Scholarships for international students | Study abroad fully funded

When looking to study abroad, students can often be deterred by the high cost of university. However, scholarships can help to alleviate the cost by providing funding to students to help with the expense of tuition fees, accommodation, travel and academic materials.

This guide outlines everything international students need to know about applying for and getting scholarships.

This guide will address:

  • What is a scholarship?
  • How to find a scholarship
  • Types of scholarships for international students
  • Tips for getting university scholarships
  • Scholarships for the UK, the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand
  • Scholarships for Europe
  • Global international scholarships for university students
  • Scholarships based on your country of residence
  • Scholarships for refugee students
  • Scholarships for students with disabilities
  • Scholarships for postgraduate students
  • Scholarships for STEM students

What is a scholarship?

A scholarship is a financial award granted to students to help with the cost of studying at university. Scholarships can vary in amount and can usually be used to pay for tuition fees, living costs, travel costs and academic materials among other things.

Scholarships can be awarded based on various criteria such as academic achievements, extracurricular involvement, research areas, leadership potential or financial need.

Scholarships are open to all students including domestic, European Union and international students and can be used for all levels of university study including undergraduate degrees, postgraduate degrees, research programmes, doctoral programmes and PhD programmes.

Where can you find scholarships for international students?

1. University scholarships: These are given by the university based on good grades, extracurricular activities or financial need. Universities will set their own criteria for applying to scholarships, and each university has its own list of scholarships it provides.

2. Academic or merit-based scholarships: These are for students who achieve high grades in school, either in a particular subject or in final exams and have a good academic record or GPA.

3. Performance-based scholarships: These are for students who are exceptional in areas such as sports, arts or music and are looking to pursue that at university.

4. External scholarships: These come from organisations outside universities, such as businesses, charities or higher education associations. Applications to them are usually separate from any university application forms.

5. Government scholarships: Most governments will have their own range of scholarships that will fund tuition fees and travel expenses (such as airfare) for international students wishing to apply to study in their country. Many will also be targeted at students from specific countries or regions.

6. Country/region-based scholarships: These can come from a range of sources including universities themselves, government departments, businesses or charities and will be aimed at students from a particular country or region.

What types of scholarships available for international students?

1. Partially funded scholarships: Unlike a full scholarship, these will cover only some of a student’s expenses. Therefore, students may need to find other ways to pay for the rest of their university expenses such as personal savings, help from families, part-time jobs or other scholarships. Some may offer funding for only one or two years of study.

2. Fully funded scholarships: These cover all expenses, including full tuition fees, accommodation and living costs throughout the university degree course.

3. Research grants: Research grants are financial awards given to university students so they can do in-depth studies and learn more about specific topics in their courses. These are offered globally and can be provided by institutions, government bodies or private organisations.

4. Work-study programmes: Some universities offer programmes in which students can work and gain experience while earning money for their studies.

5. Undergraduate scholarships: These are awarded to students pursuing an undergraduate degree.

6. Postgraduate scholarships: These are awarded for students pursuing postgraduate degrees, doctoral programmes and PhD programmes.

How to get a university scholarship

Obtaining a scholarship as an international student can be competitive. Here are some tips to help your application stand out.

1. Begin by researching all the different types of scholarships available, including those from governments, universities, companies and charities for the study abroad country of your choice. Contact universities to find out what they have available, and ask teachers or counsellors at your school if they know of any.

2. Ensure that you meet the criteria for each scholarship, including academic grades, country/region of residence, and thresholds for funding requirements.


3. Try your best to maintain your academic grades, as you will often have to list these as part of your application.

4. Partake in extracurricular activities or activities that are related to your degree, which can help to boost your application.

5. Connect with current university students, alumni, school counsellors or university admissions officers for insights and guidance on applying for a scholarship.

6. Ensure that you have all the correct supporting documents, such as university acceptance letters, proof of financial need, English language test results and academic transcripts.

7. Write a compelling personal statement outlining your achievements, extracurricular activities, academic goals and how the scholarship will help you to develop these skills while at university.

