UK scholarships for international students

UK scholarships for international students


Education in the UK is without any doubt one of the most prestigious and high quality one in the world. This fact is surely reflected in the tuition fees universities charge students, especially international students. If for British students there is a cap for maximum tuition fees they can pay, for international students, unfortunately, there is no such limit.

No surprise that not everyone is capable of making such an investment in their education, but the fact that you cannot fund your studies should not stop you from getting education in the UK. In this case, a scholarship is one and probably the only option for you.


Selection criteria for UK scholarships

There is a number of scholarships in the UK to consider. All of them have their own eligibility and selection criteria but most likely you need to show:

Academic brilliance – you must not just meet entry requirements for the programme you would like to study but be the best of all possible candidates. Your transcripts from the previous place of study should demonstrate top grades only.

Motivation – you must be able to explain clearly why you need this particular scholarship and why the scholarship committee should choose you out of the pool of exceptional candidates. The majority of the schemes would require you to write a motivation letter as well as pass an interview with the scholarship committee.

Leadership and outside the class achievements – as all scholarship candidates are academically outstanding, your extra curriculum achievements and proves of leadership potential can help you to stand out among the others.

Financial need – this is not the main selection criterion for the majority of scholarships out there. But if among all mentioned above accolades you can show that financially you will not be able to afford education in the chosen university, it will play in your favour.


Largest UK scholarship schemes

So let us tell you a little bit more about the largest and smost well known UK scholarship schemes available for all international students: 

Chevening scholarship

It is funded by the UK government for bright students from all over the world who wish to come to the UK to do their master’s degree. Basic eligibility requirements include:

  • You must be a citizen of Chevening-eligible country (most countries are eligible);
  • Upon graduation you must return back to your country for a minimum period of two years;
  • You must prove you have 2 years of work experience;
  • You must have bachelor’s degree with good grades, equivalent to 2:1 class UK bachelor’s degree;
  • English language requirement for this scholarship is IELTS 5.5, however, you will be expected to meet UK university entry requirements as well, which usually require IELTS 6.5-7.5.

More information about Chevening scholarships you can find here

Gates Cambridge Scholarship at the university of Cambridge

It was established when Bill and Melinda Gates made a donation to the University of Cambridge in 2000. 95 scholarships are awarded each year to the most outstanding candidates from any country outside the UK, who wish to complete their master’s degree at Cambridge.

More information about the Gates Cambridge Scholarship you can find here

Clarendon Scholarships at the university of Oxford

It is one of the largest scholarship schemes at any university offering 140 scholarships every year. It covers 100% of tuition fees as well as maintenance funds for students and provides a unique opportunity to be a part of the high profile network of scholars. The majority of winning candidates apply for doctorate level studies.

More information about the Clarendon Scholarships you can find here


Types of UK scholarships

We made it easy for you to understand what types of scholarships exist and what options are available to you.

Types of UK scholarships by the study level:
  1. Scholarships for undergraduate students (bachelor’s degrees)
  2. Scholarships for postgraduate students (master’s degrees)
  3. Scholarships for research students (doctorate degrees)

The majority of UK scholarships for international students are designed for postgraduate and research students: Chevening scholarships, Rhodes Scholarships, Nottingham Vice-Chancellor’s International Scholarships for Research excellence, the Royal Society Grants etc.

If you wish to find funding for your bachelor’s degree, your options will be limited. But don’t despair, there are still a few scholarships available: Denys Holland Scholarships at University College London (bachelor’s level), Westminster Full Fee scholarships for International Students (all study levels) and Gates Cambridge Scholarship (all study levels).

Types of UK scholarships by the source of funding:
  • Scholarship schemes funded by the government, various organisations and charities;
  • Scholarships offered by the universities.

Scholarships provided by the government and organisations, e.g. Chevening scholarship, are most likely to cover your entire tuition fees as well as give you certain amount of money to cover your monthly expenses.

University scholarships can offer a discount from the tuition fees starting from as small as £1000-3000 per year (most universities) and up to full coverage of all your expenses (The Rhodes Scholarships at the University of Oxford).

Types of UK scholarships by the country of origin:
  • Scholarship schemes offered to all international students regardless of their country of origin;
  • Scholarship schemes offered to international students from certain countries. 

Some scholarships are designed for international students from all over the world, for example, Chevening scholarships and the Gates Scholarship. However, there is a huge number of scholarships that are only available for students from selected countries:

Types of UK scholarships by area of study:
  • Scholarship schemes for students in any discipline;
  • Scholarship schemes for students in certain subjects.

While some scholarships can be awarded to students learning any subject, many scholarships are only aimed at students in specific disciplines. For example, these are scholarships that are only offered for science students: Nottingham Trent University Science Scholarship for Non-EU students, The Royal Society Grants and Cavendish Research PhD Scholarships at University of Westminster.


We hope you’ve found our article useful. Stay tuned and keep checking out our blog as we have a special interview with a Chevening scholarship winner coming up soon.

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