The UK has been one of the most popular and premier destinations for international students to pursue world-class education forever. The unparalleled universities, great cities, cultural legacy, and extensive scholarships for international students in the UK, make it a haven for international students.
According to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), there were over 500,000 international students enrolled in UK universities in 2019/20. However, studying in the UK can be pretty expensive, especially for students from developing countries. The average tuition fees for international students in the UK are 16,000 GBP per year for undergraduate courses and 21,000 GBP per year for postgraduate studies. Moreover, international students also have to pay for living expenses, travel costs, visa fees, and health insurance, which can add up to a significant amount of money.
Fortunately, there are many funding opportunities available including scholarships for international students in the UK. These scholarships can help cover part or all of the costs of studying in the UK, depending on the eligibility criteria, application process, and award amount. They are usually offered by governments, universities, foundations, or organizations based on academic merit, leadership potential, social impact, or other criteria.
In this article, we will explore some of the most popular and prestigious scholarships for international students in the UK.
Overview of Scholarships for International Students in the UK
|No of Programs||20+|
|Types of Scholarships||Government, Private, University, etc.|
|Most Popular Programs||Chevening Scholarships, Commonwealth Scholarships, Rhoades Scholarships, Gates Cambridge Scholarships, etc.|
|Benefits||Partial to Full tuition waiver, monthly stipend, travel allowances, thesis grant, family support, etc.|
Types of Scholarships for International Students in the UK
There are many types of scholarships for international students who want to pursue their education in the UK. Some of the main categories are:
Government-funded scholarships: These are scholarships that are sponsored by the UK government or its agencies. They usually cover the full or partial cost of tuition fees, living expenses, and travel costs.
University scholarships: These are scholarships that are offered by individual universities or colleges in the UK. They may have different eligibility criteria, application processes, and deadlines. They may also vary in the amount and duration of funding they provide.
Other scholarships: These are scholarships that are funded by private organizations, foundations, charities, or donors. They may have specific requirements or preferences for certain fields of study, countries of origin, or personal backgrounds.
Popular Scholarships for International Students in the UK
British Chevening Scholarships
The British Chevening Scholarship is one of the most well-known and competitive scholarships for international students in the UK. They are funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and partner organizations, and aim to support future leaders, influencers, and decision-makers from all over the world. Since its establishment in 1983, Chevening has offered over 50,000 exceptional individuals to pursue their studies in the UK. For the academic year 2023-24, there are over 1,500 scholarships available worldwide.
The Chevening Scholarships offer full or partial funding for one-year master’s degrees in any subject at any UK university. The scholarships also cover flights, accommodation, visa fees, and a monthly stipend (depending on the area of stay). In addition, the Chevening Scholars get access to a wide range of exclusive academic, professional, and cultural events and activities throughout their stay in the UK.
The application process for a Chevening Scholarship is quite rigorous and competitive. You need to submit an online application form that includes your details, academic background, work experience, career goals, and leadership potential. You also need to write four short essays (each 500 words) on your motivation, networking skills, influence skills, and choice of study. If you are shortlisted, you will be invited to an interview at the British embassy or high commission in your country. The final selection is based on your overall performance and suitability for the scholarship.
- Be a citizen of a Chevening-eligible country or territory
- Have completed an undergraduate degree that enables you to gain entry into a postgraduate program at a UK university
- Have at least two years of work experience (either full-time or part-time) in any sector
Suggested Read: Scholarships for International Students in Spain
The Commonwealth Scholarships are another prestigious scholarship scheme for international students in the UK. They are funded by the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and administered by the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC) in the UK. The CSC supports over 800 scholars and fellows from low- and middle-income Commonwealth countries each year.
The Commonwealth Scholarships offer full or partial funding for various types of study programs in the UK. The scholarships cover tuition fees, flights, living allowances, and other allowances. They also provide academic and pastoral support, networking opportunities, and alumni services. The Master’s scholarship program covers the full tuition fees along with a monthly stipend of 1,236 GBP per month, or 1,516 GBP per month for students enrolled in universities situated within the London metropolitan area. Additional support includes clothing allowance, airfare, clothing allowance, study travel grants, etc.
The application process for a Commonwealth Scholarship varies depending on the type of scholarship you are applying for. You may need to apply through an online application system or through a nominating body (such as your national government or university) in your home country. You need to submit supporting documents (such as transcripts, references, research proposals, personal statements, etc.) and attend an interview if you are shortlisted. The selection is based on your academic merit, development impact potential, and alignment with CSC’s strategic themes.
- Be a citizen or permanent resident of a Commonwealth country or territory
- Have an undergraduate degree that enables you to gain entry into a postgraduate program at a UK university
- Be unable to afford to study in the UK without financial assistance
- Meet the specific eligibility criteria for each type of scholarship
Suggested Read: Scholarships in Poland for International Students 2023-24
The GREAT Scholarships are a relatively new scholarship scheme for international students in the UK. They aim to support students from selected countries including China, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam etc., who want to study in the UK. In the 2023-24 academic year, 200 scholarships are offered by 49 universities across England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. Each scholarship is jointly funded by the UK government’s GREAT Britain Campaign and the British Council with participating UK higher education institutions.
