Top government scholarships to study abroad
Updated on Apr 29, 2016 - 5:34 p.m. IST by None
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Government scholarships to study abroad
: There is a growing interest among governments to initiate and expand scholarship programmes around the world with a view to internationalise their education system. To sharpen the academic skills and orient bright young minds toward extensive research in different disciplines, the governments of developed countries such as USA , UK, Australia, Singapore and many countries in Europe award international scholarships to outstanding international students. Many developing countries like India are also engaged in offering scholarships to its citizens to undertake research studies abroad.

Some of the top government scholarships to study abroad are listed below.

Commonwealth Scholarships

Each year, Commonwealth scholarships and fellowships in the UK are awarded by the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC) to students for pursuing postgraduate and professional development of Commonwealth citizens. In association with UK universities, the Commonwealth scholarships are funded by the Department for International Development and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Scottish Government. These scholarships are basically meant for citizens of developing Commonwealth countries of the world. The candidates are selected on the basis of merit. Commonwealth scholarships are awarded for full-time study only, and no other course of study may be undertaken at the same time.


To be eligible for the UK Government scholarships to study abroad, especially Commonwealth scholarships, the applicant must be a permanently resident of a Commonwealth nation, refugee, or British protected person. Other eligibility criteria vary from scholarships to scholarships.

As a citizen of a developing Commonwealth country, you can apply for scholarships to study abroad:

  • Scholarships for Master’s and PhD study

  • Split-site (PhD) Scholarships

  • Shared Scholarships

  • Distance Learning Scholarships

  • Academic Fellowships

  • Professional Fellowships

  • Medical Fellowships

Each Commonwealth scholarship covers airfare to and from the United Kingdom, tuition and examination fees, personal maintaining allowance, thesis grant, initial arrival allowance, living allowance, among others.  For these scholarships, the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission does not accept any applications directly from candidates. All the applications are made through the nominating agency or university/university body, in the home country of the applicants.

How to apply: To apply for the scholarships to study abroad, applicants need to access the Electronic Application System (EAS) system.  Commonwealth scholarships fall around spring and summer of each year.


Australia Awards Scholarships

Australia Awards Scholarships are administered by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia. The scholarships provide a wide range of opportunities to students from the developing countries, especially those countries located in the Indo-Pacific region, to pursue full time undergraduate or postgraduate study at participating Australian universities and Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutions.


Including any preparatory training, the scholarships are offered for the minimum period necessary for the individual to complete the academic program. The scholarship covers full tuition fees, return air travel, establishment allowance, contribution to living expenses (CLE), Introductory Academic Program (IAP), Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC), Pre-course English (PCE), Supplementary Academic Support and fieldwork.

To be eligible for the scholarship, the candidate must have attained minimum 18 years of age and must not be a citizen or permanent resident of Australia. In addition, other eligibility criteria depend on the admission requirements of the institution in which the award is to be undertaken.


How to apply: To apply for Australia Awards Scholarships, the applicants need to get registered and fill the application form online by using the Online Australia Scholarships Information System (OASIS). The deadline varies country to country, but normally falls around the month of February and April each year.


International Postgraduate Research Scholarships

International Postgraduate Research Scholarships (IPRS) are awarded by the participating Universities in Australia with a view to enable international students of all countries (except New Zealand) to undertake Master’s or PhD degrees in Australia. The main objective of the IPRS is to provide government scholarships to outstanding international postgraduate students. IPRS covers tuition fees and health cover and health cover for their dependents. The duration of the scholarship for Master’s degree is two years and for Doctorate degree is three years.


To be eligible for IPRS, the applicant must be an international student and commencing full-time enrolment in a higher degree by research at an eligible university in Australia.


How to apply: To apply for the International Postgraduate Research Scholarships, applicants can directly apply to participating universities. Regarding the application process and deadline, the applicants need to approach their respective chosen universities. The deadline for International Postgraduate Research Scholarships varies per university, but it is around April-October each year.


