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?
The application cycle for 2023 has closed. Please check back in spring/summer 2024 for updates on the next cycle.
- TBD for 2024 (normally in March/early April)
JHU pre-application deadline: TBD for 2024 (normally mid- to late April) (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./Ireland Scholarship applicants. The course will be available for enrollment once info sessions have started in the spring (please note: the Canvas course is offline between application cycles).
NFP draft review deadlines:
- TBD for 2024 (July – September)
- 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:
- PhD (full-time or part-time*)
- MLitt (full-time)
- One year postgraduate course (full-time), 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.
*The option to pursue a PhD part-time was piloted in 2022; please see the website to confirm its availability in 2023.
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:
- The U.K./Ireland 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, Mitchell, and Rhodes Scholarships). By an April pre-application deadline, prospective applicants declare their intention to join the U.K./Ireland 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./Ireland scholarship (and if you plan to apply for the Marshall, Mitchell 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.
- Applicants who do not participate in the U.K./Ireland 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.
|Attend an info session; stop by NFP office hours to discuss your plans and goals
|Submit pre-application materials (for UK/Ireland Scholarships cohort - optional)
|Attend fellowship and writing workshops; consult individually with NFP advisors (for UK/Ireland Scholarships cohort - optional)
|Draft and revise application materials; secure recommendations
|Polish application materials; participate in roundtables & CV workshops (for UK/Ireland Scholarships cohort - optional)
|Meet 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
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.
University of Cambridge Judge Business School Website: Prospective MBA and Master of Finance graduate students will find information regarding application procedures to the Judge Business School, including the requisite supplementary materials and the online application form, on this website.
Explore JHU and NFP Resources
All applicants should enroll in our U.K./Ireland Scholarships Canvas site, which contains a wealth of information and resources about the application process. Please email us to request access in the spring.