The United Kingdom is the home of world-class universities and institutions. Most international students take pride in being offered a place at one of the country’s higher education schools, which may be one of the highlights of their schooling years. But what would be more thrilling than that? For obvious reasons, it’s to finally achieve their educational goal of completing and acquiring an internationally recognized degree at a UK university.

As much as studying in the UK can be claimed to be an ideal place to learn for international students, many are still discouraged due to the ever-increasing tuition fees and living expenses. Especially since the country decided to withdraw from the European Union, most of its policies and laws have been reshifted, including that of the academic industry. However, the UK government, universities and institutions, and several organizations and charities have allocated scholarship funding for students outside the UK.

Students can avail themselves through different scholarship packages. It varies depending on the student’s capability and needs. Scholarship awards are not limited to academic merit, and there are eligibility requirements that are based on nationality, financial needs, and even sports performance.

This article lists all the possible and best scholarship and funding programs for every international student. It contains several options from the government to external funding so that students can choose the best suitable program to apply for.

Different Types of Scholarships in the United Kingdom

Best External Scholarships in the United Kingdom

1. Rhodes Scholarship

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: fully-funded tuition plus an annual stipend of £17,310
  • Eligible Degrees: full-time postgraduate degree at the University of Oxford

Initiated in 1902, the Rhodes Scholarship is considered the oldest scholarship program for exceptional international students. This prestigious award is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for aspiring postgraduate students who would like to further pursue their studies at one of the most elite universities in the world – the University of Oxford.

The scholarship’s stance has always been to recognize future world leaders and innovators. In addition to providing them with exemplary education and an internationally-acknowledged degree, it aims to create mutual agreements among scholars to lead and become forerunners in resolving pressing issues and global challenges.

Due to it being widely known worldwide, countless outstanding students apply for the said program. There are specific requirements to be considered, and students will have to go through a challenging process, with only a select number of students to be granted. As for funding, tuition for Rhodes scholars will be fully funded, and they will also receive an annual stipend to help pay for their living expenses and other expenditures.

2. Gates Cambridge Scholarship

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: full cost of studying plus discretionary funding
  • Eligible Degree: postgraduate and doctoral degree at the University of Cambridge

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the institute that backs the Gates Cambridge Scholarship. The foundation has donated a considerable amount of $210 million to the University of Cambridge with the target of generating a pool of socially responsible leaders who will contribute to society.

Every year, it grants 80 scholarships to students pursuing a postgraduate degree at the University of Cambridge, with 25 awards given to US citizens, while the remaining 55 are for international students. Doctoral degree-seeking students will be highly prioritized, as two-thirds of the awards will be given to Ph.D. students.

The funding will include the program’s total cost and other academic fees such as allowances, research expenses, and taking relevant courses.

3. A.S. Hornby Educational Trust Scholarships

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: full tuition plus monthly stipend
  • Eligible Degrees: one-year master’s in TESOL at the University of Warwick

Founded in 1961, the A.S. Hornby Educational Trust Scholarship is an external scholarship for English Language teachers from across the globe. The charity will finance full tuition costs and living expenditures of scholars who intend to study for a one-year master’s degree in TESOL at the University of Warwick.

Prospective students must possess the following requirements to be eligible for the scholarship. First, candidates must have at least three years of working experience as an English Language teacher, holder of a university degree, and must have a high proficiency in the English language.

The charity targets to train foreign English teachers to become experts in their chosen careers. Its primary purpose is for scholars to significantly contribute to the academic industry, specifically in English language learning in their home countries.

4. APEX Award

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: up to £100,000
  • Eligible Degrees: researchers based at a UK university or nonprofit institution

Academies Partnership in Supporting Excellence in Cross-disciplinary research Award, or rather, known as the APEX Award, is a prestigious scholarship program for researchers based in a UK university or a nonprofit making institution. This program is backed by several institutes: the British Academy, the Royal Society, and the Royal Academy of Engineering. Its main purpose is to support researchers in conducting interdisciplinary studies that will likely have the potential to contribute to global scientific studies and innovations.

The scholarship is valued at up to £100,000, with one-fourth of its total amount can be spent on research expenses. In addition, as one of the APEX program’s objectives entails, the scholar is expected to work with a co-researcher from a different academic discipline. Researchers for the said program come from nations with outstanding academic portfolios and proven leadership qualities. These APEX scholars are some of the best professionals and experts in the engineering, humanities, and social sciences sectors.

