Scholarships

10 Best Scholarships for Fully Funded Masters & PhD

A list of the Best Scholarships to apply for a fully-funded masters and PhD

Each year thousands of students complete for various scholarships at higher studies in foreign universities. We have compiled a list of best scholarships for pursuing masters and Ph.D. abroad. These are highly competitive scholarships and require serious effort to secure a scholarship but the Return on Investment (ROI) is very high. After completing your studies, you are guaranteed to land a high-paying job at a multinational company.

I’m sharing in this post, how you can study in world’s top universities without paying any money for your studies. There are so little resources which provide you information about the application process. So, we have compiled a list of top scholarship opportunities for masters and PhD studies.

There are hundreds of scholarship opportunities for aspiring candidates but we have picked these options because they are the best in terms of the stipend, and scholarship coverage. Many of them provide you a full tuition fee waiver, monthly stipend, laptop stipend, conference allowance, networking events, strong alumni networks, and many more perquisites. A piece of great news about these scholarships is that none of these scholarships cost any money to apply. There is no application fee. You might have to pay for the standardized tests, the documents verification and/or courier charges but originally there is no fee for the scholarship application.

Without further adieu, here is a complete list of 10 best scholarships for studying in a foreign university:

1. Fulbright Scholarship

Fulbright is one of the best and the most prestigious scholarship for pursuing a master’s and Ph.D. in the United States. The Fulbright scholarship is sponsored jointly by the Dept. of State, USA and the native government of the nominating country. Fulbright candidates are sent to the USA each for during the Fall semester. The application procedure is also straightforward. The only major requirement for the Fulbright scholarship is that the candidate must have taken GRE General. Fulbright also has a strong alumni network. It is only for US universities.

Fulbright Scholarship Pakistan - One of the best scholarships
Fulbright Scholarship Pakistan – One of the best scholarships

Fulbright Provides the Best Scholarship Benefits

  • Tuition fee
  • Return Ticket (For PhD candidates a return ticked is provided after 2 years of study in the US)
  • Monthly stipend (can vary between 1300-2500 USD and varies from state to state)
  • Health insurance
  • Textbook allowance
  • Laptop allowance
  • Funding for conferences and seminars

You might want to check a beginner’s guide to apply for the Fulbright scholarship.

Eligibility Criteria for Fulbright Scholarship

  • 16 years of education
  • GRE
  • Fresh graduates are encouraged to apply
  • Not applicable for clinical medicine
  • TOEFL is not mandatory to apply

Very few apply for the Fulbright scholarship due to the GRE requirement. There is no strict requirement for a minimum GRE score. Any score above 300 is considered good for your selection into Fulbright scholarship. So, it is highly recommended that you take the GRE and apply for the Fulbright Scholarship.

Interested in the details of documents required to apply for the Fulbright scholarship?

2. Rhodes Scholarship

The Rhodes Scholarship is an international postgraduate award for students to study at the University of Oxford. It was established in 1902, making it the first large-scale programme of international scholarship.

The Rhodes scholarship is a very competitive scholarship for fully-funded graduate studies at the University of Oxford. It is offered each year but there are a limited number of seats available. More details of the Rhodes scholarship are available at the official site.

Benefits of Rhodes Scholarship

The Rhodes Scholarship is for two years in the first instance. The Rhodes Scholarship covers Oxford University (and College) fees as well as providing an annual stipend. For the 2019/20 academic year, the stipend will be £15,900 per annum (£1,325 per month).

Eligibility Criteria for Rhodes

  • Nationality/citizenship: You must be a citizen of Pakistan, holding a Pakistani passport.
  • Education/residency: You must have undertaken formal study at an educational institution in Pakistan for a minimum of 4 of the last 10 years, and have either
    • completed a school or college leaving exam (12th standard, A-level or equivalent) at a school or college in Pakistan, or
    • have received or would receive an undergraduate degree or mark-sheet establishing eligibility to receive an undergraduate degree at a university in Pakistan. c. Age: You must have reached your 19th and not have passed your 25th birthday on 1 October 2020, which means you must have been born after 30 September 1995 and on or before 1 October 2001.
  • Academic achievement: You must have completed (or will have completed by June / July 2020) an undergraduate degree from a college or university (normally a Bachelor’s degree) to a sufficiently high standard to be admitted to postgraduate study at the University of Oxford (but not in any event with a GPA below 3.7). In this respect, please note carefully the requirements for your chosen course at Oxford.

