Gates Cambridge Scholarships

Gates Cambridge Scholarships Programme for study at University of Cambridge

Gates Cambridge Scholarships

In October 2000, The Gates Cambridge Scholarship programme was established through the largest ever single donation to a UK university by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This donation of US$210m is awarded to outstanding applicants from countries outside the UK to pursue a full-time postgraduate degree in any subject at the University of Cambridge. The aim of the Gates Cambridge programme is to build a global network of future leaders committed to improving the lives of others.


Each year, 95 scholarships are awarded from this programme to students who display leadership potential and have outstanding intellectual capabilities. Over the years, 55 out of this 95 scholarship awards have gone to students from outside the US to come study at Cambridge. In all, there are scholars from over 100 countries on this programme. Here is what it takes to become a Gates Cambridge Scholar.


The scholarships are awarded to students who match these two important criteria:

Are citizens of any country outside the United Kingdom,
Are applying to pursue one of the following full-time courses 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.)


Students who are already studying at Cambridge can also apply for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship for a new postgraduate course. For example, if you are currently studying for an MPhil you can apply for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship to pursue a PhD. Also, current students already on the Gates Cambridge scholarship can apply for a second scholarship if they are seeking a new degree. Some of the courses for which are not considered for the scholarships are:
– 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


The scholarship accepts applications in two rounds. The first is exclusive to students from the US who are citizens. The second round is for students from other parts of the world that meet the eligibility criteria. A typical application procedure involves the online application, followed by a departmental ranking, after which the Gates Cambridge Trust shortlists students and invites the shortlisted students for interviews. The successful students are offered scholarships which they must accept within 48 hours. This entire process typically runs from September till March.


During the application process, students are expected to submit two academic references and their Gates reference which is an expression of why you are a fit for the scholarship. Simply consider the Gates reference as a personal statement written on your behalf by someone who is knowledgeable of your achievements and potential and stands as a strong referee. This person could also be one of your initial referees. There is also the Gates Statement where each applicant is expected to describe his or her leadership potential and express what achievements stand them out.


The last and final stage which is the interview is a 20 – 25 minute long interaction with the award panel which could happen in person or over Skype. The panel seeks to get a clearer understanding of your goals and what you hope to achieve from your proposed course of study and as part of the Gates Cambridge programme. The panel usually consists of a representative of the Gates Cambridge Trust and two academics – and may include a Gates Cambridge alumnus.


Before applying for this scholarship opportunity, it is important to remember that the programme looks out for people who have already distinguished themselves academically, people who have a true sense of purpose and are committed to helping others, people with clear ability to lead and someone with a good understanding of how a degree from Cambridge helps them achieve their set goals. If you are such a person, apply here


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