The UK is the second-most popular destination for international students. To date, there are more than 485,000 studying in the isles.

There are many reasons why students prefer to study in the UK. First and foremost, it is home to a handful of top-notch institutions. Oxford is always at the top of the list, trailed by Cambridge, the Imperial College London, and UCL.

Secondly, studying in the UK takes a shorter time compared to other countries. Here, students may finish their Bachelor’s in just 3 years – and their Master’s in 1.

So if you’re thinking of studying in the UK, you’ll be glad to know that you can do so for free. All you need to do is apply for any of these top scholarships in the United Kingdom for international students:

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Best Scholarships in the UK

1. Rhodes Scholarship

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: Full tuition subsidy for 2-3 years, depending on the degree
  • Eligible Degree: Bachelor’s with Senior Status, BPhil, Master’s, and Ph.D. degrees at the University of Oxford

Founded in 1902, the Rhodes Scholarship is recognized as the first – and one of the best scholarships in the United Kingdom for international students. It funds Oxford programs with a basic tenure of 2 years, though Ph.D. scholars may receive funding for up to 3 years.

The program only applies to BAs with Senior status, 1-year taught Master’s (may progress to another Master’s or Ph.D. degree), 2-year MPhil/BPhil or MSc by research, and a 3-year DPhil.

That said, this scholarship will not be given to students pursuing MFE/MBA, MPP-MBA/MFE combination, a 4-year accelerated Graduate entry course to Medicine, or a 4-year Ph.D. program.

The program also offers a monthly stipend that the Scholar may use for living expenses.

2. Chevening Scholarship

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: Full tuition amount for a 1-year Master’s degree
  • Eligible Degree: Master’s degree

The Chevening Scholarship is granted yearly to 1,500 applicants from eligible countries. While there is no ‘typical’ awardee, Chevening scholars are known to have strong academic skills and great leadership potentials.

To be eligible for this scholarship in the UK, applicants should have an undergraduate degree and work experience of at least 2 years. Scholars will only be awarded once they receive an unconditional offer from their UK university of choice.

Successful applicants will get a tuition subsidy for 1 year, apart from monthly allowances, round-trip airfare, and other necessary grants.

Chevening scholars are expected to return and stay in their home countries for 2 years after the program ends.

3. Gates Cambridge Scholarship

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: Full tuition amount for up to 4 years
  • Eligible Degree: Doctoral degrees at the University of Cambridge

Launched in 2000 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the $210 million scholarship aims to fund the Ph.D. studies of 80 applicants each year. 25 awardees will come from the United States, while the remaining 55 will come from various parts of the globe.

Successful awardees are chosen according to their academic intellect, leadership potential, and commitment to helping other people.

Apart from shouldering the full tuition amount, the scholarship will also cover the visa costs, Immigrant Health surcharges, and round-trip airfare. A monthly allowance will also be given for a maximum of 4 years.

Other perks include academic development funding, fieldwork bursaries, family allowances, maternity/paternity funding, and hardship funding, to name a few.

4. Commonwealth Shared Scholarship Scheme

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: Full tuition amount
  • Eligible Degree: Master’s degrees at select UK host universities

Since 1959, the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan, a top scholarship in the UK for international students, has offered several scholarship programs to residents/citizens of Commonwealth countries. There are 700 slots for postgraduate studies, some of which are dedicated to the Commonwealth Shared Scholarship Scheme.

The award is open to applicants coming from least developed or fragile Commonwealth countries who wish to work on any of 6 themes: science & technology for development, health systems & capacity, global prosperity, peace & governance, resilience & crisis response, and access & opportunity.

To be eligible, shared scholarship applicants must have a first, upper second class, or lower second-class degree.

Those applying for a second master’s must justify why they want to take the same level of postgraduate studies.

Additionally, applicants should NOT have worked or studied for more than a year in high-income nations.

Shared scholarship awardees are also entitled to a maintenance allowance, roundtrip airfare, and other applicable allowances.

5. Commonwealth Ph.D. Scholarships

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: Full tuition amount
  • Eligible Degree: Doctoral degrees at select UK host universities

Like the Shared Scholarship Scheme, the Ph.D. scholarship is funded by both the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission and select UK universities.

Expectedly, Ph.D. applicants must work on any of the 6 above-mentioned themes to be eligible for the award.

