In October 2000, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation of Seattle, Washington announced a donation to the University of Cambridge to establish the Gates Cambridge Trust.  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.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Be a citizen of any country outside the United Kingdom
  • Must be admitted to the University of Cambridge, pursuing one of the following full-time residential courses of study: research leading to the Ph.D. degree; one-year postgraduate degree (e.g., M.Phil., LL.M., Diploma, M.B.A., etc.); two-year M.Sc. or M.Litt. degree.
  • Must have a bachelor’s degree from a recognized university. Candidates will be expected to have excellent transcripts with high GPA scores showing evidence of sustained achievement in study, together with the type of academic references which speak of the candidate’s leadership potential, social commitment, and intellectual ability and why further study at Cambridge is particularly appropriate
  • Must be well prepared for the Cambridge course for which they are applying and must meet the academic criteria for admission specified by the University. Some courses may have particular requirements for admission, and details of these can be found in the relevant sections of the Graduate Studies Prospectus for graduate applicants, or the Undergraduate Prospectus for affiliated applicants

General Information

There are usually about 250 Gates Scholars in residence at any one time who are studying the full range of disciplines across the University and who are members of each of the 31 Cambridge Colleges.  Although there may be variation in the actual number of awards made each year, the Trust seeks to elect approximately 100 new scholars annually.  The Trust expects that ultimately Gates Cambridge Scholars will deploy their education for the benefit of others by finding solutions for problems facing the societies of the world.

These scholarships are available only for graduate study at Cambridge University.  The scholarships may be held for up to four years on continuous study, depending on the field.  The program will offer a substantial number of scholarships for study as an affiliate student or to pursue taught or research courses of postgraduate study at Cambridge University. 

The Gates Cambridge Trust does not require candidates to take a GRE test, although some Departments in Cambridge may do so; candidates should check the relevant section of the Graduate Studies Prospectus.

Applications must have the highest academic qualifications and excellent potential for graduate work.  In addition they must show awareness of ways in which the benefits of their higher education can be put to the service of society at large.  The Gates Cambridge Trust considers that the latter requirement can be met by contributions in any walk of life.

Applicants need a good academic reason for wanting to study at Cambridge beyond simply rounding off their university education with a period of study abroad.

Each scholarship covers University Composition Fee and College fees at the appropriate rate, a maintenance allowance for a single student, one economy one-way airfare from the scholar’s normal country of residence to the UK at the beginning of the course of study or research, and one economy one-way airfare from the UK to the scholar’s normal country of residence at the end of the course of study or research. 

Additional information may be found at the Gates Cambridge Website or by contacting the campus faculty representative, Ms. Kefryn Reese, Director, Prestigious Awards and Fellowships in the Office of Academic Enhancement, Center for Student Services, Building 21, Room Y, 305-284-5387.

Application Procedure and Dates

To be considered, applicants must apply simultaneously for the Gates Cambridge Scholarship and admission to Cambridge. Applicants who wish to apply for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship for affiliated study for Fall 2015 should apply directly to a college of their choice for admission. Deadline dates vary for admission to Cambridge.  Most deadline dates are October–November.  Students must submit completed Cambridge Admission and the ‘GRADSAF’ application Forms to the Secretary of the Board of Graduate Studies by the deadline dates.  These applications are available on the Cambridge Website.

Mid-October 2014   National deadline for U.S. candidates

Late December 2014   Those applicants invited for interview by the Gates Cambridge Trust will be informed of their status before the end of the month.

Early February 2015   Interviews will be held during this month.  The Trust will reimburse candidates for reasonable costs of coming to interview.  The interview panels will consist of senior academics and other distinguished men and women from the University of Cambridge and from the USA.  Interviews will last for twenty five minutes.  Candidates will be expected to talk knowledgeably and enthusiastically about their academic discipline and will be expected to say why what they are studying is interesting and important.  They will be asked broader questions about their future plans and matters of general concern.  The interviews are designed to allow students to exhibit competence and confidence and an ability to hold their own in discussion.  Candidates will know the result of their interview by the end of February 2013.