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If you’re worrying about how to finance your Master’s degree, you are certainly not alone. Moving on to postgraduate study after your undergraduate degree can be a little more complicated when it comes to funding. Don’t panic, however, as there are still Master’s finance options available. It’s very important to take your time figuring out degree funding before you start your course, to ensure that there are no untimely interruptions in your study. Your first step should be to calculate exactly how much money you’re going to need for the year (or two years if you are studying part-time)...
This is the big question. To help you work out what your outgoings are likely to be, we’ve put together the following check-list:
This will be your main outgoing, and it will vary considerably depending on the course you’re studying, but on average, master’s courses cost £8,000 to £11,000 per year. The good news is your fees might be considerably less than the yearly tuition you paid during your undergraduate. On the other hand, though, they could be even higher – the fees for the most expensive Master’s courses can reach over £30,000.
Rent will likely be your second biggest expenditure, and again, it will vary massively between cities, and even sometimes within the cities themselves. While Cardiff is a relatively cheap city to live in when it comes to rent, for instance, London is a very different story.
Your gas, water and electric bills will take up the lion’s share of this part, but make sure you consider all your bills, including your phone bill, internet and TV license. It can be easy to forget one of them, and could cause some trouble should you not make space for it in your budget from the start.
Set yourself a realistic weekly budget for food, travel, going out etc.
This will vary considerably. If you’re studying the likes of English or History you may need to buy any number of books (if some are difficult to get hold of in the library), and if you’re doing something like Architecture you may need even more specialist equipment. Make sure you check the reading list of your course before it starts, and find out what equipment/facilities are available through the university.
Once you’ve worked out how much your Master’s is going to cost, the next step is working out how to get the money together…
The government introduced a postgraduate loan in 2016 to help students studying for a Master's. You will be able to apply for a loan of up to around £11,000 to cover course fees and living costs. You can apply for the loan through Student Finance England, though loans and applications will be different if you normally live in Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland.
There are seven different research councils in the UK which support academic research across a range of subjects. The funding available from these Councils is notoriously hard to come by, however (although this does vary between subjects), with awards typically going to students who have achieved a 1st at undergrad (and who have put a lot of work into their application).
It’s always worth doing some research for any other forms of funding available. Some private trusts give out grants based on location and need, so you may be able to find other sources of funding if you don’t make an academic scholarship (although it probably won’t be enough to cover all your costs).
If you find that you have don’t quite have enough money to cover all your outgoings for the year, you may want to look into part-time work options. It’s important to check how ‘full-time’ your Master’s degree is likely to be first though, as you may only be able to commit to a certain number of work hours a week (and you don’t want to jeopardise your final results by trying to take on too much).
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