Gates Cambridge Scholarship 2017 for Study at Cambridge University, UK

The Gates Cambridge Scholarships are one of the most prestigious international scholarships in the world.  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.

Scholarships 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 selection criteria are:

  • outstanding intellectual ability
  • leadership potential
  • a commitment to improving the lives of others
  • a good fit between the applicant’s qualifications and aspirations and the postgraduate programme at Cambridge for which they are applying

While at Cambridge, Scholars pursue full range of subjects available at the University and are spread through its departments and Colleges.
Our Alumni are pursuing further study or employment across many sectors of society and, despite the relative youth of the programme, are increasingly taking on leadership roles and applying their knowledge and skills to improve the lives of others.
The aim of the Gates Cambridge programme is to build a global network of future leaders committed to improving the lives of others.


Scholarships are available for a postgraduate degree in any subject at Cambridge for applicants who are ordinarily resident outside the United Kingdom

You can apply for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship if you are:

  • a citizen of any country outside the United Kingdom
  • applying to pursue one of the following full-time residential courses of study at the University of Cambridge:
    • PhD (three year research-only degree)
    • MSc or MLitt (two year research-only degree)
    • One year postgraduate course (e.g. MPhil, LLM, MASt, Diploma, MBA etc.)

You can use this form to quickly check if you are eligible to apply for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship and, if so, in which of the two application rounds you must apply. You will find full details about our eligibility criteria further down the page.

How We Select

Gates Cambridge uses a three-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. Shortlisting
Once the Trust has a list of all ranked candidates, these are divided into broad subject areas and passed to our Shortlisting Committees. These Committees look at the candidates’ entire application pack (including the Personal Statement and Personal Reference) and apply all four Gates Cambridge criteria in order to identify those who will be invited for interview. Everyone who is shortlisted for interview will have gone through an exceptionally competitive process and will show evidence of meeting the four Gates Cambridge criteria. See how competitive to get a sense of how many applicants make it through these initial stages.

3. Interview 
All shortlisted candidates have a short interview to assess how they meet all four Gates Cambridge criteria and Scholars are selected after interview. More details are available from the interview page.

Scholarship Deadlines

Deadlines for October 2017 entry: 12 October 2016 (US round) and 7 December 2016 (International round). Check which one applies to you.

The two application rounds:

  • Round 1: US citizens normally resident in the USA
  • Round 2: citizens of all countries other than the USA (except the United Kingdom) and US citizens normally resident outside the USA

Once you have submitted your application you and your referees will receive an email notification from the Graduate Admissions Office within 30 hours explaining how to upload supporting documents and references. You must submit this documentation by the deadlines given.
Once your application has been received, Gates Cambridge will ask academic departments in Cambridge to rank their very best candidates. A shortlisting committee then applies the four main criteria of the Scholarships to produce a final interview list.
We hold interviews in the USA in late January for Round 1 candidates and in Cambridge in late March for Round 2 candidates. If you are unable to attend in person we will interview you by Skype or phone. You will be told within a week of the interview whether you have been successful.

We advise that you begin your application as early as possible and do not wait until the deadline.

  • You must submit your application no later than midday (UK time) on the dates given. Gates Cambridge cannot guarantee that applications submitted after the deadlines will be considered.
  • You must supply all supporting documents (transcripts and anything else required by the department) within 7 days of submitting your application.
  • You must supply references (two academic, one personal) within 7 days of submitting your application.
  • If English is not your first language you will need to submit your language test scores.

*Note: if a course deadline is earlier than the relevant funding deadline above, you must apply by the earlier course deadline.

For more information, visit

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