Studying at a prestigious university in the UK is a dream for many, and with the Gates Cambridge Scholarship program, you can easily take your higher studies to the next level at Cambridge, one of the best universities in the world.
Now you may be wondering what a Gates Cambridge Scholarship even is. Put simply, it’s a program that was put in place by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to support the educational efforts of international students in the UK.
According to the official website of this Cambridge University Scholarship, 2000+ students have successfully availed the benefits of this program since its inception in October 2000.
Interested? Keep reading to learn more about the program in detail.
Gates Cambridge Scholarship
1. Benefits of the Gates Cambridge scholarship
The Gates Cambridge Scholarship provides you with various opportunities for stress-free studying. There are some core advantages that every student gets, and then there are additional benefits you can apply for if the need may arise.
Let’s go through the basic things that you’re sure to get with a University Of Cambridge scholarship. These include:
- The full cost of your studies at Cambridge
- The University Composition Fee
- A monthly maintenance allowance of £18,744 (12 months in general, 4 years for PhD scholars)
- Economy airfare for the beginning and end of your studies
- Inbound visa and Immigration Health Surcharge costs
Again, that’s just the beginning of it. Apart from these facilities, the Gates Cambridge scholarship program also helps you avail of other opportunities to make your educational journey easier.
That said, you may be able to request the following
- Additional funding to attend conferences and related courses (£500 – £2000)
- Extra allowance for keeping your children around (£10,944 – £15,612)
- Up to 6 months of maternity/paternity funding while studies are on hold
- Support funds to help you out of difficult situations
With so many things taken care of, it’s no surprise that hundreds of students from around the world apply for this program to pursue their research and educational pursuits at Cambridge University to study in the UK.
But who can get there, and who can’t?
2. Eligibility Criteria for the University Of Cambridge scholarship
So, who can actually get a University Of Cambridge scholarship? Well, you see to apply you must be a national of a country not inside the United Kingdom applying for one of the following types of courses at the University Of Cambridge:
- PhD (full-time or part-time)
- MLitt (full-time)
- One year postgraduate (full-time),
It’s important to note, however, that not all postgraduate courses are facilitated by the University Of Cambridge Scholarship program.
For the actual eligibility check, you’re evaluated based on the following factors:
2.1. Intellectual Ability
The University of Cambridge wants to make sure that applicants have a high level of intellectual ability, which is typically demonstrated through previous academic achievements and test scores.
2.2. Reasons for Choosing A Course
The University also wants to understand why an applicant wants to pursue a particular course. This helps them know the applicant’s motivations and goals, ensuring that the scholarships go to applicants who truly deserve them.
2.3. Commitment to Social Well-Being
Cambridge values students who are committed to making a positive impact in their communities and the world at large. This evaluation can involve either an applicant’s past achievements or future ambitions related to the betterment of others (or both).
2.4. Leadership Potential
3. Documents required for Gates Cambridge Scholarship
You need to attach the following documents to your application form.
There are different criteria for each course.
3.1. Academic documents
This includes all your certificates & academic record like
A: Bachelor’s transcript & certificate
B: Master’s transcript & certificate (if the student is applying for 2nd Master or fellowship)
C: Metric & FSC transcripts (10-12th Grade) (A level) (DMCs) and certificates (Supporting academic documents)
D: Course summary (to explain your courses & how your previous courses & studies resemble your future studies to which you are applying)
All of the above documents should be attested by respective boards.
Also, attest them from issuing authority of home countries. The respective university must attest university documents.
In the case of Pakistan, The above-mentioned documents must be attested by IBCC, HEC, and MOFA (Ministry of Foreign Affairs).
IBCC authority is only responsible for the attestation of metric and inter documents.
Dear offices are present in Peshawar, Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, and also in other cities of Pakistan.
HEC office attests to bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. documents.
3.2. Valid passport, Birth certificate & NIC
The passport of the applicant must contain at least one full blank page on both sides.
