Should you self-fund your masters?

*Please not this article is based on my opinions and thoughts only and is definitely not financial advice* 

If you want to study a masters it usually doesn’t benefit from the same student loan system as your undergraduate degree unless you’re doing an integrated masters. Instead, many people have to self-fund. There is now the a postgraduate loan scheme and there are various other sources of funding including scholarships. This post will focus on the pros and cons of self-funding a masters through your own means e.g. taking out loans and working whilst studying.

Here are my thoughts:

Things you should consider when thinking about self-funding a masters:

  • Debt – Getting into potentially more debt just because you’re unsure of what to do next or want to avoid the working world for a little bit longer might not be the best idea. If you will end up in the same situation following a masters/further education just with additional financial worries maybe you should think about your motivations for studying a masters.
  • Stress – Can you realistically ‘do it all’? I was ready to start a masters – I even had my offer. However, I had to turn it down because realistically I knew it would be a financial struggle that I wasn’t even sure I could get through. I realised I would have just about enough money to get by (probably quite miserably) if I worked a long hours in a part-time job alongside my studies. Maybe if you think you’d be struggling to financially afford a masters you could consider deferring your plans for a year to save some money.

Reasons self-funding might be a good idea:

  • Developing valuable knowledge in your area of interest – If you have planned out your finances and realistically believe you can self-fund your masters in area that interests you I think you should get out there and go for it.
  • Career prospects – Although potentially getting into debt to fund a masters is not ideal it could work out to your financial benefit if a masters helps you to specialise within your industry or to get you your dream job. If a masters is ‘standard’ in the industry you want to work in it might be worth seriously thinking about how you could fund a masters.

It is a difficult decision but ultimately I believe it is best to consider both your goals for the future and your present situation when deciding if it’s worth self-funding a masters. However, I really do think it’s important not to be completely off put by the idea of self funding as there are so many options out there to help you reach your goal even if it means you have to be patient.

I would be interested to hear how anyone else made the decision whether or not to self fund a masters!


  1. I decided to self-fund and it was all working out ok…until the coursework needed to be started and I didn’t have time because I was too busy working all hours around my studies. I was working two jobs but ended just in time for Christmas…yay! (sarcasm).

    Now I should have lots of time to do the coursework, but I don’t because I’m up to my eyeballs in Charitable Trust details, desperately trying to find help and more work. But it’s increasingly looking like that’s not going to happen and I will have to pull out of my degree, when I am almost a third of the way through. It’s heartbreaking but there is nobody out there willing to help postgraduate students and you are really on your own.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Not yet, I think if I am brutally careful, I will have enough money to pay the rent for February, but if I haven’t found more work by then I will have to leave. It’s incredibly stressful.


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