SAS Doctors’ and Dentists’ Bursary Scheme 

Guidance and Process


Opportunities for 2023/24 are now CLOSED.






Application Process

The Award 

Review of the Award

Review of the Process

Important Information



We offer bursaries towards the course fees for Associate Specialists, Staff Grades and Specialty Doctors and Dentists working within the Southwest Postgraduate Medical Education geography in substantive posts who wish to undertake a postgraduate course in a clinical or non-clinical field that is relevant to the applicant’s professional development. The course should ideally lead to a higher qualification such as a Postgraduate Certificate, Diploma, or Masters; granted by a Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE)-recognised UK provider.

Applications may be considered for courses that do not result in a Postgraduate Certificate, Diploma or Masters; however, they should still be provided by a recognised UK institution and should demonstrate the relevance to applicants’ professional development and/ or the clinical need within their department.

The bursary awarded can fund up to 50% of the cost of one year’s tuition fees (excluding residential components)

Only one application per person will be considered for any bursary award offered by the Southwest Postgraduate Medical Education Deanery (Peninsula & Severn)

Applications are considered and awarded in accordance with the guidance.



When allocating bursaries, the emphasis is on enhancing SAS professional development and, as such, more importance will be placed on how the course contributes to their development rather than the qualification attained on completion.

It should be noted that the bursary will not be awarded for short courses that can be covered by study leave allowance/ entitlement. The overall purpose is to contribute more substantially to prolonged periods of study that the study leave allowance cannot typically cover.

Whereas we would consider all applications, preference may be given to applicants who wish to complete courses in Medical Education, Medical Leadership, or Coaching. Applicants need not be deterred if the course they wish to study does not fall into one of these categories as the scheme is not exclusively for doctors applying for these courses.

Bursaries will not be awarded for fees towards professional membership examinations such as MRCP/ FRCS or for CESR application, or for membership of professional bodies.

We will not fund courses outside the footprint of the Southwest Postgraduate Medical Education Deanery (Peninsula & Severn) unless they are either at least 10% cheaper or offer particular modules which are not available within the region.

The Bursary Award can only be guaranteed for the current financial year. If a 2 or a 3 year course, is being completed, applicants will have to apply every year as there is no guarantee of automatic additional bursaries to aid further years of study to which they may commit.

There is no limit to the number of times one can apply for the Bursary, although please note every application will go through the same competitive process.

The bursary contribution will be up to 50% of the total yearly course fee only and will be capped at a maximum amount of £3500. As an example, if the yearly course fee is £8,000 the maximum NHSE-SW would contribute will be £3500. If the yearly course fee is £5,000, the maximum NHSE-SW would contribute will be £2,500. NHSE-SW would not reimburse travel/ subsistence or course materials.

Applicants must secure a place with the appropriate University/course provider and complete the University/course providers application form separate to the Deanery application form. The acceptance letter or official email must be attached to the bursary application, or a copy of your email / acceptance letter must be received by our office ( by Sunday 27th August 2023 in order for funding to be approved.

Funding will not usually be awarded to applicants who have already started the course in the academic year for which they are applying for the bursary. Retrospective payments will not be made.



  • Once a bursary has been awarded, the course should not be deferred without the prior approval of the panel. Under exceptional circumstances (on a case-by-case basis), a maximum deferment of 1 year will be allowed. In all other cases, funds will be recalled if the course is not taken up as initially intimated to us.
  • Applicants must notify the Deanery via if they wish to defer or fail to take up the course for which they have applied. Failure to inform NHS England Southwest may result in the applicant having to the pay the full amount of the course themselves without any contribution from the NHSE-SW bursary scheme.
  • The applicant must obtain signatures or emails of support as detailed on the application form when submitting their application.


The applicants must ensure that those supporting the application agree that the course represents an integral part of the personal development plan (PDP) as identified through the NHS appraisal process.

The applicants must meet the required level of fluency in the English language.

Unsigned or late applications may not be considered.


Application Process

Applications will be dated upon receipt.

The Bursary scheme is a competitive process and submitting an application is not an automatic guarantee to receiving the funding.

The application process for the bursary fund is consistent across all applicants and each application is considered on its own merit. The process for the application is listed below.

Notification of the bursary window opening will be done through:

  • Websites
  • SAS Tutors
  • Postgraduate Medical Education Centre Managers
  • Directors of Medical Education

Applications for the 2023/24 SAS bursary can be submitted from Wednesday 3rd May 2023. Application Forms will be available online from this date.

