Gates-Cambridge Scholarship

History   |   Description   |    Eligibility   |    How to   |   Application   |    Checklist

History and Purpose

The Gates Scholarship programme was established in 2000 by a donation of 210 million US dollars from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to the University of Cambridge - the largest ever single donation to a UK university. Gates Cambridge Scholarships are highly competitive full-cost scholarships. They are awarded to outstanding applicants from countries outside the UK to pursue a full-time postgraduate degree in any subject available at the University of Cambridge. The programme aims to build a global network of future leaders committed to improving the lives of others.

Gates Cambridge alumni are pursuing further study or employment across many sectors of society. Despite the relative youth of the programme, Gates Cambridge Alumni are increasingly taking on leadership roles and applying their knowledge and skills to improve the lives of others across the globe.

Description of the Gates Cambridge Scholarship

The Gates Scholarship funds one to three years of graduate study at the University of Cambridge in the UK. Applicants may pursue a PhD (three year research-only degree); one-year post-graduate course (MPhil, LLM, MASt, Diploma, MBA, etc.) or a two-year research-only degree (MSc or MLitt). They must be admitted to one of the degrees at Cambridge through the university’s normal application procedure. Support includes fees, maintenance allowance and additional funding on a discretionary basis.

Eligibility Requirements & Rules for Nomination

Applicants must be/have:

  • US or International students; seniors or alumnae with no age limit
  • able to meet all conditions for admission specified by the university (English language proficiency; GRE if required by the department; academic excellence)
  • 3.7 GPA (Gates stipulates the equivalent of a 2i honors degree)
  • leadership potential - evidence of leadership can be expressed in a multitude of ways but the capacity of Gates Cambridge Scholars to 'take others with them' is central.
  • a commitment to improving the lives of others – show evidence of working for the greater good.
  • a good fit between the applicant's qualifications and aspirations and the programme at Cambridge
  • Nomination by the College is not required for the Gates Cambridge Scholarship

How to apply

Candidates apply directly to the University of Cambridge, indicating their interest in the Gates Cambridge Scholarship. Through the online application, they are able to upload documents pertinent to the Gates Scholarship.  There is no MHC campus process for the Gates Cambridge Scholarship. Students may apply directly without the involvement of the campus fellowships advisor, but are strongly advised to solicit the feedback and guidance of the fellowships advisor and faculty. Students interested in applying should contact Christine Overstreet during the spring semester prior to the fall application deadline.

Application components

  • Complete the GRADSAF online application. Application includes biographical data; educational, work, and award history; college choice; names of referees; summary of proposed research or course of study; non-academic activities; summary of career goals; scholarship choices; Gates personal statement. All accompanying documents are uploaded into the online application.
  • A Research Proposal – if required for programme
  • A Personal Statement – answering this prompt: Describe - in not more than 500 words - how your interests and achievements, both academic and extra-curricular, demonstrate a capacity for leadership and a commitment to improving the lives of others. Please also set out why you think there is a good fit between your professional aspiration and the graduate programme at Cambridge for which you are applying.
  • Three recommendationstwo must be from faculty and are for the Cambridge University application; the third is a personal reference for the scholarship application. The personal reference should be equipped to answer the following question: Please give your assessment of the applicant’s suitability for a Gates Scholarship, which is awarded on the following criteria: intellectual ability, leadership capacity, a commitment to improving the lives of others, and a good fit between the abilities and aspirations of the applicant and what the University of Cambridge can offer in its graduate programme. You should not ask friends or family to write this letter; rather, you should ask someone of appropriate standing who is fit to comment on the above.
  • Official Transcripts – from all undergraduate study sources, including abroad
  • Any other written work required for proposed course of study including examples of written work
  • GRE scores (depending on requirements of department)
  • Possibly Resume/CV (depending on requirements of department)

Campus Process and Checklist

Please note that for all deadlines, submission time is 12:00 noon

Checklist
Timeframe Task(s) to Complete
During Spring semester Attend UK Fellowships info session/abroad students Skype with FA
By May 5 Meet with FA to discuss intention to apply; bring resume to appointment
During April/May/June Explore UK programmes; discuss proposed academic programme with faculty advisor and fellowships advisor (FA)
  Solicit recommenders in person or via email - inform FA of names
June, July, August Prepare to take GRE (if required) and sign up to take test by end of summer
June, July, August Order transcripts from all college study (including MHC); you will upload these to application site
 By or before July 15th Send first draft of personal statement as word doc email to FA for feedback
  send resume and research proposal (if required) to FA for feedback
By or before August 1 Send 2nd draft of essay to FA for feedback
Early September Complete online GRADSAF (University of Cambridge) application
By September 28 Send final draft of essay to FA including examples of written work, and copy of application
US Deadlines  
By October 15th Submit GRADSAF application and all supplementary materials
Mid-December Shortlisted US applicants contacted for interview in Washington DC; interview in Feb
International Deadlines  
By December 3rd
Submit GRADSAF application and all supplementary materials
Early March Shortlisted Int’l applicants contacted for interview in Washington DC; interview in March. Awards announced shortly following interviews for each round of candidates