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Postgraduate Living Costs in the UK

UK university fees do not generally include postgraduate accommodation and living costs, so you’ll have to make sure that you budget for how much living in the UK will cost you in addition to your postgraduate course fees.

In some cases, this can be more than the tuition fees for your masters degree.


Cost of living

Student living costsIf you are an international student, depending on where you are from, the UK may seem cheap or expensive to you.

And within the UK itself some parts of the country are considerably cheaper than others, which makes it extremely difficult to estimate the living costs.

There are vast price differences between the north and south in the UK, especially when comparing the cost of living in London to other areas in the UK.

Typical monthly costs of living for students

As a starting point, this table provides a very general estimate on the monthly cost of living in the UK for university students.



Cost per month





Going out


Takeaways and eating out


Household bills




Clothes and shopping




Course materials


Mobile phone


Health and wellbeing


Holidays and events


Gifts and charity






Travel costs

If you are an international student you will need to consider the costs of travelling to and from your home country in your overall living costs.

Flights can sometimes total up to thousands of pounds, which is certainly a pain when it comes to your student budget. Consider limiting the amount of travel you do for the duration of your degree if you want to save money – even if it is difficult to be away from home.

Hidden living costs for postgraduate students in the UK

There are many costs that people do not budget for because they don’t crop up in day-to-day life, or are specific to certain students. If you want to make sure you’ve covered all your bases, then you need to consider these items as they could add to your overall costs.

Healthcare and medical costs

If you are registered on a postgraduate course in the UK then you are entitled to care from the National Health Service (NHS), which is free of charge. This means you do not need to worry about the cost of seeing a GP or a trip to the emergency room at the local hospital.

However, if you need medication, unless you meet certain exemptions you may be liable to pay for the cost of your prescription. Currently a prescription is £9.35 per item unless you fulfil the exemption criteria or live in an area of the UK where you do not have to pay for prescriptions, for example in Wales.

Dental treatment

Basic dental care in the UK is free for people who are registered with an NHS dentist, however NHS dentists are few and far between so this is certainly for the minority of people.

It’s not easy to get registered with an NHS dentist, so you may well have to pay for expensive private treatment. If you are registered with an NHS dentist, you will still have to meet certain dental costs,


If you have any dependents living with you between the ages of 5–16 years old whilst you are doing your postgraduate studies, then you are legally required to place them in school. State education is free in the UK, although you will be required to meet certain costs such as school uniform and school dinners.

If you have younger children then you may need to budget for day care, for example nursery or a child minder, which can be expensive, especially in London.


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