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Ruth First Educational Trust Scholarship at Durham University (UK)


The Ruth First Educational Trust and Durham University offer a scholarship to support a student from southern Africa taking a one-year taught course in the academic year 2023-24 leading to the award of a Master’s degree at Durham University.


You should: (a) hold a relevant Honours degree of sufficient standard to be admitted to your chosen Master’s course, and (b) not hold a Master’s degree, nor have previously studied at a university outside southern Africa, and (c) show evidence of active commitment to and leadership in voluntary work for the benefit of causes such as rural or urban community development; young people or educational projects; charitable organisations; health or AIDS awareness projects; student welfare or guidance; the defence of human rights; the promotion of equal opportunities or social justice; environmental sustainability. If you have a paid job that involves working in such areas, you should show evidence of leadership and commitment beyond the requirements of the job.

The Trust aims to award the Scholarship to individuals who not only have the academic and personal qualities to enable them to complete and benefit from a postgraduate course, but who will also act as positive ambassadors for their home countries in Durham and put their enhanced knowledge, skills and leadership capacity to good use for the benefit of the societies to which they return in Africa.

The Ruth First Scholarship may not be awarded to a student taking an MBA programme.

The person selected for the Ruth First Scholarship will need to provide evidence of possessing a qualification in English language that meets the minimum requirement for the programme applied for.

Entry Requirements

All courses have their own entry requirements, which you can check on a course-by-course basis by visiting the course pages. As a guide our minimum requirements are:

  • Achievement of an upper second-class honours degree (2:1) from a UK university or an equivalent degree qualification from an overseas university.

  • Two satisfactory academic references

  • Evidence of English language for applicants whose first language isn’t English.

Where a course has different or additional entry requirements this will be listed on the course page.


The University will award to the successful candidate a tuition fee scholarship covering the full fees for the programme chosen. Through an agreement between the Trust and the University, the Scholar will receive a monthly allowance to cover living and other expenses for 12 months, as well as free accommodation and meals at St Chad’s College (the cost of which is shared between the Trust and the College). In 2022-23 the allowance is £525 per month and the value of the full-board accommodation is approximately £530 per month.

The Scholar will also receive a small settling-in payment on arrival. The Trust will pay for one return air ticket from the home country to the UK and the cost of travel between the UK airport and Durham City. The Trust will also cover the cost of applying for a Tier 4 UK visa and the Immigration Health Surcharge. The Trust cannot provide additional support for dependants, nor for travel during the period of the Scholarship. The Scholar is required to attend all taught components of the chosen course and complete all assignments prescribed, including a dissertation or project, and a placement if required. The normal starting date for most Masters programmes is late September.

How to apply

Go to Durham University’s page for the Ruth First Scholarship and complete the online application forms for a place at the University and for the Scholarship.

You must make the application to the University first. When you do this, the system will generate a Durham Student ID number which you must include in your Ruth First Scholarship application.

The deadline for applications is 28 February 2023. A scan of your first degree results transcript must be uploaded with the Scholarship application form.

TWO reference letters (one academic and one non-academic) must be provided for your Ruth First application; the academic one may also be used for your University application, while the non-academic one should provide information about your achievements in paid or voluntary work. The reference letters can be uploaded with the form or e-mailed to Prof Michael Thompson at An offer of a place at the University does not imply that you have been awarded the Ruth First Scholarship; applicants who are not offered a place by the University cannot be considered for the Scholarship. Applicants for the Scholarship are not required to pay a tuition fee deposit to the University (if the system fails to recognize this and sends you an e-mail requesting payment of a deposit, reply to the e-mail pointing out that you are applying for the Ruth First Scholarship). The winner of the Scholarship will be notified once the selection process has been completed.

Enquiries about applications may be sent to

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