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SLC Doctoral Loan 

Please note that details for 2021/22 have not been released in full by Student Finance England. All details below refer to students starting in 2020/21, unless stated otherwise, and will be updated once further information is available. 

UK Students starting a doctoral degree in 2021/22 may be able to apply for a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan through Student Finance England. The loan will be: 

  • Up to £27,265 per student for the duration of the course; (capped at £11,570 per academic year) (confirmed for 2021/22) 
  • A contribution towards the cost of study, i.e. it will be at the student’s discretion to use the loan towards fees, maintenance costs, or other costs; 
  • Non-means tested; 
  • Paid directly to the student (3 equal instalments each year). 

Please note that funding can’t be backdated, so if you wait to apply for funding in your second year, you won’t be able to claim retrospectively for your first year. 

Important note: course length is counted from initial registration up to the expected final thesis submission (standard full-time PhD course: 3 years of supervised study + 1 year of writing up period (CO) = 4 years in total). 

For additional information and see if you qualify, please visit Student Finance England website. 


  • You must be a UK national, or have settled status in the UK, and have been ordinarily resident in the UK, Channel Islands or Isle of Man, for three years on the first day of the academic year of your course start date; 
  • You must be aged 59 years or under on the first day of the academic year of your course; 
  • You must not already hold a PhD or equivalent qualification; 
  • You must not be receiving a Research Council studentship (including tuition fees only studentship), NHS funding or other government finance towards your PhD. 

Course Eligibility: 

  • Your course must be a full, standalone doctoral course; 
  • Course start date is on or after 1 August 2018; 
  • Course duration is between 3 to 8 academic years; 
  • Available for full-time and part-time study; 
  • At least 50% of study over the whole course must be undertaken in the UK; 
  • There are no restrictions on what subject you can study and your PhD proposal will not be checked as part of your application for a doctoral loan. 


The earliest you start repaying is when your annual income is over £21,000 and it's either the: 

  • 6th April following course end date or student withdrawal date 


  • 6th April following the fourth anniversary of the course start date, where the course lasts longer than 4 years. 


Application process for the 2020/21 academic year is now open. 

Application process for the 2021/22 academic year is expected to open in late June 2021. 

This website will be updated regularly as we get updates from Student Finance England so please keep on checking it for further information. You can also send any queries to 

Durham University makes every effort to ensure that the information published or contained on its website is accurate. However, the University cannot guarantee the information may not be altered owing to circumstances beyond the University’s reasonable control. Such circumstances include (but are not limited to) change in Government policy, or change of law. Any changes will be incorporated into the University’s website. Any person wishing to obtain confirmation of any particular item should contact the University via .