely to need to adjust to a much lower level of income once you start your postgraduate course. Even if you get a stipend or other award, this may be much less than the salary you have been used to. You will need to consider how to adjust your spending to reflect your lower level of income. You might find it helpful to use the budgeting resources on the Advice and Counselling Service website. This includes a budget spreadsheet which you can personalise to calculate your own budget, and useful money saving ideas.

Crowdfunding

This is a way of gathering relatively small amounts of money from individual members of the public, which when combined might raise the total amount of funds to pay for a project. A few students have had success raising funds, using this system, to pay for their studies. This is commonly done using a crowdfunding website.

Crowdfunding websites usually allow you to set a funding target, post a video outlining your studies and explaining why you are asking people to fund you, and allow members of the public to pledge funds online. You normally have to pay a fee to use these websites and you should check the terms and conditions carefully before you sign up. Some schemes state that if you don’t reach your funding target in a certain time frame, the funds already pledged will be returned to the people who made them, although other schemes can offer more flexibility.

You can usually find a number of these organisations by searching the internet, although be aware that the majority of crowdfunding websites are not aimed at helping people to raise funds for studies – more commonly they are aimed at helping entrepreneurs who are starting a business - but you may be able to find some if you search carefully.

When planning your funding campaign, think carefully about what is unique about you and what you plan to achieve during and after your studies. Potential funders are more likely to offer you funds if they believe in you and share your ambitions for how your studies will be of value to you and the wider community.

Savethestudent.org has a webpage on how to crowdfund your degree which provides lots of useful advice about crowdfunding options.

Student bank accounts

If you are moving straight from undergraduate to postgraduate study, you may still have your student bank account with an interest free overdraft facility. However, if you have had a gap between undergraduate and postgraduate study, your account may have been switched to a graduate account. When you return to full-time study, ask your bank if you can switch your account back to a student account so that you can benefit from an interest free overdraft facility. As long as you are paying a regular and reliable source of income into your account, you should be eligible for a student bank account as a postgraduate.

If it is some time since you had a student account, you may want to compare what is on offer and consider switching banks if you can find a better account. The moneysavingexpert website compares different student bank accounts and gives information and top tips on opening and running a student account.

The Save the student website also has a comparison of student bank accounts and advice on how to choose the best account for you.

Make sure that you keep a close check on your account so that you do not exceed your agreed overdraft limit, as this can incur large penalty charges. Different banks have different terms and conditions - some impose charges for each day you exceed your limit while others will charge a one off fee. Always read the terms and conditions of your overdraft facility so you are aware of what will happen if you exceed your overdraft limit. If you feel that you will need an increased overdraft limit for a period of time, try and plan ahead and negotiate with your bank so you avoid paying excessive fees and charges for an unauthorised overdraft.

One factor to consider when choosing a student bank account is what will happen to your account when you complete your studies. For more information and a comparison of graduate bank accounts see the Money Saving Expert website.

EU+

You might not be able to get an interest-free overdraft facility in the same way as a UK student, particularly if you have just moved to the UK. However, you may be able to negotiate one with your bank if you have a regular and reliable income, or if you have an account with the same bank in your home country, or if you have lived in the UK for some time.

University Financial Support Funds

 

Financial Assistance Fund (FAF)

The Financial Assistance Fund at Queen Mary can provide financial support (usually a non-repayable grant) to students who are experiencing financial hardship. You can apply in each year of your programme, and more than once if your circumstances change during an academic year.

You must show that you have made realistic provision to support yourself and any dependents through your studies before you apply to this fund. You should be able to show that you have made use of any overdraft facility available to you.

All taught and research students will be expected to be adequately funded for the duration of their course and will be expected to have a laptop available to them.  This applies whether you are an international, home or home/EU student.  Students will only be eligible to apply to the Financial Assistance Fund for an award if they have exceptional and unforeseen circumstances during their course which disrupts their funding during their course, while they are a student. 

The fund cannot help pay tuition fees.

How do I apply?

You can apply online: 

  • Log in to your MySis portal and go to the Scholarships and Bursaries page (click + if not visible)
  • Click on 'Apply for Scholarship or Bursary'
  • Select 'Financial Assistance Fund' from the funding type dropdown and complete the online application screens
  • Make sure you click the 'Submit' button on the final screen

Contact the Student Enquiry Centre, ground floor, Queens Building for advice if you have any issues accessing the form.

Visit The Financial Assistance Fund page to find out how exceptional applications are assessed.  In your application you would need to explain how you would normally have met your costs and why this funding is currently unavailable. You should explain how long you expect to be in financial difficulties, and what you have done to try and resolve the situation yourself.

If you are a part-time postgraduate student who is awarded financial help from the Financial Assistance Fund, you can apply for a student 18+Oystercard. Your Queen Mary Financial Assistance Fund award notification explains how to apply for this.

Applications must be made before the closing date which can be found on The Financial Assistance Fund page. 

If you would like help applying, contact a Welfare Adviser at the Advice and Counselling Service before you submit your application. A Welfare Adviser can help you explain your circumstances and can also advise you on what evidence would be required.

 Short term loans from the Students’ Union

QMSU can offer a short-term loan of up to £100 to help students who have run into unexpected financial need due to a cash flow problem. For example, if you are waiting for your wages to be paid and you need to make a payment. These loans are interest free. You must be able to demonstrate a realistic repayment schedule. There is more information online including a link to complete a short form to arrange an appointment with a member of staff in the SU to discuss your application.

The QMSU Club Sport Financial Support Fund

This fund will be used to subsidise costs associated with sports participation for students in financial hardship. This is intended to remove the financial barriers which can prevent many students from accessing sport. By widening access to sport, more students will be given the opportunity to improve their physical and mental well-being, as well as gain transitional employability skills.

This fund has been designed to go towards the following:

• Club Membership Fees
• Travel Costs
• Competition Entries
• Equipment

If your application is successful, the award will not be paid to you.  It will be be directly to the supplier/organisation. 

If you want to apply for something not covered in the categories above, then you need to explain precisely why lack of access to this is currently preventing your participation in sport at Queen Mary or Barts and The London, as well as the costs involved. However, this fund will not be used to subsidise gym membership for Qmotion.

More information is available on the Queen Mary Students Union sports club funding page.  The application form explains which groups of students are considered a priority for this fund. Applications are considered each month, so you need to apply by the last Friday of the month to get a decision by the middle of the following month.

 

EU+

 

 

Disabled Students' Allowances (DSA)

What is DSA? 

This is a grant from Student Finance England. If you have a disability (including mental health) or specific learning difficulty, the DSA can help pay costs of specialist equipment, some disability-related costs of studying, non-medical helpers and additional travel costs (reasonable spending on extra travel costs beyond everyday travel costs).

Am I eligible?

You must meet the SFE eligibility rules as a home student to be eligible for DSA.  You can read about these in the eligibility section of this guide .  Also see the section below for EU nationals.

How much can I get? 

The amount of DSA awarded depends on the recommendations of a needs assessment carried out by a specialist assessment centre. The cost of the needs assessment can be paid for from the DSA and the Queen Mary University of London Disability and Dyslexia Service can advise you further on this, including how to arrange a needs assessment and how to apply for the DSA. The Maximum grants payable are listed on the Gov.uk site

I think I have a disability – can DSA cover the cost of establishing this? 

DSA cannot be used to pay for establishing your disability, so you will need to have documentation to confirm your disability, such as a GP letter. The Queen Mary Disability and Dyslexia Service can advise you about what documentation is acceptable. 

I’m a part-time postgraduate – can I still get DSA? 

You can apply for the DSA if your postgraduate programme (including a distance learning programme) is full-time or part-time and lasts at least one year. 

I’m getting Research Council funding – can I still get DSA? 

You won't normally qualify for DSAs if you're a postgraduate student getting Research Council funding. You are advised to contact the Disability and Dyslexia Service at Queen Mary for advice about what support is available. 

I’m getting funding from Queen Mary – can I get still get DSA? 

If your Queen Mary funding includes equivalent DSA support, you will not be able to also get DSA. 

