The Gates Cambridge Scholarship is one of the most competitive scholarships in the UK. It is given to the outstanding international students who wish to study a full-time postgraduate degree at the University of Cambridge. This full scholarship was started in 2000 by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation with an aim to create a network of global leaders. At present, there are more than 1,300 alumni from 100 countries for Gates Cambridge Scholarship.


Eligibility to apply for Gates Cambridge Scholarship

The eligibility criteria for Gates Cambridge Scholarship are:

  • A citizen of any country other than the United States
  • The candidate must be applying to pursue a full-time residential course at the University of Cambridge. The course must be one among the following:
    a)   PhD (three year research only)
    b)   MSc or MLitt (two year research only)
    c)   One year postgraduate course (MPhil, MBA, LLM, Diploma or MASt)
  • The candidate who is already a student at the University of Cambridge and planning to apply for further studies at the same university can also apply. For example, a candidate who did MPhil applying for PhD. However, if the candidate starts his/her PhD cannot apply for the scholarship
  • The already Gates scholar who wants to pursue higher studies at University of Cambridge can also apply for the scholarship. The candidate has to go through the same application process while applying for the second time.

The candidates applying for the following courses are not eligible to apply for Gates Cambridge Scholarship:

  • Part time degrees
  • Non degrees
  • Bachelor of Arts (any undergraduate degree)
  • BA Affiliated (second BA degree)
  • MD, Doctor of Medicine Degree (six year part time course)
  • MBBChir Clinical Studies
  • Courses offered by universities other than Cambridge

The Gates Cambridge Scholarship looks forward to:

  • Candidates with very high academic excellence so that they can contribute during their study at the university. During the application process, the department ranks the candidates and only the shortlisted candidates will be considered further.
  • Candidates who show very good leadership skills
  • Candidates who have shown commitment to improve the lives of others

How to apply for Gates Cambridge Scholarship?

Click here to apply for Gates Cambridge Scholarship 2015

The candidates can apply for Gates Scholarship along with applying for the course via Graduate Admissions Office at the university. The documents that need to be submitted to consider for the scholarship are:

  • Completed application form at the University of Cambridge after completing the Gates Cambridge Scholarship section
  • Two academic references
  • One personal reference
  • Academic transcripts
  • A personal statement that shows how the interest and achievements of the candidate could be used to improve the lives of people

The personal statement is one of the most important elements of the Gates Cambridge scholarship application form. Hence, make sure that you are including the following elements:

a) The word limit is 500 words. Strictly stick to the word limit.
b) Avoid generalising your points and give examples to back your statements
c) Be realistic
d) Research more about the Gates Scholars of previous years and get a basic idea about what kind of candidates the selection committee is looking for
e) Don’t edit an already existing scholarship essay even if the criteria are the same
f) Check grammar and spelling after completing the essay

Selection criteria of Gates Cambridge Scholarship

The Gates Cambridge Scholarship is very competitive and more than 4,000 applicants apply every year. There are four stages of selection process:

Stage 1: Departmental Ranking- The Trust asks the respective departments to rank the applicants so that only the best applicants will be shortlisted and further considered for the scholarship.

Step 2: Shortlisting- The ranked candidates’ applications will be sent to the Trust and it will shortlist the applicants for the interview.

Step 3: Interview- The duration of the interview depends on from where the candidate appear the interview from. The interview is conducted in period, over the phone or on Skype. The interview, which usually lasts for 20 minutes, is divided into four parts:

a)  Welcome and introduction of the Panel
b)  Assessing the knowledge of the applicant about Gates Cambridge Scholarship
c)  Questions on the academic and career plans of the student
d)  Further questions and clarifications if any

Step 4: Final selection- The chair of interview panel meets to decide the final awards

There are two rounds of scholarships:

Round 1 (USA): For this round the Trust considers 800 applications and award scholarship to 40 candidates.
Round 2 (International): In this round the Trust considers 3,500 applications and 55 candidates are awarded the scholarship.

Award value of Gates Cambridge Scholarship

The Gates Cambridge Scholarship is a full scholarship where the candidate gets:

  • The full tuition and University Composition Fee
  • A maintenance allowance of £13,900 for 12 months as per 2014-15 rates
  • Inbound visa costs
  • One economy single airfare at the beginning and end of the course
  • Additional funding:
    a)  Family allowance up to £9,630 for the first child and for the second child
    b)  Allowance up to £500 every year to attend conferences and courses
    c)  Maintenance allowance when in field during PhD field work

Deadlines for Gates Cambridge Scholarship

The deadlines for Gates Cambridge Scholarship are:

Round 1: US citizens                                       Round 2: Citizens from other countries except US and UK

StageRound 1Round 2
Applications open1 September1 September
Application deadline15 October2 December
Supporting documents deadline14 days after submitting application14 days after submitting application
References deadline14 days after submitting application14 days after submitting application
Departmental rankingNovemberFebruary
Trust shortlistingMid-DecemberEarly March
Shortlisted candidates invited to interviewLate DecemberEarly March
InterviewsEnd January (USA)End March (Cambridge, UK)
Scholarships offeredEarly FebruaryLate March

For more information:

Gates Cambridge
Ground Floor, The Warehouse, 33 Bridge Street
Cambridge, CB2 1UW
United Kingdom



Also Read:

What are the suitable scholarships to study abroad?

Scholarships for engineering students to study abroad

Major scholarships for management courses abroad

Major scholarships offered by top universities

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