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£480,000 scholarship boost for postgraduate students


Forty eight students have been awarded a £10,000 scholarship each to study Master’s degrees at Newcastle University as a part of a new fund designed to remove barriers to postgraduate study for under-represented groups.

The postgraduate scholarship awards are the first of their kind in the North East and aim to financially support self-funding students from the UK who may not have been able to pursue further study for reasons such as access to finance or family responsibilities. The project is part of the £25 million Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) Postgraduate Support Scheme, which was developed to test ways of supporting progression into taught postgraduate education in England. 

The 48 people, who have already benefited from the scheme, have started their postgraduate studies across a range of disciplines in humanities and social sciences; science, agriculture and engineering, and medical sciences at Newcastle University. Out of the 48 award recipients, 45 are from the North East and Cumbria. 

Professor Suzanne Cholerton, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Learning and Teaching at Newcastle University, said: “These scholarships have the potential to significantly change the lives of the students who receive them. 

“Social mobility is one of the biggest challenges facing the UK today and the scholarships mean those students who might have been deterred from following the best training for them because of a lack of funding can now do so at a world-leading institution.”

Jade Morrison, 23, enrolled on an MSc Psychology degree after receiving a scholarship. She said: “Throughout my undergraduate degree, I always knew I wanted to continue with my studies. However, I did find the idea of funding another year of study quite daunting and I am delighted that that this scholarship scheme has enabled me to continue my studies in Psychology. It has certainly eased a lot of pressure.

“Alongside my studies, I am also able to benefit from the range of employment support schemes the University offers. I am part way through the NCL+ award which gives me the chance to gain official University and employer recognition for my activities and achievements. I am also gaining experience as a student ambassador and student mentor.”

Ben Taylor, 23, is pursuing an MSc degree in Environmental Marine Consultancy. He said: “I’ve always wanted to continue with my studies because of the value employers place on a Master’s degree, but the limited funding options meant that further study was out of my reach. I would have been a whole year behind trying to find a career relevant temporary job. This scholarship scheme has enabled me to continue to train in the field that I want to pursue in my career.”

MA International Studies student Ryan Sewell came to Newcastle to study an undergraduate degree in Politics through the Newcastle University supported entry route programme PARTNERS.  “I wanted to start a postgraduate degree after graduating this summer, but the lack of postgraduate funding would have stopped me from doing it for at least two years. This scholarship has put me closer to my goal of continuing on to a PhD degree next year,” says the 22-year-old.

The scholarship scheme is one element of a consortium project, Widening Access to Postgraduate Study and the Professions, with the universities of Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield, Warwick and York. This project attracted £3 million of funding from the HEFCE and once boosted by match funding provides the six institutions over £5 million to spend on initiatives aimed at enabling more students to take up postgraduate studies at a top university. 

For more information about postgraduate study and finding opportunities at Newcastle University please visit the postgraduate  website.
Photo: Clockwise from left: Ben Taylor, Jade Morrison and Ryan Sewell

published on: 28 November 2014