Where can I find out more about DSA? 

More information about DSA, and the application form, is available online.

Contact the Disability and Dyslexia Service at Queen Mary for help applying for DSAs. It is advisable to contact the Disability and Dyslexia Service at Queen Mary well in advance of the start of your course so that your DSA and any other support arrangements can be organised by the time you enrol. 

EU+

If you are funding your studies yourself, e.g. from savings, a loan or your family, you should ensure that these funds are adequate to pay for all of your costs while studying, including costs you need to pay relating to your disability. This is because DSA eligibility is based on the personal eligibility rules for UK government Student Finance and unless you meet the requirements to be assessed as a home student you will not normally be eligible for Disabled Students Allowances. 

Home status is normally limited to EU nationals who have already been living in the UK for at least three years when they start their course, or who are an EEA or a Swiss workers or the relevant family member of an EEA or Swiss worker. You can find information about the SFE eligibility rules and home status categories in the Appendix of this guide.

In certain circumstances some limited funding may be available from the university for EU nationals not eligible for DSA. Contact the Queen Mary Disability and Dyslexia Service to discuss your situation.

Welfare Benefits

 

Am I eligible to claim welfare benefits as a student?

Full-time Postgraduate study

Most full-time postgraduate students cannot claim welfare benefits, for example Universal Credit, so once you become a full-time student your eligibility for benefits will cease.  However you may be able to continue to receive benefits if you fall within the excepted group of students who can claim as while a full-time student. If you fall into one of the excepted groups, you must also met the general eligibility rules for each welfare benefit.

If you were previously claiming welfare benefits such as Universal Credit solely due to low income and you do not belong to any of the excepted groups, your eligibility should end once you start your full-time studies, as the benefit rules do not allow most full-time students to claim. You will need to notify your Universal Credit work coach through your online journal or other relevant benefit office, that you are a full-time student and your claim and entitlement will be reassessed. If your claim does continue, you may accrue an overpayment, which you will be asked to repay. 

Excepted groups:

You may be able to continue to receive benefits or make a claim if you fall within the excepted group of students who can claim.  This includes: 

    • some disabled students or students with ongoing ill-health. To be eligible to claim Universal Credit as a disabled student you will need to be in receipt of Personal Independence Payment (or Disability Living Allowance) and already in receipt of Universal Credit when you become a student and this claim continues.  The Universal Credit rules do not allow students to make a new claim during their course as a work capability assessment cannot be made. Read our guide Extra Money: Disability and Ill health for further information.

If you are eligible to claim any income based welfare benefits such as Universal Credit then it's important to be aware how student income can reduce the amount of benefit payable.  This is explained in the section below about student income and affect on benefit entitlement.

For further information about claiming welfare benefits as a full-time student, read our guide Extra Money: Disability and Ill Health if you have a disability and/or our pages dedicated to students with children if you have a dependent child.

Which benefits can I claim?

This depends on your circumstances as you need to meet the basic eligibility rules for particular welfare benefits.  See our specific guides for students with Children and/or Disability and Ill health. 

You might be eligible to claim Universal Credit (UC). UC is a single monthly payment for people who are looking for work or on a low income. It replaced Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance, income related Job Seekers Allowance, Housing Benefit, and Tax Credits. You make one online claim for your living costs, housing and dependent children. It's made up of a standard allowance plus other 'elements' - for example for children, childcare, housing  There is also be an element for those with limited capability for work. The amount payable depends on your own circumstances. It is paid monthly in arrears.

If you qualify, your monthly payment will include everyone in your family who qualifies for support. 'Family' could mean you as a single person or you might also be claiming for a partner and/or dependent children.

If you already receive any Tax Credits you should seek advice before claiming Universal Credits.  A claim for Universal Credit will end your Tax Credits claim permanently and you will not be able to reclaim.  This can sometimes leave claimants worse off.   

If you think you might be eligible to claim welfare benefits, contact a Welfare Adviser in the Advice and Counselling Service for advice about your eligibility. 

I’m a part-time postgraduate student

There are no specific rules that exclude part-time students from claiming welfare benefits although students must meet the general eligibility rules for each Welfare Benefit.  This may include PhD students who are writing up on a part-time basis.

If you are due to start a part-time postgraduate course and already claiming welfare benefits you must continue to satisfy the general eligibility rules for those welfare benefits, you can continue your claim. 

Universal Credit: Universal Credit can help top-up a low income so even if you work, you may be eligible for some support. is assessed on your household income.  If you are already attending a part-time course and your circumstances change during your course, for example you are made redundant or your earnings drop, you may be eligible to claim as long as you satisfy the general eligibility rules. 

You will be expected to meet the work activities and requirements listed in your Universal Credit claimant commitment, such as job activities and being available for work.  If you expect your studies will affect these requirements you should discuss this with your Work Coach before you agree to the terms or if these are already agreed, ask if any adjustments can be made. However if adjustments are not agreed and you are unable to meet the requirements in your claimant commitment, sanctions can be applied.  These reduce the amount of Universal Credit payable. Further information about claimant commitments and sanctions can be found on the Understanding Universal Credit site. 

If you already receive any Tax Credits you should seek advice before claiming Universal Credits.  A claim for Universal Credit will end your Tax Credits claim permanently and you will not be able to reclaim.  This can sometimes leave claimants worse off.  Contact a Welfare Adviser to discuss your circumstances first. 

If you are unemployed and you have been working and paid or contributed sufficient National Insurance (NI) contributions in the 2 full tax years before the year you’re claiming in, you may also be eligible for New-Style JSA or New Style ESA (if you have a disability or health condition that limits your ability to work).  Again students must meet the general eligibility rules for this benefit.

It's important to be aware how any student income can reduce the amount of income-based Welfare Benefits payable.  This is explained in more detail in the section below about student income and affect on benefit entitlement.  Contribution based benefits such as new style Employment Support Allowance are not assessed against income so these should not be affected.

Will my student income affect my benefit entitlement?

If you are eligible for and claim welfare benefits as a full-time or part time student, you are required tell each of the benefit offices that pay your benefit(s) about your income including any income you get for your studies. This could include income from the Postgraduate Loan, from bank loans, from earnings or from university scholarships or stipends. How much benefit you get will depend on what income can be counted in the assessment of your welfare benefits under the relevant welfare benefits rules. 

Postgraduate students in receipt of a grant or loan (except for a UK government Master's or Doctoral Loan - see next paragraph) which could be a scholarship, or stipend will have any amount that is specifically paid for tuition fees ignored as income in the assessment of any means-tested welfare benefits. However, any amount of grant or loan paid for living costs will normally be treated as income. If you receive old style benefits such as Housing Benefit or Income Support, a fixed amount for books and equipment should also be ignored.

The Student Finance England Master's Loan and Doctoral Loan are treated as a contribution towards costs rather than a loan exclusively for tuition fees or living costs. 30% of the maximum Master's or Doctoral Loan is taken into account as income for your means-tested benefits. This is used as income even if you choose not to take a Master's Loan or Doctoral Loan where you are eligible. This amount will still be taken into account as income and will reduce your welfare benefits entitlement.

 A Welfare Adviser can advise you what income would be counted.  However if you are a parent or have a disability or ongoing health condition, you may also find it useful to read our web pages for student parents, and our advice guide Extra Money for Disability and Ill Health for more information about claiming benefits while studying. These guides include information about how student income is counted within the benefits assessments.

Tax Credits 

Universal Credit has replaced Tax Credits for most people and new applications can no longer be made although there are some exceptions for people eligible for or receiving the Severe Disability premium.

 

EU/EEA/Swiss nationals

Like most UK students, you cannot normally claim benefits while studying full time.  In addition, EU/EEA/Swiss nationals must normally hold EU Settled Status.  Pre-Settled Status alone may not entitle you to claim and you may require another right to reside such as being in work.  Our information on the rights of EU/EEA/Swiss nationals has further information about claiming Welfare benefits. If you have further questions after reading the guidance Contact a Welfare Adviser in the Advice and Counselling Service.

