Some are designed to pay for tuition whilst others aid living costs. Master’s scholarships may cover all of your expenses or make a small contribution.
What are master’s scholarships?
Master’s scholarships and bursaries help students fund their studies, and are typically provided by a range of organisations, like private companies, universities, charities, and the government.
Postgraduate students are able to apply for a loan from the government, up to £10,000, which they pay back via their earnings, or apply for masters scholarships at UK universities.
The loans are available for all subjects and all part-time, full time or distance learning courses for UK nationals. Whereas the scholarships are usually applied for and assessed, with the university or employer deciding whether to financially support the student.
However, there are differences between the two:
- Master’s scholarships are non-repayable sums of money that are awarded on the basis of academic excellence. They come with conditions, like working for a specific company after you graduate, or taking on extra responsibilities within the university.
- Bursaries are non-repayable, but they are monies available to students who qualify for them - either low income families and households, or groups of under-represented people.
There are grants for those overseas apart from the developing countries scholarships.
The different types of scholarships for masters
There is more than one master’s scholarship available that you could be eligible for, as most if not all subjects are covered.
Scholarships offered by an institution are either related to the subject or are handed out for personal or financial reasons. Sports and music scholarships are usually open to postgraduates too, but this is worth checking with the individual university before applying.
General scholarships are open to all students, and they are not tied to a specific university, scholarships or subjects. They may require an essay submission as a form of an application, allowing universities to sift through the candidates. They are not offered to fund a master’s fully but they can offer great financial aid throughout your studying.
Master’s scholarships shouldn’t be the only option you explore to fund your tuition and living costs during your postgraduate studies - in case you don’t receive one.
What universities offer master’s scholarships?
The number of institutions offering masters scholarships is always subject to change, the particular subjects and criteria they need to follow could be different for each academic year.
There are also thousands of smaller charities and trusts in the UK which offer scholarships or grants for welfare or educational purposes. Each scholarship will have its own specific criteria that you’ll have to identify with to be eligible, but they’re still worth researching.
Another idea is to set up a Crowdfunding campaign if you have a compelling reason why people might want to support you in your education.
Scholarships from your employer or the government
Furthermore, your employer may sponsor your studies if completing a master’s degree will enhance your career. Many organisations have funds available for employee development, so if the course is relevant to your job and will increase your productivity and job role in the long run, you might be in with a chance.
Next, there are additional grants available from the government, for both undergraduate and postgraduate students. These grants are for specific needs, such as, disability, learning difficulties or if you have dependants. Find out at your chosen university about what is available in case you are eligible for specific funding.
There is a huge list of countries that are included so it’s worth finding out if yours is eligible.
Scholarships for masters abroad
If we look further than the UK, there are masters scholarships in Canada and master scholarships in the USA. These will be just as competitive, or more so, with more applicants applying to the colleges and universities in North America.
If you’re interested in Canadian masters scholarships, research the university you’re interested in applying to overseas and get in touch to find out if you’re eligible.
They tend to follow the same criteria, with a financial background, academic excellence and underrepresented people being a part of the scholarship scheme. Although they may have loads more options available.
Master’s scholarships in Europe
If we look at closer to home to our own continent the support continues. There are master’s scholarships in Europe for international students, which are for any residents outside the European Union (EU).
Whether you want to find out if they provide master’s scholarships in Economics or scholarships for masters in Mathematics, it’s easier to work out what country you’d like to study from first. Europe is a big place, with more than 50 countries in total, so researching where you might want to study is the first port of call. Then you can start finding out if there are scholarships to study for a masters in Germany or masters scholarships in Norway for international students.
Then you can locate specific schools that offer the funding before making a decision as to which institution you want to apply to.
Moving overseas for a degree is a big life change and it comes with its perks and opportunities. It is harder than you think but the end result leaves you with extensive experience, networking connections and amazing memories of living and studying in another part of the world.
Master’s scholarships for developing countries
Next, we have fully funded master’s scholarships for developing countries, which help fund tuition and living costs. It enables students from these countries to accomplish their career goals.
The scholarships are available to residents in countries who are declared ‘developing countries’ by the United Nations (UN). They have rising and talented students who cannot afford to pay their fees, so scholarships help candidates reach their potential.
There is a huge list of countries that are included so it’s worth finding out if yours is eligible.
They are designed for passionate students to access academic training while health, travelling, accommodation and tuition costs are all covered.
There are also thousands of smaller charities and trusts in the UK which offer scholarships or grants for welfare or educational purposes.
Are there full masters scholarships?
There are many masters degree scholarships in UK universities, whether it’s one awarded for students in low-income households or others in specific subjects, like Electrical Engineering master’s scholarships.
But some of these will just offer financial aid or cover tuition or help living costs. Each scholarship is different and has a varying amount of support it can provide students.
It’s best to check with the university to see how much it can help you.
However, there are lots of different funding options out there, from the academic excellence scholarships and disadvantaged bursaries we’ve mentioned above, or alumni discounts that offer up to 15% to students who completed their undergraduate degree with them. Also, there are Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA) which help students looking for PhD funding with hands-on teaching experience. These tend to work with PhD students having their fee waived in return for providing teaching duties to undergraduate students.
How to apply for scholarships for a master’s degree?
The majority of funding has to be applied for before the beginning of term, with most several months before the start of your degree. The earlier you apply for scholarships, the more likely you are to be considered. Most universities will say prospective students will need to hold an offer to study with them before you can apply, so research to find out the terms and conditions from each one.
As well as submitting an application form for scholarships for a masters degree, you might need to write a personal statement or essay. This is so the institution can find out more about the person applying for the funding and decide who they can support.
UK master’s scholarships for international students
Speaking of funding, there are grants for those overseas apart from the developing countries scholarships. Universities want the best students at their campuses and they want to keep their sites diverse.
Universities will have their own criteria for international students, but most of them will have information on their websites, so it’s best to check with your favourite institutions before applying.
If you are an international student, you should try to apply for this type of bursary before subject specific grants, in case they don’t cater to candidates from overseas. As an example, scholarships for a master’s degree in Special Education may not have allocated funding for international students, but a scholarship specifically designed for pupils from abroad may be able to pay for your tuition to that particular degree.
Master’s scholarships and bursaries help students fund their studies.
What about the Oxbridge?
Even the most prestigious universities have funding on offer. They too want to give the best opportunities to as many people that they can.
The University of Cambridge has many different options on offer, such as, the Cambridge Trust, Gates Cambridge, Colleges, departments and Research Councils that will offer funds. These can all be applied for and should be researched ahead of applying. Deadlines are also important as some could close several months before you even enroll onto your course.
The University of Oxford also state that more than half of their graduates received full or partial funding to study at their institution.
Applicants should look for financial support both inside and outside the university, apply for everything they are eligible for with plenty of time, and to research well. This advice works well for masters grants and Scholarships in UK universities - not just Oxbridge!