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How To Qualify For Scholarship In The UK

Securing a scholarship in the United Kingdom can be a transformative opportunity, providing not only financial assistance but also the chance to pursue academic excellence in a diverse and globally renowned educational region. Understanding the key elements of how to qualify for scholarship in the UK is paramount for prospective applicants.

This article aims to explore the pathway towards qualifying for scholarships in the UK, offering insights and practical tips to enhance your chances of success. Whether you are an aspiring undergraduate or a prospective postgraduate student, the process of scholarship application demands strategic preparation and a clear understanding of the criteria set forth by scholarship providers.

Who Can Qualify for a Scholarship in the UK?

There are several scholarships in the UK available to both local and international students. The eligibility criteria for these scholarships can vary depending on the specific scholarship and the institution offering it. However, there are some common factors that may influence eligibility for many scholarships.

Academic Achievement

Many scholarships require a strong academic record. This is often demonstrated through high grades in previous education levels. However, these scholarships do not always require straight As but rather consider overall academic performance and potential.

Course of Study

Some scholarships are specific to certain fields of study or courses. This means that if your chosen course or major does not align with the scholarship, you will not qualify regardless of your academic performance.

Institutional Requirements

Different universities or institutions may have their own specific criteria for awarding scholarships. But first, you will have to apply to study in the school. So, if you are offered an unconditional admission, you can check the specific requirements of the institution.

Financial Need

Some scholarships are need-based and target students facing financial difficulties. To apply for this, you may need to provide evidence of your financial situation.

Extracurricular Activities

In addition to academic achievements, involvement in extracurricular activities such as sports, community service, or leadership roles may be considered for certain scholarships. Hence, having an active life outside the classroom is also how to qualify for scholarship in the UK.

Nationality and Residency

Some scholarships are available only to UK residents or citizens, while others may be open to international students. Check the eligibility criteria regarding nationality and residency.


Certain scholarships may have age restrictions. Some may be specifically for undergraduate or postgraduate students, while others might be open to individuals at different stages of their academic journey.

Research and Specific Criteria

Certain scholarships are designed for students who are interested in research or have specific interests, backgrounds, or career goals. Hence, you will need to fall into such categories to be qualified for the scholarship.

Top Scholarships in the UK for International Students

There are scholarships sponsored by the government in the UK, and there are non-government and institution-specific scholarships. We will discuss some selected top options shortly. However, the list is not exhaustive, especially for scholarships specific to institutions because there are several higher institutions in the UK and they all have unique funding programs. Hence, if you want to explore scholarship options for any specific institution, you can visit the school website for more information.

Government Scholarships

Chevening Scholarships

The Chevening Scholarship is one of the most popular fully funded Postgraduate Scholarships in the UK for International Students, available to scholars across the globe. It is offered by the UK government for outstanding international students pursuing full-time master’s degrees in any subject. This funding covers one-year master’s programs and at the end of your study, you are expected to leave the country with the knowledge you have gathered to bring new ideas to life.

Chevening Scholarship Requirements

To qualify for this scholarship, you must:

  • Come from a Chevening-eligible country or territory.
  • Agree to go back to your country for at least 2 years after the scholarship.
  • Have an undergraduate degree with a result equivalent to an upper second-class 2:1 honours degree in the UK.
  • Have at least 2 years or 2,800 hours of work experience.
  • Have an unconditional offer from any of the eligible UK university courses by the deadline of the application.

Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP)

This is another common scholarship and we will also see how to qualify for this scholarship in the UK. The CSFP is aimed at outstanding students and future leaders from low and middle-income Commonwealth countries who demonstrate academic excellence but may not afford the costs of studying in the UK. It covers up to 2 years of study in different fields and for different levels of study including Master’s, undergraduate, distance learning, PhD and Academic and Professional Fellowships. The awards that this program offers in the UK include:

  • Commonwealth PhD Scholarships (for least developed countries and fragile states)
  • Commonwealth Split-site Scholarships (for low and middle-income countries)
  • Commonwealth Master’s Scholarships
  • Commonwealth Shared Scholarships
  • Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholarships
  • Commonwealth PhD Scholarships (for high-income countries)
  • Commonwealth Professional Fellowships

CSFP Requirements

To qualify for the Commonwealth scholarship or fellowship, you must:

  • Be a citizen or permanent resident of a Commonwealth country or territory.
  • Have an undergraduate degree with a result equivalent to an upper second-class 2:1 honours degree in the UK, and a Master’s degree if you wish to study a PhD.
  • Be unable to afford to study in the UK without a scholarship.

GREAT Scholarships

The GREAT Scholarship program is specifically for postgraduate students and is not available for undergraduate courses. This scholarship initiative provides financial support to students pursuing one-year postgraduate programs in the UK, covering at least £10,000 in tuition costs for a range of subject areas at collaborating universities. The program aims to support international students from 15 countries namely:

  • Bangladesh
  • China
  • Egypt
  • Ghana
  • Greece
  • Kenya
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Malaysia
  • Mexico
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • Thailand
  • Turkey
  • Vietnam

GREAT Scholarships Requirements

To qualify for the GREAT Scholarships, you must:

  • Be a citizen of any of the 15 countries listed above.
  • Hold an undergraduate degree from your home country college
  • Have relevant work experience or proven interest in the field of study you chose
  • Show your proficiency in English via tests like TOEFL, IELTS, PTE etc.

