Departmental bursaries for undergraduate and postgraduate study

Bursary applications for 2020/21 have closed. Applications for 2021/22 open on 1st April, when details will be confirmed (last year's appear below)

Overview of the scheme

We award around 30 Departmental bursaries each year, thanks to the generous support of the Friends of lifelong learningdonors and others.

They are for UK-based students on low incomes taking undergraduate or postgraduate programmes, and cover part of the course fees.

Bursary applications are reviewed between 1st April and 31st August for courses starting or continuing in the following autumn. Awards are for one year at a time, so longer courses would require a new application in the following year.

Eligibility and criteria

Eligible Continuing Education courses

  • Foundation Certificates.
  • Undergraduate Certificates and Undergraduate Diplomas, except for Theological Studies.
  • Undergraduate Advanced Diplomas.
  • Postgraduate Certificates and Diplomas.

Note: Master’s and DPhil courses are not eligible—see University’s funding information instead.

Person criteria

You must meet all three of the following conditions:

1. Have an offer of a place on an eligible course (see above).

2. Be 'ordinarily resident'* and 'settled' in the UK**.

3. Be in receipt of any of the following UK benefits (these may change over time):

  • Universal credit
  • Income support
  • Job seekers' allowance
  • Employment and support allowance (ESA)
  • Pension credit
  • Carer's Allowance

*’Ordinarily resident in the UK’ means that you have habitually, normally and lawfully resided in the UK by choice for at least the last three years. Temporary absences from the UK (e.g. for work) should be ignored.

**'Settled' means being both ordinarily resident in the UK and without any immigration restriction on the length of your stay in the UK.


After 1st April, completed applications will be reviewed on a ‘first-come-first-served’ basis (an application must include the required supporting documentation to be considered).

Outcomes will be communicated to applicants individually during the bursary scheme window. If funds are fully exhausted, before the deadline, a waiting list will operate (in case an awardee should withdraw).

Duration and future applications

Bursaries are awarded for one year at a time. If your course is longer than one year, you may re-apply in subsequent years. A bursary awarded in one year does not imply future awards under this scheme—this will depend on your financial circumstances, as well as scheme’s level of funds, when you apply.

Interrupted study

Bursary awards cannot be carried over into a future year if your studies are interrupted (involving suspension of status for one or more terms, for example). In such cases bursaries will normally be reduced in proportion to your period of registration during that year; while you may re-apply for a bursary in the following year, this will be treated as a new application.

Bursary calculation

Bursaries are calculated as a percentage of course fees, and the amount awarded depends on both your income, and your course category (see below).

The annual maximum that can be awarded per student is capped at £2000 (regardless of how many courses you attend). Bursary funds are applied directly to your course fees (they are not disbursed to you).

Calculating your income

Step 1. Calculate your gross household income:

Include the gross income from all income sources (before tax) received during the full tax year preceding the course start for (1) you yourself, and (2) your partner if they live with you,

Step 2. Deduct any allowances from your calculated gross household income:

  • £2000 if you live with your partner;

  • £2000 if one dependent child lives with you, and a further £1000 for each additional dependent child living with you.

Step 3. Note the result from Steps 1 and 2:

The resulting figure represents the ‘Income’ amount used to assess your application in relation to the course categories below.

Course categories and bursary scales

Foundation Certificates in English Literature and History:

  • Income of less than £10,000: a bursary of up to 80% of course fees
  • Income of £10,000 to £16,000: a bursary of up to 40% of course fees

Undergraduate Certificate of Higher Education:

  • Income of less than £10,000: a bursary of up to 100% of the annual programme fee
  • Income of £10,000 to £16,000: a bursary of up to £500 towards the annual programme fee
  • Certificate of Higher Education students may also be eligible for additional concessionary fees on their individual courses.

All other eligible courses (see above):

  • Income of less than £10,000: a bursary of 50% of the course fees
  • Income of £10,000 to £16,000: a bursary of up to 25% of course fees

How to apply

Application form

  • Download a PDF or Word version of the application form and read the guidance:

Application form (pdf)

Application form (MS-Word)

Applications cannot be considered if they are incomplete, lack the required supporting documentation, or miss the closing date.

Application dates

Applications can be submitted between 1st April and 31st August for courses commencing or continuing in the following academic year. You should apply as soon as you can, as the fund could be exhausted well before the closing date.


If you have any questions, please contact our Student Support Administrator.