Tuition Fee Loan Postgraduate, Northern Ireland students

2. Who can get this loan?

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This page is intended for your information only. Make your application for student finance, we'll determine your eligibility and let you know.

The following can contribute to your eligibility for a Tuition Fee Loan for postgraduate Northern Ireland students.

Nationality and residency

You could get this funding if you’re able to identify as one of the following:

A UK or ROI National or someone with settled status in the UK

You must:

  • normally live in Northern Ireland
  • have been living in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for the three years before the first day of your first academic year

An EU National

You must:

  • normally live in Northern Ireland
  • have been living in Northern Ireland for the three years before the first day of your first academic year

EU Nationals (including ROI nationals) with less than 3 years residency in Northern Ireland may be eligible for EU student funding.

A UK National who has been living in the EU

You must:

  • have normally lived in Northern Ireland before you moved to the EU
  • have normally lived in the EU for the past three years
  • be living in Northern Ireland on the first day of the first year of your course, unless COVID-19 travel restrictions prevent you from doing so

An eligible exception residency type

Our eligible exception residency types can include refugees, those under humanitarian protection or their immediate family members.

If you are resident in another area of the UK but living in Northern Ireland while you study

You will not be classed as ‘ordinarily resident’ in Northern Ireland and will not be eligible for support from Student Finance NI. You should contact your home funding provider for further information on what support is available.


There is no upper or lower age limit for a Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loan.


Your course must start on or after 1 August 2017, and must be one of the following:

  • Postgraduate Master’s
  • Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert)
  • Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip)

The course can be studied in attendance at a university or through distance learning.

If you’re studying a Postgraduate Master’s it must lead to a qualification such as:

  • Master of Science (MSc)
  • Master of Art (MA)
  • Master of Philosophy (MPhil)
  • Master of Research (MRes)
  • Master of Law (LLM)
  • Master of Letters (MLitt)
  • Master of Fine Art (MFA)
  • Master of Education (MED)
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA)

Where the Master’s course incorporates another postgraduate qualification of the same or lower level, the Master’s course is eligible for Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loan funding. For example, a Master of Law (LLM) is an eligible course whether or not it incorporates a Legal Practice Course (LPC) (the LPC being a Postgraduate Diploma qualification).

It can be taught or research-based and studied either full time or part time but must not last longer than three academic years.

A Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loan is not available for:

  • Postgraduate Doctoral degree
  • Master’s degrees that are undertaken as part of a Postgraduate Doctoral Degree
  • postgraduate courses that are eligible for undergraduate support

Master of Architecture

If you plan to study for a Master of Architecture (MArch) qualification full time, apply for undergraduate support.

The Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loan will only be available for a MArch if you’re either taking a part-time course or you aren’t eligible for undergraduate funding for another reason.

Any other sources of funding you receive (including bursary funding) will not affect your eligibility for Postgraduate Loan.

Place of study

Your university must be in the UK (including Open University) and be publicly funded (paid for by the government).

Previous study

If you’ve never received postgraduate funding before

The Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loan will be available to you even if you already hold a postgraduate qualification of any level.

If you have a lower level qualification, such as a Postgraduate Certificate or Postgraduate Diploma which you have self-funded, and want to ‘top-up’ to a Master’s degree, you will be eligible for a Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loan.

If you’ve received postgraduate funding in the past

You won’t be able to receive a Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loan if you've previously received postgraduate funding from any of the following:

  • Student Finance NI
  • Student Finance England
  • Student Finance Wales
  • Student Awards Agency for Scotland

If you were unable to complete your course due to compelling personal reasons then you may be eligible for a Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loan for a new course, you can contact our postgraduate helpline for more information.

If you only got Disabled Students’ Allowances for your previous postgraduate course, you will still be able to get a Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loan.

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