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Brian Harris Award for History

Brian Harris Award for History

Two scholarships are available, each providing a £10,000 cash award towards living, research and travel costs.

The scholarships are aimed at UK students from lower-income backgrounds looking to study a Masters degree in History, concentrating on British or European History.

They have been established by entrepreneur Brian Harris to provide an opportunity for a student from a low-income background to study a Masters degree in History.

Brian was the first in his family to go to university. He was inspired to study history by his school teachers and was initially attracted to Royal Holloway’s beautiful Founder’s Building and its rural surroundings. After his undergraduate studies he decided to stay on to study a Masters, to boost his CV and to help him stand out from the crowd in the employment market.

Brian said: “Royal Holloway made a huge difference to my life. I was from a poor background. My father was a manual worker. I am sure that without my years of study at Royal Holloway I would never have been able to achieve so much in my life.

"My subsequent business successes have given me the means, and some might say the privilege, to help others. I am very keen to try and level the playing field for the more disadvantaged students, as I studied in an era of free higher education and am deeply conscious that, had the present day funding structure existed then, I doubt whether I would ever have studied for a degree, let alone a Masters.”

Read Brian's full interview here.

Am I eligible?

You must be a full or part-time student from the UK applying for one of the following Masters degrees: 

  • MA History
  • MA Public History

To be eligible for the scholarship your focus of study, including the MA dissertation, must be on British and/or European History.

You are expected to have achieved, or be on target to achieve, at least a 2:1 degree or equivalent, with preference given to those with, or expected to achieve, a First Class Honours Degree. 

You must be able to demonstrate financial need.

You must also hold a conditional or unconditional offer to study at Royal Holloway.

How do I apply?

Applications for 2021 entry have now closed.

Applicants will be notified by mid-May, 2021 if they have been awarded the scholarship.

You must provide a supporting statement of up to 1,000 words which should include: 

  • How and why you feel you qualify for the scholarship
  • What you want to achieve by completing a Masters in History
  • Details of your career plans and how your degree will help you fulfil your goals
  • Details of what you think you gained from your undergraduate degree
  • Details of your educational background prior to your undergraduate degree
  • Details of both your academic and personal background, including financial need
  • Evidence of resilience e.g. an example of a difficult period in your life, how you overcame it and what you learnt from your experience
  • How you will give back to the university community.

Your statement will be judged on how effectively and convincingly you respond to the above.

You must also provide: 

  • Evidence of the financial support you received at undergraduate level and the basis on which this was received and why. The sources this could be from are: Student Finance England, Student Awards Agency Scotland, Student Finance Wales, Student Finance Northern Ireland, or a university-funded bursary (where this has been awarded on the basis of financial need)
  • Evidence of having achieved or expected to achieve a 2:1 or First Class undergraduate degree or equivalent
  • An up-to-date CV
  • You must provide two written academic references (up to 200 words each). These must be from academics who have previously supported, taught or worked with you. Please ask your reference to email their statement to directly.
  • The piece of work from your undergraduate degree that you are most proud of.

For full-time students, the scholarship is available as a £10,000 cash awards towards living, research and travel costs (paid in instalments). This is available for one year of study.

Recipients of the Brian Harris Award for History are not eligible for other tuition fee discounts, such as the alumni discount.

Read our full terms and conditions.

If you have any queries please contact



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