DEADLINE: Between 2 December and 6 January
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. The fist class of scholars came into residence in October 2001.
Being a Gates Cambridge Scholar at the University of Cambridge is stimulating and engaging experience. Alongside your degree you will have numerous opportunities for personal and professional growth and the opportunity to develop an international and diverse network of friends and colleagues. Whether these opportunities present themselves through your department, your College or the Gates Cambridge community you can be sure of a truly vibrant Cambridge experience.
Each year Gates Cambridge offers c.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
There are at least 225 Scholars from c. 50 countries studying in Cambridge at any one time who pursue the full range of subjects available at the University and are spread across its departments and Colleges, as well as forming their own distinctive community.
There is currently a community of more than 1,700 Gates Cambridge Alumni spread across the world.
The Gates Cambridge mission is to build a global network of future leaders committed to improving the lives of others. It aims to achieve this mission by selecting outstanding scholars, providing them with financial and non-financial support at one of the world’s leading universities and facilitating community building at and beyond Cambridge.
You can apply for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship if you are:
a citizen of any country outside the United Kingdom
applying to pursue one of the following full-time residential courses of study at the University of Cambridge:
One year postgraduate course (with some exceptions – see below)
Courses which are NOT eligible for Gates Cambridge Scholarships:
Any Undergraduate degree, such as BA (undergraduate) or BA affiliated (a second BA)
Business Doctorate (BusD)
Master of Business (MBA)
Master of Finance (MFin)
MBBChir Clinical Studies
MD Doctor of Medicine degree (6 years, part-time)
Graduate Course in Medicine (A101)
From September 2022, MASt courses – MASt courses are treated as undergraduate courses for fee purposes and applications will no longer be accepted from September 2022.
Full course directory: https://www.postgraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/courses
To be competitive for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship candidates must show evidence of academic excellence (through their transcripts, references, experience and the potential to succeed on the chosen course).
Reasons for your course choice
You should be able to make a strong case for a particular postgraduate degree at Cambridge. PhD applicants (and most research MPhil applicants) will need to make contact with a potential supervisor with whom they will develop a research project, a summary of which is part of the application. You will need to demonstrate that you have the academic background and the necessary skills and expertise to complete the course. Taught MPhil and other applicants need to make a strong case for how completing the proposed course will facilitate their career plans. Gates Cambridge seeks Scholars who will have an academically transformative experience at Cambridge, so it is important that you fully research and justify the course for which you are applying.
A commitment to improving the lives of others
A defining characteristic of the Gates Cambridge programme is the commitment of our Scholars to improving the lives of others. We interpret this criterion broadly and applicants define it themselves by providing evidence of their past, current and future commitment to the societies in which they will live and work.
A capacity for leadership
Successful applicants must be able to demonstrate a capacity for leadership, which can be expressed in a multitude of ways. Applicants should provide evidence of their leadership experience to date and indicate the ways in which their leadership skills may have impact in the future careers.
A Gates Cambridge Scholarship covers the full cost of studying at Cambridge. It also provides additional, discretionary funding.
the University Composition Fee at the appropriate rate*
a maintenance allowance for a single student (£17,848 for 12 months at the 2021-22 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
* The University Composition Fee varies for different types of students; applicants should see the Graduate Studies prospectus for full details about precise amounts. Where a student from the European Union has been successful in gaining a fees award from public authorities they must accept this and the Trust will not pay these fees.
The Trust also considers applications for several types of additional funding on a discretionary basis:
Academic development funding – from up to £500 to up to £2,000, dependent on the length of your course, to attend conferences and courses.
Family allowance – up to £10,120 for one child and up to £14,440 for two or more children (2021-22 rate). No funding is provided for a partner.
Fieldwork – you may apply to keep up to your normal maintenance allowance while on fieldwork as part of your PhD (the Trust does not fund other fieldwork costs as these should be funded by the University Composition Fee).
Maternity/Paternity funding – should you require it, you may apply to intermit your studies for up to 6 months and continue to receive your maintenance allowance during this time
Hardship funding – for unforeseen difficulties
Your primary purpose as a Gates Scholar in Cambridge is to dedicate yourself to your course of study or research. Whether here for a masters or PhD, you will have access exceptional academic opportunities and resources – and a responsibility to make the most of them. Your department will provide your main academic resources and will be one of the lively and engaged communities you will be part of during your time at Cambridge.
HOW TO APPLY
Applicants submit their application for admission and funding (Gates Cambridge and other funding) via the University’s Graduate Application Portal. To be considered for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship you must complete the section to apply for admission to a course and a College place and the Gates Cambridge part of the funding section. Gates Cambridge has access to the full application for admission and funding when reviewing applications.
In this section you are applying to a specific graduate course and a College place. You will provide all of the usual details about yourself, your academic background, plans and suitability for the proposed course.
In this section you can apply for a range of funding offered by the University and associated bodies, including the Gates Cambridge Scholarships, which has it’s own sub-section. When applying for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship you will be asked to provide the following:
Statement: In the application form we ask:
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 (PhD applicants only)
Gates Cambridge requires PhD applicants only to submit a research proposal as part of their application for funding. Most PhD applicants will upload a research proposal as part of their application for admission, but where this is not the case a research proposal is required to apply for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship.
Gates Cambridge Reference
In addition to two academic references for admission, Gates Cambridge applicants submit a reference about their fit with the scholarship.
In the application form we ask:
Please give your assessment of the applicant’s suitability for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship. These are awarded on the following criteria: intellectual ability, justification for the choice of course, a commitment to improving the lives of others and leadership capacity.
We also ask:
How highly would you rank the applicant for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship?
On what overall group are you basing this ranking?
What is the size of this group?
The Gates Cambridge Reference is used in the same way as the Gates Cambridge Statement – to reduce the large number of well-qualified applicants to those who match the Gates Cambridge criteria.
Referees are also asked how they rate the applicant for the scholarship: exceptional, strong, not strong, weak. They may paste/type up to 4,000 characters into the on-line reference or upload a separate letter.