University and college bursaries

You may be entitled to a bursary or scholarship from your college or university depending on what you study and where you study it. Extra financial support is often means-tested, however some aid is specific to a particular course or subject area.


University and college bursaries are usually paid on top of any student loans or grants you may get, however some may reduce your student loan entitlement. They don’t have to be repaid unless you leave your course early. 

Funding for Healthcare courses

If you do a healthcare course, the student support available to you differs from the support available for other higher education courses.

If you study certain healthcare courses you may be entitled to a bursary from the Department for Health (DoH). Some bursaries are specific to students studying in Northern Ireland while others are UK-based.

Student Finance NI (SFNI) as well as the Business Services Organisation (BSO) and Social Services Inspectorate (SSI) administer bursaries on behalf of the DoH.

Course Study location Domiciled Student Criteria Administered by
Undergraduate Medical and Dentistry Course UK


Means-tested SFNI
Allied Health Profeional Courses NI UK Means-tested SFNI
Nursing and Midwifery Courses NI UK Non-means tested BSO
Social Work Courses NI NI    SSI at DoH

University and college bursaries in NI

Universities and colleges decide what to offer, but those based in Northern Ireland must offer a minimum payment of 10 per cent of the tuition fee to students who get the full maintenance grant or special support grant, although some universities and colleges offer more than the minimum while others provide support in kind, such as discount on accomodation and/or books. 

To find out more about eligibility and the application process, contact your regional student finance office.

Many of the bursaries relate to widening participation and each university and college in Northern Ireland provides an annual widening access participation plan to the Department for the Economy (DfE).

Check out the NI Institutions below to see what bursaries are on offer.

This is not an exhaustive list.  You can get more details from your university or college by contacting them directly.

Belfast Metropolitan College (BMC)

BMC Trust Fund Student Mentoring Initiative

This bursary is for £375 and is available to 40 students from backgrounds of disadvantage that would benefit from the help of a learning support mentor.

Approval for this award is via assessment of student support need by a college learning support officer. There is no closing date or age limit and the award is not dependant on academic performance or subject specific.

College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise

Bursaries are available to students at each campus of the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) from companies trading in their specialism, such as Food, Agriculture, Equine and Horticulture. You can compete for these awards either by completing a topical report or through interviews. Paid work placements may also be offered as part of the bursary. Find out more about CAFRE Bursaries.

North West Regional College

US Naval Communications Scholarship

This is a scholarship worth £250 to four students each year. It is available for one year only to those studying Computing and IT or for engineering National Diploma students attending the second term of year 2.

It is specifically for students who have experienced financial problems in year 1 but continued on with the course regardless. 

Other considerations that are taken into account when awarding these scholarships include:

  • a student working part-time to finance their study
  • a student who has potential to go into higher education and where an incentive would provide the motivation
  • evidence that a student has shown good progress
  • North West Regional College

Southern Regional College

The Rooney Fellowship Award

This Award is awarded annually to one final year full-time Higher Education student in the Southern Regional College (SRC) area. The successful student will spend nine months in Pittsburgh studying at either the University of Duqesne or the University of Pittsburgh, whilst also undertaking internships with the world renowned Heinz Corporation and the Pittsburgh Steelers Football Club.

Eligible students must complete an application pack available from the Student Activities and SRC website.   A panel consisting of the Chief Executive, the Director for Curriculum and Enterprise Newry representatives will select the winner following a short listing and interview process.

The applicant must be currently in the final year of a full-time higher education course and be able to show:

  • an acceptable record of punctuality and attendance in all classes
  • personal development and improvement whilst on the programme of study
  • significant progress within their course of study
  • ability to work within a team and contribute to their class
  • the contribution they have made to college life
  • contribution to organisations outside the college
  • effective oral and written communication skills
  • how the Rooney Fellowship would help them develop as an individual

South West College

Dalradian Gold Student Scholarship

The Dalradian scholarship is offered to five students every year to the value of £1,000 each. Eligible students must study at South West College and be able to show alignment to programme studies compatible with the following disciplines:

  • Geology and associated disciplines
  • Civil Engineering
  • Environmental Sciences
  • Business Administration
  • IT and Health and Safety

Application materials are available to download on the Dalradian website or by telephoning 028 816 47799 or email

SSE Airtricity Scholarship

Students applying for this bursary must have a home address in County Tyrone or County Londonderry and must be undertaking studies in any of the following higher education programmes:

  • FD Sustainable Construction
  • FD Wind Turbine Technology
  • FD Civil & Environmental Engineering
  • FD Energy, Environment & Sustainability
  • FD Building Services
  • FD Early Childhood Studies
  • FD Design - Product & Graphic
  • FD Creative Arts
  • ATI Level 5
  • BSC Hons Degree in Energy, Environment & Sustainability

You will be required to complete an application form detailing academic achievements so far; the impact receiving such a scholarship will have on your studies and your career aspirations. 

The Strickland Scholarship

This scholarship is offered to four students each year and is worth £2,500 per student.  To be eligible for this award students must have a home address in South West region and be undertaking a Foundation Degree or HND/C in Engineering (only one scholarship will be paid per student and you must not previously have received a SWC scholarship).

Applicants must show how they have contributed positively to their local community, for example through sport, work with church groups or voluntary work.  They must also be a fee paying student on a Foundation Degree or HND/C course in Engineering at SWC.

Queen's University Belfast

There are a number of bursaries and scholarships available at Queens University.  Some of these are specific to undergraduate, postgraduate and research students.  

Female targeted scholarships - mechanical engineering

Sclumberger, the world's leading oilfield services provide, in collaboration with Queen's University Belfast offers one award each year to Year 14 students hoping to study on the MEng in Mechanical Engineering sandwich programme.

You may also apply if you have applied for the BEng or four year MEng programmes in Mechanical Engineering, but are prepared to change to the sandwich MEng in Mechanical Engineering  programme.

The award will be £10,000 (£2,500 per year from stage one onwards, excluding and sandwich year).

Applicants will be shortlisted based on:

  • A level results
  • involvement in extra curricular activities

Contact Queen's University for an application form, detailed criteria and deadline date.

Shortlisted candidates will be invited to go to an interview and assessment conducted by Schlumberger.

The successful student will carry out a paid 8 - 12 week summer placement each year and a paid placement after stage 2.

Dr George Alexander Baird Entrance Scholarships

Four scholarships of £600 each are available for non A Level entrants.

Two awards, one in science-based faculties and the other in arts-based faculties, will be made to students with entrance qualifications comparable to A Levels (for example, Scottish Highers or the Irish Leaving Certificate).

Two further awards one in science-based faculties and the other in arts-based faculties,  will be made to students entering via Access courses.

Pakenham Scholarships

Two scholarships are awarded, tenable for three years at an annual value of £200 each. They are open to anyone under 20, entering the university for the first time.

The recipients will be chosen on the basis of their three best A Level marks.

Ulster University

There are a number of bursaries and scholarships available at Ulster University.  Some of these are specific to undergraduate, postgraduate and research students. 

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