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:
- 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.