£1250 increase in Postgraduate tuition fees from 2020

By Emma Lucia Felisi &

Postgraduate taught tuition fees will experience an overall increase, beginning from the next academic year (2020/2021).

It has been confirmed that MA taught tuition fees for certain courses, including Philosophy and History, will be increased by £1250, from £7750 to £9000.

Some subjects will see an even greater increase, such as taught MA English Literary Studies, which now costs the student £9500.

This information was made available on Durham University’s website, but current and continuing MA students have not been notified directly of this increaseas of yet.

This increase is particularly concerning to students from lower-income backgrounds

Ewan Swift, current MA Philosophy student at Durham University, who paid £7750 in tuition fees for the academic year 2019/2020, commented on the unexpected rise in tuition fees to Palatinate:

“The [rise in tuition fees] was only brought to my attention when a friend was looking at courses and I saw the £1250 increase which came about both under the radar and seemingly without justification.

“If the rise in fees is not met with a rise in standards in taught MA courses or an increase in allotted contact hours, then how is the University justifying this?”

As the UK government currently offers almost £11,000 as a Master’s loan for food, accommodation, and fees, this increase in fees is particularly concerning to students from lower-income backgrounds.

Swift expressed a concern that the increases would adversely affect “groups such as working- class students and estranged students.”

“This has the knock-on effect of “reducing working class representation within academia even further.”

Though many universities have increased their course costs, Durham’s fees still appear high when compared to other Russell Group universities. Exeter’s MA courses sit at around £8,750, York’s at £8,050, and Bristol’s at £8,700.

In explanation for the sudden and unexplained rise in Postgraduate tuition fees, StephenWillis, Chief Financial Officer at Durham University, has said to Palatinate:

“We review postgraduate taught tuition fees annually. There view takes into account inflationary cost increases, comparison with other leading institutions, and the broader financial context.

Durham University’s CFO stated: “The fees we set maintain our global reputation”

“The fees we set maintain our global reputation for excellence,whilst securing the financial sustainability of the University.

“Updated tuition fees are advertised on our webpages over a year in advance of the course commencing, typically over the summer. So, for example, fees for courses starting in October 2019 were published in August 2018.”

Photograph by International Office, Durham University

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