The passport must be valid at the time of visa application and on arrival to the UK.
3.3. English Proficiency (IELTS/TOEFL) for Gates Cambridge Scholarship
Meeting the English language requirements set by the University of Cambridge Scholarship is an important step toward achieving your bigger goal.
Generally speaking, Students with IELTS 6.5 overall or TOEFL above 100, are considered good.
Nevertheless, these requirements may vary from course to course and degree to degree.
3.4. Letters of Reference & Gates Cambridge Reference
The applicants must provide up to 2 letters of recommendation from the previous university.
It is advised to provide a letter of recommendation from the HOD (Head of the department or Relevant course head) who should be a PhD.
The referees need to write their contact details (Email, phone number) at the end of the letter.
The letter must include an official letterhead, signature, and official stamp and must be of the current date.
Ask your Referees to write about your academic achievements & discuss their confidence in you that you are fully compatible with the project or course you wish to pursue.
The referees must also mention how long they know the applicant & when was the last time they came in contact with the applicant.
After attaching two reference letters, you need to prepare the Gates Cambridge Reference. It is a reference by any advisor, professor, employer, or lead of the organization.
The Gates Cambridge Scholarship recognizes applicants who best exhibit exceptional intellectual ability, justify their choice of course, demonstrate a commitment to improving the lives of others, and show leadership potential.
3.4.1. How to Prepare Gates Cambridge Reference
So, as a Gates Cambridge applicant, you should arrange for someone to submit a reference that assesses how you meet these criteria.
In your application form, the selection committee will ask your referee:
- To provide an assessment of your suitability for the Gates Cambridge Scholarship.
- To rank you for the scholarship in comparison to others in your group.
- To specify the size of this group.
In addition to that, the referee would have to rate you as exceptional, strong, not strong, or weak. There’s a limit of up to 4,000 characters for the online reference form for this. If that’s not suitable for you, you can attach another file instead.
As a rule of thumb, don’t ask a friend or family member to write the reference for you.
Instead, you should ask someone who understands your eligibility for the scholarship better. This can be someone like a current or former academic advisor, employer, or senior member of an organization you’ve volunteered at.
Keep in mind, this person should also understand the criteria and competitiveness of the Gates Cambridge program and the academic standards at the University of Cambridge. That way, they’ll know how to best show you’re the right fit for the program.
Europass CV can be easily made here.
The Cv must contain all the latest & relevant information about your occupation & interests.
A perfect CV must be hand signed.
3.6. Hope certificate (If applicable)
If the final transcript isn’t ready then students can apply with a Hope certificate from their university.
However, they must be graduated before their arrival in UK.
(Please make sure you contact your university in this regard )
3.7. Research Plan / Proposal (Optional)
Research publications/ Achievements (conference papers, article review, abstract of thesis)
The research proposal is mostly required for postdocs or Ph.D. students. (Depend upon the courses)
It asks you to write about the research project you agree upon completing with the assigned academic advisor.
Your research proposal should be a brief description of your research goals and objectives, the methods with which you wish to process that research, the outcomes you desire, the timeline and budget you have estimated, and the area of study you wish upon exploring.
It shall be a brief document yet explain the entire vision to the reader so that those analyzing your application could know of your objectives and grant you the scholarship if they match the program’s criteria and eligibility.
3.8. Gates Cambridge Statement of Purpose
Technically SOP (Statement of purpose) and LOM (Letter of Motivation) are the same things.
It’s a Short biography to tell the panelist about yourself:
SOP could be a tricky part while applying for Gates Cambridge Scholarship.
In this letter, you are asked to write about your personal and professional reasons why are you applying for a course & scholarship.
It is advised to make it short & concise to one page. The maximum word limit for Gates Cambridge Scholarship is 500 words.
How to write a perfect letter of Motivation
If you are interested in writing your LOM on one page concisely, then follow this exact method.
LOM consists of three parts.