3.  Commonwealth Scholarship

Commonwealth scholarship is offered by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) to the students from commonwealth countries to pursue masters and PhD in the best universities of the United Kingdom. Due to its prestige, handsome stipend, spouse and children support, the Commonwealth scholarship is very attractive and a must-apply for competitive students. Commonwealth scholarship is considered one of the best scholarships around the world. Candidates are selected based on their academic competitiveness, impact on society, alignment with the theme areas offered by the DFID and strong research proposal.

Students apply through a nominating agency of their home country which shortlists the final nominees to be finally selected by the Commonwealth Scholarship Council in the UK. Before applying for the Commonwealth scholarship, you must have an offer/consent letter from any of the recognized universities of the UK. In my own experience, Professors from UK universities are very responsive and do reply to the emails requesting for the offer letter. But keep in mind that your email must state clearly the alignment of your research with Professor’s research, your future plans linking with your past research and work experiences.

Commonwealth scholarship is one of the best scholarships
Commonwealth scholarship official website

For Pakistan, candidates have to apply on the Higher Education Commission (HEC) and Commonwealth scholarship portal. Applications are open each year around September, October. Sometimes HEC holds a selection test for candidates and then holds a final interview for shortlisting and nomination to the Commonwealth Scholarship Council. HEC conducts a HAT (HEC Aptitude Test) in November. Interviews are held in December after the successful candidates are nominated to the Commonwealth Scholarship council in January. Further details of the Commonwealth scholarship are available at the official site.

Eligibility Criteria for Commonwealth Scholarship

  • 16 years of education
  • Pakistani resident
  • Not be registered as a student in any UK university
  • Have a financial need and cannot be able to continue study without funding form Commonwealth Scholarship Council
  • Must apply under one of the priority areas

Benefits offered by the Commonwealth Scholarship

  • Tuition fee
  • Return ticket
  • Monthly stipend
  • Warm clothing allowance
  • paid mid-term visits to home country
  • Spouse/Children allowance

4.  Knight and Hennessy Scholarship

Knight and Hennessy Scholarship was started by Nike founder Phil Knight and Google president Hennessy in 2016

Applications for the Knight and Hennessy Scholarship in May each year and the deadline is around October. Candidates have to apply for both Stanford graduate program application and Knight-Hennessy scholarship application. Both applications stand on their own and candidates must get in the Stanford graduate program for final consideration for the Knight-Hennessy scholarship. For more details about the Knight-Hennessy scholarship, visit the official site.

Knight Hennessy Scholarship for Stanford - Best Scholarships
Knight Hennessy Scholarship for Stanford

Eligibility

  • All Citizens Welcome. The scholarship is open for candidates of any nationality
  • All Graduate Programs at Stanford; Only for Graduate Degrees
  • First/Bachelor’s Degree Received in 2014 or Later; Enrolling at Stanford in 2021 or Later
  • Other eligibility requirements set by Stanford graduate program you are applying to.

Benefits

  • Knight-Hennessy scholarship offers a handsome monthly stipend along with full tuition fee coverage, medical insurance and research funding.

5.  Erasmus Mundus Joint Degree Program

This is a very fund program as it is designed in such a way that you’ll have spent each semester in four different countries and different universities. You can explore culture and heritage from various countries in Europe. Applications are open in October, November each year and close by February, March. For more details about the Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree scholarship, visit the official site.

Erasmus Mundus Best Scholarship Benefits

  • Tuition fee
  • Return ticket
  • Monthly stipend
  • Health Insurance

Eligibility Criteria

  • 16 years of education
  • IELTS Academic
  • Pakistani citizen

You can read about the Erasmus joint master degree application here.

