Manchester Master’s Bursary

From 2020, the University’s Manchester Master’s Bursary will offer 75 bursaries each year for master’s students, worth £4,000 in funding.

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 will open on Monday, 24 February and close on Sunday, 31 May. Register your interest and we’ll email you as soon as applications open.


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 2019.
  • 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 UG 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;
  • doctoral degrees (eg PhD).

In addition:

  • If you are studying a distance learning course, you are not eligible.
  • If you are applying for deferred entry, you are not 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).
  • You would not normally be in receipt of any other University of Manchester funding at postgraduate level, with the exception of a loyalty scholarship/bursary.

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.
  • 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 with caring responsibilities for another family member, 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 will open on Monday, 24 February and close on Sunday, 31 May. Register your interest and we’ll email you as soon as applications open.

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 cannot 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 (download our checklist (PDF 190KB) to help) before beginning the online application.

Additional notes

This is a competitive bursary scheme, and eligibility does not guarantee an award.

Awards will be provided in cash, 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.

If the student is also eligible for a School or Faculty award or discount, then the higher value award will be offered. The only exemption to this will be any University loyalty bursary for which a student is eligible, which will be awarded in addition.

Bursary awards cannot 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