On-campus postgraduate scholarships
Find out more about the process of applying for an on campus postgraduate scholarship with the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Edinburgh.
Nurturing climate leaders
All Mastercard Foundation Scholars at the University of Edinburgh will participate in a Climate Leadership Programme.
The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program aims to make a meaningful impact in addressing the climate crisis.
Our program is dedicated to nurturing a community of talented, entrepreneurial, and compassionate leaders from across Sub-Saharan Africa.
We empower young people with the necessary knowledge, skills, and networks to drive sustainable transitions by offering a range of exceptional sustainability-focused postgraduate opportunities through the Program at the University of Edinburgh.
Find out more about our Climate Leadership Programme:
Applying for an on-campus scholarship
We recruit exceptional young people with great academic and leadership experience who have overcome barriers to their education and are committed to pursuing their studies on-campus.
Please note, 2024/24 applications are closed.
This is a one-year postgraduate on-campus scholarship for the following programmes ONLY:
Africa and International Development offers a variety of courses and innovative cohort building activities that foster the co-creation of interdisciplinary understanding of the dynamics of the climate emergency, based on a situated understanding of its impact on societies across Sub-Saharan Africa.
Our approach to teaching underscores intersecting themes, ranging from climate-induced mobilities and vulnerabilities to contestations around net-zero transitions across the region. We also drive various student-led initiatives through dissertations and placement within several world-leading research and advocacy organisations which, enable students to connect acquired skills and insights on the programme with imaginative and practical ideas about how to empower governments, civil society, businesses and relevant stakeholders to build a more sustainable and inclusive solution to climate change.
Find out more about the MSc Africa and International Development:
As it has been observed during the last decade, food security is becoming a major issue around the world.
The last FAO report (2023) states that almost 30% of the world's population suffered from severe or moderate food insecurity in 2022.
Climate change and sustainability are critical elements of the food insecurity situation. Many consequences of climate change are challenging food security and diet quality worldwide.
Climate change places those vulnerable to food insecurity in even more difficult situations because of the reduced resources available for food production and the extreme climatological conditions make food production stability difficult to achieve. Furthermore, how food is produced at the moment and how consumers are deciding which food conforms to their diet negatively impacts planetary resources, consumers' health and generates greenhouse gas emissions.
This is why two new food security pillars were defined last year: sustainability and agency. The sustainability pillar focuses on the importance of producing food, respecting the natural resources used to produce food and reducing the impact of climate change generated by the food system.
The objective is to work towards the long-term viability of food systems reinforcing its ecological and social bases. The agency pillar is to recognise the right and responsibility of people to choose what is good for them and the planet instead of being imposed on their dietary choices. Consumers can choose to help make the food system more sustainable for the planet and their health.
Find out more about the MSc Food Security:
The energy crisis is forcing the world to secure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. The MSc in Sustainable Energy Systems allows students to contribute to a more sustainable future. The programme is grounded in engineering, but students are encouraged to consider the societal, economic, environmental and policy aspects of the industry.
Find out more about the MSc Sustainable Energy Systems:
MSc Entrepreneurship and Innovation prepares our students to tackle complex challenges, in different disciplines including sustainability by focusing on development, implementation and commercialisation of innovative solutions. The programme is designed focus on the development of practical skills and opportunities for the application of knowledge to real-life organisational situations and issues.
Find out more about the MSc Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Addressing climate change and sustainability is deeply intertwined with understanding inequalities. The most vulnerable and impoverished are disproportionately affected by climate change, yet studies reveal that the wealthiest 10% of the global population contributes to nearly half of all CO2 emissions. Dealing with climate change is, necessarily, dealing with inequalities.
The MSc Data, Inequality, and Society program is designed to empower students with robust analytical tools and data proficiency to delve into the underlying causes of inequalities and develop inclusive initiatives that pave the way for sustainable futures.
Find our more about the MSc Data, Inequality and Society:
The goal of Operational Research is to support organisations in running their operations as efficiently and effectively as possible using minimal physical resources. Especially the latter is becoming increasingly important in recent years.
Examples of sustainability issues addressed in courses of the programme include finding the best output levels of traditional and renewable electricity generators, the optimal placement of charging stations and use of electric vehicles for last-mile logistics, and ESG-based investments. In addition, in the past students could work for their summer projects on topics like hydrogen refuelling network design, managing grid-sized battery storage to level out imbalances in the energy network, or climate risk quantification in the financial industry.