 

Discounts, reductions and exemptions

Although the focus of this guide is on sources of funding, postgraduate students can improve their financial circumstances by taking advantage of discounts, price reductions and exemptions from some payments and charges. Depending on your situation, you can possibly benefit from:

For more information see:

Tuition Fees

 

How much will my tuition fee be?

The amount of tuition fee you will have to pay depends on whether your programme is taught or research and what subject you are studying. You can find full details of postgraduate tuition fees online:

Taught programmes

Research degrees

In addition, like all universities, Queen Mary University of London charges two different rates of tuition fees for each individual programme of study.  The two different rates are known as 'home' and 'overseas'.  For information about fee status and how this is assessed read our Tuition Fee status: Will I pay the home or overseas rate of tuition fee page.

When do I need to pay my tuition fees

You need to ensure that you have funding available to pay your tuition fees in line with the payment requirements outlined below. Failing to pay tuition fees by the deadline can result in deregistration.

The following information provides a breakdown of the different payment options as explained in the Queen Mary Tuition Fee regulations

Self-funded Taught Postgraduates

You have the following options for paying your tuition fees:

  • Pay in full at or before enrolment. You may be eligible for an early payment discount of 1%, or
  • Pay 50% at or before enrolment. Sign a payment agreement to pay the remaining 50% by 31st January (for programmes starting in September), or
  • Pay 50% at or before enrolment. Sign a payment agreement to pay the remaining 50% by 30th April (for programmes starting in January)

Please note that any instalment agreement will incur a £50 administration fee.

Students who have been awarded a Master's Loan

If you have been awarded a loan that will cover the full cost of your tuition fees, Queen Mary University of London will allow you to pay in three instalments in line with the dates when you receive your loan payments.

If your loan does not cover the full cost of your tuition fees, Queen Mary will normally allow the fees that will be covered by the loan to be paid in three instalments (as above) and the remaining amount to be paid in line with the policy for self-funded students (50% on enrolment and 50% at the end of January). Please note that any instalment agreement will incur a £50 administration fee.

There are some worked examples of the different payment arrangements online.

Self-funded Research students

Postgraduate students enrolling on a research degree may start their programme on the first day of the month any time throughout the academic year, in agreement with your academic school. Self-funding students starting after October may be charged fees on a pro-rata basis.

You have the following options for paying your tuition fees:

  • Pay in full at or before enrolment. This is the only option for students enrolling after1st February. You may be eligible for an early payment discount of 1% or
  • Pay 50% at or before enrolment, and sign a payment agreement to pay the remaining 50% by the last working day of the fourth month after enrolment, provided enrolment is before 1st February

Please note that any instalment agreement will incur a £50 administration fee.

Students who have been awarded a Doctoral Loan

If you have been awarded a loan that will cover the full cost of your tuition fees, Queen Mary will allow you to pay in three instalments in line with the dates when you receive your loan payments.

If your loan does not cover the full cost of your tuition fees, Queen Mary will normally allow the fees that will be covered by the loan to be paid in three instalments (as above) and the remaining amount to be paid in line with the policy for self-funded students (50% on enrolment and 50% at the end of January). Please note that any instalment agreement will incur a £50 administration fee.

There are some worked examples of the different payment arrangements in the Queen Mary Tuition fee Regulations online.

What will be my tuition fee liability if I interrupt or withdraw from my programme?

Once you enrol on a programme of study, you are immediately liable to pay tuition fees. You must pay at least 50% in order to enrol.

If you withdraw from your programme completely, or take time out from your studies (‘interrupt’) your tuition fee liability is as follows (this information is taken from the Queen Mary Tuition Fee Regulations): 

Taught postgraduates

  • If your interruption or withdrawal from studies date is before the first day of semester 2, you are liable to pay 50% of your total annual tuition fee for that academic year
  • If your interruption of study or withdrawal from studies date is on or after the first day of semester 2, you are liable to pay 100% of your total annual tuition fee for that academic year

Research students

Your tuition fee liability for the current academic year will be calculated on a pro-rata basis, based on the interruption of study or withdrawal date that is agreed with your supervisor, academic school and the Research Degrees Office (RDO). Once this date is agreed, and you have submitted your interruption form to the RDO, contact the Queen Mary Fees Office for advice about your tuition fee liability: fees@qmul.ac.uk There is more information about how the pro-rata fee is calculated in the Tuition Fee Regulations.

If I interrupt my studies, what tuition fee will I have to pay when I resume my studies?

This information is taken from the Queen Mary Tuition Fee Regulations:

Self-funded taught postgraduates

If you interrupt and resume your studies at the start of semester 1, you are liable to pay 100% of the total annual tuition fee for that academic year. If you resume your studies on or after the start of semester 2, you are liable to pay 50% of the total annual tuition fee for that academic year. You will be charged the same annual rate of tuition fee as a new student starting the course, which may be a higher fee than you originally paid unless your interruption was due to a protected characteristic as listed in the Fees Regulations, such as pregnancy and maternity, disability or gender reassignment and your interruption is agreed on this basis, you will only pay an annual fee increase in line with inflation.

Taught Masters students who start their course in September and who wish to interrupt after the May exams and before their project period can do this once the exam period is over. The deadline for interrupting in these circumstances is 30 June 2022. In this circumstance when they return the following year they will pay the difference between the annual tuition fee payable in their year of interruption and the annual tuition fee payable in the year of resumption.  The amount of this increase is confirmed by the Fees Office in June each year and this may be an additional substantial cost to meet. However, if your interruption was due a protected characteristic as listed in the Queen Mary Fee regulations such as pregnancy and maternity, disability or gender reassignment and your interruption was agreed on this basis, when you resume your study the increase would be kept at the 2021/22 inflationary increase of 1.8%. The reason for the protected characteristics must be made clear at the point of interruption. 

Students who wish to withdraw from their programme or interrupt their studies must submit a withdrawal or interruption form. They should discuss the decision with their School’s Student Support/ Experience Officer, who will then authorise the withdrawal or interruption by signing the form. Any refund of university fees which is due will take effect from the date the form is authorised. The withdrawal and interruption forms are available the Academic Registry and Council Secretariat 'Your Study' page. 

Further details can be found in the Queen Mary Tuition Fee Regulations.

Self-funded research students

Your tuition fee liability for the current academic year will be calculated on a pro-rata basis, based on the date that your supervisor, academic school and the Research Degrees Office have agreed you can resume your studies. You will be charged the same annual rate of tuition fee as a new student starting the course, which may be a higher fee than you originally paid for that academic year of your course. However, if your interruption was due a protected charateristic as listed in the Fees regulations such as pregnancy and maternity, disability or gender reassignment and your interruption was agreed on this basis, you will only pay an annual fee increase in line with inflation. Contact the Queen Mary Fees Office for advice about your exact pro rata tuition fee liability once you know what your resumption of study date is: fees@qmul.ac.uk

Funded taught and research students

If you are going to be taking more time to complete your studies than is normally required for your programme, contact the Queen Mary Fees Office and the organisation or Queen Mary department that pays your studentship, to find out if you will need to pay fees yourself for a period of study. Research students should contact the Queen Mary Research Degrees office.

Can I get any refund of my tuition fees if I interrupt or withdraw?

If you are interrupting your studies, any excess that you have paid during the year when you took your interruption of study will normally be retained by Queen Mary and put towards your fee liability in the academic year that you resume your studies in.

If you withdraw from Queen Mary and you have paid tuition fees in excess of your actual tuition fee liability for your period of study, you may be eligible for a partial refund of the excess amount of tuition fees paid. The refund arrangements are set out in the Queen Mary Tuition Fee Regulations.

Where can I find more information about tuition fees?

This web page explains when and how your tuition fees are payable, and the consequences of non-payment:

Taught Masters

PhD

The Queen Mary Tuition Fee Regulations

There is also information about tuition fee payments on the Advice and Counselling Service website

Changes to your studies – interrupting, withdrawing, re- sitting, transferring

Sometimes, despite your best efforts to plan and fund your postgraduate study, you may encounter unexpected academic, financial or personal difficulties which can disrupt your studies. Try to get advice as soon as possible so that you can understand your options and make an informed decision about what to do.

