The UK Government offers funding in several different ways for international postgraduate students to come and study in the UK and one of these is the Chevening Scholarships. The Chevening Scholarships aim to fund international postgraduate students from countries that do not already have a scholarship program with the UK – for example like the Marshall Scholarship program for US students. Chevening Scholars are students who wish to become future leaders in their fields or industries after their postgraduate program and want to improve international cooperation through personal relationships.
What are Chevening Scholarships?
Chevening Scholarships is a program run by the UK Government and a small group of private and public partners to offer sponsorship for postgraduate study at universities in the UK for international students. The UK Government’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office administers the program, but it is not restricted to the 54 countries of the Commonwealth as funding has been awarded to postgraduate students from more than 140 territories and countries. All of the countries and territories that participate in the Chevening Scholarships do not have access to another form of postgraduate funding in the UK from the UK Government. This means that the United States does not participate in the Chevening Scholarships scheme as American students have access to the Marshall Scholarships, a scholarship program that is also funded by the UK Government.
Chevening Scholarships are not awarded evenly around the world, as there is a focus on countries, territories and communities that will benefit from the education and skills that a Chevening Scholar will develop. The focus of the program is to develop leadership skills and Chevening Scholars are usually aiming to become leaders in their home countries. The idea is that Chevening Scholars will meet, network and create lasting friendships with postgraduate students who will become leaders of their professions in the future in the UK and beyond.
The Chevening Scholarships are competitive and when the Chevening Scholars are selected they attract local and national press attention. Postgraduate students who come to the UK as Chevening Scholars are expected to involve themselves with both university campus life and in wider cultural and volunteering activities. Over 50,000 postgraduate students have studied through the program since it began in the 1980s, and these students have come to know both the UK and how the UK's Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office operates as they are the UK Government department that runs the scholarship program.Find your PERFECT POSTGRAD PROGRAM
History of Chevening Scholarships
In 1979 the UK Government introduced tuition fee payments for postgraduate students and in 1980 international students started paying the full cost of their tuition fees. As a result of this the UK Foreign Secretary at the time, Francis Pym, suggested increasing the funding for international students to study in the UK. The Chevening Scholarships were established in 1983 by the UK Government through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and the scholarship program was known as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Awards Scheme (FCOAS). The FCOAS quickly became an important part of British foreign policy, and by 1986 many British Embassies and High Commissions were describing it as some of their most important work.
In the first academic year, 100 scholars were studying in the UK and this has increased to over 1,500 per year in recent times. The name of the scholarship program was changed in 1994 to the Chevening Scholarships drawing the name from Chevening House, which is the official residence of the UK Foreign Secretary and the Deputy Prime Minister. In 2004 a sister program, the Chevening Fellowships, was introduced that offers mid-career professionals a three-month program of study in the UK with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. In 1999 the first alumnus of the program became a Head of State when Rinchinnyamyn Amarjargal became the Prime Minister of Mongolia, and this cemented the program’s aims of assisting in the development of the world's future leaders – there have now been 17 Chevening Alumni who have gone on to become Heads of State or government. The Chevening Alumni Association was launched as an official organisation in 2014 – although it had been operating informally since the program's inception – and it now offers a network of world-class leaders for Chevening Scholars to connect with. This table illustrates the success of the Chevening Scholarship program describing the Chevening Alumni who have gone on to become world leaders so far.
Who is eligible for a Chevening Scholarship?
Since the Chevening Scholarship program aims to encourage and develop leadership potential in high calibre postgraduate students, much of the eligibility for the scheme rests on academic excellence. Students must be citizens of a Chevening-eligible country, but since 140 countries are eligible this includes many countries where English is not the local language. Check with your local British Embassy or High Commission to see if your country is a Chevening-eligible country. Those postgraduate students who are also British citizens or hold a British Overseas Passport are not eligible for the Chevening Scholarships, nor are those who have a relative who works for the British Government.
Applicants to the Chevening Scholarships must apply to three eligible masters programs in the UK – we have created a unique course search facility to help Chevening applicants identify eligible courses – and have been accepted with an unconditional offer onto one of them by July of the application year. Most students will need to have achieved the equivalent of a British 2:1 in their undergraduate degree to gain access to a masters level program in the UK. Those students who received a scholarship from the UK Government to study in the UK previously, regardless of the level of study, are not eligible for a Chevening Scholarship. Students must have also gained two years of work experience either before or after their undergraduate degree and must agree to return to their home nations for the two years after their postgraduate course in the UK is completed.
What PG courses are eligible for a Chevening Scholarship?
Potential scholars must be applying for a one-year masters program at a UK university on a full-time on-campus basis, and part-time courses or distance learning programs are not eligible. Interested students can use our unique course search facility to find masters programs that are eligible for Chevening Scholarship. Choosing the right three courses at the right universities is one of the most important aspects of your Chevening application, and the Chevening Find-a-course page hosts our course search finder to search for eligible masters degrees at every eligible university in the UK. Any subject area is eligible, but there is a cap on the funding awarded to MBA students of £18,000 towards tuition fees. An eligible course must last more than nine months, but not more than 12, and can only have up to one month of study outside of the UK. Many UK universities have a London base as well as a main campus elsewhere, if you apply to a masters program that is offered both at a London campus as well as the main campus elsewhere, then students are expected to study at the main campus outside of London, thereby ensuring that Chevening Scholars experience life across the UK. There is only one non-masters program that is eligible for Chevening funding and that is the Diplomatic Studies Programme at Oxford University. Please note that the Chevening application is not an application to study your chosen courses – you will need to apply separately for your masters courses via the relevant universities.
