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About the bursary scheme

About the bursary scheme and what you need to know before starting your application.

First published
  • The 2023 bursary scheme is now closed.

Who can apply

You can apply for funding to support higher education study through the College bursary scheme if you are:

  • a police officer working in England and Wales
  • a member of police staff working in England and Wales
  • a National Crime Agency (NCA) member of staff

This includes Home Office forces, the NCA and non-Home Office forces, including British Transport Police, Civil Nuclear Constabulary and Ministry of Defence Police.

We are particularly interested in receiving applications from frontline police officers and equivalent staff.

Education requirements

You do not need to have a minimum educational qualification to apply. 

Probation requirements

You must have passed your full probationary period before applying to the bursary scheme. This means you are not eligible if you:

  • are a student officer on the police constable degree apprenticeship (PCDA)
  • joined via the degree-holder entry programme (DHEP) and are currently serving a probationary period
  • joined via the professional policing degree route and are currently serving a probationary period

Previous applicants

If you have previously applied for or received a College bursary, you can reapply to the bursary scheme for funds to cover continuing study.

However, if you already have funding under the bursary scheme for the period from 1 September 2023 to 31 August 2024, you cannot apply under the 2023 scheme. You need to wait to reapply under the following year’s scheme.

College staff and secondees

College of Policing staff are not eligible to apply. Officers and staff who are seconded to the College can apply through their home force. If you are on a career break at the point of application, you must be back in force by 1 September 2023 to be eligible to apply.

Scotland and Northern Ireland

You are not eligible for our bursary if you work outside of England or Wales. Officers and staff employed in forces in Scotland and Northern Ireland are advised to consider the bursary opportunities at the Scottish Institute for Policing Research and the Royal Ulster Constabulary George Cross Foundation.

How bursary money can be used

The bursary can be used to fund academic study at Level 6 and above. This covers undergraduate and postgraduate level, such as a:

  • bachelor’s degree (BA, BSc)
  • postgraduate certificate (PG Cert) or postgraduate diploma (PG Dip)
  • master’s degree (MA, MSc, MPhil, MRes)
  • doctorate (PhD)

The bursary cannot be used to fund study below undergraduate level. For example, diplomas and advanced diplomas, Higher National Diplomas (HND), foundation degrees (FD), Higher National Certificates (HNC), A levels, GCSEs or their equivalents.

You can only apply for bursary funding for tuition fees. Bursary funding cannot be used to fund other associated activities, such as conference attendance, course materials or subsistence costs.

If you've not yet been accepted onto a course

You do not need to have been formally accepted on to a programme of study in order to submit an application. However, you will need to have:

  • identified a preferred programme of study and academic provider
  • confirmed with the provider that you meet their eligibility criteria
  • started the application process

You cannot apply for funding for deferred entry starting after 31 March 2024.

If you're already a student

You can apply for a bursary if you are part way through a relevant programme of study and are seeking funding for the academic year 2023/24. That is, for study undertaken between 1 September 2023 and 31 August 2024.

You can also apply for funding for continuing study in the academic year 2024/25.

You cannot apply for retrospective funding towards tuition fees for a qualification that has already been completed.

Using a bursary alongside other financial support

A bursary can be used to match fund or top up money received from other sources.

We request details of any other scholarships, grants or additional sources of financial support received or applied for at the point of application. We do not require you to share details of any personal loans.

If you are already receiving funding from another source, you must check with the provider that receipt of a College bursary does not go against the terms of that grant or loan.

Choosing your course

Your selected programme of study must:

  • include a research component, such as a module on social research methods or a research dissertation
  • be relevant to your current role or future professional development
  • be with a recognised UK academic institution
  • start before 31 March 2024

You are expected to describe the research component and convince assessors of the relevance of your selected study programme on the application form. We do not provide a list of eligible courses and assessors are not provided with a list of preferred types of course.

Attendance can be full-time, part-time or by distance learning.

Recognised academic providers

Bursaries can only be used to fund study provided by a recognised or listed academic provider based in the UK. Higher learning institutions that are officially recognised in the UK are called either recognised or listed bodies.

