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Shannon-sliderAfter deciding to apply for the MSc Forensic Anthropology course at Bournemouth University, and having my conditional offer confirmed, the next part of the process was funding – how was I going to pay for it? For everyone, whether you’re considering a Master’s or actually doing one right now, a huge part of the decision is the cost. It’s about weighing up the options, but if you’re like me and couldn’t go much further in your subject without an MSc, then it seems like the obvious next step. With this in mind, I started applying to a few bursaries and scholarships. I applied to any I could find online where I fit the criteria.  There are such a varied amount of funding opportunities out there that it’s important to do your research, and be aware of the types of criteria you might fall into. For example, some were based on grades, subject areas and some even based on your home address. I applied for some that were worth a substantial amount of money, and others were only £200 with the idea that anything is better than nothing! I worked throughout my final year and the summer, and had managed to begin saving too.

Throughout my time as an undergraduate student I worked as a Student Ambassador, and I happened to be working in the BU Marketing office when I got an email: “Dear Shannon, I am delighted to confirm that you have been awarded the Postgraduate Support Scheme award worth £10,000”. Obviously, my first reaction was that it must be a joke. But it wasn’t! I felt a huge amount of relief the week I found out, but it was more than the thought of taking away financial burdens. I knew I would continue to work part-time during my Master’s, but for my own benefit and development. I could work when I wanted to work rather than feeling my studying was suffering, a balance I was worried about dealing with.

Shannon - Days

I’m now two months into my course and it was truly a good decision I made. The thought that I may have missed out due to the financial cost seems like it would have been a waste, when it is so much more than just a postgraduate course but an opportunity for personal development. It’s a challenge at times, but absolutely worth it. If you’re considering a Master’s, and it’s the financial cost that is holding you back, my advice to you is – don’t let it. If you’re wondering whether you’d enjoy the studying, or not sure what subject to study then take some time out – but don’t let it be money to hold you back. There are ways! Whether that be bursaries, scholarships, career development loans and maybe even the new postgraduate loan scheme that has just been announced, it’s just about doing your research!

By Shannon Hardy

You can find out more about the postgraduate loan and other funding options on our website.