This information is for Home (England domiciled) students or EU students paying the home rate of tuition fee. 

However, some European nationals may pay the home rate of tuition fee but may be in the UK with student immigration permission.  These students should also read the immigration information in the Interrupting, leaving or withdrawing from Studies guide for international students as this has information about the immigration implications if you interrupt or withdraw.

The information in this guide explains how Student Finance England funding is affected during a period of interruption, how overpayments are recovered and funding entitlement on return to study.  This information is relevant to students in receipt of Student Finance England only.  If you are receiving funding from Student Finance Walesthe Scottish Awards Agency or from Student Finance Northern Ireland please contact them directly to check how your funding will be affected as the rules differ.

All International students, including EU, EEA or Swiss students who pay the international rate of tuition fee and who move to the UK with Student Immigration Permission, should read our guide for international students about Interrupting, Re-sitting or Leaving Your Course. This includes information about the immigration implications if you interrupt or withdraw.

EU/EEA/Swiss nationals returning to study following a period of interruption should also refer to our guidance about How to stay in the UK after 31 December 2020 to check eligibility for the EU Settlement Scheme.  If you do not meet the requirements for this scheme and you are outside of the UK, you will need student immigration permission to return to the UK to complete your studies.  Our International pages have comprehensive information about the student immigration options and requirments.  

The following sections outline the academic and financial options which may be available to you if your circumstances change during your studies.

Once you have read this information, if you need advice about your own situation, please contact a Welfare Adviser in the Advice and Counselling Service.

 

Feel like leaving?

Many students have doubts about whether they can continue with their studies. You might feel that you have rushed your decision about doing postgraduate study, or feel that you would be more suited to a different programme. Postgraduate study can be very different to undergraduate study – course fees may be higher and the workload more intense. Sometimes personal or financial circumstances mean that you can’t give your studies the attention that you would like to.

Whatever your reason for considering leaving, or taking some time out, staff at Queen Mary can support and advise you. It is important not to rush into a decision until you have really thought about it. Talking to someone who is used to advising students about these issues, might help you to consider options you did not know about.

Think about your decision

  • Are you really struggling with the course, or do you just lack confidence about your ability?
  • Is your course really the problem? Maybe other problems are getting in the way.
  • Do you feel pressured to study a subject that you don’t really enjoy?
  • Do you need to know more about other courses or career options before you can make an informed decision?
  • Is this the right time for you to be at university at all?
  • Are you are worried about keeping up with your academic work, writing essays or preparing for exams?
  • Are you finding it hard to motivate yourself to do your research?

If these questions sound familiar, it can be useful to get help and support before you make your decision:

Think about the practical implications of your decision

  • How easy will it be to find work if you leave?
  • How will you support yourself financially?
  • How will you pay back any loans that becomes due once you have ceased full-time study?
  • Will you need to repay any funds to your financial sponsor?
  • How do you complete the university’s administrative formalities if you leave your course?
  • Would it make more sense to try and interrupt your studies rather than leave?
  • What are your options for resuming postgraduate study in the future?
  • What about your liability to pay rent if you leave your accommodation?

Before you make a decision, it is vital that you get accurate information about these issues and consider all the practical and financial implications involved. This is especially important if you are receiving sponsorship or funding towards the cost of your studies.

Tuition fee status and student funding implications for EU/EEA/Swiss students

Withdrawing or transferring to a new course could affect your future eligibility for student funding and eligibility to pay the home rate of tuition fee as the Student Finance England eligibility rules and the Fee Status eligibility rules have changed for courses that start in September 2021 onwards. These changes mainly affect EU, other EEA, Swiss nationals and relevant family members.  

Your fee status and student funding entitlement should remain unchanged if you began your course in September 2020 or earlier and you interrupt and return to the same course at Queen Mary as students who began their course in the academic year 2020/21 or earlier continue to be eligible according to the SFE eligibility rules that were in force prior to September 2021.

If you withdraw and start a new course, your SFE funding entitlement will be assessed under the new SFE eligibility rules. 

SFE guidance explains that if a student transfers to another course, the 2020/21 eligibility rules apply regardless of the duration of the student’s period of study providing the period of study is not terminated and where the student transfers course once on or after 1 August 2021.

Taking time out (‘interrupting’)

You might decide that you need to take a break from your studies for personal or medical reasons. At Queen Mary, this is called ‘interrupting’ your studies and it is fairly straightforward, as long as your academic school agrees. Speak to your supervisor, personal tutor or academic adviser first, to discuss why you feel that you need to interrupt, and to agree when would be the best time for you to return.

How can I interrupt?

Taught postgraduates

You need to complete an interruption of study form - you can access the form and guidance notes online or collect one from the Student Enquiry Centre on the ground floor of the Queens’ Building, Mile End campus, or from the Student Office at the Whitechapel campus. 

Your academic school or institute will need to sign the form to say that your interruption and proposed return date have been approved. Your school will submit the completed form to the Student Enquiry Centre for you.

A student may normally interrupt for a total of two calendar years across their programme of study. You can read further information in the Interruption Policy Guidance.

Please be aware that most programmes now have two assessment periods, one in January following Semester A teaching and one in May following Semester B teaching. The deadline for submission of the interruption form for most programmes is the day before the start of these assessment periods.

Taught Masters students who start their course in September and who who want to interrupt after the May exams but before their project period can do this once the exam period is over. The deadline for interrupting in these circumstances is 30 June 2022. 

There are strict deadlines for interrupting and there may be differences depending on your course especially for courses that start in january. Always check the deadline for submission of the interruption form with your Academic School.

The Queen Mary Academic calendar has information about assessment and exam periods. 

If you miss this deadline you will normally be entered for examinations/assessment and would need to talk to your School/Institute about submitting extenuating circumstances if you are unable to attend/submit work. Where students are entered for assessment they will also be automatically entered for reassessment at the next available opportunity.

However, if you have only narrowly missed the interruption form submission deadline and feel that there have been exceptional circumstances that have affected your ability to submit this in time please discuss this with your School/Institute or with Student Records.

Alternatively if you complete Semester A and sit the exams it may be possible to interrupt before the start of the next Semester. Interrupting before the start of Semester B may reduce your fee liability as explained in the Tuition Fees section of this guide.   

If you do not interrupt you remain liable for your tuition fee and if these are not paid in line with the fee payments dates, you will enter the deregistration process.  If your fees are paid but you do not attend your course and later formally interrupt your study, you will need to discuss the interruption date with your School.  It may be possible to to use your last date of attendance and your fee liability may follow this.  

Further information about assessments can be found on the Academic Registry Interrupting Your Studies page.

On the interruption of study form you need to write your planned date of return, which you will need to agree with your academic school. When you are allowed to resume depends partly on the point in the year you interrupt and if you interrupt part way through a Semester. For example, if you interrupt partway through a Semester, you may be required to return at the start of that Semester in the following year.  If you complete the Semester, you may be required to return at the point you interrupted and continue onto the next Semester. 

Research postgraduates

You can usually interrupt your studies for up to one year initially. A maximum total period of two years interruption is permitted during a programme of study, with good cause. In very exceptional circumstances longer interruptions may be permitted. The minimum period of interruption is one month and interruptions must be in multiples of whole months. A period of interruption does not count towards the minimum or maximum period for the research studies programme. You can download an interruption of study form and detailed guidance notes which explain the procedures for interrupting.

Paid interruptions of Queen Mary Research Studentships

There is a QMUL policy on paid interruptions of research studentships. [PDF 16KB]

Research Studentship funded students are allowed up to 4 months’ paid maternity leave and the termination date of the studentship will be extended by the same period. A further period of up to 8 months’ unpaid maternity leave can also be requested. Up to two weeks’ paid paternity leave is permitted, but the termination date of the studentship will remain unchanged. A student can also request a further period of unpaid leave as an interruption of study.

Research Studentship funded students are permitted up to 13 weeks’ paid leave due to illness. Medical certification must be submitted to the Research Degrees Office if you are absent due to an illness of more than 2 weeks. Note that any period of paid leave is considered part of your normal period of funding, and not paid in addition to it. Therefore if you need to apply to extend your completion date as a result of this period of ill health, the last few weeks of your studies will normally be unfunded.