Fulbright Foreign Student Program

The Fulbright Foreign Student Program enables young professionals, artists and graduates from all countries to study and undertake research in USA universities or other academic institutions.  The Binational Fulbright Commissions, Foundations or USA Embassies have been authorized to administer the Fulbright Foreign Student Program. The scholarships operate in more than 155 countries in the world, and every year, approximately 4,000 foreign students receive Fulbright scholarships.

The Fulbright Foreign Student Program covers tuition, airfare, living stipend and health insurance. It also covers funding for the duration of the study. The selection procedure and eligibility vary from country to country. The Fulbright Foreign Student Program encourages applications from all fields, including interdisciplinary ones.


How to apply: To apply for Fulbright scholarships, the applicants need to get registered and fill the application form online. Moreover, for detailed information, the applicants also need to visit the official website and the country specific websites.


The selection procedures and program eligibilities and deadline for applying Fulbright Foreign Student Program vary widely from country to country, but it falls around February to October each year.


Italian Government Scholarships for Foreign and IRE Students

Italian Government Scholarships for Foreign and IRE Students enable both foreign citizens and Italian Citizens Resident (IRE) to pursue Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD degrees at institutions within the Italian public education and research system. The scholarships are offered for various courses, including:

  • Postgraduate University courses

  • Master’s Degree courses (Levels I or II)

  • Ph.D. Courses

  • Research under academic supervision

  • Higher Education in Art

  • Music and Dance (AFAM)

  • Advanced Courses on Italian language

  • Culture Courses for Teachers of Italian as second language

The scholarship duration can be three, six, or nine months, but the duration for courses for teachers of Italian language is one month. Regarding taxes or tuition fees, the candidates need to contact the chosen institution. To be eligible for the scholarship, the candidates need to fulfill educational qualifications and age limit and knowledge of Italian language.

How to apply: To apply for Italian Government scholarships, foreign and IRE students need to get registered and fill the application form online. Deadline for applying Italian Government Scholarships for foreign and IRE students is 15th April of each year.


Singapore International Graduate Award

Singapore Government offers Singapore International Graduate Award (SINGA) to international students to pursue PhD programs in Science and Engineering at a Singapore University. The main aim of the scholarships is to enhance the close educational ties between Singapore and students from all over the world. The host institutions include Agency for Science, Technology and Research, National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University or the Singapore University of Technology and Design. The award provides financial support for four years PhD degree, including full tuition fees, airfare grant, settlement allowance and a monthly stipend.


To be eligible to apply for Singapore International Graduate Award, the applicant must be an international citizen; must have special interest in research and excellent academic results; and have excellent written and spoken English skills.


How to apply: To apply for this scholarship, the candidates need to get registered and fill the application form online.


Admissions take place twice a year -- August and January --  and applications open after the closing date of the previous intake till January 1 and June 1 of that year.


Chinese Government Scholarship-Bilateral Program

The Ministry of Education, China, offers Chinese Government Scholarship-Bilateral Program, a full or partial scholarship to international students to pursue undergraduate programs, master’s programs, doctoral programs, general scholar programs and senior scholar programs. Applicants are requested to check Directory of the Chinese Institutions Admitting International Students under Chinese Government Scholarship Program.


The full scholarship covers a waiver of fee for registration, tuition, laboratory experiments, internship, and basic textbooks, monthly living allowance, one-off settlement subsidy, protection scheme, comprehensive medical Insurance, etc and the partial scholarship includes one or some items of the full scholarship items.

To be eligible to apply for Chinese Government Scholarship-Bilateral Program, the applicants need to fulfill following criteria:

  • Must be a high school graduate under the age of 25 while applying for undergraduate programs

  • Must be a bachelor’s degree holder under the age of 35 while applying for master’s programs

  • Must be a master’s degree holder under the age of 40 while applying for doctoral programs

  • Must be under the age of 45 and have completed at least two years of undergraduate study while applying for general scholar programs

  • Must be a master’s degree holder or an associate professor (or above) under the age of 50 while applying for senior scholar programs.

