Who can apply?
You can apply for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship
if you are:
Current student at Cambridge?
- 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:
- One year postgraduate course (with some exceptions – see below)
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:
What we are looking for
- Any Undergraduate degree such as BA (undergraduate) or BA affiliated (a second BA)
- Master of Business (MBA)
- Master of Finance (MFin)
- MBBChir Clinical Studies
- MD Doctor of Medicine degree (6 years, part-time)
- Graduate Course in Medicine (A101)
- Part-time degrees
- Non-degree courses
Our Scholars come from diverse backgrounds and each brings something unique to the programme. We use four criteria to select them.
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 uses a three-stage selection process to ensure Scholars meet all of our criteria to the highest degree.
1. Departmental ranking
In order to ensure only the most academically outstanding candidates are considered, the Trust asks academic departments in Cambridge to rank eligible applicants on academic ability only. Those who are put forward by their departments are considered the most academically outstanding applicants they have received that year.
Once the Trust has a list of all nominated candidates, these are divided into broad subject areas and passed to our Shortlisting Committees. These Committees look at the candidates’ entire application pack (including the Gates Cambridge Statement and Reference) and apply all four Gates Cambridge criteria in order to identify those who will be invited for interview. Everyone who is shortlisted for interview will have gone through an exceptionally competitive process and will show evidence of meeting the four Gates Cambridge criteria.
All shortlisted candidates have a short interview to assess how they meet all four Gates Cambridge criteria and Scholars are selected after interview. Interview candidates will be sent full details of the format and arrangements. If you are shortlisted for interview you will have already gone through an incredibly competitive process
You will be invited for a 20-25 minute interview and, depending on where you are, you can interview either in person or by Skype. Where you are able to attend the interview in person we encourage this.
There are four broadly subject-based interview panels:
- Biological Sciences
- Physical Sciences
- Social Sciences
Each three to four person panel usually consists academics, a representative of the Trust and Gates Cambridge alummi.
Each interview has four main sections:
1. Welcome and introduction
- The Chair will introduce the panel, set out the format of the interview, and provide any other essential information to allow for a productive session.
2. Gates Cambridge
- What you know about the Gates Cambridge Scholarships
- Your motivation for applying
- Why you think you could be a Gates Cambridge Scholar
- Your thoughts on the opportunities and responsibilities that a prestigious, full-cost scholarship at one of the world’s leading universities brings
3. Academic and career plans
- Your academic work to date – can you convincingly communicate your passion for, and the importance of, your chosen subject?
- Your proposed degree at Cambridge – can you provide a convincing justification for your choice of course?
- Your career plans – can you convincingly link your application for both a Gates Cambridge Scholarship and your proposed course at Cambridge to your future career plans?
- You may also be asked probing intellectual or ethical questions, to which there are no ‘right’ answers.
4. Final thoughts and questions
- A chance to add anything further you would like the interview panel to consider, and to ask any questions you may have (having no questions to ask is also fine).