8. Secure recommendation letters from teachers or professionals aligning with the scholarship requirements.

9. Proofread your application as many times as you can and, if possible, find someone else to review it.

10. Submit applications well before the deadline to avoid last-minute issues.

11. You can apply to multiple scholarships at a time, so keep a list of all deadlines and requirements for each application so you can stay on top of them. Remember, each scholarship is unique, so adapt these tips to fit the specific requirements of the opportunities you pursue.

What scholarships are available in the UK?

  • Scholarships available in the UK for international students: Use this guide as a starting point to search for scholarships in the UK, including government-backed schemes and university scholarships.
  • New scholarships for Indians to study in the UK: UCL and Imperial College London have two scholarship programmes for Indian students aspiring to undertake their studies in the UK.
  • UK government AI scholarship and visa package: The UK government created a scholarship programme and visa pathway to help international undergraduates, doctoral candidates and early career researchers to pursue studies in AI and data science in the UK.
  • The Rhodes Scholarship: The Rhodes Scholarship provides support for students from any part of the world to pursue postgraduate studies at the University of Oxford.
  • Chevening scholarships: Chevening is a UK-government scholarship scheme that offers fully funded scholarships for master’s courses at UK universities for students from 160 countries.
  • University of Birmingham Commonwealth Scholarship: The University of Birmingham Commonwealth Scholarship provides a £3,000 award for eligible students from Commonwealth countries enrolled in a master’s programme at the university, with the scholarship amount deducted from their tuition fees.
  • GREAT Scholarships: The British Council’s GREAT Scholarships offer students from 15 countries around the world funding and scholarships to study in the UK.

What scholarships are available in the US?

  • Scholarships available in the US for international students: Use this guide to find a scholarship if you are thinking about studying abroad in the US.
  • MPOWER Financing: MPOWER Financing’s Global Citizens Fund provides scholarships of up to $10,000 for refugee, DACA and international students studying in the US.
  • Fulbright Foreign Student Program: The US government’s Fulbright Foreign Student Program has been supporting people to study in the US for more than 80 years. It is one of the most widely recognised and prestigious scholarship programmes in the world.
  • Scholarship opportunities available at historically black colleges and universities: Historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the US offer a wide range of scholarship opportunities for international students, among them the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, UNCF Scholarships, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and the National Racial Equity Initiative Scholarship.

What scholarships are available in Australia and New Zealand?

  • Scholarships for international students in Australia and New Zealand: For international students considering studies in Australia or New Zealand, this guide outlines some of the scholarships offered by governments and universities.
  • The Pinnacle Foundation: The Pinnacle Foundation in Australia offers scholarships and mentorship to LGBTQIA+ students seeking full-time higher education degrees at public institutions.
  • Monash International Leadership Scholarship: The Monash International Leadership Scholarship covers tuition fees for successful applicants to the university.
  • Australia Awards Scholarships: The Australia Awards Scholarships offer fully funded opportunities for students from Africa and the Indo-Pacific region to study at Australian universities at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.

What scholarships are available in Canada?

  • Scholarships in Canada for international students: This guide will provide you with all the options for scholarships in Canada from universities and the government.
  • MPOWER Financing: MPOWER Financing’s Global Citizens Fund offers scholarships of up to C$10,000 to support refugee, DACA and international students pursuing their studies in Canada.
  • Vanier Canada Graduate scholarships: The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship offers financial assistance to doctoral students applying to study in Canada.

What scholarships are available in Europe?

