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Scholarships in USA for International Students

Postgraduate scholarships in USA

Scholarships are a vital source of funding for international students as well as home students studying their masters (MS) degree in the USA.

There are plenty of funding opportunities available if you know where to look – but you do need to make sure you meet the eligibility requirements and the deadlines. Many scholarships to help fund MS fees will be for students from a specific country or studying a specific subject. Others will be merit-based for those who have a proven academic record in excellence.

It is important to research properly into what your university has to offer – and these scholarships should be flagged up on the fees and funding pages. You should also look into what scholarships are on offer from your home country’s government.

University scholarships and assistantships, as well as grants and scholarships specifically for foreign students, are some of the funding opportunities available for international students seeking a masters degree in the USA. Education USA is also a valuable resource for finding financial aid opportunities as well as advice for getting your study visa.

In this article, we’ll talk you through everything you need to know about how to obtain a scholarship in the USA. 


Why apply for a scholarship in the USA? 

The USA is a very popular place for international students to choose to study a graduate program and with good reason. It boasts plenty of world-leading universities featuring highly regarded faculty and cutting-edge laboratory facilities.

US universities offer students a campus-based, inclusive and active living environment – with an emphasis on societies and sports, as well as academic excellence. This makes them an excellent place to make friends, learn new activities and network with like-minded people.

Due to their popularity with international students, universities in America also offer their intake the opportunity to experience diverse cultures. Not only does this enrich your life experience, but it can also extend your network of friends and peers across the globe.

As well as offering a vibrant and diverse student lifestyle, US universities have exceptional student support services – so if you do find yourself feeling stressed or isolated when you arrive at your university as an international student, you can be sure that you will have somewhere to turn to.

Finally, the career opportunities that you could experience as a result of studying in the United States is second to none. US universities are known for their excellence links with nearby industries and companies and the student visa usually allows international students to remain in the country for at least one year after graduation. This can be extended to up to three years for STEM-subject graduates, this gives graduates plenty of time to embark on a career – and then take their new skills and work experience home.

World-class US universities

According to the Times Higher Education World Rankings 2023 seven out of the top ten world -ranked universities are located in the US.




Number of Students

Percentage of International Students


University of Oxford





Harvard University





University of Cambridge





Stanford University





Massachusetts Institute of Technology





California Institute of Technology





Princeton University





University of California, Berkeley





Yale University





Imperial College London




What documents are required to apply for a USA scholarship?

To apply for a scholarship, you will need to supply some documents. These will probably be similar to many of the documents you had to supply when apply for your masters course in the United States [LINK TO APPLICATIONS ARTICLE], and will typically include:

  • Application form
  • Academic transcripts
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Financial circumstances
  • Passport / ID card 

Each scholarship will have its own set of requirements and the information a particular university or organisation requests will vary. It's always recommended to carefully review the scholarship's application guidelines to ensure you have all the necessary documents and meet the eligibility requirements.

What types of scholarships are available in the USA for international students?

There are many different types of scholarships available in the USA – here are some of the main ones.

Merit-based scholarships – these are scholarships that are awarded to students who demonstrate academic excellence.

Needs-based scholarships – this funding is for students that can prove a strong financial need as a result of coming from a low-income home.

Country-specific scholarships – students from certain countries – especially from developing countries – are often offered funding for masters study at university.

Subject-specific scholarships – funding is often available for those choosing to study certain subjects, this is often particularly the case with those wishing to study STEM subjects.

Government-funded scholarships – governments can fund their students to study masters degrees overseas, this can be done on the understanding that the students will then come back to their home country with their newly acquired skills and knowledge.

University scholarships – universities in the USA can offer scholarships to students to come and study at their institution, information about this will always be on their fees and funding pages.

Privately funded scholarships – it can be possible to find privately funded scholarship from companies, business or charities, in this case the student is likely to be required to work for the company for a period of time upon completion of their masters.

Full scholarships – this is the masters student’s dream! A full scholarship will cover tuition fees and include a living stipend.

Fully funded USA scholarships for international students

Fulbright Scholarship USA

Perhaps the most popular government-funded US scholarships for international students, the Fulbright Commission has 11 different postgraduate awards aimed at UK students wishing to study in the USA. EU citizens can also apply for funding through the Fulbright Commission office in their own country. So long as you have received a 2.1 in your first degree, even if you took it outside of the UK, you are eligible to apply for a postgraduate award. In terms of your course, it should be a full-time postgraduate program at an accredited university and you must attend the campus rather than studying online.

How to apply for a Fulbright Scholarship

The Fulbright website has very detailed information which can enable you to create a strong application; their online portal is a global system and so can be used by all international students, so long as they follow the country-specific instructions. The first step involves completing an application form, along with a personal statement (statement of purpose) outlining your research objectives and telling the committee about the kind of person you are, aside from your academic achievements.

What does the scholarship cover?