Application requirements include proof of citizenship or status, full transcripts, 2 individual references, and supporting statements from a proposed supervisor.

The Commonwealth Ph.D. scholarship will also provide a living monthly stipend, return airfares, and family allowances (as applicable).

6. GREAT Scholarships

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: £10,000 for a 1-year Master’s degree
  • Eligible Degree: Master’s degrees at select UK universities

GREAT scholarships are offered to students who wish to take a 1-year postgraduate degree in the UK.

To apply for this UK scholarship, the student must be a citizen/resident of these eligible countries: China, India, Ghana, Indonesia, Egypt, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Kenya, Nepal, Pakistan, Mexico, Thailand, and Sri Lanka.

Applicants should also hold a qualified undergraduate degree – and be active in the field with which he/she intends to study in the UK. In line with the standard university requirements, proficiency in the English language is required as well.

GREAT scholars are expected to be ambassadors of UK higher education. Likewise, they are required to attend conferences, lectures, and other extra-curricular activities that are in line with the award program.

7. British Council Scholarships for Women in STEM

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: Full cost of tuition
  • Eligible Degree: Post-graduate degrees at any of 19 UK host universities

As the name suggests, this award is offered to women in STEM – who are residents/citizens of countries in the Americas and parts of Asia. Being a competitive award, the scholarship receives an average of 4,000 applications every year.

To qualify, the student should have work experience and/or demonstrate interest in a certain study area. Awardees are usually in need of financial support.

Other eligibility requirements of this scholarship in the UK for international students include a Bachelor’s degree and English proficiency (may be done with a pre-sessional course).

Apart from covering the full cost of tuition fees, the British Council will also shoulder the applicant’s monthly stipends, return airfare, and other related costs (visa application, IELTS exam, NHS surcharge, and study supplies).

8. The University of Sheffield International Undergraduate Merit Scholarship

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: 50% of the tuition fee per year for a maximum of 4 years
  • Eligible Degree: Bachelor’s degrees at the University of Sheffield

Every year, the University of Sheffield selects 50 deserving international students as recipients of the merit scholarship.

To be eligible, the applicant must have received an offer from the university. Those who wish to pursue Medicine or Dentistry, however, will not be covered by the award.

As a competitive scholarship program, the university panel will choose recipients according to their rationale for applying, their future ambitions, their goals (related to the degree), and their academic profile.

It is important to note that this partial award may not be used with other merit or external scholarships. It may, however, be used together with the funding provided by the student’s department or faculty.

For the scholarship to be renewed, the awardee must maintain a scoring of at least 60% and above.

9. UCL Denys Holland Scholarship

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: £9,000 ($12,380) per year for 3 years
  • Eligible Degree: Bachelor’s degree at UCL

The Denys Holland Scholarship is offered to home and international students who are financially incapable of studying at UCL. It also considers students who are committed to contributing to the university. Scholars, after all, are expected to fully participate in UCL extracurricular activities and the Student Union.

To qualify for this UK scholarship, the applicant must have a UCL student number, a UCAS personal ID, and an admission offer for any UCL undergraduate program.

During the application process, the student will need to disclose the financial circumstances that make him/her unable to fund his/her UCL studies.

The scholarship provides an amount of £9,000 ($12,380) per year for 3 years, renewable according to the applicant’s academic performance.

Successful awardees are notified every September.

10. Think Big Undergraduate Scholarships

  • Scholarship Link
  • Scholarship Amount: £5,000 ($6,880) to £10,000 ($13,755) per year for all years of undergraduate study
  • Eligible Degree: Bachelor’s degree at the University of Bristol (except Medicine, Dentistry, and Veterinary Science)

All foreign students who have applied to the University of Bristol may qualify for the Think Big Undergraduate scholarship, one of the best scholarships in the United Kingdom for international students. That’s because the foremost requirement for this award is a UCAS ID, Student ID, or Kaplan ID.

Apart from this, there are no other requirements needed to qualify for the Think Big Award. Accomplishing the online scholarship application form will suffice. Doing so will also qualify the student for all scholarships, however, the applicant may only choose one.

All qualified awardees will be notified by the University through email.


I hope that this article on the UK scholarships for international students was helpful. If you are interested, visit the UK Scholarships Page!