Postgraduate Access Scholarships

50 scholarships worth £4,000 for students from under-represented backgrounds beginning a Masters in 2024

The University of Birmingham is proud to offer 50 scholarships worth £4,000 each to enhance the accessibility of postgraduate study for students from widening participation backgrounds.

Founded as the first civic university in the UK in 1900, the University of Birmingham has a long and rich history of welcoming and supporting students from diverse backgrounds. To continue this legacy, these newly-established scholarships will alleviate the barriers restricting students from under-represented backgrounds in pursuing postgraduate study. The financial support will be complimented by a range of developmental opportunities and support to ensure you are supported throughout all stages of your studies with us at Birmingham.

You can apply by using the button below or the form embedded at the bottom of the page.

  • The deadline for round one applications closed 23:59 (UK time) on 31 March 2024.
  • The deadline for round two applications is 23:59 (UK time) on 31 July 2024.

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    Apply now for 2024 entry

    Applications are now open for the Postgraduate Access Scholarship. The deadline for round two applications is 23:59 (UK time) on 31 July 2024.

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Eligibility Criteria

The Postgraduate Access Scholarship will be available to students:

  1. Domiciled in the UK: Students recorded as Home for fee-status purposes are eligible, provided that they meet the other eligibility criteria
  2. Studying a 180-credit postgraduate taught degree full-time or part-time: A standard taught Masters course lasts one year if taken on a full-time basis, or two years if taken part time. Part-time courses lasting over two years will also be eligible for funding. You must be commencing your studies in the 2024-2025 academic year.
  3. From a group that is evidentially underrepresented among the institution’s taught-Masters population: See the ‘Under-represented student criteria’ section below

Under-represented student criteria

Applicants will need to demonstrate that they are categorised within at least one of the following criteria:

  • Completion of a University of Birmingham (Birmingham Scholar) or another university's Widening Participation Scheme: Applicants who have successfully completed an undergraduate University of Birmingham or other University Widening Participation scheme will be considered.
  • Care Leaver: Applicants who have once been a care leaver, which includes spending three months or more in local authority care.
  • Disability: Applicants who are in receipt of DSA (Disabled Students Allowance) as an undergraduate student and/or currently receive DLA (Disability Living Allowance) or PIP (Personal Independence payment).
  • Black and Ethnic Minority Background: Applicants from a black and minority ethnic group are encouraged to apply.
  • Bereaved of or Estranged from Both Parents: Applicants who are bereaved of or estranged from both parents and are under the age of 25 are eligible. Estrangement is defined as having no communication or functioning relationship with either parent and no physical or financial support from them for at least 12 months.
  • Caring Responsibilities: Applicants who have caring responsibilities for a family member or friend who could not cope without their support are eligible. This may be due to illness, disability, a mental health issue, or substance misuse.
  • Household Income: Applicants with an annual household income of £42,875 or less at their permanent residence.

Awards will be allocated on the basis of merit – simply meeting the criteria will not guarantee that your application is successful. Successful awardees should be prepared to provide evidence of their identification within their selected group should verification be required. Please read the FAQs for further details.

Our Postgraduate Access Scholars will benefit from:

Application Process

To be considered for an award, applicants must, by the deadline, have done both of the following:

  • Made an application to their intended Masters programme: Please apply through the relevant programme page on the Course Finder section of the University of Birmingham website.
  • Completed the Postgraduate Access Scholarships application form: You can complete the form by clicking the button at the top of the page, or by using the embedded form below.

The deadline for round one applications closed 23:59 (UK time) on 31 March 2024. The deadline for round two applications is 23:59 (UK time) on 31 July 2024.

If you are unsuccessful in one round, your application will automatically be carried over to the next round: you do not need to re-apply.


Which courses are eligible for the scholarship?

The Postgraduate Access Scholarship is only applicable to students that are studying a 180-credit postgraduate taught Masters degree, including part-time and full-time courses. Only applicants commencing their studies in the 2024-2025 academic year are able to apply.

Eligible courses include the following, delivered at our Edgbaston Campus, Stratford-upon-Avon, partnered institutions or by distance learning:

  • LLM
  • MA (Taught)
  • MSc (Pre-reg)
  • MSc (Taught)
  • MPH
  • MEd
  • MBA

As the scholarship is only applicable to full 180-credit postgraduate taught Masters degrees, ineligible courses include but are not limited to:

  • MA/MSc by Research
  • MRes (combined taught and research)
  • Integrated Masters degrees (such as MSci/MEng)
  • Postgraduate Diplomas (PGDip)
  • Postgraduate Certificates (PGCert)
  • Postgraduate Certificates of Education (PGCEs)
  • Postgraduate research programmes (such as PhDs)
  • All top-up programmes (e.g. MSc Physician Associate Studies)

Do I need to submit a study application for my course?