The GREAT Scholarships offer partial funding (minimum 10,000 GBP) for one-year postgraduate courses in any subject at participating UK universities. The scholarships also provide access to various cultural and social events and activities during the study period.
The application process for a GREAT Scholarship is simple and straightforward. You need to apply directly to your chosen UK university and indicate your interest in being considered for a GREAT Scholarship through the university’s funding page. You also need to submit a short personal statement or essay explaining why you deserve the scholarship. The selection is based on your academic excellence, leadership potential, and future plans.
- Be a citizen of a GREAT-eligible country
- Have an undergraduate degree that enables you to gain entry into a postgraduate program at a UK university
- Meet the academic and English language requirements of your chosen UK university
- Apply to an eligible UK university course and receive an unconditional or conditional offer from it by a specified deadline
Suggested Read: Scholarships in Hungary for International Students
Charles Wallace India Trust Scholarships
The Charles Wallace India Trust Scholarships are funding opportunities for Indians in the early to mid stages of their careers who are working or studying in arts, humanities, or heritage conservation. The scholarships are offered by the Charles Wallace India Trust (CWIT), an English charity that was established in 1981 in memory of Charles Wallace, a British businessman who lived and worked in India. CWIT works in partnership with the British Council India, which advises and supports CWIT’s work.
There are two types of scholarships offered by CWIT: long-term and short-term. The long-term scholarships are for pursuing a full-time MA program of up to one-year duration in any UK university in arts or heritage conservation. The short-term scholarships are for research or professional visits of up to three months in the UK.
Eligibility and benefits:
Long-term scholarships: Applicants must be Indian citizens living in India, aged between 25 and 38, have a first degree or diploma or professional qualification in their specialization, have at least five years of relevant working experience, and have not received a CWIT grant within the previous five years. The scholarship covers tuition fees, living expenses, visa fees, and a contribution toward international travel costs.
Short-term scholarships: Applicants must be Indian citizens living in India, aged between 25 and 45, have a first degree or diploma or professional qualification in their specialization, have at least five years of relevant working experience, and have not received a CWIT grant within the previous five years. The scholarship covers accommodation and living costs in the UK, visa fees, and a contribution towards international travel costs.
Suggested Reading: Scholarships in Italy for International Students in 2023
The Rhodes Scholarship is a prestigious and competitive award that enables talented students from around the world to pursue a postgraduate degree at the University of Oxford, one of the oldest and most renowned universities in the world. The scholarship was established in 1902 by the will of Cecil Rhodes, a British imperialist and businessman, who wanted to promote unity and leadership among English-speaking nations. The scholarship is administered by the Rhodes Trust, based at Rhodes House in Oxford. The Rhodes Scholarship is open to students from over 60 countries and territories around the world. Each year, about 100 scholars are selected from a pool of thousands of applicants.
The scholarship covers the total tuition fees, travel costs, visa and health insurance fees, and a one-off settling-in allowance for the duration of the scholar’s study at Oxford. Additionally, each Rhodes scholar receives a monthly stipend of 1,515 GBP. The scholarship also provides access to a rich academic and social network of Rhodes Scholars and alumni, as well as opportunities for personal and professional development through workshops, conferences, events, and mentoring programs.
The selection process is rigorous and involves submitting an online application with personal details, academic qualifications, work experience, motivation statement, references, and a list of preferred courses at Oxford. The applicants must also undergo an interview with a regional or national selection committee, which evaluates their academic merit and potential impact.
- You must be a citizen of a Rhodes-eligible country or territory, such as India, Australia, Germany, Singapore, etc.
- You must have completed an undergraduate degree or be in the final year of your undergraduate degree at the time of application, with a high level of academic excellence in your field of study.
- You must be between 18 and 28 years old (or 24 for some constituencies) at the time of application. The age limit may vary depending on your country or territory.
- Meet the entry requirements and secure admission to your preferred course at Oxford.
Suggested Read: Guide to Netherlands Scholarships for International Students
The Gates Cambridge Scholarship is an international postgraduate award for students to study at the University of Cambridge. It is one of the most competitive and prestigious scholarships in the world, with around 1.3% of applicants receiving an award in recent years. The scholarship was established in 2000 by a donation of 210m USD from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to the University of Cambridge. The scholarship is open to students from any country outside the UK who are applying to pursue a Ph.D., MLitt, or a one-year postgraduate course in any subject available at the University of Cambridge, with some exceptions. Each year, Gates Cambridge offers about 80 full-cost scholarships to applicants from countries outside the UK. Approximately two-thirds of these awards are offered to Ph.D. students, with about 25 awards available to US students and 55 available for other international applicants.
The scholarship covers the total cost of studying at Cambridge, including tuition fees, living expenses, travel costs, visa and health insurance fees, and a one-off settling-in allowance.
The scholarship provides a maintenance allowance for students, offering 20,000 GBP for 12 months at the 2023-24 rate. For Ph.D. scholars, the scholarship award is available for up to 4 years. It also provides additional, discretionary funding for academic development, family allowance, maternity/paternity funding, hardship funding, and fieldwork.