5. The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: fully funded
  • Eligible Degrees: part-time online master’s (three years) and part-time online post-graduate diploma (two years) at the University of Edinburgh

Mastercard Foundation has several affiliate universities and institutions worldwide that work together to give African students opportunities to obtain higher education in one of its partner universities. The University of Edinburgh, a world-class institute, has partnered with the organization to provide online higher education to talented African students.

The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program is intended for students from nationalities and residents in the Sub-Saharan African country. It aims to make higher education accessible by offering distance learning to talented students and providing appropriate financial funding for selected scholars.

Best Government Scholarships in the United Kingdom

1. Chevening Scholarship

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: fully-funded tuition plus other expenses
  • Eligible Degree: one-year taught master’s degree at any UK university

Chevening Scholarship is regarded as one of the most desirable scholarship awards funded by the UK government. It is offered to international students who aspire to obtain a one-year taught master’s degree at any UK university. Since it’s funded by the government, it is expected that the competition will be steep, with massive amounts of yearly applications received from across the globe.

The application process will take about roughly eight months, and as for the eligibility requirements, it does not adhere to the usual criteria imposed on scholars; instead, it is looking for exceptional individuals who are willing to go beyond the ordinary in leading to a better and promising future for the society.

Moreover, this scholarship is a fully funded award as it aims to ease the financial burden of scholars so that they can focus on their studies and enjoy and experience the best of UK living.

2. Commonwealth Shared Scholarship

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: full tuition plus stipend and other expenses
  • Eligible Degree: full-time master’s degree at a UK university

The Commonwealth Shared Scholarship is a government-funded program that awards master’s degree-seeking students who are citizens and residents from an eligible member state of the Commonwealth. The award will be given to students who cannot finance their schooling in the UK and who belong to the poverty-stricken and working-class earners.

Each of the participating universities and institutions will handle its recruitment process. Aspirant scholars will have a high chance of being selected if the following criteria are met: First, students must have an outstanding academic portfolio; secondly, a carefully planned research study. And lastly, a student must possess proven leadership qualities.

The UK government has always been outspoken and has demonstrated its support to all members of the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth Shared Commission (CSC), the one behind the scholarship program, aims to give opportunities to deserving students who are likely to become future leaders, experts, and innovators. Keeping in mind the country and the Commonwealth’s best interest, scholars are expected to maintain mutual agreements between the states while at the same time significantly contributing to the development of their respective countries.

3. Commonwealth Ph.D. Scholarship

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: full tuition plus stipend and other expenses
  • Eligible Degree: full-time doctoral degree at a UK university

As a whole, the Commonwealth Scholarships offers numerous programs categorized to the different needs of students. For one, the Commonwealth Ph.D. Scholarship is aimed at doctoral students belonging to eligible member states of the Commonwealth from least developed and impoverished nations.

Like all other scholarship programs, its primary goal is to award worthy students who have the potential to become ethically responsible leaders in their home countries. And this particular scholarship specifically targets elite doctoral students who have the potential to contribute their research studies at the international level.

4. GREAT Scholarships

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: £10,000
  • Eligible Degree: one-year taught postgraduate degree in participating UK university

Another scholarship program sponsored by the UK government is the GREAT Scholarship. Presently, the government has active partnerships with fourteen countries, giving its local students the opportunity to obtain a one-year taught postgraduate degree in one of its participating UK universities and institutions.

Student aspirants from the following countries can apply for the said prestigious program. The countries with current mutual agreements for the said scholarship program are China, Bangladesh, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Thailand, Turkey, and Vietnam.

Since its launching, it has granted numerous awards to deserving scholars who are now part of GREAT alumni working towards a better future for society. The scholarship program has not only supported the scholars but has also opened doors to countless opportunities.

5. British Council Scholarships for Women in STEM

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: tuition fees plus stipend and other expenses
  • Eligible Degree: master’s degree at a UK university

The British Council has several scholarship and funding programs for international students who want to study and experience UK living. One of its coveted programs is the British Council Scholarships for Women in STEM. The organization aims to help increase the number of women to be involved and pursue a career in the fields related to STEM programs. Studies have shown that there is a low percentage of women in the areas of engineering, information and technology, mathematics, and construction.

For now, it has collaborated with countries in Asia, South America, Egypt, Turkey, and Ukraine. The scholarship program will grant awarded scholars financial support, including tuition fees, allowances, travel costs, and other academic expenses.

