University scholarships for international students

If you want to study in the UK, it’s worth exploring scholarships for international students, as this is an effective way to reduce the cost of your studies. Plus, bagging a scholarship is a great academic achievement and a testament to your hard work.

Here, we’ll take a look at certain scholarships available to international students, whether you would be eligible for one, and tips on how to get a scholarship.

What is a scholarship?

A scholarship is an amount of money given by a school, college, university or other organisation to pay for a student’s studies. Scholarships are typically provided to students with great ability but limited financial resources.

If you’re asking yourself ‘what is a bursary?’, it’s the same thing as a scholarship. On the other hand, a grant is similar to a scholarship but is usually offered by the government, charities, trusts or organisations.

There are scholarships offered to international students specifically - sometimes referred to as overseas graduate scholarships - and they often have a set eligibility criteria.

Types of scholarships

There are many types of scholarships available to international students, making it tricky to categorise them all. Your best bet is to do your research and see what’s on offer per university, subject and country. Below are a couple of scholarships for international students you can start exploring.

University-specific scholarships

All universities typically offer a suite of scholarships for local and international students. Sometimes they’re subject-specific - such as Science, Literature or Dramatic Arts - or they may be on offer to students no matter the subject they’re interested in.

When researching scholarships, check the university’s website to see what scholarships are available for international students.

There are some renowned university scholarships open to international students, including the following:

Government scholarships

If you’re an aspiring athlete, many universities across the UK offer sports scholarships that secure a place on the university team but may also cover accommodation and tuition fees. Compared to academic scholarships, the eligibility criteria will likely look quite different. You may have to demonstrate exceptional talent both academically and in a core sport.

Not sure where to start looking? Explore the sports scholarships on offer at Liverpool University, UWE Bristol or Coventry University.

Eligibility for scholarships

The eligibility criteria for every scholarship are often different. Generally, the criteria you need to apply for a scholarship involve:

  • Meeting the minimum grade requirements for certain subjects
  • Showcasing wider academic performance beyond grades
  • Having a household income below a certain threshold
  • Living in a qualifying country to apply for a scholarship in the UK

Some scholarship applications may even require a letter of motivation or require applicants to attend several interview rounds.

Application process for scholarships

You can usually find the scholarship application details on the university or organisation website. Every application process looks different but here’s a general guide on what to expect:

  1. Complete the application form - you can usually find the scholarship application form online and you may need to create an online account 
  2. Upload documentation - this includes academic transcripts, immigration status documents and letters of recommendation from your teachers
  3. Write a letter of motivation - the application may request that you pen a letter detailing why you deserve the scholarship
  4. Prepare for the scholarship interview - practice answering questions with a peer to prepare for your interview
  5. Check your final decision - you may get accepted, declined, or receive a conditional offer, which just means your application is still awaiting a final decision

Tips on how to get a scholarship

Although every scholarship application process is different, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Do your research to fully understand the application requirements
  • Create tailored scholarship applications for each entry
  • Make sure to track the scholarship deadlines so you don’t miss anything
  • Get your scholarship applications proofread
  • Practice with somebody to prepare for any scholarship interviews
  • Be yourself and don’t feel the pressure to be a ‘perfect’ candidate


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