Gates Cambridge Scholarship


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.

Programs Funded

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.

Selection Criteria

The program seeks applicants with demonstrated academic and intellectual achievement, and who show promise of bringing " vision and commitment to improving the life circumstances of citizens in their respective countries".

Application Process

Internal Application

The Gates Cambridge scholarship does not require or even allow College endorsement; however, potential applicants benefit from participating in summer advising required for Marshall, Mitchell, Rhodes, and Churchill applicants, and are urged to do so. UK/Irish Preliminary Applications, which are required to receive summer advising, are located on SurveyMonkey Apply ( and due June 15, 2021. 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 mid-October (date tba) 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 11th. 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.

The deadlines for non-U.S. citizens or U.S. citizens living outside of the U.S. are early December or January (dates tba), depending on your proposed graduate course.

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 mid-October (date tba). 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.

Advisors 2020-2021

  • Steve Bickham
  • Malkiat Johal
  • Sarah Raff

Official Gates-Cambridge Website