The Royal Society Grants

As the name implies, this funding offers grants and fellowships to deserving scholars. It is one of the UK PhD scholarships, hence, it is majorly open to researchers at the postdoctoral level and above. It focuses on supporting scientific research in the UK and overseas. The Society’s funding is directed towards researchers in the natural sciences, such as biological research, chemistry, engineering, mathematics, and physics. Also, the Royal Society provides different schemes tailored to researchers at various career stages. So, before you apply, ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria for the specific grant scheme you are interested in applying for.

Non-Government/ Institution-Specific Scholarships

Rhodes Scholarships

The Rhodes Scholarship is one of the top options and we will look at how to qualify for this scholarship in the UK. It is one of the oldest and most prestigious international scholarships available, awarded to students across the world for postgraduate study at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. It is named after Cecil J. Rhodes who willed its establishment for the purpose of promoting unity among English-speaking nations.

The scholarship dates back to 1902 and provides financial support for students pursuing degrees, whether it’s a second bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, or a doctorate degree. Scholars receive funding for tuition, fees, flights, living expenses, and healthcare. Selection is based not only on academic achievement but also on character, leadership skills, and commitment to working for the common good.

Rhodes Scholarships Requirements

To qualify for the Rhodes Scholarship, you must:

  • Live in a country that accepts Rhodes Scholars and be a citizen or lawful permanent resident of that country.
  • Be between 18 and 27 years old.
  • Have completed or be on track to complete a degree with a minimum GPA of 3.70. Provide proof of age and nationality.
  • Have an offer in Oxford or any of its colleges.
  • Have a two-page CV detailing your experience

Gates Cambridge Scholarships

If you are smart enough to get into Cambridge but do not have the finances to see yourself through, you can apply for the Gates scholarship. It is one of the fully funded scholarships in UK for international students from any part of the world. About two-thirds of the award is given to PhD students and approximately 25 of the awards go to the US and 55 to other countries, making it a highly competitive scholarship. However, the offer does not cover undergraduate courses. Keep in mind that aside from the Gates scholarship, there are other fundings in Cambridge that you can apply for.

Gates Cambridge Scholarships Requirements

  • To qualify for the Gates Cambridge Scholarships, you must:
  • Be a citizen of any country outside the UK
  • Apply to pursue a full-time PhD, MLiit or post-graduate course (one-year course)

President’s Scholarships

The presidential scholarship cuts across several academic levels. It offers undergraduate scholarships in UK for international students as well as funding for postgraduate courses. This award is offered by the Imperial College London which is a top ten global institution. The award is intended to cover tuition fees for each undergraduate year up to a maximum of four years.

President’s Scholarships Requirements

The eligibility criteria for the President’s Scholarships depends on your educational level. However, the scholarship targets the best of the best students from all nationalities in the world.

Tips on Applying For a Scholarship in the UK

Applying for a scholarship in the UK can be a competitive process, and it is essential to put your best foot forward to increase your chances of success. As you consider how to qualify for scholarship in the UK, here are some helpful tips:

  • Start Early: Begin your scholarship search and application process well in advance. Many scholarships have early application deadlines, and starting early allows you ample time to gather the required documents and polish your application.
  • Research Thoroughly: Explore a variety of scholarship opportunities, considering both government-funded and institution-specific scholarships. Look for scholarships that align with your academic goals, field of study, and personal background.
  • Check Eligibility Criteria: Carefully review the eligibility criteria for each scholarship. Make sure you meet all the requirements before investing time in the application process.
  • Follow Application Instructions: Read and follow the application instructions meticulously. Submit all required documents and information as specified in the scholarship guidelines. Failure to adhere to instructions may result in your application being disqualified.
  • Edit and Proofread: Thoroughly edit and proofread your application, personal statement, and any essays. Ensure your writing is clear, concise, and free of grammatical errors. Consider seeking feedback from teachers, mentors, or peers.
  • Prepare for Interviews (if applicable): Some scholarships may require an interview as part of the selection process. Prepare for potential interview questions and practice articulating your goals and experiences effectively.
  • Submit before the Deadline: Ensure that you submit your application well before the deadline. Late applications are typically not considered, so plan your timeline carefully.


The pursuit of a scholarship in the UK demands a meticulous approach, blending academic merit, personal achievements, and a genuine passion for learning. By carefully researching scholarship opportunities, aligning your aspirations with specific criteria, and presenting a well-crafted application, you position yourself as a compelling candidate for financial support. Remember, the best approach on how to qualify for scholarship in the UK is not only about meeting eligibility requirements but also about showcasing your unique potential and commitment to making a positive impact through education.


Elizabeth is a well-versed writer who has mastered the art of delivering complex knowledge in simple ways to help readers grasp the information they need without mental stress.

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