Bursaries cannot be used to fund study at institutions in the Republic of Ireland (for example, at University College Dublin).

Modular study schemes

Bursary funding can be used to fund tuition fees on modular study schemes. The modules funded by the bursary must be undertaken within the stated funding period. However, the qualification resulting from these modules can be completed after the funding period.

Recognition of prior learning

You should check to see if the course provider offers any credits for prior experience and learning. This is known as recognition of prior learning (RPL). RPL can reduce the cost of your studies or the time it takes to complete them.

Your course provider may run their own RPL or recognition of prior experience and learning (RPEL) scheme. Or they may be registered with our RPL scheme.

How much you can apply for

You can apply for up to £2,000 per year for up to two years of study – a maximum of £4,000 in total.

Year one

For the purpose of the bursary scheme, the first year of bursary funding relates to any study that you undertake during the period between 1 September 2023 to 31 August 2024. You can request a maximum of £2,000 towards tuition fees for this period of study.

Year two

If your programme of study continues into the academic year 2024/25, you can also apply for bursary funds towards continuing study undertaken between 1 September 2024 and 31 August 2025. However, you must be studying towards the same qualification that you have applied for funding for in 2023/24.

You cannot apply for a bursary towards a programme of study that starts after 31 March 2024.

If the bursary does not cover all your tuition fees

If you are successful in receiving a bursary, it is your responsibility to ensure that you can pay for any tuition costs not covered by your bursary grant and any years not covered by the funding.

Other funding options

Due to the high level of interest in the bursary scheme and the competitive nature of the assessment process, we recommend that you also explore other funding options for your studies in case your application is not successful.

Checklist – things to do before you apply

Before you apply, ensure that you've:

If you are successful

If your application is successful, you are required to sign a funding agreement with the College. This states the agreed requirements as set out by the scheme. You must provide proof of registration and of tuition fees before any funds are released to your force.

Your responsibilities

You are expected to provide details of your selected study programme and the associated fees to your force learning and development (L&D) lead or equivalent and finance department as required.

You are also expected to provide a timely response to any requests for additional information.

You are the key point of contact between your force and your academic provider. This involves liaising with your academic provider to ensure that their invoices are sent directly to your force and not to the College of Policing.

How funds are released

Funding is not paid directly by the College to individual recipients. Funding is paid directly to your force using a grant agreement.

We will inform you of your force’s College bursary contact. You will need to speak to them in order to arrange payment, as they will require details of your education provider. The force will manage the timely transfer of funds in accordance with the terms agreed with the relevant academic provider.

If your circumstances change

Any funding offer is only valid for the course and provider specified at the point of application.

If the programme of study or academic provider changes from that detailed on the application form for any reason, you must let the bursary team know by emailing [email protected].

We will consider an alternative programme but reserve the right to revoke any offer made.


You are not expected to repay the awarded funding. We only consider recouping bursary funds if you do not meet the agreed conditions and standards set by the College and academic provider. 

For example, we may request the reimbursement of all or part of the monies paid if you:

  • fail to fulfil the mandatory course requirements
  • leave the course early

You will be expected to adhere to any repayment commitments, as detailed in your force’s policy on education funding. This should be available from your force’s human resources (HR) team or learning and development (L&D) lead. This policy should define the circumstances in which your force can seek reimbursement of all or part of the monies paid. For example, if you fail to complete the course, or resign or retire during study or following qualification during a period as defined by your force.

If no force policy exists or no period is specified, you will need to comply with the College of Policing’s professional development funding policy. The policy states that staff must stay in service for at least one year after completion of the course in order to avoid any reimbursement of course costs.

Sharing your research

If you undertake a thesis at master’s level or above during your period of study, you should add details of your research to our research map. This informs others about the research that you're involved in.

After your studies

On completion of the programme of study supported by the bursary scheme, we request that you:

  • provide us with an action plan detailing any activity you plan to undertake to share your skills and knowledge with your colleagues in your force or the wider service
  • provide a copy of your thesis, where relevant, for submission to the National Police Library
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