Following an interruption of studies, the studentship termination date may be adjusted in accordance with the Queen Mary Graduate School Director’s guidelines.

Annual Leave

Research Studentship funded students may be entitled to paid annual leave of up to 30 days. Check with the Research Degrees Office what your entitlement is. If you are considering interrupting your studies for the minimum period of a month, you may wish to consider taking this as annual leave so that your termination date of funding is not affected.

For more information about your options contact the Research Degrees office. You may also wish to refer to the Academic Regulations 

What about my tuition fee liability if I interrupt or withdraw from my studies?

See the Tuition Fees section of this advice guide for more information.

What happens to my funding or welfare benefits if I interrupt or re-sit out of attendance?

Funding

If you are receiving a government Postgraduate Loan for Master’s Study or a Doctoral Loan, you are not normally entitled to receive any further loan payments after your date of interruption, until you resume study. However, Student Finance England has the discretion to continue making payments during an interruption if they consider it appropriate to do so given your circumstances. If you feel that you would not be able to manage financially without continuing to receive loan payments, please contact a Welfare Adviser for advice about applying to SFE for discretionary funding. However, bear in mind that Student Finance England do not provide any re-take funding, so if you continue to receive loan payments during a period of interruption, this money won’t be available to you when you resume studies – this is explained later in the  Retaking a period of study in attendance section of this guide.

If you interrupt your studies close to the payment date of your Master's or Doctoral Loan, you may receive the payment even though you have interrupted because SFE may not have time to stop the payment. SFE are likely to ask you to repay this.  If they don't request repayment then remember that you won't be able to get that same instalment again when you resume studies, so  you may want to save the payment and use it when you resume.  

Contact a Welfare Adviser if you are interrupting due to compelling personal reasons and are considering whether you would be financially better off withdrawing. Students who withdraw because of compelling personal reasons may be able to get another Student Finance England Masters Loan or a Doctoral Loan if they start a new course in the future.  Also see the section of this guide on ˜What happens after I withdraw.

If you receive funding through a sponsoring agency or organisation, check directly with them how interrupting your studies or re-sitting out of attendance may affect your funding. If you receive funding through Queen Mary, see the section above for instances where you may continue to receive funding for maternity/paternity leave, ill health leave and annual leave.

If you are not eligible to continue to receive your student funding while you are interrupting your studies or re-sitting out of attendance, you will normally need to work to support yourself during this period, and/or rely on support from family or friends. You may be able to claim welfare benefits but only in certain circumstances – see below.

Students who resume study after a period of suspension of two years or more (continuous or cumulative periods of suspension) will only get further remaining payments  of loan if they have a compelling personal reason for having been absent from the course for that period of time. Evidence of compelling personal reasons will be required. Note that this evidence is required for continuous suspension periods of two years or more and also where separate suspension periods add up to two years or more.

Welfare Benefits

If you are enrolled on a full time course, you will not normally be eligible to claim welfare benefits while you are interrupting your studies or re-sitting out of attendance. This is because the welfare benefit rules still consider you to be a full time student during this period, and most full time students are not eligible to claim. However, there are some exceptions where students can claim:

  • If you are a parent, you may be able to claim welfare benefits while you are re-sitting or interrupting. If you are already in receipt of welfare benefits, these should continue while you are re-sitting or interrupting your studies. For further information please refer to our our web pages for students with children
  • If you already receive Personal Independence Payment and Universal Credit on the grounds of ill health or disability, you may be able to continue your claim while you interrupt.  However it is not straightforward to make a new claim for Universal Credit if you are already a full time student and are claiming on the grounds of ill health or disability. You must be in receipt of Personal Independence Payment and your work capability has to be assessed as part of the Universal Credit application process and it's complicated for students to get this assessment made. For further information please refer to our advice guide Extra money for disability and ill health and our web pages for students with children. You can also Contact a Welfare Adviser in the Advice and Counselling Service to discuss your circumstances.
  • Students who interrupt because they are ill, or to care for someone else, may be entitled to claim certain benefits for a limited period after they recover or caring responsibilities end but they are waiting to return to university. It may also be possible to claim Carer's Allowance during a period of interruption if you care full-time for someone and are not required to complete course work, sit exams or engage with your course during this time. Contact a Welfare Adviser in the Advice and Counselling Service for more information.
  • If you have attended your programme for the duration normally required to complete it, but you have to re-sit your final examinations or re-submit your dissertation, and you are no longer required to actually ‘attend’ university, you may be able to claim welfare benefits in accordance with the normal eligibility criteria. Contact a Welfare Adviser in the Advice and Counselling Service if you are having difficulty claiming.

If you are re-sitting exams out of attendance and you need to give up work a few weeks before your exams so that you can revise, you may be able to get help from the Queen Mary Financial Assistance Fund. See the earlier University Financial Support Funds section of this advice guide for more information, or contact a Welfare Adviser in the Advice and Counselling Service.

What university services can I use while I am interrupting or re-sitting out of attendance?

Academic school

Check with your academic school what contact you can expect to have with academic staff during a period of interruption or re-sitting out of attendance. Some schools have specific support in place to help students to remain engaged with their studies and to remedy any academic issues that have affected progression. You could also contact the Queen Mary learning development team if you need help planning your revision.

Research students should not work on your research during a period of interruption.

Library

You will automatically be given access to the library with limited borrowing rights of 6 items.

IT Services

Your access to IT Services will remain the same while you are interrupting or re-sitting out of attendance. However, if you do not use your email account for a long time, you will be sent an email asking if you want to keep the account open. If you do not respond to this email, and you are not enrolled, your email account will be disabled. Contact IT Services with any queries about your email access.

University residences

You are not eligible to live in university residences while you are interrupting your studies. You must contact Housing Services as soon as you have your interruption of study date approved and provide them with a copy of your Queen Mary Interruption of Study form.

You will have to complete a Notice of Intention to Vacate form (NIV) giving 28 days written notice of your intention to leave university residences. You will remain liable for residential fees for the full 28 days, and once this period has expired and you have returned your keys, your liability to pay residential fees will cease. If you would like to move out sooner, and if Housing Services find another student who can move in to your room before the 28 days expire, you may not need to pay your residential fees for the whole 28 day notice period.

If you are re-sitting out of attendance, you cannot normally live in university residences during that period. However, you can apply for a room in university residences for the re-sit exam period, but this is subject to availability. If you feel there are exceptional reasons why you need to live in university residences throughout the academic year, you should discuss your situation with Queen Mary Housing Services.

Disability and Dyslexia Service

Even if you have not previously been supported by the Disability and Dyslexia Service, you can still contact them for support while you are interrupting or re-sitting out of attendance.

Advice and Counselling Service

You can still use the Advice and Counselling Service while you are interrupting or re-sitting out of attendance.

Re-taking a period of study in attendance

You are not normally allowed to re-take a period of study in attendance, because students are expected to interrupt their studies if they are not fit to engage with their studies effectively. However, if you have an extenuating circumstances claim approved by the university, you might be granted a re-take in attendance as part of your claim.

You cannot receive a Postgraduate Master's Loan payment for any re-take period. 

If you are granted a re-take in attendance, you must make sure that you can financially support yourself and pay your tuition fee. You usually have to pay tuition fees for the re-take period. 

Resuming your study following a re-take or interruption of study

If you have already been paid the full amount of Masters Loan or Doctoral Loan, you cannot get any further payments of this loan when you resume study so you must make sure that you are able to meet the cost of any tuition fee due and can support yourself financially.

If you did not receive the full Masters Loan you are entitled to receive the remaining balance once you resume your study. Instalments will continue as usual but only from the point they were suspended.

For example:

  • You interrupt in November 2020, part way through Semester one, having received just one of your three loan instalments
  • You resume in September 2021,
  • You would not be eligible for a loan instalment in September 2021 as you have already receive this instalment.  SFE do not fund repeat periods. However as you did not receive the next two instalments of loan you would be eligible for the second and third instalments in January 2022 and May 2022.

