Bursaries for Health Science 2024/2025

A Guide to Securing Bursaries for Health Science Studies in South Africa

Embarking on a career in healthcare is a noble calling, but the costs of quality studies can deter many passionate aspirants without access to financial support. This is where health science bursaries become invaluable – by providing funding to empower you to gain the skills and knowledge needed to save lives and uplift communities.

In this comprehensive guide, we explore the wealth of bursary options available for aspiring healthcare professionals in South Africa. Whether you are pursuing nursing, medicine, pharmacy, physiotherapy or any other allied health field, read on to uncover where to find bursaries, how to apply successfully, and set yourself up for meaningful impact in healthcare.

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Introduction to Health Science Bursaries

A bursary is a monetary award provided to students to help cover educational expenses, without requiring repayment. Bursaries are granted based on criteria like financial need, academic performance, field of study, or other eligibility requirements set by the provider.

For students passionate about healthcare in South Africa, bursaries can make the difference in being able to access quality studies in this field. The key is finding aligned bursaries and crafting compelling applications.

This guide will explore:

  • Main sources of health science bursaries in South Africa
  • Crafting outstanding bursary applications
  • Key eligibility criteria and requirements
  • Insider application tips from experts
  • Answers to common bursary questions

Let’s delve into how to secure funding to invest in your healthcare education and career.

Main Sources of Health Science Bursaries

Many excellent health science bursary opportunities exist through government, universities, charities and more.

Government Bursaries

The South African government offers several programs, including:

  • Department of Health Bursary Scheme – Bursaries for studies in medicine, nursing, pharmacy and more.
  • NSFAS – Financial aid for disadvantaged students pursuing higher education, including health sciences.

Health Industry Bursaries

Many health companies and hospitals offer bursaries for students in associated healthcare fields, such as:

  • Netcare Bursary Programme
  • Life Healthcare Bursary Programme
  • Clicks Pharmacy Bursaries

University Bursaries

Most major universities provide health science bursaries based on financial need or academic merit. Target those where you aim to study.

Charities and Trusts

Many health-focused charities and trusts offer bursaries, like the MEDSA Trust, the Polio Research Foundation and the Vodacom Foundation.

Carefully researching these sources can uncover funding tailored for your situation.

Crafting Your Bursary Application

Your written bursary application provides the opportunity to showcase your worthiness for funding. Here are some tips:

Highlight Academic Achievements

Provide details of your stellar academic performance, distinctions, awards and any evidence demonstrating your excellence as a health science student.

Demonstrate Passion for Your Field

Articulate what draws you to your particular healthcare field, your vision for patient impact, and future career goals.

Share Relevant Experiences

Discuss any healthcare-related volunteering, job shadowing, internships or prior experience interacting with patients.

Exhibit Leadership Skills

Provide examples of team collaboration, community impact and leadership qualities that shed light on your abilities.

Proofread Meticulously

Refine your application until it is flawless. Any errors may jeopardize your success.

With diligent preparation and compelling content, you can craft an outstanding bursary application.

Key Eligibility Criteria

Understanding typical requirements will help you determine which bursaries to pursue.

Academic Achievement

Meeting high academic standards is usually required based on matric or ongoing university grades.

Financial Need

Most bursaries aim to assist economically disadvantaged students, so financial means testing is common.

Field of Study

Some bursaries target specific disciplines like medicine, pharmacy, physiotherapy or nursing.


Eligibility often requires South African citizenship or permanent residence. Some bursaries are open globally.

While each bursary sets specific criteria, excellence and dedication are vital prerequisites.

Insider Tips from Experts

Apply these bursary application tips from the experts:

  • For corporate bursaries, research the company’s healthcare focus areas to showcase alignment with their needs.
  • Highlight both academic achievements and relevant hands-on experiences interacting with patients.
  • Secure recommendation letters from healthcare mentors who can speak to your passion and potential.
  • Be specific in addressing how the bursary will enable your educational goals and future community impact.
  • Follow up professionally after submission to kindly verify your application was received successfully.

With diligence and persistence, you can optimize your chances of winning key funding.

Answers to Common Bursary Questions

Let’s explore some frequent questions health science bursary applicants have:

How competitive are health science bursaries?

Competition is often high for prestigious medical bursaries. Craft excellent applications showcasing your achievements and apply widely.

When should I apply for health science bursaries?

Begin researching early, 12-18 months before studies commence. Many providers have early deadline cycles.

Can I still get a student loan if I secure a health science bursary?

Yes, combining funding sources is common. Maximize free aid from bursaries first, then supplement unmet costs with loans.

Must I work for the bursary provider after graduating?

Some health industry bursaries require internships, community service or post-study employment commitments. Understand obligations.

Are part-time students eligible for health science bursaries?

Unfortunately most require full-time studies. But some providers offer support for part-time students, so verify each bursary’s criteria.

The more you understand the landscape, the better prepared you will be to secure valuable funding.


The costs of quality healthcare education can seem prohibitive without financial assistance. But by leveraging South Africa’s range of public and private bursary opportunities, aspiring nurses, doctors, pharmacists and more can access the training needed to provide outstanding patient care.

Remember to begin your bursary search early, assess eligibility carefully, craft excellent applications, and follow expert tips. With focus and perseverance, health science bursaries can enable you to gain the skills and heart needed to make an incredible impact through healthcare excellence.


Where can I find bursaries for specialized postgraduate health sciences like an MSc in audiology?

Great sources are university health science departments, health charities like MEDSA, private healthcare providers, and aggregators like Bursaries24.

What are the most prestigious medical bursaries in South Africa?

Some top programs are the Discovery Foundation Scholarship, Mediclinic Bursary Programme, Netcare Bursary, and bursaries from top research institutions.

If my grades slipped one semester due to illness, does that disqualify me?

Not necessarily, though it may be tougher. Explain the situation in your application and emphasize the positive trajectory of your overall academic record.

Should I rely solely on bursaries or also apply for student loans?

Pursuing both can provide your full funding needs. Bursaries help minimize debt, but loans can supplement unmet costs not covered by bursaries.

Do I need work experience to qualify for healthcare bursaries?

Not necessarily, but relevant volunteering, job shadowing or basic healthcare experience can strengthen your application significantly.


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