Find out more about the MSc Operational Research
The MSc Environmental Sustainability recognises that ensuring environmental sustainability and achieving it, is one of the most significant challenges facing humanity in the 21st century You will be encouraged to think across different disciplines and consider scientific, socio-economic, and policy perspectives to better understand sustainability and how it can be achieved in different geographical contexts. You can explore critical social and global issues and ways to address these to benefit individuals, communities, societies and nature.
Find out more about the MSc Environmental Sustainability
The University of Edinburgh Business School’s MSc in Climate Change Finance and Investment is dedicated to developing professionals in the field of low carbon finance and investment. Designed around an interdisciplinary foundation of carbon accounting, climate policy and financial economics, the programme aims to develop the skills and knowledge to drive the trillions of dollars of new investment needed to face the climate emergency. The MSc has an international focus, looking at the opportunities and challenges across different sectors, financial markets, and levels of national economic development.
Find out more about the MSc Climate Change Finance and Investment
A sustainable future is a future where people, living beings and the planet are able to flourish together. Planetary health is about achieving the highest attainable health, wellbeing and equity across the world by attending to all of those human systems – the political, social, economic, environmental systems alongside all of the earth’s natural systems. Planetary Health emphasises the absolute interconnection of all life – human, animal and the wider natural world – and the effects and consequences of the triple planetary crises of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution. At the heart of planetary health studies is the acknowledgement that humans have been responsible for driving the triple crises, but we can also bring about the necessary changes. Students on the Planetary Health MSc will develop knowledge and skills required to promote sustainable livelihoods, learning how to protect human and natural systems and tackle the drivers of the climate crises, biodiversity loss and pollution.
Find out more about the MSc Planetary Health
The MSc Environment and Development enables you to critically evaluate the multiple dimensions of the inter-relationship between development and the environment, with an abiding concern for social and environmental justice.
Our approach to understanding climate change and sustainability will centre questions of justice and inequalities. You will be encouraged to reflect upon your own roles in transformations towards social and environmental justice, considering the ethics of engagement in an unequal world. Attempts to understand and address climate change and sustainability issues need to pay close attention to their contested, political and ideological nature and how they differ across places and scales. That is why our MSc foregrounds society and nature as inherently linked, historical contexts as highly relevant to current debates, and global capitalism as an underlying force of change. It will consider the increasingly diverse set of actors, practices and processes driving environment and development issues, and question the power of these to direct agendas and actions. The MSc has relevance in both the 'Global South' and 'Global North', drawing attention to relationships of inequality and marginalisation as they occur for particular environments and sections of society worldwide.
Find out more about the MSc Environment & Development
Apply for the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program before applying to the University
If you are only applying for the Mastercard Foundation Scholarship please apply for the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program first, only once you have received a scholarship offer should you apply to any of the above programmes through the University of Edinburgh admissions process.
Only in the case of applying for other scholarships should you consider applying to the university first.
You must meet the eligibility criteria to apply:
- Applicants must qualify academically for admission to the University of Edinburgh for a relevant degree programme listed. You will generally need to have achieved the equivalent of a UK Second Class (Upper) Bachelor’s (Hons) degree or higher. Find out more about the postgraduate entry requirements for your country:
- Applicants will have faced significant barriers to education (social, financial, personal, practical or health related).
- Applicants must have graduated from an undergraduate study and must have a degree certificate and official final transcript to upload alongside their application by 7 December.
- Applicants must be residents and citizens or hold refugee status in a Sub-Saharan African country.
- Applicants must have faced barriers to education and in their early career.
- Applicants must demonstrate a track record of leadership and service within their community.
- Applicants must demonstrate experience, or at least ambition, in making a meaningful impact in addressing the climate crisis
- Applicants must be 35 or under as of 1 September 2024
- Applicants should not have previously completed a postgraduate degree and should not be enrolled (or apply to enrol) at a separate university whilst on the Mastercard Foundation Scholarship.
- If applying for the on campus Masters programme: Applicants should not have previously completed a postgraduate degree and should not be enrolled (or apply to enrol) at a separate university whilst on the Mastercard Foundation Scholarship.