Where you resume study after an interruption of two years or more (whether this is a continuous period or the cumulative total of shorter interruptions), further loan payments will only be released where you provide evidence of a compelling personal reason for having been absent. 

If you are an EU/EEA/Swiss student please also see the section Tuition fee status and student funding implications for EU/EEA/Swiss students

Transferring to a new programme

Students wishing to transfer to Queen Mary should contact the Admissions Office and will need to provide evidence of qualifications. If currently studying another course evidence of this must also be sent e.g. transcript if grades achieved and an academic reference including predicted grades. 

If you are a current Queen Mary student on a taught Postgraduate course and you have been given permission to change programmes within Queen Mary, you will need to complete a Change of Programme form.

Research students should contact the Research Degrees office about a change of programme.

If you wish to transfer to a new course at another University, contact the Admissions department of the new university to ask about their procedures.

The Queen Mary procedures can be found on the Postgraduate Admissions page.

To leave your current course in order to go to a new university, fill out the relevant form here:

Contact the Research Degrees Office to see if you can transfer your research council funding to a different university.

If you are receiving a Postgraduate Loan for Master’s Study, and you are transferring to another eligible course, you can continue to receive the remainder of your loan entitlement. Your new course provider will need to inform Student Finance England of the transfer. If you transfer from an eligible course to an ineligible course, your Postgraduate Loan eligibility will end from the date of transfer and you should not receive any further payments. Previous payments made when you were attending the eligible course will not be reassessed. Any loan payments made subsequently from the point of transfer to an ineligible course will be treated as an overpayment, and collection of the loan overpayment will be sought prior to the Statutory Repayment Due Date. 

If you are an EU/EEA/Swiss student please also see the section Tuition fee status and student funding implications for EU/EEA/Swiss students

Withdrawing from Queen Mary University of London

This means leaving Queen Mary completely. To return to a course at Queen Mary in future you would need to apply as a new student.

Taught postgraduates

You need to complete a ‘Withdrawal from university’ form available from the Student Enquiry Centre on the ground floor of the Queens’ building, Mile End campus, or the Student Office at the Whitechapel campus, or online.

Your academic school will need to sign the form to say that your withdrawal has been approved and they will submit the form to the Student Enquiry Centre.

Please be aware that for most programmes there are two deadlines for submission of the withdrawal form.  These are the day before the assessment period in January and the day before the assessment period in May.  If you miss these deadlines you will normally have to be entered for examinations/assessment and would need to talk to your School/Institute about submitting extenuating circumstances if you are unable to attend/submit work. 

Alternatively you could sit the Semester A exams and then withdraw before the start of Semester B. 

Always check the deadlines with your School as these may vary for some courses. If you miss these deadlines you can still withdraw but your last date of attendance on the withdrawal form cannot normally be backdated to before the exam period. 

You can find information about assessment period dates in the Queen mary academic calendar.

The date of withdrawal also affects your tuition fee liability.

Taught masters students who withdraw before the first day of semester 2, are liable to pay 50% of the total annual tuition fee for that academic year. If they withdraw from studies on or after the first day of semester 2, they are liable to pay 100% of the total annual tuition fee for that academic year.

 

Also read the information in this guide about Tuition Fees.

Research postgraduates

You need to complete a ‘Withdrawal from University’ form available from the Research Degrees Office or online.

You will need to discuss this form, and your proposed withdrawal from Queen Mary, with your supervisor or director of graduate studies. Make some copies of the completed form for your own records before submitting it to the Research Degrees Office.

Research students tuition fee liability for the current academic year will be calculated on a pro-rata basis, based on the  withdrawal date that is agreed with their supervisor, academic school and the Research Degrees Office (RDO). Once this date is agreed, and the withdrawal from is submitted to the RDO, they should contact the Queen Mary Fees Office for advice about their tuition fee liability: fees@qmul.ac.uk  There is more information about how the pro-rata fee is calculated in the Tuition Fee Regulations.

Also read the information in this guide about Tuition Fees.

What happens to my funding if I withdraw?

If you receive formal funding or sponsorship, write to whoever provides your funding to tell them that you have left university completely. Include a copy of the university withdrawal form and keep copies of everything you send.

Withdrawing from your course completely means you are no longer a student. If you are not working or have a low income you may be eligible to apply for welfare benefits such as Universal Credit providing you meet the standard benefit rules. See the Welfare Benefits section of this advice guide for more information.

If you were receiving a Postgraduate Loan for Master’s Study or a Doctoral Loan, all future loan payments will be canceled following the date of withdrawal. You will be allowed to keep the loan payments which you have already received for the payment period in which you withdrew, i.e. this will not be treated as an overpayment. You would only have an overpayment if SFE had made a payment to you after your date of withdrawal, for example because they were notified too late to cancel your next payment. Any overpayment will need to be repaid before the statutory repayment due date.

Withdrawing from your course completely means you are no longer a student.  As your funding will stop, if you are not working or have a low income you may be eligible to apply for welfare benefits such as Universal Credit providing you meet the standard benefit rules. 

Can I receive Student Finance England funding for a new postgraduate course?

Normally Student Finance England Postgraduate loans are not available for a second postgraduate programme.  However if you are able to demonstrate that you were unable to complete the previous Masters or Research Degree due to compelling personal reasons then SFE has discretion to award you a further Postgraduate Loan or Doctoral Loan for a new programme. This can only be awarded once. Our understanding is that this provision would also apply if you are re-starting the same course from which you previously withdrew as long as you can prove to Student Finance England that you withdrew due to compelling personal reasons.  They will need to consider your evidence.  You must also be studying the new course in its entirety.

How to apply

Once you have made the Postgraduate Loan application for your new course you should send Student Finance England evidence of the compelling personal reason for leaving your last course along with a covering letter explaining your request.  There is no definitive list of compelling personal reasons that can be accepted. You will usually need evidence of the Compelling Personal issue that caused you to leave your last postgraduate course. The list below is a guide only. If you are starting a new course at Queen Mary a Welfare Adviser from the Advice and Counselling Service can explain what documents you will need as this will vary according to your individual situation. You do not need to have these documents before you contact a Welfare Adviser, but this list might help you to start thinking about preparing your application:

Your own letter to your funding authority, to explain:

  • What circumstances affected your ability to study effectively
  • When your difficulties started and how long they affected you
  • How these circumstances affected your ability to study effectively
  • How your situation has changed, or will have changed, so that these circumstances are unlikely to adversely affect you when you start a new course

Your Welfare Adviser can advise you about this letter, but it can be helpful if you have prepared a draft to show them.

A letter from a professional person or agency to confirm the difficulties that you had and the effect they might have had on your ability to study effectively

This letter might be from a doctor, other health professional or a counsellor. The letter should explain the difficulties that you had, and clearly detail the effects of these difficulties on your ability to study on your last course. It is also important that the letter explains when your difficulties occurred, and that this is the relevant period for your compelling personal reasons claim. For example, if you were studying in the 2019-20 academic year, and you are claiming that you left during that year due to ill health, the medical evidence will need to confirm that your ill health occurred during the 2019-20 academic year, and at what point during that year.

If you have been getting medication, treatment or therapeutic help for your difficulties, it is helpful for this to be explained in the letter, and how this is helping you, so it is clear that you are taking steps to address the difficulties you have had. If the person writing the letter feels they are able to, it is useful for them to confirm that you are likely to be able to study more effectively because of this help.

If you have not received help or support from a professional, a letter from a friend or family member who knows about your difficulties may be enough, although some kind of formal documentation will often be required. A Welfare Adviser can also help you decide who might be the best person to write this letter for you. 

 

Deregistration

 

What is deregistration?

Deregistration means you are no longer a student of Queen Mary University of London and as a result, will not be able to continue your programme of study – this means you cannot use any university facilities, attend classes, or sit examinations. The ‘failure to pay’ section of the university’s Tuition Fee Regulations explains the deregistration procedure.

When does deregistration happen?

