The Gates Cambridge Scholarship programme was established in October 2000 by a donation of US$210m from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to the University of Cambridge; this is the largest ever single donation to a UK university. The first class of scholars came into residence in October 2001. Since then, the Trust has awarded over 2,000 scholarships to scholars from more than 100 countries.
Each year Gates Cambridge offers c.80 full-cost scholarships to outstanding applicants from countries outside the UK to pursue a postgraduate degree in any subject available at the University of Cambridge. Approximately two-thirds of these awards will be offered to PhD students, with approximately 25 awards available in the US round and 55 available in the International round.
The selection criteria are:
outstanding intellectual ability
reasons for choice of course
a commitment to improving the lives of others
There are at approximately 250 Scholars from c. 50 countries studying in Cambridge at any one time who pursue the full range of subjects available at the University and are spread across its departments and Colleges, as well as forming their own distinctive community.
There is also a community of more than 1,700 Gates Cambridge Alumni spread across the world.
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.
A Gates Cambridge Scholarship covers the full cost of studying at Cambridge. It also provides additional, discretionary funding.
the University Composition Fee at the appropriate rate*
a maintenance allowance for a single student (£18,744 for 12 months at the 2022-23 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
* The University Composition Fee varies for different types of students; applicants should see the Graduate Studies prospectus for full details about precise amounts. Where a student has been successful in gaining a fees award from public authorities (such as the UKRI) they must accept this and the Trust will not pay these fees.
The Trust also considers applications for several types of 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 £10,944 for one child and up to £15,612 for two or more children (2022-23 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 facing the scholar
Receiving a salary or substantial other scholarship?
If you are receiving a salary from an employer or have another substantial scholarship, the Trust reserves the right to reduce or not pay the standard maintenance allowance. You should let the Trust know ASAP if you are awarded any funding towards your degree at Cambridge.
What is not covered?
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.