Applicants apply simultaneously for admission as a graduate student to the University of Cambridge and a Gates Cambridge Scholarship using the one application pack – see how to apply for full details.
Before submitting an application all applicants should:
- Read through the entire ‘apply’ section of this website
- Fully research their proposed degree at Cambridge via the Graduate Studies Prospectus
- Consult the website of the department to which they are applying to ensure they are knowledgeable and up to date about the course, its requirements and any special application instructions
- Submit a full application by the relevant deadline
How to apply
Standard applications (via the Board of Graduate Studies)
All applicants apply simultaneously for admission as a graduate student to the University of Cambridge and a Gates Cambridge Scholarship using the one application pack.
To be considered for graduate admission and a Gates Cambridge Scholarship most applicants will need to submit all of the following documents to the Board of Graduate Studies by the relevant deadline:
- GRADSAF application form
- Academic transcripts
- 2 academic references
- 1 personal reference
- English language test scores if your first language is not English
- Any other documents required for admission to the course – e.g. research proposal, example of written work etc. (see the individual department/course website for details)
See the How to Apply section of the Graduate Studies prospectus for further details.
Applications for the MBA and MFin
- Applicants for the MBA and MFin programmes offered by the Judge Business School should see the relevant website
Candidates for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship:
- may be citizens of any country outside the United Kingdom
- may apply to pursue one of the following full-time residential courses of study:
- PhD (three year research-only degree)
- One year postgraduate course (e.g. MPhil, LLM, MASt, Diploma, MBA etc.)
- MSc or MLitt (two year research-only degree)
- may apply to study any subject available at the University of Cambridge
- must be admitted to one of the degrees above at Cambridge through the University’s normal admission procedures – the Trust does not admit students
- must be applying for a new course of study or research if they are already a student at Cambridge – e.g. those who have already started their PhD are not eligible to be considered for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship
- who are – or have been – in receipt of a Gates Cambridge Scholarship may apply for a second scholarship; such candidates must apply by the second, international deadline and go through the same process of departmental ranking, shortlisting and interviewing as all other candidates
Competition for admission to the University of Cambridge and for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship is intense.
The University of Cambridge is normally ranked in the top three universities worldwide. It typically receives over 9,000 applications for graduate study from non-British applicants, approximately 1,700 of whom take up their place at Cambridge.
Once applicants have applied for admission and a Gates Cambridge Scholarship, the Trust asks academic departments in Cambridge to rank their very best candidates. A shortlisting committee then applies the four main criteria of the scholarships to produce a final interview list. Gates Scholars are selected after interview.
A Gates Cambridge Scholarship covers the full cost of studying at Cambridge.
- the University Composition Fee and College fees at the appropriate rate*
- a maintenance allowance for a single student (£13, 000 for 12 months at the 2011-12 rate; pro rata for courses shorter then 12 months)
- one economy single airfare at both the beginning and end of the course
The Trust considers applications for several types of additional funding on a discretionary basis:
- Family allowance – up to £7,775 for first child and up to £1,200 for second child; no funding for partner
- Conference attendance – up to £500 p.a (must be presenting)
- Fieldwork – Scholars may apply to keep up to their normal maintenance allowance while on fieldwork as part of their PhD
- Some fourth year funding for PhD Scholars – termly maintenance allowance reduces per term for up to a year**
- Hardship funding – where there are unforeseen difficulties
*The University Composition Fee varies for different types of students; applicants should see the Graduate Studies Prospectus for full details about precise amounts. Where a student from the European Union has been successful in gaining a fees award from public authorities, the Trust will not pay these fees.
** The PhD at Cambridge is a three year degree and Gates Scholars should are take on a research project that they and their supervisor think can be completed within three years. However, if there are unforeseen circumstances which means a Gates Scholars requires further funding during all or part of their fourth year, the Trust will consider an application on a discretionary basis. But Scholars should not rely on receiving any fourth year funding at the beginning of their PhD.
Receiving a salary or substantial other scholarship: the Trust reserves the right to reduce or not pay the standard maintenance allowance to Gates Scholars who are in receipt of a salary from their employer or a substantial other scholarship while a Gates Scholar.
All candidates shortlisted for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship attend a 20 minute interview.
The interviews may be in person, by Skype or by telephone and are conducted by a panel of four members (a representative of the Trust, two academics and a Gates Cambridge alum) who are knowledgeable in a general way about the candidate’s field of study.
Candidates are asked about their work: why it excites them; what they know about the broader field of which it is part; why it is important; why coming to Cambridge will help them with their research or build on their earlier educational experiences. Also, do they understand that higher education brings privilege and opens opportunity for the future; what do they intend to do with the benefits they’ve had; how do they see themselves contributing in time. Candidates may also be asked questions of a probing intellectual or ethical dimension, to which there are no ‘right’ answers.
Interviews for US citizens normally residing in the USA are held in the USA at the beginning of February for entry in the following October. Interviews have been held in Annapolis, MD and in New York City in the past; in early February 2012 the interviews will be held in San Francisco, CA. Shortlisted candidates will be contacted before the Christmas break. Most candidates interview in person, but candidates who cannot attend an in person interview may interview by Skype or telephone.
Interviews for citizens of all countries other than the USA (except the United Kingdom) and US citizens normally residing outside of the USA are held in Cambridge in late March. About half of these candidates interview in person, while the other half interview by Skype or telephone (given their location). Shortlisted candidates will be contacted in early March.
All candidates are informed of the results of their interview within a week.
For more information, please visit official website.