Studying in the United Kingdom is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but world-class higher education is not free. We put together this guide to scholarships for international students in the UK because earning a degree can be very expensive.
The most common UK scholarships for international students are for postgraduate studies, particularly Master’s degrees lasting one or two years. These are also awards that are frequently fully funded. Scholarships for undergraduate students are far less common, and most of the time they take the form of a partial fee waiver.
A good place to start your search is Studyportals, where we have a dedicated Scholarships Portal with over 1,800 different scholarships available in the United Kingdom alone.
If you want to do your research, start by looking at the Fees and Funding section of your university’s website. Most universities will recommend several available scholarships for your specific program.
Then, look for scholarships that are specific to your subject area, level of study, and nationality. Once you’ve narrowed down your scholarship options, apply first to the ones with the best chances of winning. Remember to personalize your application for each scholarship.
Returning to international student scholarships in the UK, you should be aware that they can either cover both your tuition and living expenses (known as fully funded scholarships) or one of the two (partially funded scholarships). They are all fiercely competitive. Your application will be evaluated based on merit (academic achievement), your social or financial profile (socio-economic situation), and sometimes your home country, depending on its type.
Now, let’s look at some of the most well-known UK scholarships for international students, which we’ve divided into four broad categories to help you understand them better and determine which ones are right for you.
Scholarships for postgraduate studies offered by the British government
- Master’s Leadership Chevening Scholarships. This is the Chevening Scholarships’ keyword. They are given to people who have high leadership potential and outstanding academic results.
These are fully-funded scholarships for international students enrolled in a Master’s degree program in the UK, and they cover not only tuition but also living expenses and return flights to the UK. Every academic year, over 1,500 Chevening Scholarships are awarded around the world.
Scholarship recipients are hand-picked by British embassies around the world. Future decision-makers will have the opportunity to advance academically, build professional networks, learn about British culture, and much more.
Find Masters in the United Kingdom
- Commonwealth Ph.D. and Master’s Scholarships
Commonwealth scholarships for international students in the UK are given to Commonwealth students who would not be able to pursue their chosen Master’s or Ph.D. program in the UK without external funding. Those who receive the award have an outstanding academic record and are talented students with a strong desire to make a positive difference in the world, particularly in their home country.
The following are the three main Commonwealth scholarships:
Commonwealth Ph.D. Fellowships
Commonwealth Master’s Awards
Commonwealth Scholarships for Distance Learning
However, you can view the entire list on the Commonwealth Scholarships website.
- OUTSTANDING scholarships
A GREAT scholarship is a $10,000 award toward your tuition for a one-year Master’s program in the United Kingdom. This scholarship is made possible by a collaboration between the British government and participating universities. To apply, first determine whether your country is one of the 14 eligible for this award. Then, go to your university’s funding page and see if the award is available. If they do, proceed as instructed.
Scholarships made available directly by UK universities
Top British universities frequently offer generous scholarships to international students studying in the UK, based on their academic achievements or financial need. Here are a few of the most well-known and appealing such scholarships:
- Cambridge Gates Scholarship
This is a fully funded Masters and Ph.D. scholarship. It pays £18,744 per year plus health insurance, a £2000 personal development budget, and a family allowance.
- Pershing Square Scholarship at Oxford
A highly competitive fully-funded Master’s or MBA scholarship that covers tuition and living expenses.
- Bristol University Think Big
A Master’s degree program provides three types of scholarships: £6,500, £13,000, and £26,000 per year to cover tuition only. Other bursaries are available at the university for living expenses.
Scholarship to Imperial College London
Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering scholarship with full funding
The scholarship covers tuition and living expenses totaling £22,900 per year.
>> You can use the official websites of any university to search for UK scholarships for international students or financial aid programs. This information is frequently found under the headings “Fees and funding,” “Funding,” or “Scholarships.” If you can’t find anything, contact a university representative, who should be able to answer all of your questions.
Find Masters in the United Kingdom
Euraxess UK Ph.D. and Postdoc Portal
Euraxess UK, managed by the British Council, is an online portal primarily focused on funding opportunities for established researchers, but it also includes a few scholarships for international Ph.D. students in the UK. This one is especially useful if you intend to pursue a career in academic research after receiving your doctorate.
Undergraduate scholarships for international students in the United Kingdom
While there aren’t as many scholarships for undergraduate students as there are for postgraduates, there are a few worth considering:
- International GEMS Undergraduate Scholarship
The University of Stirling offers a £2 000 fee reduction per year, for a total tuition fee reduction of £8 000.
- Bristol University The Bachelor’s Think Big Award
This scholarship will provide you with £6,500 or £13,000 per year to put toward your tuition.
- Scholarships for Undergraduate Global Excellence
The University of Exeter offers scholarships of £5,000, £10,000, or full tuition coverage for the first year of study.
>> Don’t forget to apply for our Studyportals Scholarship: International Distinction Awards. Yes, two lucky winners will receive our prizes: one worth 10,000 EUR and the other worth 5,000 EUR.
Remember that to receive a fantastic scholarship, you must write an equally fantastic scholarship application essay.