If you already have a UK honours degree and want to study for another higher education qualification at a lower or equivalent level (eg a second honours degree) in the UK, you can only get very limited support from the government. However, there are a few exceptions. Here’s a brief overview.
What am I entitled to?
You’re not usually entitled to a tuition fee loan or grant, or grant for living costs for any part of the new course. However, you may be entitled to supplementary grants (eg for disabled students and for students with children and/or adult dependants) for your new course, and a loan for living costs as well, depending on where you’re from:
- England, Wales and Northern Ireland: you’re eligible for funding from Student Finance England, Wales or NI you can get a loan for living costs if your new course leads to a professional qualification, eg as a medical doctor, dentist, veterinary surgeon, social worker, architect, town planner (for medicine, dentistry or social work you may be able to get an NHS, Care Council for Wales or DHSSPS bursary instead or as well – see below).
- Scotland: if you’re eligible for funding from the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS), you can get a loan for living costs for a second degree course, as well as any supplementary grants, but you usually have to make some fee contribution, and you have limited access to bursaries. If you’re a dentistry student you may be able to get funding for your tuition fees. For more information, see Repeat periods of study and previous assistance.
Your tuition fees may be higher than the standard rates, though, because fees for students on second degree courses aren’t regulated, and the funding that the university or college receives from the government is more restricted.
If you’re a student at Oxford or Cambridge and you want to study a second degree, you may be charged college fees in addition to tuition fees. You may be able to apply for a College Fee Loan (CFL) to cover the college fees only. Speak to your student finance provider if you think this applies to you.
What about medicine, dentistry and healthcare?
If you already have a degree in another subject and want to study medicine, dentistry or healthcare at undergraduate degree or diploma level in England, Wales or Scotland, you may be eligible to get a bursary to help with the costs of some or all of your course. You can also get funding from the NHS in Wales to study for postgraduate qualifications in medicine, dentistry or healthcare.
For more information, see:
Northern Ireland: if you normally live in Northern Ireland and want to take a degree in medicine or dentistry that requires a previous degree, you can get some funding from Student Finance NI. For more information, see I’m studying medicine, dentistry or healthcare – what higher education funding can I get in Northern Ireland?
What about social work?
Wherever you normally live in the UK you may also be able to get NHS, Care Council for Wales or DHSSPS funding to study social work. For more information, see:
What about teacher training?
If you want to study to become a qualified teacher you may be able to get the full package of student support from the government in England, Wales or Northern Ireland to study for a Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) or undertake a school-centred initial teacher training course.
If you’re from Scotland you can get funding to study for a Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE), and depending on the subject you want to teach, you can get funding no matter what undergraduate or postgraduate study you’ve undertaken before.
For more information, see I want to be a teacher – what higher education funding is available?
What about other postgraduate study?
If you want to pursue other kinds of postgraduate study, see What funding is available for postgraduates studying in the UK? for more information.
Can I get higher education funding in the UK?
I’ve undertaken a higher education course before – can I get funding again?
This information was updated in March 2013. NUS provides this information in good faith and has taken care to make sure it’s accurate. However, student finance issues can be complicated, and rules change frequently. You should contact the advice centre in your students' union, college or university for support if you’re uncertain or need more help.