UK Postgraduates

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Postgrad research

More than a third of all postgraduates in the UK are studying at Russell Group universities. The large volume of research activity across the range of subjects (and between them) at our universities creates an ideal environment for postgraduate study.

As a postgraduate student at a Russell Group university you will have the opportunity to specialise in a topic which caught your eye at undergraduate level or gain specialist knowledge of a new field. You will be surrounded by a talented, highly-motivated peer group and be inspired by international experts in their field.

Our postgraduate students benefit from the critical mass and high concentration of excellent research found in our universities. The most recent assessment of research quality in UK universities (the Research Excellence Framework) found that:

  • 68% of the UK’s very best, or ‘world-leading’, research took place in Russell Group universities
  • Almost twice as much of the research undertaken at Russell Group universities is ‘world-leading’ compared to other institutions
  • More than half of research in Russell Group universities results in outstanding impact, compared to less than a third in other universities
  • Russell Group universities are more than twice as likely to provide the most conducive environments for the very best research

Entry requirements  

Entry requirements will vary by programme and from university to university. Some postgraduate programmes build on your knowledge gained at undergraduate level and so require a degree in a specific subject, while others provide an opportunity to develop a new interest and accept a wide variety of degree subjects. In the majority of cases, you are likely to be required to have a good undergraduate degree (normally a 2:1 or above).

In some subjects you will be able to progress directly from an undergraduate degree to PhD study, while in other areas it is usual to obtain a Masters qualification before continuing to postgraduate research.

Russell Group universities will be happy to advise you on appropriate entry routes taking account of your educational history and qualifications.

For information on specific entry requirements for UK & EU postgraduate students at individual Russell Group universities, please use the University website links section on this page.

Financial support

The two main costs you will face as a postgraduate student are tuition fees and living expenses. Securing financial support for your postgraduate study can be challenging, but the reputation of Russell Group universities puts our students in a strong position. Your study can be financed in a variety of ways, including sometimes combining support from different sources to build your own funding package.

The Government has launched a student loans system for postgraduate students who live in England. Loans are available for students taking courses at Masters-level (e.g. MA, MSc) and for Doctoral-level courses. More information can be found on the Gov.UK website.

Students in Scotland may also be eligible for loans for certain postgraduate courses - more information is available on the Students Awards Agency Scotland website. The Northern Irish Government also have guides to the postgraduate loans which are available for students in Northern Ireland.

Funding for postgraduate research courses such as PhDs is available from individual universities (via the UK Research Councils), learned societies, charities and industry.

Other funding options for postgraduate courses include:

  • Scholarships/awards from external organisations (charities, industry, learned societies)
  • Scholarships funded by individual universities
  • Bank loans and career development loans
  • Private funding

Our universities provide information about funding opportunities and scholarships on their websites.