- You can apply for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship if you are a citizen of any country outside the UK, and applying to pursue a postgraduate degree.
- You must have a bachelor’s degree (for master’s studies) or subsequent qualifications for higher programs.
- You must also have an outstanding academic record and a clear research proposal.
Suggested Read: Scholarships in UAE for International Students in 2023-24
British Council Scholarships for Women in STEM
The British Council Scholarships for Women in STEM are a great opportunity for women who want to pursue a master’s degree or an early academic fellowship in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics at a leading UK university. These scholarships provide opportunities to pursue master’s degrees in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics programs. Additionally, women who have completed a Ph.D. in STEM in the last three years can apply for scholarships for Early Academic Fellowships.
The program is launched in partnership with 21 UK universities and targets women from regions including the Americas, South Asia, East Asia, western Balkans, central Asia, Brazil, Egypt, Mexico, and Turkey. The scholarships aim to increase opportunities for women in STEM, address the gender gap in STEM fields, and inspire future generations of women to pursue careers in STEM.
The scholarships cover the full tuition fees, monthly stipend, travel costs, visa, and health coverage fees for the duration of your study or research in the UK. You will also receive special support for mothers and people with caring responsibilities, as well as English language support.
- You must be a woman from the country approved by the British Council for the program.
- You must also have an undergraduate degree that will enable you to gain access to one of the pre-selected postgraduate courses at a UK university and demonstrate a need for financial support and a passion for your subject area.
- To be eligible for an early academic fellowship, you must be a woman from South Asia or East Asia who has completed all components of a Ph.D. in STEM in the last three years.
Suggested Read: Fully-Funded Scholarships in Canada for International Students
These are scholarships for US citizens who have obtained a bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA of 3.7 and want to pursue a graduate degree in any subject at any UK university. The scholarships cover university fees, living expenses, travel costs, and other allowances. The selection criteria include academic achievement, leadership potential, and ambassadorial potential.
Suggested Read: Scholarships in Ireland for International Students in 2023-24
Many UK universities offer their own scholarships and bursaries for international students who want to study at their institutions. These scholarships vary in terms of eligibility criteria, application process, award amount, and duration. Some of the most prominent programs include:
The Denys Holland Scholarship: This is a scholarship that aims to support undergraduate students who without financial help, would be unable to study at UCL (University College London). It is open to prospective students from any country, who have broad interests and intend to be actively involved in and contribute to the life of the university. The scholarship is worth 9,000 GBP per year for three years, subject to satisfactory academic progress. The scholarship is awarded based on financial need and extracurricular involvement.
Edinburgh Global Research Scholarships: These are scholarships that cover the difference between the tuition fee for a UK/EU postgraduate student and that are chargeable to an overseas postgraduate student. They are awarded to 30 outstanding overseas students who intend to pursue a Ph.D. at the University of Edinburgh.
Bristol University International Office Scholarships: These are scholarships that offer 8,500 GBP to international students who have applied to study an undergraduate or postgraduate program at the University of Bristol.
Tips for Applying for Scholarships for International Students in the UK
Applying for scholarships for international students in the UK can be challenging and competitive, but not impossible. Here are some tips to help you increase your chances of winning a scholarship:
Start your research early. Don’t wait until the last minute to look for scholarships. Start your research at least one year before you plan to start your studies in the UK.
Choose your course and university wisely. Don’t apply for scholarships without knowing what course and university you want to study at. Do your homework and research the courses and universities that match your academic interests, career goals, and financial needs.
Apply for multiple scholarships. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Apply for as many scholarships as you can that match your profile and preferences. However, don’t apply for scholarships that you are not eligible for or not interested in. Focus on quality over quantity.
Follow the instructions carefully. Don’t ignore or overlook the instructions given by the scholarship providers. Read them carefully and follow them exactly. Make sure you fill out the application forms correctly, attach all the required documents, answer all the questions, and submit everything before the deadline.
Write a compelling personal statement or essay. Don’t underestimate the importance of your personal statement or essay. This is your chance to showcase your personality, achievements, motivations, aspirations, and suitability for the scholarship. Write clearly, concisely, and edit your personal statement or essay. Use specific examples and evidence to support your claims. Avoid plagiarism, clichés, and errors.
Prepare for the interview. Prepare by researching the scholarship provider, reviewing your application materials, and practicing common interview questions.
Keep track of your applications. Don’t lose track of your applications. Keep a record of the scholarships you have applied for, the deadlines, the results, and the feedback.
In conclusion, scholarships for international students in the UK are a valuable opportunity to pursue one’s academic goals and career aspirations in a world-class education system. However, securing a scholarship is not easy and requires a lot of effort and dedication from the applicants. Therefore you should start your search early, explore options thoroughly, and prepare applications carefully. By doing so, you can increase your chances of winning a scholarship and enjoying a rewarding and enriching experience in the UK. We understand that applying for scholarships can be a tedious process, that’s why we are here to help you. You can reach out to us at Gyanberry. Book your free video call appointment now!