Gates Cambridge Scholarship Programme For International Students – The Gates Cambridge Scholarship programme was established in October 2000 by an historic donation of US$210m from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to the University of Cambridge. The first class of scholars came into residence in October 2001. Since then, the Trust has awarded over 2,000 scholarships to scholars from more than 100 countries.
Each year Gates Cambridge offers c.80 full-cost scholarships to outstanding applicants from countries outside the UK to pursue a postgraduate degree in any subject available at the University of Cambridge. Approximately two-thirds of these awards will be offered to PhD students, with approximately 25 awards available in the US round and 55 available in the International round.
The selection criteria are:
outstanding intellectual ability
reasons for choice of course
a commitment to improving the lives of others
There are approximately 250 Scholars from c. 50 countries studying in Cambridge at any one time who pursue the full range of subjects available at the University and are spread across its departments and Colleges, as well as forming their own distinctive community.
There is also a community of more than 1,700 Gates Cambridge Alumni spread across the world.
The Gates Cambridge mission is to build a global network of future leaders committed to improving the lives of others. It aims to achieve this mission by selecting outstanding scholars, providing them with financial and non-financial support at one of the world’s leading universities and facilitating community building at and beyond Cambridge.
A Gates Cambridge Scholarship covers the full cost of studying at Cambridge. It also provides additional, discretionary funding.
the University Composition Fee at the appropriate rate*
a maintenance allowance for a single student (£20,000 for 12 months at the 2023-24 rate; pro rata for courses shorter than 12 months) – for PhD scholars the award is for up to 4 years
one economy single airfare at both the beginning and end of the course
inbound visa costs & the cost of the Immigration Health Surcharge
* The University Composition Fee varies for different types of students; applicants should see the Graduate Studies prospectus for full details about precise amounts. Where a student has been successful in gaining a fee award from public authorities (such as the UKRI) they should accept this award and the Trust will not pay their fee or may share their fee and maintenance costs.
The Trust also considers applications for several types of additional funding on a discretionary basis:
Academic development funding – from up to £500 to up to £2,000, dependent on the length of your course, to attend conferences and courses.
Dependent Children Allowance – up to £11,604 for one child and up to £16,548 for two or more children (2023-24 rate). No funding is provided for a partner.
Fieldwork – you may apply to keep up to your normal maintenance allowance while on fieldwork as part of your PhD (the Trust does not fund other fieldwork costs as these should be funded by the University Composition Fee).
Maternity/Paternity funding – should you require it, you may apply to intermit your studies for up to 6 months and continue to receive your maintenance allowance during this time
Hardship funding – for unforeseen difficulties facing the scholar
Receiving a salary or substantial other scholarship?
If you are receiving a salary from an employer or have another substantial scholarship, the Trust reserves the right to reduce or not pay the standard maintenance allowance. You should let the Trust know ASAP if you are awarded any funding towards your degree at Cambridge.
What is not covered?
Most costs are covered by the Scholarship but Gates Cambridge does not cover bench fees or the costs of scientific equipment or similar academic resources. The Trust expects such core course costs to be covered by the academic department at Cambridge.
Gates Cambridge Scholarship Programme For International Students Eligibility
Who can apply?
You can apply for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship if you are:
- a citizen of any country outside the United Kingdom
- applying to pursue one of the following courses at the University of Cambridge:
- PhD (full-time or part-time*)
- MLitt (full-time)
- One year postgraduate course (full-time), with some exceptions – see below
* For October 2024 entry, Gates Cambridge is continuing to pilot a scheme which allows applicants to apply for funding for a part-time doctoral degree.
Current student at Cambridge?
If you are currently studying at Cambridge and wish to apply for a new postgraduate course you can apply for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship. For example, if you are currently studying for an MPhil you can apply for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship to pursue a PhD. Current Gates Cambridge Scholars may also apply for a second scholarship if they are applying for a new degree. All current Cambridge students will be considered the second, international round. However, if you have already started a course (e.g. you are currently part way through a PhD) you cannot apply for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship to fund the remainder of it.
General funding at Cambridge
Whether or not you are eligible for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship you may be eligible for other funding offered by the University of Cambridge. See www.student-funding.cam.ac.uk for more details.