The application form will be available online from the opening date.

The closing date for SAS bursary applications is Sunday 11th June 2023.

Each application must be submitted on the standard application form and will be assessed against the scoring framework.


The application form is available here from the opening date. 


Completed applications must be submitted via email to the following address:

Scan & email to:           

With the subject heading:      SAS Bursary Application


All applications will be acknowledged by email, stating confirmation of submission within 3-5 working days of receipt.

Any queries regarding the application process or an individual application should be emailed to



The Award

The Senior Business and Education Manager is responsible for the Bursary Fund and is supported by an administrative team.

Each application will be assigned its own unique reference number.

Funds will only be awarded if successful with the bursary application.

Each application will be scored on its own merit and scored against the scoring framework.

Applicants must ensure they have completed the relevant university/provider application process and form.

The panel scoring the applications will be constituted from members of the Southwest Postgraduate Medical Education Deanery (Peninsula & Severn) Senior Management Team.

All applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application by email, no later than Friday 14th July 2023.

Any funding awarded will be conditional on the applicant providing PGME with a copy of their acceptance letter or email from the university confirming their place on the course. This must be received by PGME no later than Sunday 27th August 2023. Failure to provide this evidence will result in funding being withdrawn.

Applicants are required to pay for their course fees in FULL and claim back the awarded amount by completing the NHS England Southwest invoice template [sent with letter of outcome] and providing proof of payment.

Claims must be with us within 3 months of having paid for the course [i.e. the date of your receipt of payment]. This is due to standing financial regulations for payments.

Applications will not be accepted if the applicant has started the course. Retrospective payments will not be made.


Review of the Award

Upon completion of the funded course, the successful applicant must provide evidence of completion by providing a copy of the awarded certificate or evidence of the required minimum attendance for the course within 6 weeks of completion.

If the successful applicant is unable to provide satisfactory evidence of completion of the funded course, they may be asked to reimburse the sum of the awarded fund as provided via this process.

Within 6 weeks of completing the supported course, the successful applicant is requested to write a summary detailing:

  • The course that was completed;
  • Who the course has been completed with (the provider);
  • What has been learnt on the course;
  • What are the career benefits of the course;
  • The quality of the educational content of the course;
  • If the course would be recommended to a colleague and why;
  • Your experience of the Bursary Fund Process

This should be sent to

This document will aid the Panel to assess the benefits of the award and any future benefit of the course that was undertaken.

By accepting the Bursary Award applicants agree to have published their feedback of the course.

Any concerns or issues relating to this process should be sent to


Review of the Process

This process will be reviewed annually or as necessary.

Amendments may be made during the application and scoring process if inconsistencies, errors or areas of concern are identified and this will be communicated to affected applicants accordingly.


Important Information

The decision of the Panel is final. Applicants who are unhappy with the bursary process can appeal against the panel decision. The requests need to be sent to; please add in the subject line ‘appeal’. All appeals will be forwarded to the Deputy Postgraduate Dean. Requestors will receive a written response to their appeal. Please note that the PSED Team Leader will be attending these meetings to take notes. Notes from the meetings will be shared with the applicant and kept as evidence of discussion.

The Deanery reserves the right to withdraw its funding or the application for a Bursary award at any time.

When a bursary is allocated and accepted, but not subsequently claimed, the funds cannot be re-allocated due to the timing of the financial year. Interested applicants are therefore requested to consider their decision carefully before applying so that the funding can be allocated effectively and fairly.

Successful applicants must inform us immediately (within 2 weeks) if they subsequently decide not to take up the course or withdraw from the course for any reason whatsoever. Failure to do so might render them ineligible for future bursary schemes and they may be required to pay for the course or other associated costs incurred.

The decisions concerning bursaries are not made solely on the basis of the type of course that applicants are applying for. Successful applications must demonstrate how this course will benefit their personal or career development, and how it will bring benefit to the wider NHS.

If an applicant has been awarded funding in a previous scheme and would like to apply for a bursary towards a different course, they are welcome to do so but must demonstrate how the previous course was of benefit to their development and to the wider NHS. Please be aware that these applications will be assessed on an individual basis.

Any sponsorship or funds received from another provider/source to pay for this course, needs to be declared as it may invalidate this application.