International Scholarship – Gates Cambridge Scholarship
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.
Gates Cambridge Scholarship
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
- leadership potential
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.
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.
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 (£17,500 for 12 months at the 2020-21 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 a first child and up to £4,320 for a second child (2020-21 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
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 full-time residential courses of study at the University of Cambridge:
- One year postgraduate course (with some exceptions – see below)
- 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 in round two. However, if you have already started a course 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 are NOT eligible for Gates Cambridge Scholarships:
- Any Undergraduate degree such as BA (undergraduate) or BA affiliated (a second BA)
- 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)
- Part-time degrees
- Non-degree courses
The selection process
Gates Cambridge uses a three-stage selection process to ensure Scholars meet all of our criteria to the highest degree.
1. Departmental ranking
In order to ensure only the most academically outstanding candidates are considered, the Trust asks academic departments in Cambridge to rank eligible applicants on academic ability only. Those who are put forward by their departments are considered the most academically outstanding applicants they have received that year.
Once the Trust has a list of all nominated candidates, these are divided into broad subject areas and passed to our Shortlisting Committees. These Committees look at the candidates’ entire application pack (including the Gates Cambridge Statement and Reference) and apply all four Gates Cambridge criteria in order to identify those who will be invited for interview. Everyone who is shortlisted for interview will have gone through an exceptionally competitive process and will show evidence of meeting the four Gates Cambridge criteria.
All shortlisted candidates have a short interview to assess how they meet all four Gates Cambridge criteria and Scholars are selected after interview. Interview candidates will be sent full details of the format and arrangements. If you are shortlisted for interview you will have already gone through an incredibly competitive process
You will be invited for a 20-25 minute interview and, depending on where you are, you can interview either in person or by Skype. Where you are able to attend the interview in person we encourage this.
There are four broadly subject-based interview panels:
- Biological Sciences
- Physical Sciences
- Social Sciences
Each three to four person panel usually consists academics, a representative of the Trust and Gates Cambridge alummi.
Each interview has four main sections:
1. Welcome and introduction
The Chair will introduce the panel, set out the format of the interview, and provide any other essential information to allow for a productive session.
2. Gates Cambridge
What you know about the Gates Cambridge Scholarships
Your motivation for applying
Why you think you could be a Gates Cambridge Scholar
Your thoughts on the opportunities and responsibilities that a prestigious, full-cost scholarship at one of the world’s leading universities brings
3. Academic and career plans
Your academic work to date – can you convincingly communicate your passion for, and the importance of, your chosen subject?
Your proposed degree at Cambridge – can you provide a convincing justification for your choice of course?
Your career plans – can you convincingly link your application for both a Gates Cambridge Scholarship and your proposed course at Cambridge to your future career plans?
You may also be asked probing intellectual or ethical questions, to which there are no ‘right’ answers.
4. Final thoughts and questions
A chance to add anything further you would like the interview panel to consider, and to ask any questions you may have (having no questions to ask is also fine).
Please note that we are not able to provide feedback to unsuccessful applicants.