Benefits of being a Chevening Scholar
There are plenty of benefits to being a Chevening Scholar and then a Chevening Alumnus – let's take a look at the key ones.
For international students for whom English is not their first language, then a year studying in the UK in English is an excellent chance to develop fluency in English. Unlike some countries that have universities that offer postgraduate courses in English, but have a different local language or substantial communities speaking different languages, English is the main language of communication for the UK, especially outside of largest cities such as London, Birmingham and Manchester. Apart from the cultural output for small numbers of Gaelic and Welsh speakers in Scotland and Wales, all television programming, radio broadcasts, and local newspapers are produced in English. Your fellow students are less likely to speak other languages fluently, which means that all communication in and out of lectures and tutorials will be in English.
Networking opportunities & support
The networking opportunities presented to Chevening Scholars are also unrivalled, and a year spent in this capacity will open many doors for your future career. The Chevening Alumni Association now includes the 50,000 students who have been awarded a Chevening Scholarship since 1983. This association has groups all over the world and these local associations are focused on improving their local areas and home nations as well as encouraging others to apply to the Chevening Scholarships. They also offer support and friendship to each other helping them achieve their career and personal aims and ambitions. Since leadership skills are a big part of the Chevening Scholarship program the Chevening Alumni Association has a growing number of global leaders in a wide range of industries, organisations and governments.
International study allows you to understand how other people and cultures all view the world and this cultural understanding will improve international cooperation in the future. It also allows you to grow as an individual as you develop resilience and self-reliance while you are settling into life as an international student for the first time.
How do you become a Chevening Scholar?
To become a Chevening Scholar you must display a combination of ambition, leadership potential and a clear vision of your future career path. This is done through the application process and the interviews. To display your ambition there is a requirement of the Chevening Scholarships to have undertaken two years or 2,800 hours of work experience before you apply. This work experience can be a combination of full- and part-time work, voluntary and unpaid or paid internships. It allows you to develop an understanding of the industry or sector that you wish to develop a career in and gives you knowledge and experience to draw on during your postgraduate study. The work experience will show your commitment to a cause, issue or area of development for your home nation. Through the application process, you will show how you wish to use the knowledge and understanding that you will gain during your masters program in the UK to improve this cause, issue or area of development.
Your application and interview must also show that you have a clear vision of your future and the leadership potential to achieve your goals. Your references, written statements and an excellent academic record must all support your aims. When you are writing your statements and preparing for the interview to become a Chevening Scholar you must show that your goals fit with the aims of the Chevening Scholarship program of improving international cooperation. However, the criteria for selection varies between countries and year to year, so you should do plenty of research and get in touch with your local British Embassy or High Commission for any advice that they can offer. If you can, try and get in touch with previous Chevening Scholars as they can offer you advice and access to the Chevening Alumni Association for more help with your goal of becoming a Chevening Scholar.
Applying for a Chevening Scholarship
The application is completed online through the Chevening Scholarship's website and each nation or region has their own specific application site. Applications usually open in the September of each year and you should get in touch with your local British Embassy or High Commission before you begin your application process. Applications are assessed by your local British Embassies or High Commissions, so you should ensure that they are expecting your application. A team at the Embassy or High Commission then checks all of the applications to ensure that they are eligible. These eligible applications are then sent to independent commission groups who read through and assess all of the applications. This group ranks the applications and returns them to the Embassy or High Commission. The Embassy or High Commission assesses the recommendations of the commission and invites successful students for an interview. The interview stage requires students to upload documents to support their academic achievements, the references and an additional personal biography that tells the interviewers more about you. This is an extra chance to express in writing how you and your community would benefit from a Chevening Scholarship. The interview is also a chance to display your English language skills and to discuss your course options. After the interviews, the scholarships are announced in the June or July before your course begins in the UK in September. When you are applying online keep a close watch on the deadlines as the times are in British Standard Time rather than your local time. If you think you've got what it takes to apply for a Chevening Scholarship – take a look at these top tips to ensure that you provide the Chevening selection panel with a strong application.
It’s one thing thinking that you could be a future leader but can you demonstrate that you have leadership potential in your application? Have you influenced a situation positively? Have you taken on responsibilities above and beyond what was expected of you? Have you found solutions to problems?
Why the UK
Whilst the UK is the second most popular destination for international students, we are interested in knowing why you want to study in the UK? Think carefully about why a UK education could benefit you and your career plans.
Meet the English language requirements
Show that you have a commitment to studying in the UK by meeting the English language requirement. This is a mandatory requirement for many applicants, so the earlier you start to prepare, the more time you have to meet it. Applications and interviews are conducted in English, so the more confident you are, the better you can represent yourself.
Know your courses
When making an application you should already know the university courses that you wish to apply for. Do your research to ensure that the courses meet your own personal objectives as well as the Chevening requirements. Use our unique course search facility on the Chevening Find-a-course page to find eligible masters degrees to apply for.
Dream about your country’s future
Think about the contribution you want to make to the future of your home country. If this ties in with your course choices, then it’s an indication that you’re thinking in a joined-up manner. Visit www.chevening.org/apply for more information.
We are accepting applications for our Postgrad Solutions Study Bursaries worth £500 each.
✓ Full time, part time and online students eligible
✓ January start dates 2021 & 2022 students welcome
✓ PG courses in any subject taught anywhere in the world eligible
✓ Application deadline 30th September 2021