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.

The bursaries are aimed at helping students from underrepresented groups access postgraduate education, which is why you must 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 2022 bursary scheme

Details of the 2022 scheme will be posted in early 2022.

The 2021 bursary scheme

2021 applications are now closed but you can take a look at the questions below to find out more about the eligibility criteria and how it works.

Are all master's courses eligible?

No, there are some master's courses which are ineligible for this funding:

  • 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).

What's the eligibility criteria?

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

To be considered for a master's bursary, you must meet all of the criteria below, and in addition at least one of the widening participation criteria. As we receive many more applications than places, successful applications would normally meet more than one of the widening participation criteria:

  • 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 five years prior to starting your undergraduate course for a purpose other than study.
  • You must be commencing your degree course in September 2021.
  • 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 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, but only if you have completed your undergraduate degree within the past five years.
  • If you're 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're applying for MA Social Work, you'll 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 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's the widening participation criteria?

In support of The University of Manchester’s continued efforts to ensure our postgraduate student population is representative of the communities we serve/reflects the diversity of the population, we would like to invite applications from the following groups. Please note: you must meet at least one of the criteria below to be considered for the bursary. As we receive many more applications than places, successful applications would normally meet more than one:

  • You have been in public care for a minimum of three months since the age of 11, and will be under the age of 25 on the course start date. 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're from a low-income background evidenced by receipt of 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 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.
  • 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. We define a carer as anyone who has a commitment to providing 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. A caring responsibility 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 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 and this situation isn't likely to change; 
    • You've been homeless or ‘sofa surfing’;
    • 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 no alternative family support in place.

How do I apply?

Applications must be made via our online form before the deadline for that year. 

When you do come to complete the form, we advise that you gather all your supporting evidence beforehand as you can't save and return to the application once started. If you close or refresh your browser, the information you've entered will be lost. 

What should I include in my supporting statement?

Use the supporting statement to provide details of any other challenging personal circumstances during your undergraduate studies or prior to entry. Make sure you include this information in the relevant section of the application form. For example, you may have experienced interruptions to study or provide further context to one of the above criteria.  

Be sure to comment on your motivations for undertaking master’s study and plans for afterwards, and how the bursary would specifically help you in these plans. 

We'd strongly encourage you to provide as much detail as you can 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.

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;
  • 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'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. We define a carer as anyone who has a commitment to providing 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. A caring responsibility 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).
  • 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. We define estranged students as under 25 and studying without the support of a family network. One or more of the following may apply:
    • You've had no communicative relationship with your parents/guardians for at least six months and this situation isn't likely to change;
    • You've been homeless or ‘sofa surfing’;
    • 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 no alternative family support in place.

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

What's the application deadline?

The scheme usually opens in early March with a late May deadline.

For 2021, the deadline was 11.59pm on Monday, 31 May. 

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?

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.