University of California Berkeley’s Mastercard Foundation Scholar Program 2023-2024 ( Fully funded)
The Center for African Studies(link is external) and the Mastercard Foundation(link is external) are engaged in a ten-year partnership to support 108 master’s degree students from Sub-Saharan African countries who are academically talented and committed to transformative change on the continent. The Program recruits widely across Sub-Saharan Africa and encourages applications particularly from women, people with disabilities, and those who are refugees or displaced.
Am I Eligible for the Scholarship?
The main eligibility criteria are:
- Being a citizen of a Sub-Saharan African country: This includes Africans who are refugees or displaced within the African continent. This scholarship is not intended for citizens of North African countries. Those with dual citizenship, asylee, refugee or permanent resident status in the US, Canada, UK or EU are not eligible.
- Having academic talent: All prospective Scholars must first be admitted to a UC Berkeley master’s degree program to be considered for the Scholarship. An important criteria for admission to the University is demonstrated academic excellence.
- Demonstrating leadership potential: The Program seeks those committed to developing the skills and mindsets associated with transformative leadership, i.e, that which engages others in an ethical manner to generate positive and lasting change.
- Coming from a socio-economically disadvantaged background: This Scholarship is designed for those extremely talented individuals who might not otherwise have access to quality further education.
- Having demonstrated the commitment to give back to your community, country, or continent: We are looking for well-rounded students who are engaged in activities beyond the classroom. Some may be directly related to your field of study, but this may also include other issues (social, economic, political) that you are working on and passionate about. Applicants should elaborate on their achievements both in their application to UC Berkeley, and then later in the Scholarship application.
- Having expressed the desire and intention to return to your home country after completing your studies: We are looking for students who are engaged with and passionate about issues affecting their communities, and who will take advantage of their education at UC Berkeley to better equip themselves with the knowledge and training to address these issues upon return. While important work can be done from abroad, the intention of the Program is to enable Scholars to return home, after forming valuable professional connections through internships, academic training and job placements.
Apply to be a UC Berkeley Mastercard Foundation Scholar
Master’s degree applicants must first apply to a graduate progam before they will be considered for the Mastercard Foundations Scholars Program. Not all degree programs are eligible. Here is a list of Master’s Degree programs.
Each eligible graduate degree program(link is external) has specific requirements and applicants should carefully review those. The Graduate Division(link is external) also provides detailed information on the admissions process for international students. Direct questions regarding admission requirements should be made to the specific graduate program. We outline more details of the Scholars Program application process for master’s program here. We will accept applications through the fall of 2028.
While the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at UC Berkeley is not open to undergraduates, students at this level are welcome to apply to the University of California, Berkeley. More information on the undergraduate process is available on the Undergraduate Admissions site(link is external). Other Scholars Program partners(link is external) are recruiting undergraduates.