Postgraduate Living Costs in the UK | FindAMasters.com
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Postgraduate Living Costs in the UK

Your postgraduate fees will account for a large proportion of the cost of your Masters degree. They won’t be all you have to pay, however.

You’ll need to cover accommodation expenses as well as food, drink, entertainment and other living costs – just as you did during your undergraduate degree. After all, your lifestyle may change slightly as a Masters student, but you’ll still need to put food on the table and a roof over your head (the university library doesn’t count!).

This page will give you an idea of the postgraduate living costs you’re likely to encounter in the UK’s major university cities, including average accommodation prices.

UK student living costs

The most important factors shaping your living costs during a Masters will be related to your lifestyle and circumstances. What kind of accommodation will you be living in? Do you go out often? How often will you need to travel away from your university?

We can’t predict these, but we can give you some sense of representative student living costs in different UK university cities. You can use this information to broadly compare options for postgraduate study. It could also help you decide whether living near your university will be more expensive than commuting from home (or opting for a distance learning Masters).

The following table is based on crowdsourced data for what we think are typical student living costs in different cities (there’s more detail on how we’ve calculated these below).


Living costs in UK university cities
City Monthly Cost City Monthly Cost
Aberdeen £850 Hull £618
Aberystwyth £623 Inverness £782
Bath £1,016 Lancaster £723
Belfast £760 Leeds £821
Birmingham £914 Leicester £722
Bolton £761 Lincoln £792
Bournemouth £876 Liverpool £770
Bradford £663 London £1,667
Brighton £1,076 Luton £860
Bristol £1,016 Manchester £908
Buckingham £915 Middlesbrough £518
Cambridge £1,045 Newcastle £937
Canterbury £910 Northampton £750
Cardiff £815 Norwich £806
Carlisle £640 Nottingham £794
Chelmsford £889 Oxford £1,132
Cheltenham £880 Plymouth £725
Chester £723 Portsmouth £910
Colchester £818 Preston £708
Coventry £876 Reading £1,092
Derby £712 Sheffield £770
Dundee £762 Southampton £876
Durham £763 St Andrews £1,087
Edinburgh £947 Sunderland £735
Exeter £800 Swansea £877
Glasgow £819 Wolverhampton £675
Guildford £1,137 Worcester £804
Huddersfield £638 York £840

The information is based on crowdsourced data submitted to Numbeo and calculated using their cost of living estimator.

We’ve based our examples on an individual student sharing in a three-bedroom city centre property, purchasing a monthly travel pass and going out approximately once a week with other optional expenses (eating out, coffee, clothing purchases, etc) kept to a minimum.

Needless to say, this information is only meant as a very general guide. Most universities have their own pages dedicated to student living costs in their city, so it’s worth looking those up.

Estimating your own postgraduate living costs

Sadly, we don't know you well enough to work out your personal student budget. But you do. Your living expenses as a postgraduate won't have changed that much since your first degree. Bear this in mind when estimating postgraduate living costs.

Accommodation costs

If you’re not living at home during your Masters, the biggest financial outlay (other than your tuition fees) will be on accommodation. You’ll want to know that you’re getting good value for money – and that your property meets your needs as a postgraduate.

The big choice you’ll have to make is between university-owned accommodation and the private rental market. We’ve covered the main differences between them below.

University-owned accommodation

Many UK universities offer halls of residence specifically for postgraduates. The cost of this will normally be around £100-150 a week (expect higher in London). Although postgraduate university accommodation is usually more expensive than the private equivalent, remember that bills are normally included in the price.

The cost of university-owned accommodation typically depends on how many people you’re sharing the flat or studio with and whether you have an en-suite bathroom, as well as whether the accommodation is catered or self-catered.

Demand for postgraduate accommodation often outstrips supply, so you should apply as soon as possible and have a plan B in case you don’t manage to secure housing through your university.

Private accommodation

If university accommodation isn’t available (or desirable) you’ll need to rent privately. The cost for this will vary dramatically between different cities and even within them.

Even though private accommodation may sometimes be cheaper than university housing, bear in mind that the rent won’t usually include any bills. You should also take care to make sure that you’re renting from a reputable landlord. Some universities maintain a list of approved, reliable landlords and agencies, so it’s a good idea to talk to them about that.

In the table below we’ve included average rents for someone sharing a three-bedroom, city centre property, based on crowdsourced data from Numbeo.

Rent in UK university cities
City Monthly Cost City Monthly Cost
Aberdeen £349 Hull £229
Aberystwyth £233 Inverness £311
Bath £533 Lancaster £294
Belfast £350 Leeds £385
Birmingham £453 Leicester £268
Bolton £317 Lincoln £343
Bournemouth £419 Liverpool £329
Bradford £217 London £1,060
Brighton £587 Luton £394
Bristol £503 Manchester £447
Buckingham £439 Middlesbrough £172
Cambridge £551 Newcastle £351
Canterbury £476 Northampton £289
Cardiff £367 Norwich £326
Carlisle £183 Nottingham £335
Chelmsford £425 Oxford £656
Cheltenham £420 Plymouth £277
Chester £305 Portsmouth £452
Colchester £353 Preston £275
Coventry £436 Reading £561
Derby £244 Sheffield £332
Dundee £324 Southampton £442
Durham £320 St Andrews £617
Edinburgh £467 Sunderland £272
Exeter £335 Swansea £400
Glasgow £379 Wolverhampton £233
Guildford £647 Worcester £355
Huddersfield £222 York £367

Understanding postgraduate accommodation

You could have a few different housing options available for your Masters, including postgraduate-specific halls as well as general student dormitories and various types of privately rented accommodation. Our guide to choosing postgraduate accommodation provides more information.

Last updated - 03/02/2020

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