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Funding for medical and healthcare courses has changed in recent years, and NHS bursaries are no longer available in England for programmes in Nursing, Midwifery and various allied health professions.
However, there are some NHS-funded postgraduate courses, namely Masters in Social Work and graduate entry Medicine and Dentistry programmes. Similarly, if you’re a Welsh resident, you may be able to access an NHS bursary to study Health Education.
This page will explain how NHS funding works, and what you should do if you’re applying for a subject where bursaries have been discontinued.
If you’re applying for a Masters in Social Work at an English university, you could be eligible for NHS funding to help with your living costs, tuition fees and travel to / from your placement.
Depending on your circumstances, this is the bursary support you might receive (as of the 2019-20 academic year):
There are a few other forms of financial support you may be eligible for:
To apply for an NHS bursary, you must satisfy the residency criteria and be studying on an approved Social Work course.
You’ll need to fall under one of the following residency categories to receive the full bursary:
A non-UK EU / EEA / Swiss national must be ordinarily resident in England on the first day of the course (i.e. not in England for the sole purpose of study). You’ll also need to have been living in the UK for the past three years.
Alternatively, if you or a family member have EEA or Swiss migrant worker status and have been living in the EEA or Switzerland for the past three years, you may be eligible for a bursary.
If you don’t meet these conditions, you might still qualify for an ‘EU fees’ award – see below.
If you’re an EU / EEA / Swiss national but aren’t ordinarily resident in England, you might be eligible for an EU fees award (but not the full bursary). This means your tuition fees will be paid, but you won’t get a maintenance grant. To qualify for an EU fees award, you’ll need to have lived in the European Economic Area (EEA) for the past three years.
You must be studying an eligible, college-based Social Work course that is approved by one of the following organisations:
You won’t be eligible if you’re currently working in social care and your employer is giving you paid time off to complete the Masters, or if they’re paying part (or all) of your tuition fees.
For more information, view the NHS page on Social Work bursaries.
You can apply by creating a MyFunding account with the NHS Business Services Authority. Once you’ve completed the online form, you’ll need to print it off and post it to Social Work Bursaries. You will need to apply in each academic year of your programme.
The deadline for applications is usually the August before your course starts.
For more information, view the NHS guidance on applications for postgraduate bursaries. This page has up-to-date information on deadlines and addresses, as well as some additional forms you might need to complete.
It’s worth noting that the number of NHS bursaries is capped. Universities decide who to put on the ‘capping list’ and then send this list to the NHS Business Services Authority (NHBSA), which checks that the proposed bursary recipients are eligible. If you aren’t on the capping list, you won’t be able to apply for a bursary.
If you’re studying a Masters in Social Work in Scotland, you may be eligible for a bursary from the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC). For more information, please visit the SSSC website.
Similarly, if you’re studying a Masters in Social Work in Wales, you might be able to apply for a bursary from Social Care Wales.
In Northern Ireland, the Department of Health offers a Student Incentive Scheme for Northern Ireland-domiciled students on a full-time Social Work degree. For more information, visit nidirect.
If you’re enrolled on an accelerated, three or four-year graduate entry Medicine or Dentistry programme in England, you may be eligible for NHS funding from the second year of your course onwards.
This support will include £3,715 per year from the NHS towards your tuition fees for the second, third and fourth years of your course. You’ll be able to apply for a loan from Student Finance to cover the difference between this amount and the full tuition fees, but you will have to self-fund £3,465 of the tuition fees for the first year of your course (a loan will cover the rest).
On top of this, you could apply for a means-tested NHS bursary of up to:
There’s also a non-means-tested NHS grant of £1,000 per year available.
Please note that these figures are for the 2018-19 academic year and may change.
Eligibility for this NHS funding is dependent on where you live when you begin the course. This means that to qualify for the full NHS bursary you will need to be a UK or EU national and ordinarily resident in England or Wales for three years before the start of the programme, i.e. not in England or Wales for the sole purposes of study.
If you’re ordinarily resident in Scotland or Northern Ireland, you won’t be eligible for NHS funding but can usually apply for a maintenance loan from your home student finance organisation.
In some cases, non-UK EU nationals may be eligible for the tuition fee element of the NHS funding (but not the bursary or grant) if they’ve lived in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland for the past three years.
NHS bursaries are still available in some circumstances for students who are willing to work in Wales for up to two years after their course has finished.
If eligible for NHS funding, you could receive:
Most NHS-funded programmes in Wales are at undergraduate level. However, this support is available for several PGDips, as well as an MSc in Nursing. You can see a list of eligible courses on the NHS Wales website.
To receive NHS funding in Wales, you’ll usually need to be a UK national studying on a relevant Health Education course in Wales.
EU nationals may be eligible for the full bursary package if you’ve been ordinarily resident in the UK for three years before the start of the programme. If you don’t satisfy this residency requirement, you could still apply for the tuition fee waiver part of the bursary, however.
You will also need to commit to working in Wales for a certain period after your studies. For a two-year course, this is 18 months. If you break your commitment to working in Wales, you’ll have to pay all or some of your NHS bursary back, so think carefully about your future plans before making a decision!
For more information, please visit NHS Wales’ page on the bursary scheme.
The UK Government has reformed NHS bursaries in recent years, mostly replacing them with the student finance system of tuition fee and maintenance loans.
As such, there are several subject areas where bursaries are no longer available, but where applicants will be able to apply for loans to help cover their living costs and tuition fees.
If you’re studying a postgraduate, pre-registration qualification in one of the following areas, you’ll normally be able to apply for an undergraduate student loan:
If you’re applying for an academic, Masters-level qualification that doesn't lead to professional certification, you should usually apply for one of the UK Government’s postgraduate loans.
It’s worth bearing in mind that the funding arrangements for subjects like these may change from year to year, so always check directly with the NHS or the universities themselves.
Last updated 26/06/2019