Postgraduate Scholarships for International Students

As we’ve talked about previously , a postgraduate scholarship is a sum of money awarded on merit to a student to help them pay for their studies. These scholarships come in many different shapes and sizes.

Some will award just enough money to cover fees, while others will pay for both fees and living costs.  Some will come with no strings attached, while others will be awarded by future employers in return for a fixed employment contract post-study .


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This article will specifically look at opportunities for international students looking to fund their postgraduate study in the UK.

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Before delving any further , be sure to check out our own Postgrad bursaries:


- Postgrad Solutions Global LLM Study Bursaries (2 x £500) – this bursary is specifically for students looking to fund their chosen Master of Laws programme. It’s open to both international and UK students and the only two requirements are that you’re starting an LLM degree this year and that you join the free-of-charge Postgrad Solutions Student Service .


- Postgrad Solutions European Business Masters Study Bursaries (2 x £500) – this bursary is for any international or UK student looking to start their pre-experience postgraduate business programme this year. Again, you’ll need to join the Postgrad Solutions Student Service in order to apply.


International students are often put off studying in the UK due to the high cost of postgraduate tuition fees and living expenses. However, funding is available and scholarships, although competitive, are a great place to start looking.


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Different Criteria for Scholarships

Each scholarship will have its own criteria that it requires potential applicants to meet before they continue with the application process. For example, like our bursaries, some scholarships will need you to be studying a specific type of course, while others will require that you come from a certain part of the world.


The different types of criteria you need to meet as an international student will vary widely and will often overlap, but the below examples should give you a general idea of what’s on offer. The majority of the examples used are only relevant to international students.

Subject Specific Scholarships

School of Civil Engineering and the Environment Research Scholarships at Southampton University – five of these full fee plus subsistence scholarships are available each year for International (non-EU) students to study within the School of Civil Engineering.


Wild Fund Scholarship at the University of York – this scholarship is awarded yearly to students applying from outside the UK to conduct research within the Chemistry department.


However, many universities, such as Kingston University London , also offer general scholarships to international postgraduates – in this instance, awards totalling £250,000 every year for any one-year taught masters degree.

Country Specific Scholarships

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Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP) – this opportunity is open to any under-25 year old student with a degree who lives in a Commonwealth country or British dependent territory. The fund covers travel, tuition fees and living expenses.


Circumstance Specific Scholarships

Disaster Regeneration Scholarship at University of Westminster – any student who resides in a disaster struck developing country or region is eligible to apply as long as they also have an offer for a full-time Masters in the School of Built Environment. This is a full scholarship that covers tuition fees, accommodation, living expenses and airfare to and from London.


The African Educational Trust – this charitable trust offers several yearly scholarships to students from Southern Africa, with a preference for anyone unable to study in their home country because of political or educational discrimination.

Who Funds the Scholarships

It’s also worth taking some time to learn about the different potential sources of funding. In the UK, there are three main types of bodies that offer postgraduate scholarship funding: universities, professional/commercial entities and charities.


Universities – most UK universities will offer a few different scholarships explicitly for international students looking to fund postgraduate studies. For example, here are the relevant pages from Leeds University , University of London , Newcastle University , University of Salford , Middlesex University and Sheffield University .


Professional Entities – many notable UK-based institutions offer scholarships to international postgraduates (though often not exclusively), from the Bank of England and the BBC, through to the British Government .


Charities and Charitable Trusts – there are literally hundreds of charities, trusts and foundations that offer scholarships to international postgraduates.

First Steps in Applying For A Postgrad Scholarship

It’s a good idea to start your search by contacting your own Ministry of Education or Education Department or the nearest British Council Office/British Embassy or High Commission. You can ask them about anything from British scholarship schemes, details of educational and training courses to information on living in UK.


Once you’ve found a scholarship that fits all your requirements and for which you are eligible to apply, the next step is typically to contact the institute responsible for the funding and ask for the relevant application forms. The application process is likely to be thorough and, because scholarships are nearly always awarded on merit, you’ll need to work hard to make sure your application is as good as it can possibly be. Many institutions also introduce a competitive aspect to their awards, asking potential students to complete an exam or write an essay.


We wish you luck in your search for a postgraduate scholarship!


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