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  • Writer's pictureTKI


Updated: Sep 7, 2021


Do you have what it takes to be a Mastercard Foundation Scholar? The University of Cape Town is looking for the next generation of leaders to join this unique scholarship program. Until 2024, over 400 African students will be awarded full scholarships to UCT as part of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program. The initiative provides students with a top-level education, as well as leadership and career development, mentorship and access to a global alumni network.

The University of Cape Town (UCT) has partnered with the Mastercard Foundation in its global Scholars’ Program: an educational initiative that provides academically talented young people from economically disadvantaged communities in Africa with access to quality university education.

The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at UCT provides full-cost scholarships to young Africans who are first-time undergraduate or postgraduate (honours and master’s) degree-seeking applicants. The scholarships ensure a premium educational package that will produce graduates whose qualifications are internationally recognised and locally applicable, and whose transition into the workforce is underpinned by values of engaged citizenship and social justice.

These scholarships cover the full period of study and are renewable annually subject to satisfactory performance and participation in the activities and opportunities offered by the programme. Successful candidates will be required to commit themselves to returning to their home countries and to invest their gained skills and education in their country’s social and economic growth.


  • Academically talented – value learning and are driven to complete their education.

  • Economically disadvantaged – facing significant financial barriers to completing their education.

  • Committed to giving back – investing in their communities, using the skills and knowledge that they have acquired.

  • Future leaders – committed to embracing ethical leadership and making a positive change in their home communities.


  • Comprehensive financial assistance with visa applications, travel, tuition, living expenses, medical aid and accommodation.

  • A relevant and recognised education through academic curricula aimed at producing graduates whose qualifications are internationally recognised and locally applicable.

  • Academic and peer mentor support – to ensure that each Scholar successfully progresses academically.

  • An array of cultural and transition support and training aimed at academic and professional enrichment and assisting in the challenges facing university going students.

  • Career and internship opportunities in Africa, service learning, experiential learning – career guidance and support for transition to further study or the workforce.

  • Leadership development and training.

  • Alumni networks for further support


In 2022 60 scholarship opportunities - Masters by Research only are available for students who intend to commence with their first year of registration for full- time postgraduate Masters by Research studies. To be eligible to apply for The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at the University of Cape Town, applicants must meet the stated criteria as recorded in the Terms of Reference and Conditions of Award document for Masters by Research applicants.

In order to apply for The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program, applicants must first apply to the University of Cape Town for academic study and placement. Only applicants, who have applied for academic study and placement to UCT, can submit an application for a Mastercard Foundation scholarship. The admission requirements for postgraduate study vary from one programme to another. Consult the faculty concerned directly in order to find out what is required for the course or degree that you want to take. Please refer to the 2022 Directions for Postgraduate Applicants and faculties for the relevant closing dates and information on courses at UCT, how to apply to the University, as well as support structures available for postgraduate students at the University.

Part 1: Complete and submit academic application online

  1. An official passport which must be valid for at least 30 days after the end of the proposed stay in South Africa, otherwise the permit will only be granted for the period of up to 30 days before the expiry date. It should also have at least one unused page left when arriving in South Africa. Passports should not be endorsed or extended;

  2. A Department of Home Affairs application form (BI-1738);

  3. An official letter from UCT confirming acceptance at the institution for the duration of the course. This is a letter from the relevant faculty offering a place to

  4. In the event of persons under the age of 21, UCT will appoint guardian’s and proof of consent in liaison with the parents of such applicants;

  5. A police clearance certificate (less than 6 months old);

  6. A medical and radiological reports (less than 6 months old);

  7. A relevant certificate if married, widowed, divorced or separated;

  8. A yellow fever vaccination certificate if travelling from or through yellow fever endemic area;

  9. Proof of medical cover (which will be arranged by The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program staff members at UCT for successful applicants);

  10. Proof of accommodation (which will be arranged by The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program staff members at UCT for successful scholarship applicants).

  11. Proof of sufficient funds to cover tuition fees, maintenance and incidental costs (this will be confirmed in the letter of award to successful scholarship applicants).

Part 2: Complete and submit scholarship application online

  1. Create a profile on the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program site

  2. Complete the eligibility quiz

  3. Complete the Mastercard Foundation Masters Scholarship application form

  4. Upload certified copies of identity document, passport or refugee papers, proof of address, current and previous post-secondary transcripts as well as proof for complete/current degree, curriculum vitae, essay, declaration and signatures and affidavit declaration

  5. Identify two recommenders


Students start classes in January of each consecutive year until about the second week in December. Each semester consists of two terms and each term ends in a mid-term break. English is the language of instruction. There are no restrictions placed on the course of study by the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at UCT. However, applicants must fulfil all the requirements to study at UCT, including any special requirements for a particular course of study such as early deadlines, additional documentation, and additional selection processes. Like any university, UCT receives many more applications for admission than it has space to offer places to study. The application process is highly competitive and applicants should ensure they provide all the correct information on time so their application has the best possible chance.

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