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Chevening Scholarships – A Guide for 2020

Chevening Scholarships are part of a prestigious UK Government postgraduate funding scheme specifically for international students in the UK.

It offers an annual scholarship competition for Masters programmes, designed to develop international leadership and expertise. Many Chevening alumni have gone on to become highly successful figures in business, industry and politics.

This page will give you an introduction to the Chevening Scholarship programme, with information on eligible countries, the application process and more.

What are Chevening Scholarships?

As an initiative by the UK Government, Chevening Scholarships are funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

Chevening Scholarships are aimed at international postgraduates with high leadership potential, enabling them to study a Masters at a British university and develop useful professional / academic networks. These connections can then be used to build a strong relationship with the UK and make a positive impact in your home country.

Along with generous funding, the Chevening programme includes plenty of extracurricular activities and volunteering opportunities designed to help Chevening Scholars experience the best of British culture and make the most of their time in the UK. These range from sightseeing trips in different parts of the country to networking events with other scholars on the programme.

If you’d like to find out more about these opportunities, we’d recommend reading Loshana’s blog on her own Chevening experience.

How much is a Chevening Scholarship worth?

Chevening scholarships are designed to cover the full cost of studying a Masters degree in the UK, including any additional expenses you may incur as an international student.

You will typically receive:

  • Full payment of Masters tuition fees, up to £18,000
  • Payment of travel to and from the UK
  • Payment of visa application fees
  • A monthly living allowance (stipend) for accommodation and expenses – this amount will be confirmed in your acceptance letter and will be higher if you’re studying in London

You may also receive an ‘events travel top-up allowance’ to contribute towards the cost of travelling to any mandatory Chevening events, which are usually held in London.

The total value of a scholarship is usually around £30,000 over the course of a one-year Masters, but the exact amount will vary depending on your circumstances and requirements. Stipend amounts are reviewed each year.

Chevening Fellowships

Chevening Fellowships form a different strand of the Chevening funding programme. These awards are aimed at mid-career professionals rather than students. A Chevening Fellowship is usually used for a shorter period of academic or professional research in an area relevant to the recipient’s existing expertise. For more information, visit the official Chevening Fellowship page.

Who is eligible to apply for a Chevening Scholarship?

The prestige and value of the Chevening scholarships programme means that applications are highly competitive.

You will need to demonstrate strong existing qualifications as well as future potential.

In order to fulfil the Chevening Scholarship requirements, you must:

  • Be a citizen of an eligible country (there are over 140 ‘Chevening-countries’, most of which are developing nations in Africa, Asia, South America and Eastern Europe – there are some exceptions, however) and return there for two years after graduation.
  • Hold an undergraduate degree equivalent to a UK 2.1 (‘upper second-class honours’).
  • Have two years’ work experience.
  • Have an unconditional offer for a Masters at a UK university (you can find out more about eligible Masters courses below – see below).

One of the main conditions for Chevening funding is that you return to your home country for at least two years after finishing your Masters course. This is so that you can put into practice the leadership skills you’ve developed during your time in the UK and make a positive impact in your community.

You must also meet certain English language requirements when applying for a Chevening Scholarship:

  • IELTS Academic – 6.5
  • TOEFL iBT – 79
  • 1 Advanced – 176
  • PTE Academic – 58
  • Trinity ISE II – Listening 2, Reading 15, Speaking 8, Writing 14

If you’re a national of one of the following countries – or if you studied your Bachelors degree in a university based there – you’ll be exempt from the English language requirements:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • The Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • British Overseas Territories
  • Canada
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Ireland
  • Jamaica
  • New Zealand
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • United States of America

You can see a full list of the eligibility criteria on the Chevening website.

Course eligibility

To receive a Chevening Scholarship, your course must be a full-time taught Masters degree lasting up to one year.

You cannot receive a scholarship for a part-time or distance learning course, or for a PhD. Research Masters aren’t eligible either.

The application process will require you to select three courses that suit your goals. You can choose any combination of institutions and subject areas, but your selections must be eligible UK Masters degrees.

If successful, you will only be awarded a scholarship to study one of your chosen courses. However, you should choose all three options carefully as they may be discussed during your interview.

How can I apply for a Chevening Scholarship?

Applications for Chevening Scholarships normally open in August for courses beginning in the autumn of the following year. The Chevening deadline is usually in November.

You can check the exact dates of the Chevening timeline on their website.

To begin with, you should apply via your country’s page on the Chevening website, using the Chevening online application system.

The application can take a while to complete, so make sure you leave plenty of time to give it your best shot.

You’ll need to answer a set of short essay questions, with a 500 word limit. These questions normally cover areas to do with your leadership and networking abilities, as well as the reasoning behind the Masters courses you’ve chosen. You’ll also have to provide information on your work experience.

If you’re shortlisted after your online application, you’ll then be invited to an interview at the nearest British embassy or high commission. Interview invitations are sent out in February, with interviews taking place between March and May.

After receiving the invitation, you’ll need to upload these documents to the Chevening online application system:

  • Copies of your degree certificate and academic transcripts
  • Two references (academic or professional)
  • A brief biographical description of yourself

The interview will almost always be face-to-face – video interviews are only available if your country doesn’t have a British embassy / high commission, or if there are security reasons preventing your travel.

Chevening interview questions cover a range of topics. You’ll be asked about the information in your online application, as well as discussing your ambitions, choice of Masters programme and leadership potential.

You should hear whether your Chevening application was successful in June.

Top tips for your Chevening Scholarship application

For more information on making a successful Chevening application, check out Loshana's blog on how she won a Chevening Scholarship.

Last updated - 15/06/2020

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