Sports Bursaries & Scholarships

Sports Bursaries & Scholarships

The University of Aberdeen supports a wide variety of sports bursary and scholarships schemes. These schemes are available to support elite student athletes seeking to combine academic and sporting excellence during their time at university. 

The most common award is our Sports Bursary, sponsored by the Development Trust, which offers an exciting package of financial and wrap-around support for high-performing athletes in any sporting discipline.

Applications for the Development Trust Sports Bursary for 2024/25 are now live - see tab below for application details including form and closing date.

In addition to the Sports Bursary scheme, we also offer major sports scholarships, and a number of other stand-alone awards.  

Full details of all the awards are included below.

Development Trust Sports Bursary

Sporting Excellence banner - University of Aberdeen

Applications for the 2024/25 Development Trust Sports Bursary are now open!

The closing date for applications is 5pm on Monday 9 September 2024.

Bursary Support

Each year the University's Development Trust provides funding for a number of Sports Bursary awards. The scheme is funded by the generosity of donors to the University.

Around 20 bursaries are awarded annually. Awards are made on a one year renewable basis and are open to both undergraduate and postgraduate students. The bursar packages include:

  • a cash award (usually between £250 and £1000)
  • gym membership at Aberdeen Sports Village
  • strength and conditioning support
  • physiotherapy
  • seminars e.g. nutrition, psychology
  • yoga sessions
  • exclusive sports bursar clothing

Where appropriate, University staff can also provide support to elite sports performers seeking to apply for academic flexibility. There is also the possibility of arranging shared accommodation with other athletes.

Applications are welcome from students performing at a high-level in any sport.  In recent years we have supported students in athletics, rowing, swimming, gymnastics, hockey, rifle, boxing, weightlifting, rugby, modern pentathlon and more.

Main criteria: applicants need to demonstrate clear evidence of their recent sporting performance. Evidence may vary by sport but could include, for example, your 'Power of 10' ranking (athletics) or your relative performance against a BUCS qualifying standard. Applicants from team sports will need to differentiate their individual performance and demonstrate, for example, representative honours and/or a realistic expectation of playing at national league level or above.

Applications: usually open in April with a decision made early in the academic year (i.e. September). 

Further Information: on the scheme and guidance on how to apply is available from

Here's a short video and profile of recent bursar Kelsey Stewart (Athletics).

The John Robertson Sports Scholarship

The John Robertson Scholarship has been awarded for the years 2023-2026. For all other scholarships please visit the Funding database.


First-year undergraduate students who have displayed outstanding commitment and achievement in sport are encouraged to apply for the John Robertson Sports Scholarship.

The Scholarship is valued at £3,000 per annum. The scholarship will be disbursed in two equal parts, one at the end of November and, pending satisfactory progress, and at the beginning of the second half session in February.  

The successful scholar will also be awarded free annual membership to Aberdeen Sports Village and specialist advice and coaching from the Sports & Exercise Team, including attendance at seminars and Strength and Conditioning sessions.

NB: Students are welcome to apply for the John Robertson Sports Scholarship and the Development Trust Sports Bursary Scheme at the same time. However the successful recipient of the John Robertson Sports Scholarship will not be eligible for a sports bursary.

Academic Flexibility

Students competing in elite-level sport (e.g. Olympic Games, Paralympic Games, World Championships, Commonwealth Games, European Championships and World University Games) may be eligible for Academic Flexibility. Applications for academic flexibility must be considered and approved by the Academic Flexibility Group prior to attendance at sporting events. Students are strongly encouraged to contact their course coordinators at the start of each year to confirm their elite-athlete status and any sporting commitments that might affect attendance or assessment. All requests for approval must be submitted to at least 14 working days in advance of each sporting commitment. For full details please see the University’s policy and application procedure below:

All student athletes (of any level) are strongly encouraged to communicate with their course coordinators and notify them of any training/competitions that may impact academic activity.

Other Awards and Prizes

A number of stand-alone awards are available for students whose sporting achievements have stood out or who are involved in certain sporting or academic programmes.

For further information on availability and how to apply for any of these awards please contact

Thomson Memorial Prize

The prize (£300) is awarded annually to the student who in the opinion of the Principal has, by his or her conduct, scholarship or eminence in sport, done most to advance or enhance the reputation of the University.

This prize will also be noted on the student’s transcript.

Nominations open each year from February and close at the end of March. 

Thomson Memorial prize nomination form