Upon completing their studies, students will obtain an internationally-recognized degree and have a chance to occupy high-ranking positions in their respective careers.

6. Scotland’s Saltire Scholarships

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: £8,000
  • Eligible Degrees: full-time one-year taught master’s degree at any of Scotland’s institutions

Scotland is one of the desirable countries for international students to pursue higher education. The Scottish government, along with the Scottish higher education schools, launched Scotland’s Saltire Scholarships to give rare opportunities for outstanding students to obtain a master’s degree at any of the internationally acknowledged schools in Scotland.

This scholarship program is open for students from the following countries: China, Hongkong, Japan, Canada, India, the US, and Pakistan. Fifty awards will be given to successful candidates who will receive scholarship funding of £8,000.

Best University Scholarships in the United Kingdom

1. University of Sheffield International Merit Undergraduate Scholarship

International students who have been offered to study at the University of Sheffield may apply for the International Merit Undergraduate Scholarship. Prospective scholars must meet the following criteria to qualify for the said award. Students must have a high academic profile, a definite outlook on their career path, which must be aligned to the study program applied for and must provide convincing reasoning as to why they obtain a degree at the university.

This is not a fully-funded grant; instead, its funding amount to be given is a 50% deduction from the total annual tuition rate. So, scholars must also be financially capable of paying overseas tuition fees. The scholarship program is offered to all study programs excluding medicine and dentistry programs.

2. Think Big Undergraduate Award

The University of Bristol, one of the elite UK universities, has been funding exceptional international students through several scholarship awards and grants. One of its scholarship programs is The Think Big Undergraduate Award, aimed at first-time degree undergraduate students.

Students who have applied for the program will also be eligible for other scholarships offered at the university. In this way, if the student is not selected for the said scholarship, the institute’s deciding body can consider deserving students and grant them other awards instead.

The funding amount for the Think Big Undergraduate ranges from £6,500 to £13,000 a year, which could only be used to pay for tuition fees and living expenditures. A student can also be eligible for a £3,000 stipend during their initial year of stay at the university.

3. The University of Manchester Humanitarian Scholarship

  • Scholarship Link
  • Tuition Fee Page
  • Scholarship Amount: tuition fee and other living expenses
  • Eligible Degrees: bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Manchester

The University of Manchester Humanitarian Scholarship is one of the select scholarships and funding offered at the University of Manchester. It is awarded to international students who have been displaced due to ongoing war conflicts and with their lives endangered in their home countries.

The program was initially launched to give students opportunities to pursue higher education at a world-class university and help them transform their lives for a better future.

4. Kingston University International Development Award

Kingston University yearly admits numerous international students regardless of their backgrounds. It offers several scholarships and bursaries to help foreign nationals study in one of the UK’s renowned universities. One of its scholarships, the International Development Award, is intended for undergraduate and postgraduate degree-seeking students.

This award, in particular, amounts to £5,000, which can be used to deduct from the total amount of the annual tuition fee. This, however, will not cover full tuition, and the student must shoulder the remaining amount.

5. Aberystwyth University Entrance Examinations and Merit Awards

  • Scholarship Link
  • Tuition Fee Page
  • Scholarship Amount: from £1,000 in their first year to £1,000 yearly
  • Eligible Degrees: undergraduate degree at Aberystwyth University

First-time undergraduate students interested in studying at Aberystwyth University can apply for its Entrance Examinations and Merit Awards. This is an optional Entrance Exam where applicants need to take two exams. Depending on the exam results, selected candidates will be given one of the three grants: university scholarship, merit award, or unconditional offer. Those who have successfully passed will be given a place at the university.

Scholars who receive the University Scholarship will be awarded £1,000 a yearly funding until their course completion, accommodation, and an unconditional offer. This scholarship is for successful students who have obtained the highest scores for both exams. On the other hand, a Merit Award will grant students a total amount of £1,000 in their freshmen year and an unconditional offer. Those candidates who were not selected for the two mentioned grants but have demonstrated high-performing results will be given an unconditional offer of a guaranteed seat in the chosen study program.

6. University of Gloucestershire International Grant Award

  • Scholarship Link
  • Tuition Fee Page
  • Scholarship Amount: from £2,000 (first year tuition) to full course fee (postgraduate degree)
  • Eligible Degrees: undergraduate, postgraduate taught, master’s (research), and doctoral degrees at the University of Gloucestershire

The University of Gloucestershire has designated international funding for foreign tuition-fee paying nationals studying at the university. It offers several international scholarships and awards to outstanding students who deserve to be recognized for their academic excellence. The International Grant Award is one of the scholarship programs most degree-seeking students can avail of.