How to apply: To apply for this scholarship, the candidates need to get registered and fill the application form online. The applicants are requested to contact with the dispatching authorities for overseas study in their home countries for the details and requirements of Bilateral Program and for the specific deadline of each year. The applicants can apply for this scholarship between early January and early April.

Korean Government Scholarships

Korean Government Scholarship Program (KGSP) is designed for international students pursuing Bachelor's, Master's and Doctoral Degree in Korean universities. As an academic scholarship, KGSP is funded and managed by the National Institute for International Education Development (NIIED), a branch of the Ministry of Education in South Korea. The main of the scholarship is to promote international exchange in education, as well as mutual friendship amongst the participating countries.


How to apply: Before starting their degree courses, the scholars are required to take one year of intensive language studies at a designated language institute. During the application process, the applicants need to choose a program and university for their degree program, which cannot be easily changed except under extreme circumstances.


The scholarship covers monthly allowance, research allowance, settlement allowance, tuition, dissertation printing costs, medical insurance and many more benefits.


The eligibility criteria, application guidelines, application forms and university information are all determined by NIIED. Application deadline for Korean Government Scholarships may differ from one country or institution to another. Normally, it falls in the month of March each year.


National Overseas Scholarships

The Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, India, offers the National Overseas Scholarships with a view to provide  financial assistance to meritorious Indian students belonging to SC /ST /OBC categories for pursuing Master level courses and PhD degrees in foreign universities. The field of study includes Engineering and Management, Pure Sciences & Applied Sciences, Agricultural Sciences and Medicine, Commerce, Accounting & Finance and Humanities, Social Science & Fine Arts.


For Master’s degree, the applicants need to score 55% marks or equivalent grade in relevant Bachelor’s Degree, and for PhD degree, the applicants need to score 55% marks or equivalent grade in relevant Master’s Degree. Preference is given to experienced candidates. The applicant must be the below of the age of 35 years.


National Overseas Scholarships cover contingency allowance for books, essential apparatus, travel cost for attending subject related conferences, workshops etc.


How to apply: To apply for this scholarship, the candidates need to get registered and fill the application form online. After filling up the application form with relevant information, submit the form and take a print out of it for future usage. Aspirants can apply within the 45 days of releasing the official notification.


Singapore MOE Tuition Grant Scheme

The Education Ministry of Singapore offers Singapore MOE Tuition Grant Scheme (TGS) with a view to subsidize the cost of higher education in Singapore. Under this scheme, international students can enroll for full time undergraduate and diploma courses at Singaporean universities.


TGS covers only the tuition fee for the course including part-time or full-time. As such, it does not include any living or sundry expenses of the international student. Basically, the tuition grant helps to subsidize around 55 percent to 80 percent of the student’s total tuition fee.


All the eligibility criteria are set by the Ministry of Education, Singapore. To be eligible to apply for TGS, the applicant must be above 21 years of age and below 65, and must not be an un-discharged bankrupt.


How to apply:  To apply for the TGS, applicants need to get registered and fill the application form online. After filling up the application form with relevant information click on ‘Apply grant’. As per the admission cycle of the Singaporean universities, the application period for the MOE tuition grant varies.


Popular Government Scholarships to study abroad


Name of the Scholarships

Name of the Sponsored Country


Commonwealth Scholarships



Australia Awards Scholarships



International Postgraduate Research Scholarships



Fulbright Foreign Student Program



Italian Government Scholarships for Foreign and IRE Students



Singapore International Graduate Award



Chinese Government Scholarship-Bilateral Program



Korean Government Scholarships

South Korean


National Overseas Scholarships



Singapore MOE Tuition Grant Scheme


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