6.  Gates-Cambridge Scholarship

Gates-Cambridge scholarship is offered by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to pursue a doctoral degree at Cambridge University. Gates-Cambridge scholarship is considered one of the most prestigious scholarships in the world. The aim of the Gates Cambridge program is to build a global network of future leaders committed to improving the lives of others. There are about 225 Scholars from 50 countries studying in Cambridge at any one time who pursue the full range of subjects available at the university and are spread across its departments and Colleges.

Gates Cambridge Scholarship - Best Scholarships to study at Cambridge
Gates Cambridge Scholarship – Best Scholarship to study at Cambridge

Application for Gates-Cambridge scholarship in September each year and the deadline in either in December or January depending on the program deadlines set by the Cambridge University.

The selection criteria for Gates-Cambridge scholarship are:

  • outstanding intellectual ability
  • reasons for the choice of course
  • a commitment to improving the lives of others
  • leadership potential

Candidates are selected based on a three-stage selection process. In the first state, Cambridge universities rank the candidate according to their academic merit. A shortlisting of ranked candidates is completed by the Gates-Cambridge shortlisting committee which categorizes the candidates according to their broader areas of research interests. The committee shortlists the candidates for a final interview after which offer is made to the successful candidates. The scholarship offer must be selected within 48 hours or it will be transferred to the candidates on the waitlist. For more details about the Gates-Cambridge scholarship, visit the official site.

Benefits of Gates-Cambridge Scholarship

  • The scholarship covers the Cambridge university tuition fee (including the accommodation rent and cost of food)
  • Maintenance allowance of approx. 17,500 GBP for 12 months
  • Return airfare for economy class
  • Cost visa
  • Cost of health insurance
  • Along with this, the scholarship may cover additional discretionary funds for some students

Eligibility for Gates-Cambridge Scholarship

You can apply for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship if you are:

  • a citizen of any country outside the United Kingdom
  • applying to pursue one of the following full-time residential courses of study at the University of Cambridge:
    • PhD
    • MSc/MLitt
    • One-year postgraduate course (with some exceptions – see below)

For further information about Gates Cambridge scholarship, you can visit their official site at https://www.gatescambridge.org/

7.  DAAD Scholarship for Germany

DAAD scholarships are provided by the German government to pursue masters and Ph.D. degrees in any universities in Germany. There is no language requirement for this scholarship. You need not know the German scholarship. You’ll have to acquire a letter of consent from your prospective advisor that he is willing to supervise you for your graduate studies under the DAAD scholarship. There are no strict application requirements except you must have cleared a standardized English language test i.e. IELTS or TOEFL. DAAD offers hundreds of opportunities at their official site.

Benefits of DAAD Scholarship

  • Tuition fee
  • Return ticket
  • Monthly stipend
  • Research allowance
  • Free German language course
  • Spouse/Children allowance
  • Networking events

Eligibility Criteria

  • 16 years of education
  • The last degree must be obtained withing last 16 years
  • Should not have lived in Germany for more than 15 months

Detail of required documents for DAAD scholarship can be found here.

8.  China Scholarship Council (CSC) Scholarship

CSC Scholarship is offered by the Chinese Scholarship Council and is also called the Chinese Government Scholarship. Chinese Government Scholarships initiative was taken by the Chinese Government to promote education, culture, trade, exchanges in education and politics, cooperation and mutual understanding between other countries and China. Each year thousands of students from all over the world receive this scholarship to pursue undergraduate and graduate studies in well-renowned and research-intensive universities of China. For more details about China Scholarship Council scholarship visit CSC scholarship guide

CSC Scholarship Study in China
CSC Scholarship to Study in China

Financial Benefits of CSC Scholarship

  • Undergraduate Program: CNY 2500 RMB (Chinese currency is called Renminbi or Yuan; 1 yuan is equal to ~25 PKR or ~1/8 USD) Monthly Stipend, free tuition, and free accommodation
  • Master Program Students: CNY 3000 RMB Monthly Stipend, free tuition, and free room
  • Doctoral Program Students: CNY 3500 RMB Monthly Stipend, free tuition, and free room. Married students get an extra 1000 RMB for accommodation outside the university hostel. They may also get any other research funding from their professor for conferences, paper submissions, and RAship stipend.

