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Unum access to university bursary

Birkbeck is pleased to partner with Unum to offer five £1000 bursaries, for new students who need extra financial support to undertake their first term or year of undergraduate study at Birkbeck. 

Applications for 2019-20 will open in spring 2019


You must be applying to study, full-time or part-time, for the first term or year on any of these undergraduate courses at Birkbeck: 

  • certificate of higher education
  • Certificate of Higher Education in Higher Education Introductory Studies 
  • foundation degree
  • undergraduate degree (BA, BSc, LLB) 
  • undergraduate degree (BA, BSc, LLB) with a foundation year. 

Bursaries will be awarded to students who meet all three of the initial criteria and two or more of the secondary criteria and who submit a strong application essay.

Initial criteria (you must meet all of these criteria)

Secondary criteria (you must meet two or more of these)

  • You must meet at least two of the following:
    • be the first in your family to attend university
    • be Black, Asian or minority ethnic
    • be over 21 years old
    • be classified as disabled
    • be a Care leaver
    • hold non-traditional university-entry qualifications (ie Access to HE Diploma; Intermediate, Advanced or BTEC Apprenticeship, BTEC Firsts, BTEC National or equivalents)
    • have limited or poor prior education attainment (details need to be given on application)
    • have no qualifications higher than Level 2 (ie CSEs, GCSE or equivalent)
    • have been absent from formal education for nine years or more.

How to apply

  • Applications for 2019-20 will open in spring 2019
  • You need to make an application for a course to study at Birkbeck. Once you receive an offer from Birkbeck, you then complete the Unum Access to University bursary application form and submit this along with an application essay of no more than 300 words.
  • Your application essay should detail why you are the ideal candidate to receive this bursary, and how it will enhance your studies at Birkbeck. You may want to cover the following areas in your application essay:
    • why you’ve decided to study your course
    • why you’ve decided to study at Birkbeck
    • what made you come back to/continue your education
    • what barriers you faced before making your application
    • how Birkbeck, University of London outreach events supported you with making your university decision.
  • All students: download a copy of the application form and email the completed form, along with your application essay, to Access and Engagement. 
  • Part-time students only: in addition, please download the cash bursary cover sheet and submit this with your proof of income. 


  • Deadline for all applications: 2019-20 deadlines TBC
  • Bursary applicants selected and all applicants informed: 2019-20 dates TBC
  • Please note: decisions are final and cannot be appealed.  

Bursary payment schedule

  • Bursary payments will be made three weeks after the start of each term that you are attending your course and directly into your bank account by BACS transfer.
  • You will only receive payment after your course has started; therefore, if your course does not start until the spring (January) or summer term (April), you will not receive any payments prior to this.