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  • Writer's pictureTKI


The University of Oxford and the Mastercard Foundation have an innovative and ambitious partnership under the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program and the Africa Oxford Initiative (AfOx). The partnership is set to provide 400 young African scholars with a fully-funded opportunity to pursue taught Masters degrees in programmes related to pandemic preparedness and recovery at the University of Oxford.

The Scholarship funds a rigorous one-year taught Master’s course at Oxford aimed at equipping the Scholars with relevant technical, entrepreneurial and leadership skills and connecting them to world-leading resources in their respective sectors. Key elements of the scholarship programme include adequate support and preparation for students to take up their studies, intensive emphasis on life skills beyond academia and support for a lifelong network of alumni.

Each Scholar will benefit from the highest calibre training in specific disciplines critical to solving pressing problems, including food systems, health sciences, sustainable water and energy systems, governance and public policy, and entrepreneurship, among others. Their programs will centre the four AfOx themes relevant to Africa’s Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals:

  1. Healthy People

  2. Integrated Societies

  3. Green Futures

  4. Innovation for Prosperity

An important and innovative aspect of the program is the “Ubuntu period of service” undertaken upon completion of the Master’s degree. During this second year of the Program, the Scholars will be supported and encouraged to design and deliver impactful projects based on African organisations, which could include launching start-ups and working in multinational development agencies, governments, NGOs or research institutions.


This full-cost scholarship is available to Master's students, covering tuition fees and living expenses for international students. The scholarship also provides logistics support, including an economy return flight, visa and Immigration Health Surcharge fees, settling down allowance, and access to a Thrive Fund for emergencies. The first year includes a rigorous academic Master’s course at Oxford and a Leadership and Impact Programme, which support the scholars in developing collaborative leadership qualities needed to build cross-sector, interdisciplinary solutions to address complex social and environmental problems.

After completing their Master’s Program, Scholars will be supported to take up 4-6 months placements in leading Africa-based organisations for their Ubuntu Period of Service. The scholars will work on initiatives in Africa, receiving mentoring from leading Africa-based academics and practitioners, enabling the Scholars to develop pathways to building impactful careers in Africa.

The Scholars benefit from a bespoke Leadership and Impact Program delivered in partnership with the Skoll Centre for Social Enterprise and tailored academic and social support throughout their studies. Beyond their studies, Scholars will join the AfOx Alumni Network, where they can continue to draw on and contribute to the community of African Scholars linked to the University of Oxford. In addition to the peer support from the Scholar Community, the Scholars have access to mentorship and career support from AfOx Research and Innovation Fellows and the more comprehensive AfOx network of research leaders and entrepreneurs.


The scholarship specifically emphasises groups who have historically been under-represented, including but not limited to female scholars, people from refugee and displaced backgrounds and scholars with accessibility needs.

There are a number of courses that are eligible for this scholarship. Here is an example of courses by students who have won this scholarship in the past:

  • MSc Criminology and Criminal Justice

  • MSc Applied Digital Health

  • MSc African Studies

  • Master of Public Policy

  • MSc Refugee and Forced Migration

  • Master of Internal Health and Tropical Medicine

  • MSc Water Science and Policy Management

  • MSc Energy Systems

  • MSc Modelling for Global Health

  • MBA

  • MSc Education (Higher Education)

  • MSc Genomic Medicine

  • MSc Archaeology

  • MSc Social Sciences of the Internet

  • MSc Law and Finance

  • MSc Conservation, Biodiversity and Management

  • Master of Linguistics, Philology and Phonetics


To be considered for this scholarship, submit your application for graduate study to the University of Oxford via the graduate admissions portal by the deadline for your chosen course of study. Please read the Application Guide in detail ahead of making the application. We strongly recommend you submit your application form and all of your supporting documents at least a week before the December/January for your course.

Eligible candidates who receive a conditional offer from their course will be then invited to apply for the AfOx Graduate Scholarship Program. All invited candidates will be expected to fill in the AfOx Graduate Scholarship questionnaire during the application process.

Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed virtually before decisions are made, and the timelines will be communicated at the interview stage.


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