The Gates Cambridge Scholarships are one of the most prestigious international scholarships in the world.
The programme was established in 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.
While at Cambridge, Scholars pursue full range of subjects available at the University and are spread through its departments and Colleges.
Our Alumni are pursuing further study or employment across many sectors of society. Despite the relative youth of the programme, Gates Cambridge Alumni are increasingly taking on leadership roles and applying their knowledge and skills to improve the lives of others.
At a glance
- First class of Scholars took up their awards in 2001
- Currently 1,239 Gates Cambridge Scholars and Alumni from 96 countries
- 90 new Scholarships awarded each year: 40 in US round 50 in international round
- About 225 Scholars from c. 50 countries studying in Cambridge
- Almost 1,000 Alumni who are spread across the globe
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); or a one year postgraduate course (e.g. MPhil, LLM, MASt, Diploma, MBA etc.)
- OR already a student at Cambridge and want to apply for a new postgraduate course. For example, if you are studying for an MPhil you can apply for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship to do a PhD. However, if you have already started a course, you cannot apply for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship to fund the rest of it.
- OR already a Gates Cambridge Scholar and want to apply for a second Scholarship. You must apply by the second, international deadline and go through the same process of departmental ranking, shortlisting and interviewing as all other candidates.
Courses which are NOT eligible for Gates Cambridge Scholarships:
- BA (undergraduate)
- BA affiliated (a second BA)
- MBBChir Clinical Studies
- Part-time degrees
- Non-degree courses
- Courses at universities other than Cambridge
There is no one template for a Gates Cambridge Scholar: each Scholar is different and brings something unique to the programme. But The Trust is looking for four key criteria.
A good 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.
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.
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.
Applications for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship for October 2014 entry will open on 1 September 2013. The deadlines are as follows:
- Round 1 (US citizens based in the USA) - 15 October 2013
- Round 2 (all other eligible candidates) - 3 December 2013
Gates Cambridge Scholarships are extremely competitive: c. 4,000 applicants apply for 90 Scholarships each year.
Given the intense competition, the Trust has a four stage selection process:
- Departmental ranking - the very best applicants to each department are ranked on academic merit only
- Shortlisting - Gates Cambridge committees review the applications of ranked candidates using all four Gates Cambridge criteria and put forward a list for interview
- Interview - all shortlisted candidates have a short interview to assess how they meet all four Gates Cambridge criteria
- Selection - chairs of interview panels meet to decide the final list of Scholars
A Gates Cambridge Scholarship covers the full cost of studying at Cambridge.
- the University Composition Fee and College fees at the appropriate rate*
- a maintenance allowance for a single student (£13, 300 for 12 months at the 2012-13 rate; pro rata for courses shorter than 12 months)
- one economy single airfare at both the beginning and end of the course
The Trust also considers applications for several types of additional funding on a discretionary basis:
- Family allowance - up to £7,775 for a first child and up to £1,200 for a second child. No funding is provided for a partner.
- Conference attendance - up to £500 a year if you are presenting.
- Fieldwork - you may apply to keep up to your normal maintenance allowance while on fieldwork as part of your PhD.
- Some fourth year funding for PhD Scholars may be provided - but the termly maintenance allowance reduces per term for up to a year**
- Hardship funding - if there are unforeseen difficulties
*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.
For more information, please visit official website: www.gatescambridge.org.
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Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure the above information is current and correct. However, applicants should contact the appropriate administering body before making an application, as details do change frequently.