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Wednesday, October 21, 2020

2020 Gates Cambridge Scholarship For International Students

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.

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.

  • Host Country: UK
  • Category: Masters & PhD
  • Eligible Countries: All Countries except UK citizens 
  • Reward: Full Scholarship with Stipends 
  • Deadline: January 7, 2020
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Scholarship Requirements

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
    • MSc/MLitt
    • 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)
  • PGCE
  • MBBChir Clinical Studies
  • MD Doctor of Medicine degree (6 years, part-time)
  • Graduate Course in Medicine (A101)
  • Part-time degrees
  • Non-degree courses

Timeline

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 [email protected] 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 normally resident in the United States; it is specific to Gates Cambridge.

What stage?Date
Applications open1 September 2020
Application deadline14 October 2020
Departmental rankingOctober – November
Trust shortlistingEarly December
Shortlisted candidates invited to interviewMid-December
All applicants notified of application outcome21 December 2020
Interviews22 & 23 January 2021 (tbc)
Scholarships offeredEarly February
Scholarships accepted48 hours after offer

All other eligible applicants

The large majority of applicants will apply in this round, which is also aligned with the University’s postgraduate funding competition. There are two possible application deadlines and these are based on course to which your are applying.

What stage?Date
Applications open 1 September 2020
Application deadlineDependent on your course – either 3 December 2020 or 7 January 2021
Departmental rankingDecember – February
Trust shortlistingMid-February
Shortlisted candidates invited to interviewEarly March
All applicants notified of application outcome12 March 2021
Interviews23 & 24 March 2021 (tbc)
Scholarships offeredLate March
Scholarships accepted48 hours after offer

Scholarship Duration and Reward

  • The Scholarship period will run between September 2020 and September 2021 for the September set and;
  • January 2021 to January 2022 for the January set.
  • The scholarship will provide a full tuition fee waiver for the year, plus a stipend of £8,000 which will be paid over 12 months.
  • Applicants who can evidence their refugee status will be considered a priority group, however the University may extend the invite to apply to further applicants.

Criteria

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.

Method of Application

A combined application form

Applicants submit their application for admission and funding (Gates Cambridge and other funding) via the University’s Graduate Application Portal.

To be considered for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship you must complete the section to apply for admission to a course and a College place and the Gates Cambridge part of the funding section. Gates Cambridge has access to the full application for admission and funding when reviewing applications.

The admission section

In this section you are applying to a specific graduate course and a College place. You will provide all of the usual details about yourself, your academic background, plans and suitability for the proposed course.

The funding section

In this section you can apply for a range of funding offered by the University and associated bodies, including the Gates Cambridge Scholarships, which has it’s own sub-section. When applying for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship you will be asked to provide the following:

Statement

In the application form we ask:

In no more than 3000 characters (approximately 500 words) please explain why you are applying for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship and how you meet the four main criteria. Full details about how to apply, including selection criteria and guidance on completing this statement, can be found at: www.gatescambridge.org

The statement is used by the Gates Cambridge shortlisting committees to distinguish between candidates who have been highly ranked by departments on academic grounds. It helps our committees identify those candidates who, as well as being academically outstanding, possess a capacity for leadership and commitment to improving the lives of others. This is the only part of the application form where applicants are specifically asked about their fit with the Gates Cambridge programme and you should use your background, achievements, experiences and future aims to show how you would be a good fit with the Gates Cambridge programme.

Research proposal (PhD applicants only)

Gates Cambridge requires PhD applicants only to submit a research proposal as part of their application for funding. Most PhD applicants will upload a research proposal as part of their application for admission, but where this is not the case a research proposal is required to apply for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship. If you are applying for a degree other than the PhD you do not need to submit a research proposal as part of your materials of the Gates Cambridge Scholarship .

Gates Cambridge reference

In addition to two academic references for admission, Gates Cambridge applicants submit a reference about their fit with the scholarship.

In the application form we ask:

Please give your assessment of the applicant’s suitability for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship. These are awarded on the following criteria: intellectual ability, justification for the choice of course, a commitment to improving the lives of others and leadership capacity.

We also ask:

  • How highly would you rank the applicant for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship?

  • On what overall group are you basing this ranking?

  • What is the size of this group?

The Gates Cambridge Reference is used in the same way as the Gates Cambridge Statement – to reduce the large number of well-qualified applicants to those who match the Gates Cambridge criteria.

Referees are also asked how they rate the applicant for the scholarship: exceptional, strong, not strong, weak. They may paste/type up to 4,000 characters into the on-line reference or upload a separate letter.

Who should write the Gates Cambridge Reference?

This is a common question. You should definitely not ask friends or family, or someone who is unable to comment on your suitability for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship.

You should ask someone of appropriate standing who is able to answer the question with authority and who understands the the criteria and highly competitive nature of the Gates Cambridge programme.

Many applicants ask a current or former academic advisor who is aware of their personal attributes, others ask a current or former employer, while others ask senior staff in an organisation with whom they may have volunteered. These are all sensible choices, although this is by no means an exhaustive list. Some applicants ask one of their two academic referees to write the Gates Cambridge reference: this is fine as long as that person has a good understanding of your personal qualities and does not provide a third academic reference. The important point to remember is that the Gates Cambridge Referee must understand what the Scholarship is about and must be able to write authoritatively about how you meet the criteria.

Some points to consider are:

  • It is essential that the Gates Cambridge Referee is fully briefed about the Gates Cambridge Scholarship, especially its selection criteria;

  • It is useful when referees use specific examples of how you meet the Scholarship’s criteria;

  • While your referees are likely to be busy, you will need to ensure they understand the need to keep the reference focused on the Gates Cambridge criteria and not, for example, rehash a standard or previous reference.

Deadline: January 7, 2021

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