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  • Thabiso Mnisi

Gates Cambridge Scholarship

The Gates Cambridge Scholarship programme was established in October 2000 by a donation of US$210m from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to the University of Cambridge; this is the largest ever single donation to a UK university.

For 2020 entry, Gates Cambridge will offer 80 full-cost scholarships to outstanding applicants from countries outside the UK to pursue a full-time 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

● leadership potential


Gates Cambridge considers candidates in two selection rounds each year, and international students, including from Eswatini are only eligible to apply in the second round, where there are 55 scholarship spots available. The application deadline in this round is determined by the course you are applying for and is set by the central Graduate Admissions Office. You can find which of the two deadlines below applies to you by checking the Graduate Funding Competition deadline in the course directory here:

Applications open on 2 September 2019 and close between 3 December 2019 or 7 January 2020 depending on your course.

In addition to the scholarship application, you have to apply for a place at Cambridge University. Apply for admission to a postgraduate degree, a College place and various sources of funding (including Gates Cambridge) via the University’s Graduate Applicant Portal. For the majority of courses you can apply for admission and multiple funding opportunities (including Gates Cambridge) at

There is a separate application route if you  wish to apply for the MBA or MFIN at the Judge Business School:

As part of your application you must submit the following:

  • A personal statement answering the question: In no more than 3000 characters (approximately 500 words) please explain why you are applying for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship and how you meet the four main criteria.

  • Research proposal for PhD candidates

  • In addition to two academic references for admission, Gates Cambridge applicants submit a reference about their fit with the scholarship


The Gates Cambridge Scholarship is one of the most generous international scholarships available. It covers the following costs:

  • The university composition fee which covers the cost of the teaching, supervision, student support and facilities you will receive and have access to from the University and your College

  • A maintenance allowance for a single student (£17,500 for 12 months at the 2020-21 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

  • In addition to these costs, Trust also considers applications for several types of additional funding on a discretionary basis including academic development funding, family allowance, fieldwork, maternity / paternity funding, and hardship funding for unforeseen difficulties.


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