Manchester Master’s Bursary

We are committed to widening participation in master’s study and allocate 75 awards of £4,000 each year.

The bursaries are aimed at helping students from underrepresented groups access postgraduate education.

The 2022 bursary scheme

The 2022 bursary scheme is open for applications, apply via our online form

Read more below about the eligibility criteria and the documents you will need to submit if you are eligible to apply.

Are all master's courses eligible?

No, the master's courses not eligible are:

  • postgraduate certificates/diplomas (PGCert, PGDip, PGCE);
  • integrated undergraduate master’s (MChem, MMath);
  • Master of Architecture (MArch);
  • MA Architecture and Urbanism;
  • MSc Physician Associate Studies;
  • doctoral degrees (PhD).

What's the eligibility criteria?

The bursary scheme may not be for everyone which is why there are a few things we ask everyone to check before applying. These are, called eligibility and demographic criteria.

You will need to meet all the following (plus at least one of the demographic criteria):

  • Studying for an LLM, MA, MEd, MBA, MEnt, MPH, MPhil, MRes, MSc, MSc by Research, MusM.
  • Studying a full-time one-year or part-time two-year course, for a maximum of two years.
  • Be a home student paying tuition fees and have been in the UK for at least five years prior to starting your undergraduate course.
  • Commencing your degree course in September 2022.
  • Not hold a master’s qualification or higher.
  • Commenced your undergraduate course after September 2012.
  • Intercalating medical students taking a master’s course are eligible to apply. Medical students should note that if they plan to intercalate and take a master’s course between Years 2 and 3, they won't be eligible for undergraduate loans in Year 3. However, there will be no interruption to funding if they intercalate between Years 3 and 4, and they will be eligible for the postgraduate loan.

In addition:

  • If you're studying a distance learning course, you're eligible, if you have completed your undergraduate degree within the past five years.
  • You will not be able to apply if you’re deferring your entry.
  • You must not be receiving course funding from an employer, or public funding body or be covered by an undergraduate loan (such as NHS, PGCE, integrated master’s).
  • If you're applying for MA Social Work, you'll be eligible if you don't receive the NHS Bursary. 
  • You wouldn't normally be eligible for other University funding in addition to the Manchester Master's Bursary. Exceptions to this are bursaries awarded as a fees discount, including an Alumni Scholarship. Where students are eligible for more than one bursary awarded as a fees discount, the award of higher value will normally apply.

What are the demographic criteria?

We want to ensure our postgraduate student population is representative of the communities we serve and reflects the diversity of the population, therefore, we encourage applications from underrepresented groups. 

As places can be limited, we need to check that you have at least one of the following:

  • You have been in public care (such as foster care, residential care and children’s homes) for at least three months since the age of 11 and will be under the age of 25 on the course start date.
  • You're from a low-income background and can show you received a maintenance grant and/or a higher rate of maintenance loan during undergraduate studies. Consideration will be given to the number of years that a maintenance grant was received and the amount awarded, or the rate of maintenance loan received (if you started your undergraduate course following the phasing out of maintenance grants).
  • You come from a deprived area in the UK as indicated by ACORN and LPN data. This is based on home postcode before attending university. 
  • You are/were in receipt of a Disabled Student Allowance as part of your undergraduate studies or are receiving/received support from your undergraduate university’s disability office.
  • You have been recognised as a refugee or asylum seeker or been granted humanitarian protection status by the UK government or are the partner or child of someone who has been granted refugee, asylum seeker or humanitarian protection status.
  • You regard yourself as being of African or Caribbean origin – for example, ‘Black British’, ‘Black-African’, ‘Black-Caribbean’, or ‘Other Black’ background. This includes people of Mixed heritage.
  • You're a carer and therefore provide unpaid care to a family member or friend who couldn't cope without their support. This may be due to illness, disability, a mental health issue or substance misuse and may be short term (such as supporting someone with their recovery following an accident) or long term (such as helping someone with a long-term illness).
  • You consider yourself estranged from your family (not supported by your family). We define estranged students as those under 25 and studying without the support of a family network. You'd usually have been assessed as independent by Student Finance due to estrangement and/or:

    • you've had no communicative relationship with your parents/guardians for at least six months; 
    • you've been homeless or staying at others;
    • you've been in foster or local authority care but aren't classed as a care-leaver;
    • both of your parents have passed away and you have little family support in place.

How do I apply and when is the deadline?

Applications are open now. Apply via our online form

Applications must be made before Tuesday, 31 May 2022.

We advise you to have all your documents ready before you apply and have put together a summary of what you need.

Download our supporting evidence checklist (PDF 436KB) to help you with your application.

However, you can also send additional documents by email after submitting the form if you need to. Details of how to do this will be included in the confirmation email you receive after applying.

We advise you to make an application as early as possible so that we can give you the support and advice you need to submit your application and all the supporting documents in time. 


What should I include in my supporting statement?

The supporting statement is your chance to provide as much detail as you feel you can about challenging personal circumstances that may have interrupted your undergraduate study.

You will also have the opportunity to express your motivations for undertaking a master’s course, your plans for after you graduate and how the Bursary would help you achieve your goals.

What supporting evidence do I need?

Depending on which criteria you meet, you may be asked to submit additional documents as supporting evidence, which could include:

  • If you have been in Local Authority care for at least 13 weeks – a letter from the Local Authority confirming this.
  • Student Finance notification of award letter for the full amount of maintenance award received.
  • If your home postcode on entry to undergraduate study met the relevant geo-demographic indicator – a Student Loan Company letter showing your postcode on entry to undergraduate study.
  • The Disabled Students’ Allowance – a Student Finance notification of award letter, and/or if you received from your undergraduate university’s disability office a letter confirming what support you received.
  • If you've been recognised (or are the partner or child of someone who has been recognised) as a refugee or asylum seeker or been granted humanitarian protection status by the UK government – a document with evidence of your current immigration status.
  • If you're a carer, a Word document giving further information about your caring responsibilities.
  • If you're estranged from your family –either evidence of assessment of your status by Student Finance during your undergraduate studies, or a Word document with further information about this.

Download our supporting evidence checklist (PDF 436KB) to help you with your application.

How will I receive my bursary payments?

Awards will be provided in cash and paid in three instalments (October, January and April). Students undertaking a part-time course over two years will receive 50% of the award in the first year and 50% in their second year.

What if my study plans change?

We realise that your plans may change, however, bursary awards can't be deferred to a future academic year.

Students who amend their registration from a master’s level degree to postgraduate diploma or certificate will no longer be eligible for a bursary.

Students who discontinue their studies will also no longer be eligible for a scholarship and maintenance payments.