Gates Cambridge Scholarship

Website: Gates Cambridge Scholarship


The Gates Cambridge Scholarship programme was established in October 2000 by a donation of US$210m from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to the University of Cambridge; this is the largest ever single donation to a UK university.

Scholarships are awarded to outstanding applicants from countries outside the UK to pursue a full-time postgraduate degree in any subject available at the University of Cambridge. The selection criteria are:

  • outstanding intellectual ability
  • leadership potential
  • a commitment to improving the lives of others
  • a good fit between the applicant's qualifications and aspirations and the postgraduate programme at Cambridge for which they are applying

While at Cambridge, Scholars pursue full range of subjects available at the University and are spread through its departments and Colleges.

Alumni are pursuing further study or employment across many sectors of society and, despite the relative youth of the programme, are increasingly taking on leadership roles and applying their knowledge and skills to improve the lives of others.

The aim of the Gates Cambridge programme is to build a global network of future leaders committed to improving the lives of others.


You can apply for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship if you are:

  • a citizen of any country outside the United Kingdom
  • applying to pursue one of the following full-time residential courses of study at the University of Cambridge:
    • PhD (three year research-only degree)
    • MSc or MLitt (two year research-only degree)
    • One year postgraduate course (e.g. MPhil, LLM, MASt, Diploma, MBA etc.)

Courses which are not eligible for Gates Cambridge Scholarships:

  • BA (undergraduate)
  • BA affiliated (a second BA)
  • MBBChir Clinical Studies
  • MD Doctor of Medicine degree (6 years, part-time)
  • Part-time degrees
  • Non-degree courses

Selection criteria:

  • A Commitment to Improving the Lives of Others: A defining characteristic of the Gates Cambridge Scholarships is the commitment of our Scholars to working for the greater good. Although broadly interpreted, this concept is nonetheless fundamental and sets this programme apart from others of its kind.
  • Academic Excellence: Gates Cambridge Scholars are expected to be academically outstanding with the ability to make a significant contribution to their discipline while in Cambridge. At the start of the application process, potential Scholars are ranked by the department they are applying to. Only the most outstanding candidates are considered further.
  • Leadership Potential: Successful applicants must be able to demonstrate a clear ability to lead. Evidence of leadership can be expressed in a multitude of ways but the capacity of Gates Cambridge Scholars to 'take others with them' is central to the success of the programme.
  • A Good Academic Fit with Cambridge: You should be able to persuade the Trust that your qualifications and aspirations accord with what Cambridge has to offer in its postgraduate programme. It is important that you can make a convincing argument for doing a particular postgraduate degree at Cambridge. It is therefore important that you fully research your proposed degree using the Graduate Studies Prospectus and the website of the department to which you are applying.
Student Type
  • junior
  • senior
  • graduate
Citizen Type
  • Us Citizen
  • Permanent Resident
  • International or Other Visa Status
  • Undocumented

Applicants for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship must apply directly for admission to the University of Cambridge. Candidates for the Gates Cambridge Scholarship must have sound academic reasons for wanting to study at Cambridge, and should intend to use the benefits of higher education for the common good.  Application and additional scholarship information is found on the Gates Cambridge Scholarship website. 

An endorsement or nomination from the University of Washington is not required for the Gates Cambridge; however scholarship advising is available through the Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships & Awards. Potential applicants would benefit from using the spring quarter application process required for students applying for the Churchill, Marshall, Mitchell and Rhodes scholarships. Announcing your intention to apply will connect you with resources to develop a more competitive application. Applicants and nominees for the Churchill, Marshall, Mitchell, Rhodes, and Gates Cambridge scholarships will be included in OMSFA’s Global Fellowships Prep program to get advising support, connection to additional scholarship opportunities supporting their goals, application development tools and resources, potential connections to program alumni and additional mentors, and the opportunity to engage with peers working on similar applications.

Again, while the campus application isn't a required step to apply for the Gates Cambridge Scholarship, it serves to connect you with resources at UW; and often students are interested in multiple of the UK scholarships. The campus application is available at

To learn about the degree options available at Cambridge, check the Cambridge Graduate Studies Prospectus at


Students who are American citizens, or who have permission to reside in the United States, and are currently studying at an American institution who wish to apply for a Gates scholarship must submit the Graduate Application and Scholarship Form (GRADSAF) by the October 2019 deadline.  

Shortlisting for Gates scholarship interviews will take place during December 2019, and those selected for interview will be informed by the end of December. The interviews will be held in February 2020.

Applicants for a Gates scholarship from countries other than the USA - including international students studying at American institutions, and American students taking a post-graduate course abroad - must also complete the Graduate Application and Scholarship Form. If they seek admission to do a PhD, the closing date is early December 2019; applicants for one-year or other Masters courses must submit by the January 2020 deadline or by the closing date specified for a particular course, whichever is the earlier.  Shortlisted candidates in these categories will be interviewed, either in person or by telephone, in April/May 2020.

All successful candidates will be informed of the result shortly after the interviews have taken place.


In October 2000 the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation donated $210 million to the University of Cambridge, establishing the Gates Cambridge Trust. This is the largest single donation to a UK university. The Trust is an independent charity and manages all aspects of the Gates Cambridge Scholarships programme - selection of Scholars, Scholars in residence, alumni relations and all financial and administrative matters. The programme celebrated its ten year anniversary in 2010.

Quick facts

  • First class of Scholars took up their awards in 2001
  • Currently over 1,400 Gates Cambridge Scholars and Alumni from more than 100 countries
  • 95 new Scholarships awarded each year: 40 in US round 55 in international round
  • 225 Scholars from c. 50 countries studying in Cambridge
  • Over 1,000 Alumni spread across the globe
Contact Information

Gates Cambridge Trust
PO BOX 252
Cambridge CB2 1TZ England

UW Scholarship Advising Support:

Robin Chang

Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships & Awards

171 Mary Gates Hall