Gates Cambridge Scholarships

    Gates Cambridge Scholarships are prestigious, highly competitive full-cost scholarships. They are awarded to outstanding applicants from countries outside the UK to pursue a full-time postgraduate degree in any subject available at the University of Cambridge.

    The programme aims to build a global network of future leaders committed to improving the lives of others.

    The scholarships are highly competitive and are awarded to citizens of any country outside the UK.

    Gates Cambridge Scholarships are awarded on the following criteria:

    • intellectual ability
    • leadership capacity
    • a good fit with Cambridge
    • a commitment to improving the lives of others

    While at Cambridge Gates Scholars pursue the full range of academic disciplines and are spread throughout all 31 Colleges.

    All applicants for the scholarship apply for - and must gain - admission to the University of 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:

    - PhD (three year research-only degree)

    - MSc or MLitt (two year research-only degree)

    - One year postgraduate course (e.g. MPhil, LLM, MASt, Diploma, MBA etc.)

    Curent student at Cambridge?

    If you are applying for a new postgraduate course you can apply for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship.

    For example, if you are currently studying for an MPhil you can apply for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship to pursue a PhD. Current Gates Cambirdge Scholars may also apply for a second scholarship if they are applying for a new degree. Current Cambridge students apply and are considered in the second, international deadline and go through the same process of departmental ranking, shortlisting and interviewing as all other candidates.

    However, if you have already started a course you cannot apply for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship to fund the remainder of it.

    Courses which are NOT eligible for Gates Cambridge Scholarships:

    • BA (undergraduate)
    • BA affiliated (a second BA)
    • MBBChir Clinical Studies
    • MD Doctor of Medicine degree (6 years, part-time)
    • Part-time degrees
    • Non-degree courses
    • Courses at universities other than Cambridge

    Academic excellence

    Gates Cambridge Scholars are expected to be academically outstanding with the ability to make a significant contribution to their discipline while in Cambridge. At the start of the application process, potential Scholars are ranked by the department they are applying to. Only the most outstanding candidates are considered further.

    Leadership potential

    Successful applicants must be able to demonstrate a clear ability to lead. Evidence of leadership can be expressed in a multitude of ways but the capacity of Gates Cambridge Scholars to 'take others with them' is central to the success of the programme.

    A commitment to improving the lives of others

    A defining characteristic of the Gates Cambridge Scholarships is the commitment of our Scholars to working for the greater good. Although broadly interpreted, this concept is nonetheless fundamental and sets this programme apart from others of its kind.

    A good academic fit with Cambridge

    You should be able to persuade the Trust that your qualifications and aspirations accord with what Cambridge has to offer in its postgraduate programme. It is important that you can make a convincing argument for doing a particular postgraduate degree at Cambridge. It is therefore important that you fully research your proposed degree using the Graduate Studies Prospectus and the website of the department to which you are applying.


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

    Core components

    • the University Composition Fee at the appropriate rate*

    • a maintenance allowance for a single student (£14,300 for 12 months at the 2015-16 rate; pro rata for courses shorter than 12 months)

    • one economy single airfare at both the beginning and end of the course

    • inbound visa costs & associated NHS surcharge costs

    Discretionary components

    The Trust also considers applications for several types of additional funding on a discretionary basis:

    • Academic development funding - from £500 to £1,500, dependent on the length of your course, to attend conferences and courses.

    • Family allowance - up to £9,630 for a first child and up to £4,110 for a second child. 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.

    • Hardship funding - for unforeseen difficulties

    • 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

    • Some fourth year funding for PhD Scholars may be provided - but the termly maintenance allowance reduces per term for up to a year**

    *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 PhD at Cambridge is a three-year degree and Gates Cambridge Scholars should take on a research project that they and their Supervisor think can be completed within three years. However, if there are unforeseen circumstances which mean you need further funding during all or part of your fourth year, the Trust will consider an application on a discretionary basis. But you should not rely on receiving any fourth year funding when you start your PhD.

    Receiving a salary or substantial other scholarship?

    If you are receiving a salary from an employer or have another substantial scholarship, the Trust reserves the right to reduce or not pay the standard maintenance allowance. You should let the Trust know ASAP if you are awarded any funding towards your degree at Cambridge.

    What is not covered

    Most costs are covered by the Scholarship but Gates Cambridge does not cover bench fees or the costs of scientific equipment or similar academic resources. The Trust expects such core course costs to be covered by the academic department at Cambridge.

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