Government bursaries for teacher training, social work, medical and healthcare courses

Government bursaries for teacher training, social work, medical and healthcare courses

The government provides financial support in the form of bursaries for training as a teacher, social worker or healthcare specialist.  

Social work bursaries

The Department of Health initially introduced bursaries to encourage more people to train in social work. The scheme changed at the beginning of the 2013/14 academic year for new starters, introducing a cap on funded places at higher education institutions (1500 postgraduate places in 2016).

Under the new structure, universities nominate eligible candidates for a bursary from their allowance of capped funded places and keep a waiting list.

How much is the postgraduate social work funding?

The Social Work Bursary incorporates a number of income-assessed (maintenance grants and allowances for dependants) and non-income assessed elements (a basic bursary, and help with tuition fees and placement travel).

For all eligible postgraduate students

  • Placement Travel Allowance (PTA) for placement travel expenses worth £862.50 for full-time students and pro-rata for part-time students. The PTA is available to all eligible students, but if you receive a Social Work Bursary, PTA is included in that payment.

Non-assessed funding for eligible postgraduate students with a capped place

  • A basic bursary while you are studying on your course (you'll need to be included on your HEI's list of eligible students).

    The bursary is worth up to £3,362.50 a year for full-time students outside London (plus an extra £400 London weighting for courses in the capital). This includes your PTA payment.

  • Tuition fee payment (up to £4,052 for full-time students and £2,026 for part-time students), but if the course provider charges higher tuition fees, you need to find the difference. The tuition fee payment gets sent directly to your HEI.

Income-assessed funding for eligible postgraduate students with a capped place

  • Maintenance grant of up to £4,201 for study in London, or up to £2,721 elsewhere, and pro-rata for part-time students.

    The maintenance grant is means-tested, so if you have any dependants or a partner who is earning, it is taken into account.

  • Other means-tested awards include an allowance for dependants, childcare allowance, adult dependents allowance, and parent learning allowance.

    For more information, please see the NHS Social Work Bursary website.

Other funding

  • Depending on your circumstances, you might also be eligible for the disabled student allowance.

Am I eligible?

Eligibility criteria information is available from NHS Social Work Bursaries online and you can download the application forms you need online.


Social Work Bursaries,
Bridge House,
152 Pilgrim Street,
Newcastle upon Tyne

Telephone: 0300 330 1342 or 0191 279 0569.  

NHS bursaries

Chiropodists, dentists and midwives are just a few of the specialists eligible for financial support if accepted for an NHS funded place on a course leading to professional registration as a:

  • Chiropodist (including podiatrist)
  • Dentist
  • Dental hygienist or dental therapist
  • Dietician
  • Doctor
  • Midwife
  • Nurse
  • Occupational therapist
  • Operating department practitioner
  • Orthoptist
  • Physiotherapist
  • Prosthetist and orthotist
  • Radiographer
  • Speech and language therapist

Candidates on an eligible NHS course also need to satisfy the residency criteria for funding.

How much is the NHS bursary funding worth?

Like the social work bursary, the NHS funding package includes perks available to all eligible students, and additional funding for expenses, which is income-assessed.

All students need to apply through BOSS (bursary online support system) to receive tuition fee payments and a £1,000 non-means tested grant. There is also the option to apply for additional means-tested funding by including your income and some additional information at this point. The important thing is to apply, regardless of your circumstances, or you won't get any of the payments or be able to claim practice placement expenses.

Means-tested elements

Means-tested payments depend on where you live while studying as well as your individual and household income.
In 2016/17 the means tested bursary award payment is worth up to £2,643 each year (£3,191 in London) or £2,207 if you’re living at home. It's divided and paid in salary style monthly instalments.

If your course runs for more than 30 weeks and 3 days (excluding holidays), you could be entitled to the additional extra weeks allowance. The extra weeks allowance is a means-tested payment.

Check your eligibility with the three NHS online calculator tools to give yourself a better idea of if/and or how much you might be able to claim (although your formal offer is made once your application has been processed).

Other financial help

You may also be eligible for other funding such as help with childcare costs, parent learning allowance, dependants allowance for adults dependant on you while you're training, practice placement expenses or disabled student allowances.

Find out more about other financial help available.


The contact details for NHS Student Bursaries are:

NHS Student Bursaries,
Ridgway House,
Northgate Close,

Telephone: 0300 330 1345 or 0191 279 0570

Postgraduate teacher training funding

Eligible candidates training to teach subjects earmarked by the government may qualify for teaching bursaries or scholarships. If you've a first, 2.1 or 2.2 you could be eligible for an award of up to £28,000 to support you through your training.

The lion's share of the funds go to those with a first or 2.1, but the split is more even for 2018/19 applications than in recent years. Applicants with a 2.2 in maths, physics, languages, computing, classics, biology and geography are eligible to bursaries at the same level as applicants with a first, 2.1, masters or PhD (£26,000).

Maths is the only exception to the 2.2 degree cut-off for subject-specific bursaries. In a drive to recruit maths specialists at primary level, trainees with a B or higher at A level in maths and a 'relevant degree' at a qualifying level are eligible for a £6,000 bursary.

Subjects that qualify for a bursary

For trainee teachers in 2018/19, the priority subjects with funding attached are:

  • At primary level: maths and specialist primary courses
  • At secondary level: physics, maths, languages (modern foreign and community languages), computing, geography, chemistry, classics (in Ancient Greek or Latin), biology, design and technology, English, music, history, and religious education.

Other teacher training funding

The Institute of Physics, Mathematics Teacher Training Scholarships, the British Council, the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), the Royal Society of Chemistry and the BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, all offer a number of subject specific scholarships.

The scholarships are worth £28,000 and include a number of benefits and opportunities over and above the standard bursaries. Students with a 2.1 or higher can apply for scholarships. In exceptional circumstances, students with a 2.2 might be considered. Awards are made on a competitive basis.