If you are successful, the basic Fulbright package will cover your tuition fees and a proportion of your living expenses in the US for one year. The exact amount will vary between states, depending on the cost of living as assessed by the US Department of State. Certain awards have other benefits, but these can depend on the funder involved and the student. Assuming you meet their requirements, you have as much chance as any other applicant of being accepted onto the program. Fulbright does not have a preference for particular alumni and actively works towards funding students from a variety of backgrounds. However, they are very strict about the minimum entry requirement of a 2.1 and aside from that, they do not offer awards to medical students.

Other USA scholarships

Other USA scholarships for international students that are fully funded include:

Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program

This is for mid-career professionals from eligible countries and cover tuition fees and a living allowance. To be eligible for a Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program students must:

  • Be citizens of an eligible country
  • Have an undergraduate/bachelors degree
  • Have a minimum of five years of full-time professional experience
  • Demonstrate leadership qualities
  • Have a record of public services in the community
  • Have limited experience in the USA
  • Be proficient in the Enlgish language

Joint Japan/World Bank Graduate Scholarship Program

The Joint Japan/World Bank Graduate Scholarship Program (JJWBGSP) is open to citizens from certain develop countries with relevant professional experience and a history of supporting their countries’ development. Applicants should be studying a masters in a development-related topic. A JJWBGSP scholarship provides tuition, a monthly living stipend, round-trip airfare, health insurance and travel allowance.

American Association of University Women (AAUW) International Fellowships

American Association of University Women (AAUW) International Fellowships were launched in 1917 and are worth between $20,000–$50,000. They support women undertaking full-time graduate or postdoctoral study in the United States. Applicants cannot be citizens or permanent residents of the United States, and they must intend to return to their home country to pursue a professional career upon completion of their studies.

Rotary Peace Fellowships

Every year, the Rotary Foundation awards up to 50 fellowships for students to study masters degrees at top universities. Rotary Peace Fellowships cover the costs of tuition fees, accommodation, round-trip transportation, internship and any field-study expenses. They were launched in 2002 and encourage the development of peace professionals around the world.

Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship Program

The Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship Program supports outstanding students from developing countries to pursue full-time postgraduate studies at reputable universities of their choice. To be eligible, applicants must have an outstanding academic record and proven financial need. They must also come from a list of eligible countries. The awards are 50% grant and 50% loan, which means half of the money does need to be repaid.

MasterCard Foundation Scholarships

The MasterCard Foundation Scholarships support students from Africa to continue with their education at universities all over the world. As part of this initiative, the University of California, Berkeley supports 108 masters degree students from Sub-Saharan African countries who are academically talented and committed to transformative change on their continent.

Postgraduate scholarships in USA

Which US universities offer scholarships?

There are many university-specific scholarships and financial aid packages on offer throughout the US. If you have applied to one of the top universities in America, it’s likely they will have a postgraduate scholarship program in place. To find out more, you can contact the university’s finance office directly, or search on their website to see if you are eligible for one of their programs. Check for a deadline, late applications are not even considered, so start early and gather all the details requested well in advance.

Top universities in the USA offering scholarships for international students. 

Here are details of some prominent universities in the US that offer a selection of scholarships for international graduate students.

Harvard University Harvard University offers a selection of scholarships to wide variety of international students. For example, its Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics offers graduate scholarships to exceptional studnest who are researching ethical issues in areas such as architecture, business, education, government, law, medicine, public health, public policy or religion. Other scholarships include the Frank Boas Scholarship for citizens of Belgium or Luxembourg, scholarships for Canadian women, and scholarship for students of Irish birth.

UCLAUCLA in California offers Division of Graduate Education Fellowships for entering graduate students. These include the Charles F Scott Fellowship worth up to $15,000 each, Gordon Hein Memorial Scholarship worth $5,000 each and the Kasper and Dr. Ursula Mandel Scholarships offering graduate students studying a science-related topic $15,000. Funding is also offered by the individual academic departments, so it worth contacting the individual departments directly to see what is available.

Temple University – Temple University in Philadelphia provides a comprehensive list of financial resources for international graduate students to apply to.

Yale University – Yale University encourages students to search on their Yale Student Grants Database to find funding that meets their eligibility criteria.

Suffolk UniversitySuffolk University in Boston provides a selection of grants and scholarships including various Alumni Scholarships worth between $3,750 and $12,500, the Battillo Family Scholarships for graduates studying at the Sawyer Business School and the McInnes Family Centennial Scholarship for academically excellent students in financial need.

How to find out more about US scholarships?

Large American universities like Yale have a database of scholarships available to their students, they also direct applicants to their various faculties that offer further financial assistance. However, finding out what you could be entitled to if you are planning to attend a smaller university may involve more legwork. Start by speaking to the finance office at the school, as they usually have information on scholarships for all types of students. You can also search online for scholarships which could be right for you, based on your personal circumstances, what you intend to study, where you live and whether you have a disability which affects your everyday life.


As you can see, American universities offer a good selection of funding to international students pursuing a graduate course at their institutions in the form of financial aid, scholarships, grants and loans.

It is worth researching all your options to help pay for your masters degree and a good place to start is the financial pages of the universities you are interested in.

By taking advantage of all available funding, the dream of studying your masters degree at a US university can become a reality.


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