  • Scholarships available in France for international students: If you are hoping to study in France, this guide outlines the types of scholarships that may be available to you.
  • Imagine Fellows: HEC Imagine Fellows is open to master’s students from war-torn countries who hope to study at HEC Paris.
  • Scholarships available in Germany for international students: This guide provides information on all the options for scholarships in Germany, including DAAD scholarships and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation Scholarship.
  • Scholarships to study in the Netherlands for international students: If you are planning to study in the Netherlands, this guide to scholarships will help you find the right one for you.
  • Erasmus Mundus Joint Masters Scholarship: The Erasmus Mundus Joint Masters Scholarship provides funding for students to study at multiple universities across Europe in a range of academic disciplines

Global international scholarships for university students

  • Mastercard Foundation Scholarship Programme: The Mastercard Foundation Scholarship Programme offers funding and mentorship opportunities for students across Africa to study abroad.
  • World Bank Scholarship Programme: The World Bank Scholarship Programme is open to students who wish to study development-related topics for their master’s degrees.
  • Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship Programme: The Aga Khan Foundation provides a limited number of scholarships for students from select countries to pursue a postgraduate education.
  • Google Generation Scholarships: Google has developed a range of scholarships for those studying computer science, gaming and technology.
  • IELTS Prize: The IELTS Prize is an annual award that supports IELTS test-takers with £3,000 towards their university tuition fees.
  • Scholarships for students with disabilities: Financial support for international students with a disability is available from a variety of organisations, charities and universities. This guide covers scholarships for students with a range of additional needs, including learning difficulties, invisible illnesses and mobility issues.

What scholarships are available for postgraduate students?

For students looking to continue their studies at postgraduate level, scholarships will be a great resource to help them continue their studies. They can either help with the tuition fee costs or can be used to contribute towards research projects or academic advancements in your chosen subject.

  • Commonwealth Master’s Scholarships: Available for international students from Commonwealth countries who wish to pursue a master’s programme in the UK.
  • GREAT Scholarships: Offered for postgraduate studies in the sciences, technology, creative industries, healthcare and medical sciences. Available for students from specific countries, including China, India, Pakistan and Japan.
  • University of Cambridge Scholarships: Awarded to students looking to undertake a postgraduate degree at the University of Cambridge. It covers the full cost of studying and provides additional discretionary funding.
  • The American Association of University Women Fellowship: Offers fellowships for non-American women pursuing master’s or doctoral degrees in the US. Fellowships range from $18,000 to $30,000, depending on the degree.
  • Rotary Foundation Global Grant: Provides up to $12,500 to international students studying at a graduate level in the US.
  • Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program: Provides scholarships for outstanding students from selected developing countries to pursue postgraduate study. The scholarships are 50 per cent grant and 50 per cent loan.
  • Research Training Program (RTP) Scholarships: These are postgraduate-level scholarships for domestic and international students looking to pursue research degrees at participating Australian universities.
  • Asian Development Bank-Japan Scholarship Program: Provides an opportunity for students from ADB’s developing member countries to undertake postgraduate studies at participating academic institutions in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Victoria University of Wellington Master’s Scholarships: Scholarships for full-time research-focused master’s degrees at Victoria University in New Zealand.
  • Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships: Offered to international students pursuing postgraduate study in natural and social sciences or health sciences in Canada.
  • Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Doctoral Scholarships: For international students applying to a doctoral programme in the social sciences and humanities in Canada, with an annual value of up to C$60,000 per scholar for a maximum of three years.
  • University of Saskatchewan Master’s of Excellence Awards: Open to international master’s students starting a research-based graduate programme, providing C$2,500 per term for a maximum of five months.

What scholarships are available for STEM students?

STEM scholarships provide financial support to students studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. Additionally, they may include opportunities for mentorship and research experiences to enhance recipients’ academic and professional development.

  • Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 Industrial Design Studentships: One-year studentships for graduates in engineering or science looking to enhance their industrial design skills in the UK.
  • Institute of Engineering and Technology: The Institute of Engineering and Technology based in the UK awards for scholarships starting from £1,000. They are open to students worldwide.
  • Institute of Civil Engineering QUEST: The institute offers scholarships and awards ranging from £1,000 to £2,500 for postgraduate students studying civil engineering.
  • The Aero MSc Bursary Scheme: This scheme covers tuition fees for MSc students in aerospace engineering in the UK.
  • Marshall Scholarships: The Marshall Scholarships offers scholarships for students from the US hoping to study a STEM subject in the UK.

Credit: Times Higher Education

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