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NHS Funded Postgraduate Courses

Written by Ben Taylor

NHS funding is available for a variety of Masters courses, with bursaries for pre-registration programmes in Nursing, Midwifery and various allied health professions.

In addition, you can apply for an NHS funded 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 in Wales.

This page will explain how NHS funded courses work, how much you could receive and how to apply for it. You can also read our guide to the UK Government’s NHS Learning Support Fund training grants.

NHS Learning Support Fund for Nursing, Midwifery and allied health professions

Nursing, Midwifery and allied health profession students at English universities may be eligible for grants of up to £8,000 from the NHS Learning Support Fund.

If you begin a course in one of the following areas from September 2020 onwards, you’ll be able to apply for an annual training grant of £5,000:

  • Nursing
  • Midwifery
  • Various allied health professions (i.e. Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Radiography, Speech and Language Therapy)

Additional NHS funding of up to £3,000 per year is available in the following circumstances:

  • £1,000 for priority courses (see list below)
  • £1,000 for childcare
  • £1,000 for students in areas of the country that struggle to recruit onto Nursing, Midwifery and allied health profession courses

These are the priority courses where an extra £1,000 is available:

  • Learning Disability Nursing
  • Mental Health Nursing
  • Orthoptics
  • Orthotics
  • Podiatry
  • Prosthetics
  • Radiography

For more information, please read our full guide to the NHS Learning Support Fund.

NHS funded Masters in Social Work

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 2020-21 academic year):

  • A non-means-tested basic grant of up to £3,362.50 per year (up to £3,762.50 if you attend a university in London)
  • A means-tested maintenance grant of up to £2,721 per year (up to £4,201 if you attend a university in London)
  • A contribution towards your tuition fees of £4,052

There are a few other forms of financial support you may be eligible for:

  • Placement Travel Allowance (PTA) – Worth £862.50, the PTA is meant to help with any travel expenses you incur while completing your placement. It’s only available if you don’t receive an NHS bursary for your course (a PTA is already included in the bursary amount), but otherwise meet the eligibility criteria.
  • Adult Dependants Allowance (ADA) – If there is an adult (spouse, partner or civil partner) who is financially dependent on you (wholly or partly), you can apply for ADA.
  • Parents’ Learning Allowance – If you have a dependent child (or children) who is 18 or under, you could be entitled to the Parent’s Learning Allowance.
  • Childcare Allowance – You may be able to apply for Childcare Allowance if you have young children who are currently attending registered childcare.

Who is eligible for an NHS funded Masters in Social Work?

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 bursary:

  • A UK national who is resident in England on the first day of the course and has been living in the UK for the past three years. Please note that if you moved to England for the sole purpose of studying an undergraduate degree immediately before the Masters in Social Work – or for the Masters itself – you won’t be eligible for the NHS bursary.
  • International students should be ordinarily resident in England on the first day of the course or have refugee status / been granted humanitarian protection by the UK Government. If a close relative or partner satisfies these conditions, you may also be eligible. Alternatively, if you’ve been granted Leave to Remain by the UK Home Office, you could be entitled to a bursary.

EU nationals may be eligible for an NHS bursary if they have settled status through the EU Settlement Scheme.

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 guide to Social Work bursaries (PDF).

How can I apply for an NHS funded Masters in Social Work?

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.

In order to guarantee bursary payment for an autumn start, you should make sure you finish your application by 31 May of the same calendar year.

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.

NHS funding for Social Work in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

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.

Masters in Social Work

Interested in applying for a Masters in Social Work? Our guide covers the essentials, from entry requirements to course structure.

NHS funding for graduate entry Medicine and Dentistry courses

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:

  • £3,191 if you’re attending a university in London and living by yourself
  • £2,643 if you’re attending a university outside of London and living by yourself
  • £2,207 if you’re living with your parents

If your course is longer than 30 weeks, you will receive an Extra Weeks Allowance of up to £108 per week, depending on your circumstances.

There’s also a non-means-tested NHS grant of £1,000 per year available.

Please note that these figures are for the 2020-21 academic year and may change – as of June 2021, 2021-22 funding details haven’t been announced.

Who is eligible for these NHS funded courses?

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 ordinarily resident in England on the first day of your course and have been in the UK for three years before the start of the programme, i.e. not in England for the sole purposes of study.

EU nationals may be eligible for an NHS bursary if they have settled status through the EU Settlement Scheme.

If you’re ordinarily resident in Scotland, Wales 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.

For more information on eligibility, check out the NHSBSA’s guide (PDF).

NHS funded courses in Wales

NHS bursaries are 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:

  • A tuition fee waiver
  • A non-means-tested grant of £1,000
  • A means-tested bursary of up to £2,643 (plus an Extra Weeks Allowance If your course is longer than 30 weeks per academic year)

Most NHS-funded programmes in Wales are at undergraduate level. However, this support is available for several PGDips and some Masters. You should check with your prospective Welsh university to find out what courses are eligible for NHS funding.

Who is eligible for NHS funding in Wales?

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 beginning programmes in the 2021-22 academic year onwards may be eligible if they have settled status in the UK through the EU Settlement Scheme.

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.

Postgraduate funding in the UK

Want to find out more about other sources of financial support in the UK? Take a look at our guide to postgraduate funding.

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Last updated: 07 November 2022