Gates Cambridge Scholarship

Is it for you?

The Gates Cambridge Scholarship awards highly competitive scholarships to exceptional applicants from outside the U.K. to pursue a full-time postgraduate degree in any subject at the University of Cambridge. The program aims to build a global network of future leaders committed to improving the lives of others.

What are the key dates?

General Information Sessions: 

JHU pre-application deadline: April 22, 2024 (optional –  please see “How do you work with the NFP?” below for more information on advising options)

The pre-application is available on NFP’s Canvas course for U.K. Scholarship applicants. The course will be available by the first info session listed above (please note: the Canvas course is offline between application cycles). Please email [email protected] circa March 28 or after to request the self-enrollment link.

NFP draft review deadlines: 

  • TBD for 2024 (July – September)

National/final deadline: 

  • For US citizens residing in the US: TBD in 2024 (usually mid-October)
  • For all other applicants: dependent on your course – TBD for 2024-25 (normally early December or early January) (see Cambridge Course Directory to confirm date once details are posted in September)

Are you eligible?

Candidates for the Gates Cambridge Scholarship must:

  • be citizens of any country outside the United Kingdom.
  • have an exceptional academic record, as well as focused future academic objectives and career goals, and leadership capacity.
  • be able to articulate how their work, whatever the field, will have a positive impact on others.
  • apply to pursue one of the following full-time residential courses of study:
    1. PhD
    2. MLitt
    3. One year postgraduate course, with some exceptions (noted on website)
  • apply to study any subject available at the University of Cambridge.
  • be admitted to one of the degrees above at Cambridge through the University’s normal admission procedures (the Trust does not admit students).
  • be applying for a new course of study or research if you are already a student at Cambridge (e.g., those who have already started a PhD there are not eligible to be considered for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship).

Please note: If you are – or have – received a Gates Cambridge Scholarship, you may apply for a second scholarship; such candidates must apply by the second international deadline, and go through the same process of departmental ranking, short-listing, and interviewing as all other candidates.

How do you work with the NFP?

To apply for the Gates Cambridge, JHU nomination/endorsement is not required and candidates do not need to coordinate with our office to apply, though we strongly encourage you to take advantage of the assistance we offer. Candidates may choose one of two campus advising processes:

  1. The U.K. Scholarships advising process begins in the spring of the application year and is a cohort-based approach for applicants to one or more of several highly competitive scholarships (the Churchill, Gates Cambridge, Marshall, and Rhodes Scholarships). By an April pre-application deadline, prospective applicants declare their intention to join the U.K. Scholarships cohort. We closely advise cohort members on their applications individually and offer a range of skill- and community-building group activities from the late spring through early fall. This process is very strongly recommended for applicants who think they may want to apply to more than one U.K. scholarship (and if you plan to apply for the Marshall and/or Rhodes, it is required). It is also recommended for those who wish to benefit from a more intensive skill-building, cohort-based approach to the application process. Our Application Process and Timeline overview provides more details.
  2. Applicants who do not participate in the U.K. Scholarships advising process can still submit essay drafts for feedback, per the deadlines posted above. We are also available to discuss your plans at Cambridge, choice of recommenders, and application materials.

The timeline gives an overview of the application process and when to reach out to us. In preparation, see “have a closer look” below for more resources about the Gates Cambridge.

late March-mid-April
Attend an info session; stop by NFP office hours to discuss your plans and goals
late April
Submit pre-application materials (for UK Scholarships cohort - optional)
May-JuneAttend fellowship and writing workshops; consult individually with NFP advisors (for UK Scholarships cohort - optional)
July-AugustDraft and revise application materials; secure recommendations
Polish application materials; participate in roundtables & CV workshops (for UK Scholarships cohort - optional)
early OctoberMeet official Gates Cambridge deadline

Are you competitive?

About 80 new scholarships are awarded each year: 25 to U.S. citizens (U.S. round) and the rest to citizens of any other country outside the U.K. (international round). Two-thirds of those selected propose a PhD degree. Applicants use one application package to apply simultaneously for graduate admissions to the University of Cambridge and for the Gates Cambridge Scholarship.

Candidates for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship are evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Academic transcripts: Your transcripts should demonstrate exceptional and sustained achievement. Those invited to interview will be academically first-rate, having been ranked by departments in Cambridge as the most outstanding applicants in a given year. As a broad illustration, the GPA range (or equivalent) of selected Scholars is 3.7 to 4.0, with the average being 3.92. While the Trust does not set a minimum GPA for the Scholarships, the University does for most courses; and the departmental ranking process means the Trust is only looking at applicants who are among the most academically outstanding.
  • Academic contribution potential: Successful applicants will also have the ability to make a significant contribution to their discipline while in Cambridge. They must possess both a strong aptitude for research and analysis and a creative approach to defining and solving problems.
  • Program of study: The Trust expects a good match to be made between the applicant’s qualifications and aspirations and what Cambridge has to offer in its graduate program. You must make a convincing argument for doing a particular degree specifically at Cambridge.
  • Leadership capacity: The Trust is looking for individuals who possess a capacity for leadership and a commitment to improving the lives of others. The Trust interprets both of these concepts broadly since there are numerous ways in which candidates can show evidence of them. Candidates must also be aware of the responsibilities that go along with being awarded a prestigious, full-cost scholarship at one of the world’s leading universities: the Trust expects that Gates Scholars will use the education they gain at Cambridge to become leaders in their field and to give back to society in the ways they will then be specially positioned to.
  • Two academic references: These references are for both your scholarship application and your graduate application to Cambridge, and the department that you are applying to will use them as part of the ranking process. Your letters should be from faculty who can speak to your academic achievement in your discipline, contribution potential, leadership capacity, and the benefits you would derive from pursuing your proposed program of study at Cambridge, as delineated above.
  • One personal reference: Your personal reference is strictly for your Gates Cambridge Scholarship application and may come from either a faculty member or employer. Your referee should know you personally and have the requisite experience and standing to assess your character, personal achievements, and capacities, as well as your academic qualities.

Note: Although nothing else is required for the Gates Cambridge Scholarship application, please note that the Graduate Admissions Office, the Judge Business School, and/or the academic department you apply to, may require that you submit additional materials with your application.

Have a closer look:

Visit the Official Website

Gates Cambridge Scholarship Foundation

University of Cambridge Graduate Admissions Website: For prospective graduate students, this website contains information regarding application procedures to the University of Cambridge, including the online GRADSAF application that you will complete to apply both to the University of Cambridge and for the Gates Cambridge Scholarship.

Explore JHU and NFP Resources

All applicants should enroll in our U.K. Scholarships Canvas site, which contains a wealth of information and resources about the application process. Please email us to request access in the spring.

Hear from JHU Recipients

HUB article about Ishan Kalburge, 2024 Gates Cambridge Scholar

HUB article about Nisita Dutta and Kevin Fan Hsu, 2022 Gates Cambridge Scholars

HUB article about Shubhayu Bhattacharyay, 2020 Gates Cambridge Scholar

HUB article about Samuel Kebede, 2018 Gates Cambridge Scholar

HUB article about Katherine Robinson, 2017 Gates Cambridge Scholar

HUB article about Stephen Filippone, 2014 Gates Cambridge Scholar

Start Your Application

Gates Cambridge Scholarship Application Portal (application for the Gates Cambridge is included in the Cambridge graduate admission application)