Courses which Gates Cambridge does NOT consider:
- Any Undergraduate degree, such as BA (undergraduate) or BA affiliated (a second BA)
- Business Doctorate (BusD)
- Master of Business (MBA)
- Master of Finance (MFin)
- MASt courses
- MBBChir Clinical Studies
- MD Doctor of Medicine degree (6 years, part-time, Home students only)
- Graduate Course in Medicine (A101)
- Part-time degrees other than the PhD
- Non-degree courses
What we are looking for
Our Scholars come from diverse backgrounds and each brings something unique to the programme. We use four criteria to select them.
To be competitive for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship candidates must show evidence of academic excellence (through their transcripts, references, experience and the potential to succeed on the chosen course). Academic departments at the University of Cambridge nominate only the most academically outstanding applicants for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship, which ensures that those whom we select will thrive at Cambridge.
Reasons for choice of course
You should be able to make a strong case for a particular postgraduate degree at Cambridge. PhD applicants (and most research MPhil applicants) will need to make contact with a potential supervisor with whom they will develop a research project, a summary of which is part of the application. You will need to demonstrate that you have the academic background and the necessary skills and expertise to complete the course. Taught MPhil and other applicants need to make a strong case for how completing the proposed course will facilitate their career plans. Gates Cambridge seeks Scholars who will have an academically transformative experience at Cambridge, so it is important that you fully research and justify the course for which you are applying.
A commitment to improving the lives of others
A defining characteristic of the Gates Cambridge programme is the commitment of our Scholars to improving the lives of others. We interpret this criterion broadly and applicants define it themselves by providing evidence of their past, current and future commitment to the societies in which they will live and work.
A capacity for leadership
Successful applicants must be able to demonstrate a capacity for leadership, which can be expressed in a multitude of ways. Applicants should provide evidence of their leadership experience to date and indicate the ways in which their leadership skills may have impact in the future careers.
A note on the ratio of PhD:Masters awards
In order to create and sustain a viable Scholar community in Cambridge University and for Scholars to take full advantage of their time in Cambridge, we aim to select approximately 2/3 PhD scholars each year. Those applying for taught Masters should pay special attention to explaining why this is the optimal course for them and how it is critical to their future academic or professional training plans.
Gates Cambridge Scholarship Programme For International Students Process
Gates Cambridge uses a two-stage selection process to ensure our Scholars meet all of our criteria to the highest level.
1. Departmental nomination
Gates Cambridge asks academic departments in Cambridge to nominate a small number of eligible applicants who meet all four of the scholarship’s criteria to a very high level. This ensures that those nominated by departments are academically outstanding and are likely to succeed as a postgraduate student at Cambridge and also that they show evidence of meeting Gates Cambridge’s selection criteria. A relatively small number of those who apply for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship are nominated by departments and then invited to interview.
All candidates nominated by academic departments are invited to a short interview to assess how they meet all four Gates Cambridge criteria. Scholars are then selected after interview.
If you are called to interview
You will be sent full details about the format and arrangements on the timing set out on our Timeline page. If you are invited for interview you will have gone through an incredibly competitive process.
You will be invited for a 20-25 minute interview and, depending on where you are, you can interview either in person or virtually. Where you are able to attend the interview in person we encourage this.
There are four broadly subject-based interview panels:
Each panel consists of appropriate and experienced academics and practioners and may also include Gates Cambridge alumni and a representative of the Gates Cambridge Trust.
Each interview has four main sections:
1. Welcome and introduction
The Chair will introduce the panel, set out the format of the interview, and provide any other essential information to allow for a productive conversation.
2. Gates Cambridge
What you know about the Gates Cambridge Scholarships
Your motivation for applying
Why you think you could be a Gates Cambridge Scholar
Your thoughts on the opportunities and responsibilities that a prestigious, full-cost scholarship at one of the world’s leading universities brings
3. Academic and career plans
Your academic work to date – can you convincingly communicate your passion for, and the importance of, your chosen subject?
Your proposed degree at Cambridge – can you provide a convincing justification for your choice of course at Cambridge?
Your career plans – can you convincingly link your application for both a Gates Cambridge Scholarship and your proposed course at Cambridge to your future career plans?
You may also be asked probing intellectual or ethical questions, to which there are no ‘right’ answers
4. Final thoughts and questions
A chance to convey any additional information and/or ask any questions to the interview panel (optional)
If you are not called to interview
You will receive an email from Gates Cambridge confirming that your application has not been successful. You will find further information on our Timeline page.
For more Information: Visit the website for Gates Cambridge Scholarship Programme For International Students