The Gates Cambridge Scholars program, created by a substantial gift from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, aims to create a network of outstanding scholars from around the world who will become leaders in addressing global problems related to health, social equity, technology, and learning. During a typical year there are several hundred Gates Cambridge Scholars pursuing degrees at the University of Cambridge.
The Scholarships cover fees at Cambridge University, living costs and other necessities, and round-trip airfare. Recipients may study for a graduate degree in any field, and may apply for a master's degree or equivalent or a doctorate.
Citizens of every country of the world other than the United Kingdom, who will hold a Bachelor's degree or its equivalent by the time they take up residence at Cambridge, are eligible to apply. Application to the Cambridge Trusts, of which the Gates Cambridge Scholarship is one, is included within the forms for application for admission to the University for a particular course of study. Begin to explore possible programs of study as early as possible, as you may need to gain support of a potential supervisor at Cambridge, depending on the field of study and type of degree.
The program seeks applicants with demonstrated academic and intellectual achievement, and who show promise of bringing "...new vision and commitment to improving the life circumstances of citizens in their respective countries".
The Gates Cambridge scholarship does not require or even allow College endorsement; however potential applicants benefit from using the internal-advising process required for Rhodes, Marshall, Mitchell, Downing and Churchill applicants, and are urged to do so. It is helpful, though not required, to observe the same deadline for internal application: June 30, 2015. You may download the Preliminary Application [docx] , complete it and email it to jennifer[dot]locke[at]pomona.edu. Potential applicants are encouraged to look into the other UK fellowships with similar requirements, and to discuss the potential for multiple applications with the Faculty Advisor for British fellowships. Use these resources to explore degree programs at universities in the UK.
Applicants for this fellowship should also consider applying for the Downing Scholarship, which funds one year of graduate study for a master's degree or equivalent at Cambridge. Applicants in the sciences and mathematics should also look into the Churchill Scholarship.
Gates Cambridge Application for Graduate Study
The University graduate application includes a short Gates Cambridge Scholarship application essay; for U.S. citizens the online application is due by October 14 to be considered for the award. Ignore the later deadlines posted by individual graduate programs! Supplemental materials (including transcripts and letters of recommendation) are due 14 days after your initial application, even if you don't submit it until the 14th. When visiting the Cambridge University web, be sure to read about the course of study both in the Graduate Prospectus and also in the web pages of the academic program of interest, the former for general information and the latter for course details. A few graduate degree programs may have earlier deadlines, so be sure to check those.
Second Bachelor's Degree Application (uncommon, but possible)
Applicants for a second Bachelor's degree must send a University undergraduate application to one of Cambridge's 28 colleges by October 14. Colleges will invite accepted applicants to apply for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship.
Letters of Reference
Two different sorts of letters of reference are required: two are graduate school recommendations for the University, and one is a more personal, all-around recommendation for the Scholarship. Your recommenders will receive an email instructing them on how to upload a letter of recommendation after you have entered their contact information into the online application form. Letters of recommendation are due 14 days after the original application is submitted.
Tips for Writing Personal Statements
Learn more about writing personal statements.