3.8.1. Introduction (one paragraph)
3.8.2. Body (3 paragraphs)
3.8.3. Conclusion (1 paragraph)
Let’s explain these three things one by one.
Introduction is the gateway to the rest of the letter. Try to capture their interest in first few sentences. Be original & creative.
Make it personal & full of enthusiasm.
TIP: Try to initiate a story about yourself relevant to the scholarship you are applying & then expand it to the first paragraph of the body.
In the first paragraph of the body, try to tell about your relevant academic & experienced background to the course.
And your professional goals attached to the UK & university. Share your expectations of the scholarship.
In the 2nd paragraph be more precise & focus on the specific achievement related to the scholarship & course.
In the 3rd paragraph expand on what you are currently doing & the interesting things you look forward to.
Tell them why you are the best candidate for the Gates Cambridge Scholarship. Don’t sound needy or use pompous language instead focus on why you deserve it.
3.9. Experience letter
Applicant must provide an Experience letter of the previous jobs & Internships.
Try to customize the work experience letter with future studies.
Mention your job descriptions, work projects & the skills you learned through time.
The letter must be signed & verified by the Head or CEO of the company.
The work experience could be Paid,
part-time, or voluntary.
It could be done before, during, or after graduation.
3.10. Portfolios or workshop
It’s optional. But students can attach portfolios or workshops to support their cases for university admission or scholarship.
4. Masters & PhD Courses for Gates Cambridge scholarship
The University of Cambridge Scholarship is focused on post-graduate studies. So, you won’t be able to receive it for a bachelor’s program regardless of its nature. It’s only catered towards post-grad studies and above. In general, you can expect to avail it for the following degrees:
- PhD (full-time or part-time*)
- MLitt (full-time)
- One-year postgraduate course (full-time)
The following fields are eligible for the PhD, MSc, and MLitt courses;
- Arts and Humanities
- Social Sciences
- Biological Sciences
- Physical Sciences
- Islamic Studies
4.1. How to Select Courses for Gates Cambridge Scholarship
You need to get details about your program. The course details and application process for each course program is given on the Cambridge University website’s course directory section.
You can check out the screenshots for details;
However, there are exceptions to this and there are some courses that don’t qualify for the availability of the Gates Cambridge Scholarship. These include:
- 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
- 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
5. How to apply for the Gates Cambridge scholarship
So, knowing all that, if you’re considering a postgraduate or PhD at the University of Cambridge, the following process is for you! It’s not too complicated.
The application shortcuts include:
>Visit the Online Graduate Application portal > Check the course > Apply Now > compile documents > prepare online application > submit
The application for Gates Cambridge Scholarship is similar to the general application process.
You need to fill out the online application of Cambridge University, while filling out your application you will need to fill in the Funding section.
Check the screenshot
There are two sections in the application form.
- Admission Section: This section requires general details of the applicants for admission and placement.
- Funding Section: This section will ask for the details for Gates Cambridge Scholarship. You will add the Gates Cambridge Reference and Gates Cambridge SOP here. After filling the funding section you will be considered as the Gates Cambridge Scholarship Applicant.
You just have to complete these three steps on the Online Application;
5.1. Check out the Cambridge University Courses
Check out the Cambridge University courses directory for all the details you need to know about your preferred courses, including requirements, costs, and application deadlines.
5.2. Compile Documents
Compile the documents needed (Which we discussed above in detail) and fulfill the requirements of the course application for a speedy process to your approval.
5.3. Submit Application
Finally, you can submit your application at the University Of Cambridge Application Portal and supporting documents through the university’s online application portal to get your admission procedure on the go.
6. Other Recommendations For Applicants
Keeping the above in mind, there are other things recommended by the scholarship program for selected applicants. Those go something like this:
- Applicants should review other financial support details to know application procedures early on
- PhD applicants should discuss their research plans with a course supervisor before applying for the said course
7. Selection process for the Gates Cambridge Scholarship
Your application will be evaluated by the department, degree committee, and graduate admissions office, and you may also be invited for an interview.