In general, the funding amount is £2,000, which will be deducted from the total tuition fee in their first year. However, student scholars completing their postgraduate taught degrees can be eligible for full tuition fees depending on their performance.

While the scholarship award includes most study programs, students completing the professional doctoral program and master’s stage award degrees are not qualified for the said grant.

7. University of West London International Ambassador Scholarship

  • Scholarship Link
  • Tuition Fee Page
  • Scholarship Amount: from £2,000 (for postgraduate) to £5,000 (for undergraduate)
  • Eligible Degrees: undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at the University of West London

The International Ambassador Scholarship is a unique scholarship award for undergraduate and postgraduate foreign students who need additional financial funding to support their studies. The scholarship is open to all tuition-paying international students who aspire to become student ambassadors of the university.

The University of West London grants about 100 International Ambassador Scholarships to outstanding students. Candidates must have specific qualifications for what the university is looking for. As an ambassador, scholars, in return, will have to represent the university and are expected to participate in various events. In addition, the university will have the right to use students’ photographs and might be requested to take part in several interviews for promotional and marketing purposes.

8. Clarendon Scholarships

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: full tuition plus living expenses
  • Eligible Degrees: full-time or part-time master’s and doctoral degrees at the University of Oxford

Students who will apply for a master’s or Ph.D. degree, either full-time or part-time, by December to January deadline will be automatically eligible for the University of Oxford’s Clarendon Scholarship award. Clarendon awards more than 200 scholarships to exceptional domestic and international students every year.

Clarendon scholars will receive financial aid, including full tuition and living expenditures, throughout their program completion. Currently, it has granted more than 2,500 scholars since its launch in 2001.

9. University of Nottingham ASEAN and Oceania Undergraduate Excellence Award

  • Scholarship Link
  • Tuition Fee Page
  • Scholarship Amount: from £2,000 to £6,000 in their first year
  • Eligible Degrees: undergraduate degree at the University of Nottingham

The University of Nottingham, one of the world’s leading universities, has been transforming countless students from across the globe. In fact, there is an increase in the number of admitted international students every year. As a global university, it provides scholarships and funding to eligible students depending on their needs and financial capability.

The ASEAN and Oceania Undergraduate Excellence Award is for undergraduate international students residing in Southeast Asia, Australia, and South Pacific Island countries. This award can be availed by students who have already received an offer to study at the university with qualifications of having proven academic excellence and who have the potential to become competitive professionals in their chosen fields.

10. University of Nottingham Sports Scholarships

  • Scholarship Link
  • Tuition Fee Page
  • Scholarship Amount: from £4,500 to £13,500
  • Eligible Degrees: undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of Nottingham

Aside from offering scholarships and funding based on academic merit, the University of Nottingham also offers Sports Scholarships for all talented athletes who have shown promising potential in their chosen sports.

This particular scholarship will prioritize athletes who have represented or will represent their respective countries in sports events like the Olympics, Paralympics, and Commonwealth sports. The scholarship has three packages and a few specialist packages for granted athletes. The funding amount and support services will vary depending on the student’s achievement and performance.

11. University of Glasgow EU Welcome Award

The University of Glasgow is a world-renowned UK university that provides high standards of teaching and research. Throughout the years, it has collaborated with numerous companies and institutions worldwide. It has always been committed to maintaining strong bonds and mutual agreements with other countries. Offering scholarships and funding to international students is one way of deepening its relationships.

The EU Welcome Award is one of the newly launched scholarship awards for students belonging to EU states. Since the UK withdrew from the European Union, pursuing higher education in the country has been quite tricky, especially for EU students, due to a significant shift in laws and policies. This award aims to ensure that mutual bonds are still evident and talented EU students will still have the opportunity to complete higher education at one of the best UK universities – the University of Glasgow.

12. Imperial College London Ceres Scholarship

  • Scholarship Link
  • Tuition Fee Page
  • Scholarship Amount: £5,000 per academic year
  • Eligible Degrees: full-time undergraduate degree at the Imperial College London

Imperial College London students taking Material Science degrees and who are highly interested in pursuing a career in the energy sector are eligible for the Ceres Scholarship. Only one student will be awarded a £5,000 funding value every year, of which the total amount will be equally distributed to be paid in monthly installments.