If you do not pay your tuition fees by the stated deadline, you will normally be deregistered from Queen Mary. As stated in the Tuition Fees section of this advice guide, the payment deadlines are 31st January for students who start in the autumn or 30th April for those who commence in January.

There is more information about payment deadlines in Queen Mary’s tuition fee regulations and on the Advice and Counselling Service website.

Once the payment deadline has passed, if you still owe tuition fees you will receive a letter from Queen Mary giving a further deadline to clear the outstanding balance within 10 days. If you fail to do this, you will normally be deregistered.

You may also be deregistered for other reasons during the academic year, for example for non- attendance on your programme of study. However, deregistration would generally be the final option, after your academic school had exhausted all possible options to help you engage with your studies.

How can I get reinstated on to my programme of study?

If you have been deregistered for non-payment of tuition fees, you will have to pay your outstanding tuition fees and an administrative charge of £250 by 31st July of the same year you have been deregistered in order to be reinstated onto your course. If you do this, you will normally be able to resume your studies at Queen Mary but no earlier than 12 months following your date of deregistration. If you cannot pay your outstanding balance plus £250 by 31st July, you cannot normally be reinstated at Queen Mary.

Under the current tuition fee regulations, if you are able to pay your outstanding balance plus £250 by 31st July, when you return to complete the academic year in which you were deregistered, you will have no further tuition fee to pay for that academic year. This is not the case for students returning to study following an interruption - see the Tuition Fees section of this advice guide.

Please note that you cannot reply on using the Student Finance England Masters Loan or Doctoral Loan to make this payment as these will be stopped.  See the section below "how will I support myself".  

Can I appeal or make a complaint about being deregistered?

Yes, you may appeal the decision to deregister you. The letter you receive informing you that you have been deregistered should explain that you have a right of appeal against your deregistration. If you decide you want to appeal, you must do so within 14 calendar days of the date stated on that letter. As deregistration relates to progression on your programme of study, you need to submit an appeal and not a complaint. However, if you are not looking to reverse the deregistration decision, but wish to complain about other matters you could consider making a complaint. You must submit your complaint within 3 months of the date stated on your deregistration letter.

To find out how to make an appeal or complaint, see the Student Appeals, Complaints and Conduct Office webpages.

Before you submit your appeal or complaint, it may be useful for you to take independent advice from the Academic Advice manager Annie Mitchell in the Students Union.

How will I financially support myself?

Once you are deregistered, you would no longer be a student, so you would usually be expected to self-fund, for example through working. You should also be eligible to claim certain welfare benefits such as Universal Credit providing you meet the main eligibility rules for claiming.

However, if you are then re-instated at Queen Mary following payment of any outstanding tuition fees and you resume your full-time student status, you would become ineligible to claim welfare benefits, unless you fall into one of the groups of students who can claim benefits despite being a full-time student, such as a lone parent, or a student with a disability or ongoing ill health.

If you have been deregistered from a part-time course, you would continue to be eligible for welfare benefits provided you met the main eligibility rules for claiming. See the Welfare benefits section of this advice guide for more information.

If you receive the SFE masters or Doctoral Loan, you should not receive any future payments as your non attendance will be reported to SFE and the payments will be stopped.  Any future payments received will be an overpayment and you will be asked to repay these.  This is further explained in the 'What happens if I withdraw' section of this guide . 

Eligibility for Student Finance England (SFE) Postgraduate Master's and Doctoral Loans and Disabled Students Allowances  

There are a number of requirements to meet.

• You must meet the Student Finance England general eligibility criteria and,

• You must meet the age requirement and,

• Your course must be a qualifying course and,

You must not be in breach of any previous student loan repayment and,

• If you have previous study and already hold a qualification at the same level or have previously received Student Finance England Postgraduate funding for an earlier course that you did not complete, these can rule you out of receiving a loan for a new course.

See the section below about funding if you normally live in from Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.

The General Eligibility Criteria

You must meet the general Student Finance England eligibility criteria to obtain any postgraduate student funding.

The eligibility criteria are based on a person’s residence on the first day of the first academic year of a course, the number of years spent living in a relevant area, whether the residence was for education only or for another purpose, UK immigration status and in some cases the relationship to other UK or EU nationals resident in the UK. There are also eligibility categories that relate to EEA migrant workers, people awarded asylum, people with Calais Leave, Children of Turkish workers, Children of Swiss Nationals, people granted leave to remain as a victim of domestic violence, abuse or as a bereaved partner, stateless people and people with long residence in the UK. 

The Student Finance England eligibility rules for postgraduate and undergraduate student funding are broadly the same and Student Finance England do not publish separate guidance. You can read about the eligibility requirements in our Undergraduate Funding Guide: Eligibility rules for Government Student Finance and in the  SFE Assessing Eligibility Guidance Chapter.  Postgraduate Loans are available providing a person meets at least one of the eligibility categories listed.

However, although the eligibility rules are broadly the same, Postgraduate funding is not the same as for undergraduate funding.   Undergraduate study attracts Fee Loans, Maintenance Loans and a range of supplementary grants whereas the funding available for Postgraduate study includes a study loan and the Disabled Students Allowance only so is much more limited. 

Not all students who meet the eligibility rules for a postgraduate loan will also be eligible for the  Disabled Students Allowance. To be entitled to this allowance, you must meet the eligibility criteria that allows an undergraduate student to receive the undergraduate Maintenance Loan. So, when looking at the Student Finance England undergraduate eligibility guidance, check that the category you meet allows for a Maintenance Loan to be awarded. If it does, the Disabled Students Allowance will also be available.  If you only meet the requirements for an undergraduate Tuition Fee Loan, the Disabled Students Allowance will not be available. 

The Student Finance England guidance and eligibility rules often mention "Settled Status", "the first day of the first academic year" and "ordinary residence":

  • 'Settled' means being both ordinarily resident in the UK and without any immigration restriction on the length of your stay in the UK. 
  • The first day of the first academic year is not the actual start date of the course. The 'first day of the academic year' depends on when your course start date falls. If your course start date falls between:
    1 August and 31 December inclusive, the first day of the academic year is 1 September;
    1 January and 31 March inclusive, the first day of the academic year is 1 January;
    1 April and 30 June inclusive, the first day of the academic year is 1 April;
    1 July and 31 July inclusive, the first day of the academic year is 1 July. 
  • You are ordinarily resident somewhere if you have habitually, normally and lawfully resided in that area from choice. Temporary absences from the residence area should be ignored and therefore would not stop you being ordinarily resident. It has also previously been successfully argued in the UK courts that an individual can be ordinarily resident in more than one place at the same time; individuals wishing to demonstrate this would have to be living a lawful, normal and habitual residence in each of the areas in question.

If you can demonstrate that you have not been ordinarily resident in the relevant residence area only because you, or a family member, were temporarily working outside the relevant residence area, you will be treated as though you have been ordinarily resident there.

Where a category includes a condition that the main purpose of your residence must not have been to receive full-time education, a useful question to ask is: "if you had not been in full-time education, where would you have been ordinarily resident?". If the answer to this question is "outside the relevant residence area" this would indicate that the main purpose for your residence was full-time education. If the answer is that you would have been resident in the relevant residence area even if you had not been in full-time education, this would indicate that full-time education was not the main purpose for your residence in the relevant area.

In addition students should be undertaking their course in England. Also see the section below about Distance Learning courses and the residence requirements.

Following the UK’s exit from the EU, the eligibility rules were changed and the biggest changes affect EU/EEA/Swiss nationals and their family members. Please see the section of our undergraduate funding guide for EU/EEA/Swiss nationals and their family members starting a course in September 2021 or later.

A section of the Undergraduate funding guide specifically refers to Irish nationals.  SFE has confirmed that Irish Citizens need to have:

  • 3 years residency in the UK, Islands, and Ireland, or
  • 3 years residency in the UK, Gibraltar, the EEA or Switzerland and be resident in the UK, EEA or Switzerland by 31 December 2020 and
  • be undertaking their course in England.

