Manchester Master’s Bursary

The University of Manchester is committed to widening participation in master’s study, and allocates £300,000 in funding each year.

For courses starting in 2020, these awards will be distributed as 75 awards of £4,000 each. They are grants, so don't need to be repaid.

The bursaries are aimed at widening access to master’s courses by removing barriers to postgraduate education for students from underrepresented groups, so applicants need to meet a number of criteria to be eligible. Last year, there were more eligible applications than places, so meeting the criteria is no guarantee of an award.

The 2020 bursary scheme

Applications for courses starting in September 2020 are now open and close on Sunday, 31 May.


To be considered for a master's bursary, you must meet all of the criteria below:

  • Eligible courses include LLM, MA, MEd, MBA, MEnt, MPhil, MRes, MSc, MSc by Research, MusM.
  • Courses can be studied full-time for one or two academic years or part-time for a maximum of two academic years.
  • You must be a home student paying home level tuition fees, and have been resident in the UK for at least three years prior to starting your undergraduate course for a purpose other than study.
  • You must be commencing your degree course in September 2020.
  • You must not hold a master’s qualification or higher.
  • You must have commenced your undergraduate course since 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 will not 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.

Ineligible courses include:

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

In addition:

  • If you are studying a distance learning course, you are eligible, but only if you have completed your undergraduate degree within the past five years.
  • If you are applying for deferred entry, you aren't eligible.
  • You must not be receiving funding for your course from an employer, public funding body or be covered by an undergraduate loan (eg NHS, PGCE, integrated master’s).
  • If you are applying for the MA Social Work, you will be eligible if you don't receive the NHS Bursary. You may apply for the Manchester Master’s Bursary, but in the event that you do receive the NHS Bursary, your Manchester Master’s Bursary would be offered to someone else.
  • You would not 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 the Alumni Loyalty Bursary (in the Faculty of Humanities and Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health). Where students are eligible for more than one bursary awarded as a fees discount, the award of higher value will normally apply.

Widening participation criteria

You must meet at least one of the criteria below to be considered for the bursary:

  • You have been in public care for a minimum of three months since the age of 11. Time spent in care could refer to foster care, residential care (mainly children’s homes) or other arrangements outside the immediate or extended family.
  • You are from a low-income background evidenced by receipt of 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 one of the most deprived areas of 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 (DSA) 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.

While not part of the bursary criteria, we encourage applications from BAME students.

If you have faced challenging personal circumstances during your undergraduate studies or prior to entry, please include this information in the relevant section of the application form. For example, you may have had caring responsibilities for another family member, be a care leaver, or have experienced interruptions to study.

We would strongly encourage you to provide as much detail as you can in this section about the ways in which the Manchester Master’s Bursary would enable you to complete your master’s course. As we receive many more applications than places, we use the information in your supporting statement to make the final decision when allocating bursaries.

How to apply

Applications for courses starting in September 2020 have now opened and close on Sunday, 31 May.

Apply now

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 postcode on entry to undergraduate study;
  • if you received 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 have 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.

Please note that you can't save and return to your application once started. If you close or refresh your browser, the information you have entered will be lost. We advise that you gather all your supporting evidence before beginning the online application. 

Additional notes

This is a competitive bursary scheme, and eligibility doesn't guarantee an award.

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.

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 and the University will discontinue payments.

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

If you have any questions regarding the scheme or your eligibility, please contact