You can also check a comprehensive guide to apply for the CSC scholarship.

Eligibility

  • Must have completed 16 years of education for admission into masters and PhD degrees
  • There is no requirement for IELTS or TOEFL. A certificate for English language proficiency is enough from your last university

9.  MEXT Scholarship for Japan

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT) of Japan offers scholarships for pursuing undergraduate, masters & Doctoral Degree in the fields which you have studied in Your Country. You will study in the Top Japanese universities as Research Students under the Japanese Government (MEXT) Scholarship Program. Applications for MEXT scholarship open in March, April and deadlines are in June each year. Embassy of Japan conducts a screening test in the home country and calls the shortlisted candidates for an interview. After the interview, selected candidates are informed about their selection in a week or two. Details of the MEXT scholarship are available at the Japanese Embassy website.

Benefits of MEXT Scholarship

  • Allowance of 2,000 yen or 3,000 yen per month will be added to the monthly scholarship.
    • Students receiving preparatory education and non-regular students: 143,000 yen per month
    • Regular students enrolled in Master’s or professional degree courses: 144,000 yen per month.
    • Regular students enrolled in Doctoral courses: 145,000 yen per month.
  • Tuition Fee for the entrance examination, matriculation, and tuition at universities will be paid by MEXT
  • The entrance examination fee, however, will be borne by the grantees if they cannot proceed to the master’s or doctoral course or cannot be admitted by the university
  • Economy-class Airline ticket
  • Residence halls for international students provided by universities.

Eligibility Criteria

Applicants must have the nationality of a country that has diplomatic relations with Japan

Also, there is an age-restriction requirement too (Generally the candidates should not be above 35 years of age at the time of application)

10. Australia Awards (AusAID) Scholarship

Australia Awards Scholarship, formerly known as Australian Development Scholarships (ADS), provides opportunities for people from developing countries, particularly those countries located in the Indo-Pacific region, to undertake full-time undergraduate or postgraduate study at participating Australian universities and Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutions. Australia Awards scholarship provides an excellent opportunity for aspiring young students to study in the best universities in Australia. Besides full-ride scholarship, the AusAID scholarship also provides strong networking through seminars and its alumni network. Graduates after completing their studies go on to work with multinational companies and contribute to the overall growth of society.

AusAID scholarships are announced at the start of the year and their deadline is around April, May each year. More details are available at Austral Awards Official Website.

Australia Awards Scholarship - Best Scholarship
Australia Awards Scholarship – Official Website

The financial benefits and eligibility criteria of Australia awards scholarship is given below.

Financial Benefits of AusAID

  • Tuition fee
  • Return ticket
  • Establishment allowance (one-time)
  • Monthly stipend
  • Research allowance
  • Health insurance

Eligibly Requirements for AusAID

  • Pakistani citizen residing in Pakistan
  • 16 years of education
  • IELTS 6.5 or higher / equivalent TOEFL score
  • Not be above the age of 45 years
  • Five years of relevant work experience
  • The deadline is extended due to COVID-19 pandemic.

Final Words

I hope you’ve liked our comprehensive list of the best scholarships to pursue your dream of higher education. This list is not exhaustive by any means as there are hundreds of scholarships available. You can subscribe to the website through the bell icon on the lower-left corner to receive further updates. Best of luck. Thank you. 🙂

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Muhammad Sarwar

Muhammad Sarwar is an Electrical Engineer by profession and a blogger by passion. He loves to teach and share knowledge. He's a Fulbright scholarship awardee. He reads books, play games, blogs and program in his spare time.

6 Comments

  1. Thank you for this kind information. It is really useful for me but I have a confusion. You have mentioned only for Pakistani student. I would like to ask you question Is that only for Pakistani student or are you mentioning to make it simple and encouraging Pakistani srudents. Thank you.

    1. Hey, thank you for your comment.
      Information given about the scholarships is valid for all the countries as most of these scholarships are global in nature. However, certain conditions and criteria are only listed for Pakistani students just for the sake of information. You can find more information about a scholarship for your country of origin on the official websites of these scholarships. Website links are given in the article.

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