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Gates-Cambridge Scholarship

Overview and Introduction

The Gates Cambridge Scholarship was established in 2000 by a donation from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  It provides a full-cost scholarship and living stipend for graduate study (Master’s or Doctorate) in any field of study available at the University of Cambridge.  

Scholars are selected for their outstanding intellectual ability, leadership potential, and commitment to improving the lives of others as well as fit for the proposed program of study at Cambridge.  The aim of the Gates Cambridge program is to build a global network of future leaders committed to improving the lives of others.


  • Citizenship: A citizen of any country outside the United Kingdom. (US citizenship is not required for this scholarship.)
  • Degree-Level: Applying for a PhD or Master’s degree at Cambridge
  • Age: There are no age limits on this scholarship
  • Academics: Successful applicants will have outstanding academic records (minimum GPA 3.5, typically 3.8 and above), will be an excellent fit for the particular Cambridge graduate program to which they have applied, and will have a demonstrated record of leadership and commitment to improving the lives of others. 

Application Deadlines

  • US Applicants: Typically the 2nd week of October for US citizens living in the United States. (Applications open in early September). 
  • International Applicants: International applicants, including international students studying in the US and US citizens living abroad, apply by the first week of either December or January depending on their selected graduate program at Cambridge. 
  • Endorsement: This scholarship does not require U-M endorsement. Applications are submitted directly via the University of Cambridge. 

Gates Cambridge Selection Criteria:

  • Academic excellence: To be competitive, candidates must show evidence of academic excellence. 
  • Reasons for choice of course: You should be able to make a strong case for a particular postgraduate degree at Cambridge. Gates Cambridge seeks Scholars who will have an academically transformative experience at Cambridge, so it is important that you fully research and justify the course for which you are applying.
  • A commitment to improving the lives of others: A defining characteristic of the Gates Cambridge program is the commitment of Scholars to improving the lives of others.
  • A capacity for leadership: Successful applicants must be able to demonstrate a capacity for leadership, which can be expressed in a multitude of ways. Applicants should provide evidence of their leadership experience to date and indicate the ways in which their leadership skills may have an impact on their future careers.

Prospective Applicants 

Prospective applicants are encouraged to join the UK Scholarships Canvas site for an overview of the application, program requirements, additional advising information, and more. 

Application Summary

Please see the Gates Cambridge website for detailed application instructions.  U-M applicants are strongly encouraged to contact ONSF to discuss their proposed program of study, letters of recommendation, and application essays. 

  1. Two academic letters of recommendation  
  2. A personal statement (500-word limit)
  3. One personal letter of recommendation speaking to the applicant’s character and fit for the Gates Cambridge program
  4. GRE/GMAT scores and/or research proposal 


NOTE: Applicants who plan to seek nomination for the Churchill Scholarship, as well as Gates Cambridge, must apply for Churchill College on their Cambridge applications. 

Check out these Scholarship Details and Application Tips from Gates Cambridge.