If you pass the review, you’ll receive a conditional offer from the university, and if a college accepts you, you’ll be notified.
8. Deadlines of Gates Cambridge scholarship
The Gates Cambridge Scholarships are provided under two different categories. The first one caters to students from the United States.
Under this category, US citizens living within their country are provided an early opportunity to apply through the first round of applications. So, they can easily get a head start in securing paid scholarships before everyone else.
The application time for 2024-25 University Of Cambridge scholarships for this round generally occurs in September
Then there’s the second round. US citizens who work or study in a foreign country, and applicants from all other countries can apply during this round.
This one has two deadlines based on the course you’re applying for which fall between December and January.
9. Acceptance rate for Gates Cambridge Scholarship
So, thinking of the acceptance rate for this prestigious scholarship?
Well, they award approximately 80 fully funded scholarships to students from all around the world, covering any subject offered by the University. So, the acceptance rate is quite slim. They only take the most promising applicants.
Around two-thirds of these scholarships go toward PhD students (25 for US applicants, 55 for international ones).
So, with that much competition, you should definitely work with an experienced professional or guidance firm to make your case stand apart. After all, it shouldn’t hurt to give it a shot.
Plus, once you do become a Gates Cambridge Scholar, you’ll automatically become part of the nearly 250-student Gates Cambridge community, and upon graduation, of the vibrant Gates Cambridge Alumni Association.
10. FAQS about Gates Cambridge Scholarship
Whether you’re a student interested in applying for the scholarship, or if you just want to learn more about the Gates Cambridge scholarship, this FAQ section provides answers to some of the common questions about the Gates Cambridge Scholarship.
How Can You Be Sure My Country Qualifies For The Scholarship?
Because the Gates Cambridge Scholarship website explicitly states that the scholarship is open to applicants from all countries, with the exception of the United Kingdom.
This means applicants from any country other than the UK are eligible to apply for the scholarship.
But, of course, there may be specific eligibility criteria or requirements based on the applicant’s country of origin, such as language proficiency or academic qualifications.
Why Is It Called The Gates Cambridge Scholarship?
The Gates Cambridge Scholarship is named after the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which launched the program, and the University of Cambridge, where the scholarship recipients will study.
Hence, the name combines the ‘Gates’ from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the ‘Cambridge’ from the University of Cambridge.
What does the Gates Cambridge Scholarship provide?
The Gates Cambridge Scholarship provides complete funding for successful applicants, covering all university fees, maintenance costs for one academic year, and airfare.
Plus, as mentioned earlier, you can also apply for additional funding for research and study-related expenses.
Are there any restrictions on how the scholarship funds can be used?
The scholarship funds can be used to cover all necessary expenses related to your study and research program at the University of Cambridge.
But this doesn’t include bench fees, scientific equipment, or any other academic resources similar to that.
For that, the program recommends that you consult with the Cambridge academic department.
What’s the duration of the Gates Cambridge scholarship?
The scholarship is awarded for the entire duration of your studies at Cambridge University. For that, recipients are expected to maintain a high level of academic performance and show active participation in the University of Cambridge life and events.
What Should I Do If A Course Doesn’t Offer This Scholarship?
If you’re a prospective student at the University of Cambridge, there may be other funding options available to you.
So, don’t worry if you don’t qualify for the Gates Cambridge Scholarship, as you may be eligible for other kinds of scholarships and grants offered at the University Of Cambridge website.
11. Conclusion of Gates Cambridge scholarship
The Gates Cambridge Scholarship is a good opportunity for US citizens as well as international students. You can get entire funding to fulfill your dream of Studying at a big university like Cambridge.
The scholarship is offered for PhD and some master’s courses at Cambridge University.
You can easily apply with this complete guide explained above. You must check out the documents required and the application process to win the scholarship.
We try to cover each & everything about the topic, but if you still have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask us in the comments.