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The Catto Combined MSc and PhD Scholarships, University of Edinburgh

Deadline: 15 April 2022

The Centre of African Studies, University of Edinburgh is pleased to announce the availability of one full scholarship for suitable female applicants from Africa to study for an MSc in Africa and International Development and subsequent PhD in African Studies or, where more suitable, go directly into a PhD.

Academic Programs

These two programs are eligible for the scholarship at the University of Edinburgh:

  1. MSc Africa & International Development: this course offers students a unique opportunity to acquire a combination of interdisciplinary, regional expertise with a critical knowledge of international development theory and practice. As part of their studies, post-graduates have the opportunity to complete eight-week placements in renowned development organisations across Africa, applying their academic training to real-world problems.

  1. PhD in African Studies: Usually undertaken full-time over three years, or part-time over six years, the PhD in African Studies is an interdisciplinary research degree in which students make an original contribution to our knowledge of Africa by pursuing an extended and focused piece of research on a topic of interest to them. The Centre of African Studies is supported by the Graduate School of Social and Political Science, which enables students to acquire a broader set of transferable skills during their studies.

Scholarship Benefits

The funding covers four years of support in either case. The successful applicant will start their studies in September 2022. This Scholarship is made possible through generous funding from the Stephen Gordon Catto Charitable Trust. It will cover full fees as well as an annual stipend of £15,840 during the one-year MSc and in the subsequent three years of PhD study or throughout four years of PhD study. Upfront support of £4000 will also be provided to help cover UK visa application costs, travel costs to Edinburgh and any other costs incurred by the awardee before arriving in Edinburgh.

This scholarship has been designed to offer a combined package in order to enable those who may not feel they have sufficient research experience to embark on a PhD to get that grounding with an MSc. The MSc year helps build a bridge between undergraduate studies and the PhD. The University of Edinburgh hopes the combined package of support encourages some who may not have thought a PhD was in reach to reconsider. A key goal of the scholarship is to diversify the scholars from the African continent who contribute original and important research to African Studies.

Where appropriate, the University of Edinburgh is also able to offer direct admission into the PhD African Studies Programme. If you are applying directly to the PhD, note that you must have received an excellent Masters Degree. In this case, four years of full funding towards the PhD would be awarded.


To be eligible, applicants must:

  1. Be a female who is normally domiciled in an African country

  2. Have received an excellent undergraduate degree (minimum of a high 2.1) in the social sciences from an accredited university in Africa (a Masters degree achieved with distinction will be an advantage for those wishing to go directly into a PhD).

  3. Not have previously received a degree from a university outside Africa (with the exception of current or former students of The University of Edinburgh).

  4. Demonstrate commitment to studying for a PhD in African Studies.

  5. Demonstrate leadership potential (broadly defined), and intention to maximise the impact of their research.

  6. Have submitted an application to study for the MSc in Africa and International Development and/or the PhD in African Studies at the University of Edinburgh by 15 April 2022.

As a key goal of the scholarship is to diversify the scholars from the African continent who contribute original and important research to African Studies, this scholarship is only open to scholars normally domiciled in African countries.

Preference will be given to those studying conflict resolution, elections, technology, peace building, gender and/or governance in African contexts, although the selection panel may consider other areas in the field of politics and international development.

How to Apply

Applicants are responsible for ensuring that they can meet the English Language requirements of the University of Edinburgh: English Language Requirements. If you are interested and meet all of the above, please submit:

  1. A summary of your research proposal (maximum 2 pages).

  2. A cover letter indicating your motivations and future plans (maximum 1 page).

  3. An academic CV, clearly showing class of degree and previous educational achievements (maximum 2 pages).

  4. A letter of reference from an academic familiar with your work.

The PDF document must be named as follows: First Name Surname_CATTO APPLICATION_2022. Example: Idia Asante_CATTO APPLICATION_2022. All applications must use the email subject line: CATTO SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION 2022. Applications must be submitted in a single pdf document on or before 12:00 Noon GMT on 30 April 2022 to

All applications will be assessed after the closing date and shortlisted candidates will be contacted for an online interview.

Application Information Session

An application open session will be organised by the Centre of African Studies, on 1 April 2022, at 14.00-15.00 GMT. All intending to apply for the scholarship are strongly encouraged to attend. At this session, they will provide information on the Centre, what they are looking for in applications, and details of the dedicated support and mentorship that would be available for the awardee. This could include family support where appropriate.

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