Internal deadline: September 29, 2014 (for U.S. applicants); November 21, 2014 (for international students)

National deadlines:
October 14, 2015 - deadline for all new U.S. applicants to apply to Board of Graduate Studies for admission and a Gates scholarship (strict deadline).

December 2, 2015 - deadline for all other new applicants, and U.S. students currently studying at Cambridge and wishing to continue (strict deadline).

 Eligibility requirements: Candidates for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship:

  • May be citizens of any country outside the United Kingdom.
  • May apply to study any subject available at the University of Cambridge only.
  • May apply to pursue one of the following full-time residential courses of study: PhD (three year research-only degree); MSc or MLitt (two year research-only degree); or a one-year postgraduate course (e.g. MPhil, LLM, MASt, Diploma, MBA, etc.)
  • Must be admitted to Cambridge through the University's normal academic procedures. The Trust cannot admit students.
  • Must be well prepared for the Cambridge course for which they are applying and must meet all of the conditions for admission specified by the University (e.g. academic, English language proficiency, if required, and any other conditions set).
  • Must be able to show evidence of high academic achievement, leadership potential, social commitment and a good fit with Cambridge.

Award summary and conditions:  This benefaction creates in perpetuity an international scholarship program to enable outstanding graduate students from outside the United Kingdom to study at the University of Cambridge. The Trustees are required to award scholarships on the basis of a person's intellectual ability, leadership capacity and desire to use their knowledge to contribute to society throughout the world by providing service to their communities and applying their talents and knowledge to improve the lives of others.  Applicants intending to pursue a course of graduate study or research at the University of Cambridge must complete and submit the 'GRADSAF' application form to the Board of Graduate Studies by the relevant deadline. By submitting one GRADSAF form per course applied for, candidates will, where eligible, be considered for:  admission to a course of graduate study or research by the Board of Graduate Studies, admission to a College by one or more of the Cambridge Colleges funding offered by the Cambridge Trusts (including Gates Cambridge Scholarships) and other awards, where eligible, offered by the University of Cambridge (Dorothy Hodgkin Postgraduate Awards and Domestic Research Studentships).

A Gates Cambridge Scholarship covers the full cost of studying at Cambridge, namely: 

  • The University Composition Fee and College fees at the appropriate rate
  • A maintenance allowance for a single student (£13, 300 for 12 months at the 2013-14 rate; pro rata for courses shorter then 12 months)
  • One economy single airfare at both the beginning and end of the course

Application requirements:  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.  The Trust does not admit or place scholars. Applicants may submit by hard copy or online.  The type of of application chosen by the applicant is not a factor in the selection process.  However, where they can, applicants are encouraged to apply online as their data is automatically uploaded to the University's database.  After two weeks with no changes or activity in the application, a reminder message will be sent, letting the candidate know their application will only be active for 7 more days, after which it will be removed from the system.  A candidate only needs to go in and make a small change during the two weeks to keep it active for another two weeks.

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 (Your personal reference should be someone who knows you personally and who can assess your personal achievements and capacities, as well as your academic qualities.  This person must not be a family member or friend)
  • 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)

Note:  Your reference letters are due 14 days after an application submission, as the email notification will only go out to the referee once the candidate has submitted their application.  It is wise to contact a referee ahead of the process so they will be able to work within the two-week time frame.

Whitman internal application process: A complete application will be required at the internal deadline.

Faculty Representative: Keith Raether

Selection process:  Decisions on admission to the University are made on academic merit, the availability of space in a course, and/or the availability of an appropriate supervisor. 

The department or faculty where you wish to study will consider your application.  Some will wish to interview you (always the case for part-time research degrees) or might request additional test scores such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).  Where this is required it will be clearly stated in the application information in the online prospectus entry for the course. 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 U.S. citizens normally residing in the United States are held at the beginning of February for entry in the following October. Shortlisted candidates will be contacted before the Christmas break. Most candidates interview in person, but candidates who cannot attend an interview in person may interview by Skype or telephone.

Interviews for citizens of all countries other than the United States (except the United Kingdom) and U.S. citizens normally residing outside of the United States 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.

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 (intellectual ability, leadership capacity, a good fit with Cambridge and commitment to improving the lives of others) of the scholarships to produce a final interview list. Gates Scholars are selected after interview.

Announcement date:  All candidates are informed of the results of their interview within a week of the interview.

Contact information: