How we select

The process

Gates Cambridge uses a two-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.

2. Interview

**Please note that for the 2022-23 admissions process, we will regularly review the UK coronavirus pandemic situation to decide if interviews will be conducted.**

All candidates nominated by academic departments have a short interview to assess how they meet all four Gates Cambridge criteria. Scholars are then selected after interview.

If you are called to 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 virtually. Where you are able to attend the interview in person we encourage this.

There are four broadly subject-based interview panels:

  • Arts

  • Biological Sciences

  • Physical Sciences

  • Social Sciences

Each three to four person panel usually consists of academics, a representative of the Trust and Gates Cambridge alumni.

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)

If you are not called to interview

You will receive an email from the Trust confirming your application has not been successful. You will find further information on our  Timeline page.


Please note that we are not able to provide feedback to unsuccessful applicants.