Yes, students must submit an application to study one of the above eligible courses before applying to the scholarship. If you only apply to the scholarship and don't submit a course application, the University will not be able to award you the scholarship; scholarship offers are entirely contingent upon you having an offer to study on a taught Masters course.

I am an international student. Am I eligible for scholarship funding?

No. Funding for this scholarship aims to address the under-representation of students from widening participation backgrounds progressing onto a postgraduate taught degree in the UK. Therefore, to be eligible for the scholarship funding students must meet the nationality or residency status criteria to qualify for the UK government's postgraduate masters’ loan.

What evidence will I be required to provide?

Evidence is required to ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria for the Postgraduate Access Scholarship. If you do not have evidence available at the point of applying, you can still submit an application but you will be required to provide evidence should you be successful in your application and made an awardee.

Under-represented student criteria

Evidence required

Completion of a University of Birmingham (Birmingham Scholar) or other University Widening Participation Scheme

If you have completed a University Widening Participation Scheme during your undergraduate studies, a letter or reference from your previous University confirming this.

Care Leaver

If you have been in Local Authority care for at least 13 weeks, a letter from the Local Authority confirming this. You need to be under the age of 25 on the course start date to be eligible.


If you received the Disabled Students' Allowance or support from your undergraduate institution's disability support office, a Student Finance notification of award letter, and/or a letter confirming the support you received from your undergraduate university’s disability support office.

Black and Ethnic Minority Background

Submit your completed Postgraduate course application, including ethnicity information.

Bereaved of or Estranged from Both Parents

If you are estranged from your family –either evidence of assessment of your status by Student Finance during your undergraduate studies, or a Word document with further information about this.

Caring Responsibilities

If you are a carer, a Word document giving further information about your caring responsibilities.

Low Household Income

Student Finance notification of award letter for the full amount of maintenance award received during your undergraduate studies.

Supporting Statement

A 'supporting statement' is included in the application form. Please tell us, in no more than 500 words, how being awarded the Birmingham Postgraduate Access Scholarship would make a difference to you.


What should my personal statement include?

Your personal statement will support your application and it should demonstrate how receiving the Postgraduate Access Scholarship will support and benefit you. In particular, it should cover:

  1. Any particularly relevant experience(s) demonstrating your need for the support
  2. Your motivation for applying to the scheme
  3. How the financial aspect of the scheme will benefit you
  4. How the wrap-around support will benefit you
  5. How the scheme and postgraduate study fits into your future plans

What University of Birmingham Widening Participation undergraduate schemes are eligible?

The University of Birmingham has an extensive range of widening participation schemes classified as part of its Birmingham Scholar and Pathways to Birmingham programmes. These programmes include the following schemes:

Students who have also received the Chamberlain Award at any point during their undergraduate studies at the University of Birmingham will also be considered to be eligible for identifying as a student who has completed an undergraduate University of Birmingham Widening Participation scheme.

When will I hear the outcome of my application?

Applications will be reviewed and marked after their respective deadlines. Successful applicants will be contacted typically within 3-4 weeks after the respective scholarship application deadline has passed. A scholarship offer email will be sent to awardees to accept or decline the scholarship offer; a deadline to respond will be included in this email. Students who are made a reserve will be contacted in due course as soon as any reallocated scholarships become available.

Due to the volume of applications for the scholarship, we are unable to offer individual responses to each application. Although we endeavour to keep you informed of scholarship updates, if you have not been contacted by the timeframes outlined in the above paragraph or by your course's start date, it may be the unfortunate case that your application has unsuccessful.

I have received an email offering me the scholarship. How do I accept the award?

If you have been successfully offered the scholarship, you will need to complete the acceptance form in your awarding email. Only once you have responded and accepted the scholarship will you receive the award; if you decline or do not respond by the deadline specified in your offer email, your scholarship will be reallocated.

The scholarship will only be processed once you have fully completed online registration; delays in completing online registration will result in the delaying of the scholarship being applied.

If I defer my course entry to the next year, can I still receive the scholarship?

No. The scholarship cannot be deferred and it is only tenable for the duration of the applicant's intended course beginning in 2024 (at a maximum of two years in duration). If you choose to defer your studies, you will need to re-apply for the scholarship in the next cycle if available.

What are the terms and conditions of the scholarship?

You should familiarise yourself with the terms and conditions of the Postgraduate Access Scholarship before applying to and accepting the award if you are made an offer. You can read the terms and conditions on our dedicated webpage.

Find out more

For more information about the scholarship programme, including announcements relating to the application process, please register your interest using the form below.