Gates Cambridge Scholarship for Masters & PhD 2023

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About 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. The first class of scholars came into residence in October 2001.

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.

Gates Cambridge Scholarship 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 (£18,744 for 12 months at the 2022-23 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 fees award from public authorities (such as the UKRI) they must accept this and the Trust will not pay these fees.

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.

Family allowance: up to £10,944 for one child and up to £15,612 for two or more children (2022-23 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


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Who Can Apply Gates Cambridge Scholarship?

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 2023 entry, Gates Cambridge is piloting a scheme which allows applicants to apply for funding for a part-time doctoral degree.

Are You A 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.

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.


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Gates Cambridge Scholarship Selection 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.

Gates Cambridge Scholarship Application Deadlines

Applications for the academic year 2023-24 entry will open on 15 September 2022. 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 with details.

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 12 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).

Date Applications open: Thursday 15 September 2022

Application deadline: Wednesday 12 October 2022

All applicants notified of application outcome: Friday 9 December 2022

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.

Date Applications open: Thursday 15 September 2022

Application deadline: Dependent on your course – either 1 December 2022 or 5 January 2023

All applicants notified of application outcome: Friday 3 March 2023

How to Apply Gates Cambridge Scholarship?

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:

Gates Cambridge 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: The statement is used by Gates Cambridge to help distinguish between those candidates who have nominated by academic departments.

It helps us 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 specifically meet the programme’s criteria.

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 must arrange for someone to submit a reference setting out how they meet the scholarship’s criteria. 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.

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