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

Written by Mark Bennett

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 £903 Hull £690
Aberystwyth £630 Inverness £796
Bath £1,390 Lancaster £873
Belfast £970 Leeds £1,088
Birmingham £1,099 Leicester £984
Bolton £758 Lincoln £956
Bournemouth £1,158 Liverpool £1,088
Bradford £764 London £2,196
Brighton £1,347 Luton £1021
Bristol £1,232 Manchester £1,167
Buckingham £915 Middlesbrough £759
Cambridge £1,350 Newcastle £1,052
Canterbury £1,195 Northampton £997
Cardiff £1,054 Norwich £1,009
Carlisle £645 Nottingham £1,036
Chelmsford £890 Oxford £1,485
Cheltenham £946 Plymouth £923
Chester £1,168 Portsmouth £974
Colchester £953 Preston £987
Coventry £862 Reading £1,152
Derby £730 Sheffield £1,045
Dundee £900 Southampton £1,014
Durham £1,442 St Andrews £1,371
Edinburgh £1,299 Sunderland £906
Exeter £1096 Swansea £750
Glasgow £1078 Wolverhampton £838
Guildford £1,316 Worcester £941
Huddersfield £718 York £1,294

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 £125-175 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 £386 Hull £278
Aberystwyth £294 Inverness £316
Bath £800 Lancaster £321
Belfast £463 Leeds £535
Birmingham £594 Leicester £453
Bolton £317 Lincoln £289
Bournemouth £613 Liverpool £505
Bradford £279 London £1,407
Brighton £774 Luton £456
Bristol £663 Manchester £610
Buckingham £440 Middlesbrough £238
Cambridge £758 Newcastle £522
Canterbury £475 Northampton £425
Cardiff £548 Norwich £483
Carlisle £267 Nottingham £464
Chelmsford £466 Oxford £872
Cheltenham £463 Plymouth £413
Chester £700 Portsmouth £465
Colchester £422 Preston £472
Coventry £367 Reading £610
Derby £379 Sheffield £497
Dundee £373 Southampton £500
Durham £908 St Andrews £839
Edinburgh £745 Sunderland £422
Exeter £573 Swansea £417
Glasgow £513 Wolverhampton £333
Guildford £722 Worcester £367
Huddersfield £250 York £742

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.

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Last updated: 15 November 2023