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UK study  Finding a scholarship  Postgraduate scholarships

Postgraduate scholarship schemes – open to all international students

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The following postgraduate scholarships are offered to international postgraduate students applying to study in the UK without any restrictions on nationality. This will mean that, if these are of interest to you, you will be competing with students from all over the world.

There are also a number of scholarships available to students from specific countries/regions.

Chevening Scholarships and Fellowships

Chevening Scholarships and Fellowships are aimed at present and future leaders, decision-makers and opinion-formers in countries with whom the UK’s economic relationship is expected to develop. Most candidates are selected by British Embassies and High Commissions in their home countries.

There is also a range of partnership scholarships involving third parties who provide additional funding for scholarships.

The Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP)

The CSFP is an international programme in which member countries (including the UK) offer a whole range of scholarships and opportunities for career development to citizens of other British Commonwealth countries, including undergraduate awards, postgraduate scholarships at master’s and doctoral level, distance-learning scholarships, undergraduate exchanges, post-doctoral fellowships, mid-career academic fellowships and short professional fellowships.

Funded by the UK Government, but administered by the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU), this will be only open to students from British Commonwealth member states in your region.

The Commonwealth Shared Scholarship Scheme

The Commonwealth Shared Scholarship Scheme is another UK Government-funded scholarship scheme, this time aimed at helping exceptional students from developing British Commonwealth member countries to come and study in the UK, who would otherwise be unable to for financial reasons.

To be eligible, students must be outside the scope of other UK Government schemes and would benefit from higher education in the UK. The ultimate aim is to aid the development of students’ home countries, which is why the subjects studied must relate to this. Awards are granted for a maximum of two years, mainly for postgraduate study, with participating UK universities matching contributions from the UK’s Department for International Development (DfiD).

This scheme is only open to students from British Commonwealth member states in your region.

Gates Scholarships

Gates Scholarships have been set up by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation with the aim of encouraging outstanding postgraduate students from the world over to study at the University of Cambridge, who will then use these skills to benefit others and be of service to their communities.

The full cost of studying at the University is covered. There are no restrictions on country of origin or subjects to be studied, so long as it is at a postgraduate level. 

The International Research Foundation for English Language Education (TIRF)

TIRF offers two types of bursary for postgraduate research in English as a second or foreign language: Priority Research Grants (worth up to US$25,000) and Doctoral Dissertation Grants (worth up to US$5,000).

The Overseas Research Students Awards Scheme (ORSAS)

ORSAS gives out awards that make up the difference between home and overseas tuition fees to postgraduate students who are registered research students at UK higher-education institutions funded by any one of the official UK education funding bodies and are undertaking full-time study for a doctoral programme (no funding is given to meet the cost of living).

These awards are initially for one year, but can be extended if satisfactory progress is being made.

Although the Scheme is UK Government funded, individual UK universities are responsible for dealing with applications and selecting the successful candidates.

Note that ORSAS funding for students in England, Northern Ireland and Wales is being phased out from 2009/10. In Scotland, the Scottish Overseas Research Student Awards Scheme (SORSAS) has been established to continue a rebranded version of the scheme in 2009/10 in that country.

Rotary International

Rotary International, representing 33,000 rotary clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas, does offer scholarships to citizens of countries where there are rotary clubs, although the level of funding will vary from country to country and some cutbacks have been made recently.

The Royal Society

The Royal Society operates a series of funding schemes aimed at encouraging the best postdoctoral researchers in the life and physical sciences, including engineering, but excluding clinical medicine, from around the world to come to the UK.

Scottish Universities Physics Alliance (SUPA)

SUPA PhD scholarships are designed to attract the best physics students from around the world to come and study for a PhD in Scotland. A number of fully funded prize PhD Studentships plus some Physics and Life Sciences Industrial Studentships are on offer. The participating universities are Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Heriot-Watt, St Andrews, Strathclyde and UWS (formerly Paisley).

Regional postgraduate scholarship schemes

There are also a number of postgraduate scholarships for students from specific regions looking to study in the UK:

North America regional section

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