There is no application process per se; the deciding body of the department will invite high-performing students if they are deemed qualified for the said scholarship. For eligible candidates, additional documents, such as personal statements, will be requested for further evaluation.

13. Imperial College London Dr. Theo George Wilson Scholarship

Imperial College London welcomes countless students every year. International students flocking the institute’s campus shows that many foreign nationals opt to obtain a degree in this well-established school. Aware of its reputation in the international community, the college guarantees that competent students who desire to study in the college but cannot finance their studies will get the necessary financial support.

The Dr. Theo George Wilson Scholarship is a unique scholarship program for engineering students pursuing a master’s research degree in Molecular Engineering. The institute encourages domestic and international students from minority groups to apply for the said program, for they will be highly prioritized.

14. University of Sussex Undergraduate Scholarships

International students who have been offered a place to study a bachelor’s degree program at the University of Sussex can apply for scholarships. Aside from being admitted by the university, to be eligible for the award, candidates must be international fee-paying students, high achievers who have maintained excellent academic grades, and must be self-funded and not be sponsored by any institute or organization.

There are various scholarships available for international students; a funding value that can cover up to £15,000 per year will be given to scholars. Students must be able to cover the remaining academic and living costs throughout the program’s completion. To apply for the award, students must submit their personal and educational background details, as well as a personal statement.

15. The University of Leeds Dean’s Business School International Excellence Scholarships

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: 50% reduction of tuition fees per academic year (for three years)
  • Eligible Degrees: undergraduate degree at Leeds University Business School

International undergraduate students at the Leeds University Business School can avail themselves of the Dean’s School International Excellence Scholarships, provided they meet all the eligibility criteria. The university will evaluate all candidates using the personal and educational information from the student’s UCAS application form.

Successful applicants will receive a notification that they have passed the assessment. Scholars will receive a 50% deduction from the annual tuition fees. The student can receive the same funding value throughout their study as long as they maintain above-average academic performance.

16. University of Reading Vice-Chancellor Global Scholarship Award

Established in 1926, the University of Reading has transformed countless students over the years. It is known to have contributed to human resources for various industry sectors, generating competent and socially responsible professionals, leaders, and innovators.

The Vice-Chancellor Global Scholarship Award annually grants 100 scholarships to international undergraduate students. The number of scholars will be distributed according to what is deemed to receive more applications per country. For countries that were not specified, the institute has allocated 16 places for these candidates.

Scholars of the said award will receive yearly funding of £4,000 to be deducted from their annual tuition.

17. University of Bristol Future Leaders Postgraduate Scholarship

The University of Bristol is among the best institutions in the UK and Europe. It offers various academic disciplines at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The university’s School of Management, offering internationally recognized programs, is determined to provide its students with the highest quality of education. One of its primary goals is to cultivate future leaders and experts who will help resolve global issues.

Moreover, the university allocates scholarship funding for international students. For overseas postgraduate students pursuing a degree in management, The Future Leaders Postgraduate Scholarship is an ideal scholarship program to avail of. A scholarship value of £6,500 will be awarded to eight scholars, while four high-achieving students will receive yearly funding of £13,000.

18. UCL Global Undergraduate Scholarships

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: full-tuition
  • Eligible Degrees: full-time undergraduate degree at University College London

UCL Global Undergraduate Scholarships encourages overseas students from impoverished backgrounds to obtain a degree at University College London. This scholarship program is open to students with insufficient funding to study in UK institutions.

To be eligible, candidates must be categorized as overseas students, from underprivileged societies and have submitted an admissions application at UCL. The award will prioritize students who need financial assistance, granting 20 scholars full tuition, and another ten scholars will receive full tuition and stipend.

19. University of Leeds UG Psychology International Excellence Scholarship

The University of Leeds, one of the most respected universities in the UK, has generated countless ethically responsible professionals and experts. It is undoubtedly one of the most preferred schools for international students planning to pursue higher education in the country.

It offers scholarships and funding programs for overseas students, such as the UG Psychology International Excellence Scholarship. This scholarship is intended for bachelor’s students seeking a degree in Psychology. Students need not apply to avail of the award. Instead, it is an automatic scholarship for first-time degree students who have achieved the highest grade of AAA or equivalent. Scholars pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Advanced Psychology will receive a funding amount of £10,000.

We hope that this article on the UK scholarships for international students was helpful. Make sure to also check out the Available Programs in the United Kingdom!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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