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Masters Funding in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

Great postgraduate courses in the UK aren't restricted to English institutions – there are many internationally acclaimed universities elsewhere in the United Kingdom, with excellent opportunities to study a Masters in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

Postgraduate loans are available across the UK, so you’ll be able to access support whether you currently live or study in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

What’s more, there’s also extra funding available in each country alongside (or instead of) a postgraduate loan. This page will summarise the options that are open to you.

Masters funding in Scotland

Scottish postgraduate loans

The Scottish government provides postgraduate loans for Masters students, with up to £10,000 available for Scottish-resident UK students (and EU students studying in Scotland).

Read more about Scottish postgraduate loans

Our full guide to postgraduate loans in Scotland provides more information on this funding, including eligibility criteria, loan amounts and residency requirements.

Individual Scottish universities may also have resources available to support their own postgraduates. Further funding is available from some learned societies and public research bodies.

Masters funding from the Scottish Funding Council

Public funding for universities in Scotland is delivered by the Scottish Funding Council (SFC).

The SFC doesn’t award money to students directly, but it does support Scottish universities to provide funded places on their taught postgraduate programmes.

In most cases SFC funding will cover the cost of your tuition fees (and may therefore be awarded in the form of a fee-waiver).

Eligibility criteria for SFC funding is based on nationality and residency, with an emphasis on supporting students living in Scotland.

If you’ve been domiciled in Scotland for at least three years before the start of your programme (i.e. you’ve been living in Scotland for purposes other than study), you will usually be eligible for SFC funding.

You may also be eligible if you’re from an EU country (with the exception of England, Wales and Northern Ireland) and you’ve been living in the EU for at least three years before the start of your course.

The best way to find SFC funding for Masters degrees is to investigate programmes at individual Scottish universities.

You can do this quickly and conveniently by searching for Masters degrees in Scotland. Where a course has the option of SFC funding it will often be mentioned in the description; if not, you can contact the university using the details provided.

Other sources of postgraduate funding in Scotland

Several other research organisations and scholarly societies offer funding to support academic work in Scotland.

Most will focus their resources on larger research projects or public engagement activities, but these can sometimes include support for students on Masters programmes.

Some of the most prominent funders are:

  • The Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) is one of Scotland’s oldest learned societies, having been founded in 1783. Much of the RSE’s funding supports work by university academics and post-doctoral researchers, but postgraduate grants and studentships may sometimes be available.
  • Saltire Scholarships, awarded by the Scottish government in partnership with Scottish universities, offer citizens from certain countries (Canada, China, India, Japan, Pakistan and the USA) up to £8,000 towards a year of full-time Masters study.

If you’re studying an MSc in Social Work at an eligible university, you might be able to receive a bursary from the Scottish Social Services Council. This includes tuition fees and a maintenance grant.

Masters funding in Wales

Welsh postgraduate loans

The Welsh government offers postgraduate loans worth up to £13,000 for the 2018-19 academic year. Welsh-resident UK students (and EU students studying in Wales) are eligible for these loans.

Read more about Welsh postgraduate loans

Our full guide to Masters loans in Wales explains this funding – as well as future plans for Welsh postgraduates.

Postgraduate funding from the Welsh government

If you’re a Welsh-resident UK citizen or an EU national studying a Masters in Wales, you may be eligible for a fee discount / bursary from the Welsh government.

From the 2018-19 academic year onwards, you could receive up to £3,400 (or more, depending on the institution and your personal circumstances) towards the cost of your course, along with a Welsh postgraduate loan.

Although the funding is provided by the Welsh government, universities choose how they allocate it to students, so different institutions will have different policies in place.

Find out more about extra funding for postgraduates in Wales.

Postgraduate funding from Student Finance Wales

As its name suggests, Student Finance Wales provides government support for students studying in Wales.

The majority of this funding is targeted at undergraduate programmes, but some support is available for postgraduate initial teacher training (in addition to Welsh postgraduate loans).

Other sources of postgraduate funding in Wales

Funding for Masters programmes and other postgraduate courses in Wales is also available from a range of other sources.

Most of these schemes aim to increase the Welsh skill-base in target subject-areas or to widen participation in postgraduate education:

  • Social Care Wales helps fund postgraduate Masters programmes in social work at Welsh universities in the form of bursaries and grants / allowances. Applicants will usually need to meet certain criteria based on personal circumstances.
  • If you’re studying an NHS Wales funded course, you might be eligible for an NHS bursary.

Masters funding in Northern Ireland

Postgraduate Masters loans in Northern Ireland

Tuition fee loans of up to £5,500 are available for UK and Irish students ordinarily resident in Northern Ireland to study at any UK university. These loans are also on offer to EU nationals studying in Northern Ireland.

Read more about postgraduate loans in Northern Ireland

Our full guide to postgraduate loans in Northern Ireland provides more information on this funding.

Masters funding from the Department for the Economy

The Department for the Economy (DfE) has responsibility for higher education in Northern Ireland and in some cases offers funding for Masters programmes.

Sponsoring postgraduate studentships at Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) and Ulster University, the DfE provides financial support for certain MRes courses in Science and Technology.

This funding comes in the form of Taught Studentships, which cover tuition fees as well as a maintenance grant of £7,277.

UK students are eligible to receive both the tuition fee waiver and the maintenance grant, as long as they’ve been resident in the UK for three years before the start of the course.

EU nationals may be eligible for both elements of the studentship if they’ve been resident in the UK for three years before the start of the course. EU nationals who have been living elsewhere in the EEA or Switzerland for three years before the start of the course might be eligible for the fee waiver (but not the grant), depending on their personal circumstances.

You’ll also need to have achieved (or be expected to achieve) a 2:1 in your undergraduate degree – or the international equivalent – to receive this funding.

To apply for a Taught Studentship, you should contact Queen’s University Belfast or Ulster University and ask if this funding is available for your chosen programme. If it is, apply for the studentship through your prospective university.

For more information, please visit the DfE’s page on postgraduate studentships or view their leaflet about the scheme (PDF).

Masters funding across the UK

The above funding options aren’t the only ones available to you as a postgraduate student in the UK, however. There are lots of sources of postgraduate funding available across the UK, including:

Our guide to UK Masters funding provides information on all of these (and other) postgraduate funding options.

Several options are open to international students in the UK, too:

  • Chevening Scholarships are awarded by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), providing funding for outstanding students and future leaders from certain countries to study a one-year Masters at a British university.
  • The Commonwealth Scholarship Commission awards over 800 scholarships and fellowships to Commonwealth citizens each year. More specifically, Commonwealth Masters Scholarships are awarded to people from low and middle income Commonwealth countries to study a Masters in the UK.
  • Fulbright Postgraduate Student Awards offer tuition fee waivers and generous maintenance grants to US nationals wishing to study in the UK.

Search for Masters degrees in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

Now that you know what funding is available, why not start looking at postgraduate courses in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland?

Last updated - 25/01/2019

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