There are different eligibility rules in place for EU/EEA/Swiss nationals and their family members who began their course in the academic year 2020/21 or earlier. Please see the section of our undergraduate funding guide for EU/EEA/Swiss nationals and their family members who began a course before September 2021. These students can continue to receive their funding for the duration of their course under the eligibility rules in place prior to September 2021.

If you are an EU/EEA National who is required to provide an EUSS Share Code for your SFE application it is  the ‘general code’ SFE need. They can’t accept a Share Code generated for one of the specific purposes as the Home Office won’t accept them from SFE. When presented with the options you just need to select ‘another reason’ which should generate the general code.

Changes for courses starting in September 2022 or later

In January 2022 Student Finance England announced that students who have settled status on arrival in the UK, who come to the UK from specified British Overseas Territories and who are starting full-time and part-time undergraduate courses in 2022/23 will be eligible for tuition fee loans in England.

To qualify, students resident in the British Overseas Territories will need to satisfy the three-year ordinary residence requirement in the UK, Islands or specified British Overseas Territories prior to the first day of the first academic year of their course (as explained above).  UK nationals and their family members resident in Gibraltar, and EU nationals and their family members who have a right to reside there arising from the Withdrawal Agreement, may continue to count residence in the EEA or Switzerland in order to qualify for student support for courses starting on or before 31 December 2027.

Persons with citizens’ rights in the UK under the EU Withdrawal Agreement, EEA EFTA Separation Agreement or Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement will be able to count periods of residence in EU and British Overseas Territories as part of the normal three-year qualifying period for eligibility for tuition fee loans.

These changes will apply to students in the above categories who are starting postgraduate master’s degree courses and postgraduate doctoral degree courses in 2022/23 to allow them to qualify for postgraduate loans. 

Additional resources:
The Student Finance England Assessing Eligibility guidance for undergraduate funding also applies to postgraduate funding and contains detailed guidance on the general eligibility requirements that relate to nationality and residence.

UKCISA has information about the eligibility requirements for Government Student Funding in England but currently this only applies to students who started their course in 2020 or earlier. 

The age requirement

In order to qualify for a Master’s or Doctoral loan, eligible students must be aged under 60 on the first day of the first academic year (AY) of the course, defined as:

• 1st September, where the AY begins on or after 1st August and before 1st January
• 1st January, where the AY begins on or after 1st January and before 1st April

Your course must be a qualifying course

Your course must be a full, standalone master’s or research course (not a top-up course)
Your course can be taught or research-based.

If a course normally requires attendance then to be eligible for the Postgraduate Loans, Student Finance England normally require a student to be resident in England/UK while attending their course.

A Masters course, such as an MSc, MA, MPhil, LLM, must have started on or after 1 August 2016 and be:

• full-time, lasting 1 or 2 academic years
• part-time, lasting 2 to 4 academic years - no more than twice the length of the equivalent full-time course
• part-time for up to 3 years, where no equivalent full-time course exists
• must be 180 credits

You cannot get a Postgraduate Master’s Loan for a postgraduate certificate or diploma.

Postgraduate programmes with an Integrated Pre-Masters (Graduate Diploma) are not eligible for the Masters Loan. This is because the Pre-Master's is not at Level 7 so therefore the whole programme is not eligible for a Postgraduate loan.

Anyone wishing to take a Pre-Masters, who requires a postgraduate loan for the main part of their study, will need to take non-integrated versions of the programmes and self-fund the pre-masters. When they have passed the pre-masters, they will need to re-apply for the main Master's programme.

Research degrees:

  • There are no restrictions on subjects, disciplines, research areas or topics.
  • Must have started on or after 1 August 2018
  • Last between 3 to 8 academic years
  • Your degree can be full-time or part-time, taught or research-based, or a combination of both
  • The course length must be between three and eight academic years inclusive. Student Finance England define the course length as the maximum period of registration for that particular course. They explain in their guidance that: the course duration is normally linked to mode of study: for example, a course may be offered as three AYs FT or six AYs PT. The normal registration period is defined as the duration from course commencement to the point that the student’s initial thesis is submitted for
    examination (rather than up until the student’s final thesis, after their verbal examination / viva voce). Any period of study beyond the thesis submission date (for the viva voce examination and any post-examination amendments to the thesis) are not included in the maximum period of registration.

In addition you must not be receiving Research Council Funding (even a partial award) and your Research Degree must be provided by a university in the UK with research degree awarding powers such as Queen Mary.

If Queen Mary and an overseas institution deliver your course, Queen Mary must be the lead institution and you must spend at least 50% of your study time over the whole course in the UK.

Distance Learning - applies to Masters and Doctoral loan

If your course is distance learning, you need to be living in England on the first day of the first academic year of your course and will also need to live in:

• England for the whole of your course, if you’re an EU national
• The UK for the whole of your course, if you’re not an EU national

There are some exceptions for serving members of the armed forces and family members. There have also been some exceptions in the academic year 2020/21 due to Covid-19 as explained in the Loans section of this guide.

You must not be in breach of any previous Student Finance England Loan repayment

If you received any Student Finance England (SFE) loans for a previous course, for example, an earlier undergraduate degree course, and you have defaulted on your loan repayments, SFE will usually refuse any further loans. If you have defaulted, SFE usually require the loan to be paid in full before releasing further funding. So, it’s very important to make sure you keep up to date with any repayments and keep in contact with the Student Loan Company. If you are up to date with your loan repayments, you do not need to have repaid the loans in full. 

Previous Study

If you already hold an equivalent or higher-level qualification, the Student Finance England regulations prevent loans being available for a new course. It does not matter if you obtained the qualification in the UK or in another country.

If you started a Postgraduate course, did not complete it and received a Loan you cannot normally obtain another Loan for a new course. However, SFE can consider awarding a second loan to a new course if they accept you left the first course because of compelling personal reasons. This is only possible once and the new course must be taken in full. You must undertake a full course and and not a partial course topping up from previous study or experience. This applies even if you did not receive full payment of your loan. Academic performance alone will not constitute a compelling personal reason, although each case is considered individually. SFE will require evidence to consider your request.

We have further information about obtaining a Loan for a second course in our Postgraduate Funding guide: Changes to your studies Section.

If this applies to you and you would like to discuss your circumstances further contact a Welfare Adviser.

Further information

You can read the gov.uk information about the Masters Loan and the Doctoral Loan
You can also read the more detailed Student Finance England Masters Loan Guidance and Doctoral Loan Guidance

Yuo can also read the Student Finance Assessing Eligibility guidance.

If you are unsure of your eligibility for Student Finance England loans you can contact Welfare Adviser to discuss your circumstances.

I’m from Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland - can I receive the Student Finance England Master's Loan or Doctoral Loan?

You will need to meet the Student Finance England Eligibility requirements. However our current understanding is that you must satisfy SFE that your current and most recent place of normal residence is England. Therefore:

  • You must be living in England on the first day of the first academic year of the course, and
  • You should have been living here for at least 3 months immediately prior to the first day of the first academic year of the course; and
  • You must not have moved to England from elsewhere in the UK and Islands solely for the purpose of studying, or attending the postgraduate course or doctoral course, disregarding any intervening vacation, a course that you were undertaking immediately before the current course. “Immediately” generally means when a student starts a master’s or doctoral course in the semester/term that follows the end of their previous course. In other words, if you were not studying, would you be living in England or elsewhere?
  • If you moved to England to undertake an undergraduate course which you have now completed, you would not automatically be eligible for a PGL for a postgraduate course, unless you could demonstrate to SFE that you are now ordinarily resident in England, for example after your undergraduate course you stayed in England to work.
  • If you moved to England to undertake a postgraduate course which you have now completed, you would not automatically be eligible for a Doctoral Loan for a doctoral course, unless you could demonstrate to SFE that you are now ordinarily resident in England, for example after your postgraduate course you stayed in England to work.

The application form requires you to provide three years of address history.

If you are resident in another part of the UK, you may be eligible for funding from Student Finance Wales, the Students Awards Agency for Scotland and Student Information for Scotland,  or from Student Finance Northern Ireland

For more information about eligibility and repayments see the 'Country Guides' page of the FindAMasters webpage

  

 

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