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How to Get a UK University Scholarship

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How to Get a UK University Scholarship

Jan 16, 2022Date Published
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The UK has quite the reputation for being an expensive place to study. Tuition fees and living costs tend to skew higher here out of all English-speaking countries. Nonetheless, the UK remains one of the most popular destinations for study abroad. It has centuries’ long history as a leader in learning, and strong standards for quality education and research. A degree from a UK university has recognition and respect everywhere in the world. It gives you an edge when applying for work in UK or further education! So – how can you afford what many consider this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity? Many UK universities offer scholarships for international students. Find out UK university scholarships for international students!

UK Scholarships for International Students in 2022

The UK has long been a beacon in international education. It can trace its legacy of hosting promising and talented individuals from around the world back hundreds of years. To continue this legacy and maintain its status as a leader in higher education, the UK continues to provide opportunities to attract and retain international talents. Scholarships and other financial assistance efforts also fall under these opportunities!

Scholarships by Universities

Higher Education Providers (HEP) in the UK often offer their own award schemes for students. These may include scholarships for first-year students, international students from specific parts of the world, and more. Depending on the institution, UK universities allot millions of pounds yearly to scholarships and research funding. Take a look below at some of the scholarship options for some of the UK’s best universities.

UK Scholarships for International Students at Undergraduate Level

Think Big Undergraduate Scholarships
  • For full-time international students 
  • Awards of £5,000 and £10,000 per year
  • Applicable for all courses at the University of Bristol, apart from Medicine, Veterinary Science, and Dentistry
Lancaster Global Scholarship
  • Full- and part-time undergraduate and postgraduate students at Lancaster University
  • Awarded based on academic merit
  • Variable scholarship amount depending on specific criteria
Citizens of Change 100 Scholarship
  • For any international student holding an offer from University of Leicester
  • Fee reduction of 50% toward first-year fees
International Excellence Scholarships
  • For entry-level undergraduate students
  • Scholarship opportunities include: the International Excellence Scholarship, Global Merit Award, Olea Excellence Scholarship
  • Merit-based scholarship awarded for academic excellence and other exceptional qualities
Vice-Chancellor’s International Scholarships
  • Partial scholarships worth £4,000 (contribution to tuition fees)
  • Eligible for students from India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Thailand

This is nowhere near a complete list. Most universities have multiple award options you may be eligible for. Be sure to thoroughly research what scholarships are on offer that you may qualify for at the institutions you’re considering!

Postgraduate Scholarships in the UK for International Students

Several UK universities offer fully-funded scholarships to postgraduate students. For students in doctoral courses pursuing research, you may find many generous awards to cover your research, tuition, and other costs. You may decide on how to get a UK university scholarship as a postgraduate student by looking at schools with the highest research funding, for example. Among the top recipients of grants for 2021-22, according to UK Research & Innovation are:

Here are some postgraduate scholarship options for international students studying in these universities:
Vice-Chancellor's International Attainment Scholarship
  • For high-achieving international students enrolling in a postgraduate taught course at University of Liverpool

Centenary Scholarships
  • All Master's students are eligible for this scholarship
Aberdeen Global Scholarship
  • Tuition fee reduction of £3,000
  • For self-funded students in taught Master's program
University of Southampton Postgraduate Merit Scholarship
  • Maximum tuition fee discounts of £9,000
  • Applicable for international students enrolling in Master's programs at U of Southampton
University of ExeterGreen Futures Scholarships
  • For high-achieving students from low- and middle-income countries
  • Applicable for postgraduate taught program students 

Again, this is hardly an exhaustive list. Each of these institutions offers multiple scholarship options. The eligibility requirements vary depending on study level, nationality, the program in question, and more. There are over 100 universities in the UK, and several Higher Education Providers with scholarship and funding schemes. When considering a place to pursue postgraduate studies, be sure to investigate what funding options they offer!

External Funding Options

How to get a UK university scholarship isn’t the only consideration when looking at higher education funding. The UK government also offers scholarships and loans for talented international students looking to study in the UK. For doctoral students, you may also find grant options through the UK’s research councils, or a variety of charities and trusts!

UK Government Scholarships for International Students

Commonwealth Scholarships and Fellowships

Are you from a Commonwealth country? You may be eligible for one of up to 800 awards offered by Commonwealth Scholarships and Fellowships (CSC) under six development areas. Broadly, these are:

  •         science and technology
  •         health systems
  •         global prosperity
  •         global peace, safety and governance
  •         crises response and resilience
  •         inclusivity and opportunity.

If you’re from a developing Commonwealth country, you may be eligible for master’s and PhD scholarships. If you’re from a developed Commonwealth country, you may be eligible for a select number of PhD scholarships. These scholarships are partially funded by host universities in the UK.

Chevening Program

If you’re from any of the eligible Chevening countries, you may qualify for a fully-funded one-year master’s program. This scholarship covers your tuition fees, an allowance for living expenses, travel expenses and more. To qualify, you must have up to two years of work experience and already hold an undergraduate degree. You must also meet necessary English language requirements.

GREAT Scholarships

For students from selected countries, you may be eligible for a minimum of £10,000 for a one-year master’s course in the UK. As a GREAT Scholarship holder, you may complete a postgraduate degree at one of 41 partner universities in the UK!

Research Council Grants

When figuring out how to get a scholarship in the UK for a doctoral program, consider which schools are partnering with research councils relevant to your field. The UKRI has the following research councils:

  •         Arts and Humanities Research Council
  •         Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
  •         Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
  •         Economic and Social Research Council
  •         Medical Research Council
  •         Natural Environment Research Council
  •         Science and Technology Facilities Council
  •         Innovate UK
  •         Research England

The budgets of these councils vary. However, they partner with universities, along with businesses, the government, and other organisations, to propel research in the UK! The funding these councils offer universities are accessible in the form of tax-free, non-repayable grants, going toward your tuition fees and allowances for living expenses.

If pursuing a postgraduate research program in the UK, we recommend looking into schools in partnership with research councils relevant to your field!

Home Country Sponsorships

When considering studying in the UK, be sure to consider sponsorship options by your home country, too. In Malaysia, for example, several public organisations like the Bank Negara affiliate with renowned UK universities to sponsor talented students abroad. Private corporations like Shell Malaysia and UEM Group also offer generous scholarship schemes for Malaysian students at UK universities. Look into what opportunities your country is offering for studies abroad too. Usually, in exchange for these sponsorships, you agree to work for your sponsor after graduating for an agreed period.

Concluding Thoughts

Given how expensive tuition and living costs in the UK can be, it’s not surprising that scholarships are competitive. But remember – there are plenty of options to consider. Start your research early, ensure you meet the eligibility criteria, and shortlist the best options. When figuring out how to get a UK university scholarship, the more research you do the more likely you are to succeed. Our advice, as in most cases, is to start as early as possible. If studying in the UK is a long-term dream of yours, starting early lets you build up your academic and work experience up to the level you can qualify for the best scholarships. Also, be sure to consider external funding options, from both your home and host country!