Gates Cambridge Scholarship (Cambridge University, United Kingdom)


The Gates Cambridge Scholarship programme was established in October 2000 by a donation from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to the University of Cambridge. The Gates Cambridge mission is to build a global network of future leaders committed to improving the lives of others. It aims to achieve this mission by selecting outstanding scholars, providing them with financial and non-financial support at one of the world’s leading universities and facilitating community building at and beyond Cambridge.

Fields of Study

Each year Gates Cambridge offers approximately 80 full-cost scholarships to outstanding applicants from countries outside the UK to pursue a full-time, residential postgraduate degree (Ph.D., MSc, MLitt, MPhil, or other one-year postgraduate course) in any subject available at the University of Cambridge.

Ineligible programs: Gates does not fund any undergraduate degrees, part-time degrees, or non-degree courses, nor will it fund MBA, MFin, PGCE, MBBChir Clinical Studies, MD, or Graduate Course in Medicine degrees.

All graduate students become a member of one of Cambridge’s 31 Colleges, each with its own character and offerings. The College system is unique to Cambridge and Oxford and offers an enhanced experience where students and academics from across disciplines meet, discuss, and form bonds. Throughout its history, Cambridge has had Colleges, which are intimate social and intellectual communities of scholars. They are educational charities, each with a particular mission and character, and they have evolved in response to different social pressures. They remain flexible, reacting to the changing needs of their members. But all are devoted to study and research across the range of disciplines and generations.

Governed by Fellows, who are mostly academics employed in the University, the Colleges remain integral to the University’s educational and research environment today. They can offer you a home and other facilities that universities usually provide centrally. They also give you experiences and opportunities that are unique to Cambridge. More information about the College system is on the Cambridge Postgraduate website.


To be eligible for SOP advising services on a Gates Cambridge application, an undergraduate student (or recent undergraduate alumni) must:

  • be a junior (intending to graduate next academic year), a graduating senior (intending to graduate in the current academic year) or a recent undergraduate degree recipient from UCI within the past 12 months;
  • a citizen of any country outside the United Kingdom;
  • intend to begin enrollment in a graduate program exactly two Fall terms in the future (not in the upcoming Fall term of the calendar year of application);
  • have never previously enrolled in, nor earned, a doctoral degree in any field.

Scholarship Benefits

A Gates Cambridge Scholarship covers the full cost of studying at Cambridge, including:

  • the University Composition Fee at the appropriate rate;
  • a maintenance allowance for a single student (£17,500 for 12 months at the 2020-21 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.

Scholars may also apply for 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 £10,120 for a first child and up to £4,320 for a second child (2020-21 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.

Most costs are covered by the Scholarship, but Gates Cambridge does not cover bench fees or the costs of scientific equipment or similar academic resources. The Trust expects such core course costs to be covered by the academic department at Cambridge.

There are numerous community-building events throughout the year, including orientation for new Scholars, a welcome dinner, professional development events run by the Learning for Purpose programme, an annual lecture, Day of Service, Day of Research, Gala, Scholar symposia, and a Graduation Dinner – in addition to regular informal activities each week. The Scholars’ Council hosts many of these events and facilitates Scholars in hosting their own events. Scholars have access to the well-resourced Scholars’ Room – a physical hub for many Gates Cambridge activities.

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 for more details.

Recent Recipients

UCI has had three Gates Cambridge Scholars:

  • In 2018, Leandra Jackson (Public Health Sciences) received a Gates Cambridge Scholarship for the MPhil in Biological Science (Pathology).
  • In 2010, Cleo Tung (Criminology, Law & Society) received a Gates Cambridge Scholarship for the MPhil in Criminology.

In 2007, Mukul Kumar (History) received a Gates Cambridge Scholarship for the MPhil in Development Studies.

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