Home Opportunities by RegionEuropean Region Gates Cambridge Scholarship Programme 2024-2025

Overview

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 first class of scholars came into residence in October 2001. Since then, the Trust has awarded over 2,000 scholarships to scholars from more than 100 countries.

Each year Gates Cambridge offers c.80 full-cost scholarships to outstanding applicants from countries outside the UK to pursue a 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

There are approximately 250 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 also 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.

Funding

A Gates Cambridge Scholarship covers the full cost of studying at Cambridge. It also provides additional, discretionary funding.

Core components

  • the University Composition Fee at the appropriate rate*
  • a maintenance allowance for a single student (£20,000 for 12 months at the 2023-24 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 has been successful in gaining a fee award from public authorities (such as the UKRI) they should accept this award and the Trust will not pay their fee or may share their fee and maintenance costs.

Discretionary components

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.
  • Dependent Children Allowance – up to £11,604 for one child and up to £16,548 for two or more children (2023-24 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 facing the scholar

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.

Who can apply?

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 courses at the University of Cambridge:
    • PhD (full-time or part-time*)
    • MLitt (full-time)
    • One year postgraduate course (full-time), with some exceptions – see below

* For October 2024 entry, Gates Cambridge is continuing to pilot a scheme which allows applicants to apply for funding for a part-time doctoral degree.

Current student at Cambridge?​

If you are currently studying at Cambridge and wish to apply 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 Cambridge Scholars may also apply for a second scholarship if they are applying for a new degree. All current Cambridge students will be considered the second, international round. However, if you have already started a course (e.g. you are currently part way through a PhD) you cannot apply for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship to fund the remainder of it.

General funding at Cambridge

Whether or not you are eligible for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship you may be eligible for other funding offered by the University of Cambridge. See www.student-funding.cam.ac.uk for more details.

Courses which Gates Cambridge does NOT consider:

  • Any Undergraduate degree, such as BA (undergraduate) or BA affiliated (a second BA)
  • Business Doctorate (BusD)
  • Master of Business (MBA)
  • Master of Finance (MFin)
  • MASt courses
  • PGCE
  • MBBChir Clinical Studies
  • MD Doctor of Medicine degree (6 years, part-time, Home students only)
  • Graduate Course in Medicine (A101)
  • Part-time degrees other than the PhD
  • Non-degree courses

What we are looking for

Our Scholars come from diverse backgrounds and each brings something unique to the programme. We use four criteria to select them.

Academic excellence

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). Academic departments at the University of Cambridge nominate only the most academically outstanding applicants for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship, which ensures that those whom we select will thrive at Cambridge.

Reasons for choice of course

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 note on the ratio of PhD:Masters awards

In order to create and sustain a viable Scholar community in Cambridge University and for Scholars to take full advantage of their time in Cambridge, we aim to select approximately 2/3 PhD scholars each year. Those applying for taught Masters should pay special attention to explaining why this is the optimal course for them and how it is critical to their future academic or professional training plans.

Applications for entry in the academic year 2024-25 will open again in September 2023.

Gates Cambridge manages two selection rounds each year; full details are below.

If after reading the details below you are not sure in which round you should apply please email info@gatescambridge.org with details.

Whether or not you are eligible for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship you may be eligible for other funding offered by the University of Cambridge. See www.student-funding.cam.ac.uk for more details.

  1. US citizens resident in the USA
  2. All other eligible applicants

US citizens resident in the USA

This is the earlier round for applicants who are both US citizens and currently resident in the United States; it is specific to Gates Cambridge.  Students meeting these criteria must apply by 11 October and submit all their documents by this date (including references), they are not eligible for the later round.  US citizens who are studying/working overseas at the time of application should apply in the later round (see below).

What stage?Date
Applications open*Monday 4 September 2023
Application deadlineWednesday 11 October 2023 (Time 12:00, noon in local US time zone)
Departmental rankingMonday 16 October 2023 to Thursday 16 November 2023
All applicants notified of application outcomeby Monday 11 December 2023
Review and selection by panelsFriday 26 January and Saturday 27 January 2024
Scholarships offeredby Friday 2 February 2024
Scholarships accepted72 hours after offer

All other eligible applicants

The large majority of applicants will apply in this round, which is aligned with the University’s postgraduate funding competition. There are two possible application deadlines and these are based on the course to which you are applying.  Please apply by the Course Funding Deadline referenced in the University Course Directory (found in the column on the right of the web page).  All application documents should be submitted by 23:59pm (midnight) UK time on the stated date.

What stage?Date
Applications open*Monday 4 September 2023
Application deadline*Dependent on your course – either 5 December 2023 or 4 January 2024 (see Course Directory)
Departmental rankingDecember – February
All applicants notified of application outcomeby Monday 4 March 2024
Review and selection by panelsMonday 25 March 2024 and Tuesday 26 March 2024 (TBC)
Scholarships offeredby Friday 29 March
Scholarships accepted72 hours after offer

*These dates are set by the University of Cambridge postgraduate admissions office and may be subject to change.  Please refer to the postgraduate admissions web pages for up-to-date details.

More info: Official link

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