- We particularly welcome applications from female Scholars, Scholars from refugee and displaced backgrounds, and Scholars with disabilities (see FAQs below for further information)
What the on-campus scholarship provides
- Covers full approved tuition, accommodation, travel, living cost stipend and study materials.
- A climate leadership programme to inspire and support Scholars in making change in their communities and countries.
- Additional support is offered to scholars with disabilities based on an assessment of needs.
Application timeline 2024/25
|23 October 2023 (10am UK time)
|1 December 2023 (5pm UK time)
|All applicants must have completed the first stage of the application – the Eligibility Assessment. The SM Apply system will not permit new applications after 1st December at 5pm GMT.
|7 December 2023 (5pm UK time)
|On-campus Interview shortlisting begins; both successful and unsuccessful applicants will be notified.
|Early to mid February 2024
|On-campus interviews take place.
|End of February 2024
|On-campus Interview outcomes will be announced.
|March – August 2024
|Support provided through admission and immigration processes.
|Academic program starts.
How to apply
You must qualify academically for admission to the University of Edinburgh. We require that applicants apply for this scholarship before applying to the University.
The Program will not accept applications submitted outside the online application system.
Please review our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section, below, for further details.
If you have any queries regarding the Mastercard Foundation Scholarships, which are not answered in the FAQs, please contact us at: email@example.com
2024/25 applications have now closed.
The selection process for applications is based on the following criteria:
- Academic merit of the candidate that qualifies for admissions to the University of Edinburgh
- Track record as a transformative leader and service within their community.
- Quality of application in line with the Program theme of climate justice.
- Potential impact on the development of the applicant’s home country.
- Applicants who have faced significant barriers to education (social, financial, personal, practical or health related).
Should I apply to the scholarship or for admission to the degree first?
If the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program is the only scholarship you are interested to apply for in the University of Edinburgh, please apply for the Mastercard Foundation scholarship only first. If you receive a scholarship offer from the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program then you can apply for the academic programme.
If you are also applying for other scholarships at the University of Edinburgh, please apply directly for the degree programme of your choice as well as the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program application. (Please also read the information about programme application fees below).
If you have already secured a place on an eligible degree programme, please indicate in your Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program application form that you have already secured a place on the degree programme.
More information on how to apply can be found on each individual degree programme web page, which can be found on the University degree finder.
Where do I apply for the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program?
The link will be made available on this webpage on 23rd October 2023 to both the online and on-campus scholarship application forms. Before then, we encourage you to familiarise yourself with the information provided on this site, including all FAQs, and the site of your desired degree programme.
When does the next round of applications open?
Applications for our Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program, for postgraduate degrees only, will open from 23rd October 2023 at 10.00am and close on 7th December 2023 at 5pm BST. There is no competitive advantage from applying to the scholarship early.
Please note that all applicants must have completed the first stage of the application – the eligibility assessment – by 1st December at 5pm BST. New applications will not be permitted by the SM Apply system after said date.
Please do not apply for your degree programmes.
Which postgraduate degrees are covered on this scholarship?
We offer scholarships for the following online degree programmes:
- International Development (Masters route only)
- Carbon Management (Masters route only)
- Social Justice and Community Action (Masters route only)
- Global Food Security and Nutrition (Masters or Diploma)
- Global Challenges (Masters or Diploma)
- One Health (Masters or Diploma)
- Circular Economy (Masters or Diploma)
- Sustainable Lands and Cities (Masters or Diploma)
We offer scholarships for the following on-campus postgraduate programmes.
- Africa and International Development
- Climate Change Finance and Investment
- Entrepreneurship and Innovation
- Food Security
- MSc Environment & Development
- MSc Environmental Sustainability
- Planetary Health
- Sustainable Energy Systems
- Operational Research (While we are aware of the different specialisation options for this programme (with Risk, Computational Optimisation, and Data Science) our scholarship covers the general Operational Research MSc only)
- Data, Inequality and Society (while there is the option for students to take this Masters in a hybrid format the stipulation for those on an Mastercard Foundation Scholarship and for Tier 4 visa regulations means you will need to undertake the programme in person for the full year)
No other academic programs at the University of Edinburgh are eligible for this scholarship. You are welcome to apply to any academic program but only those listed above will make you eligible for a Mastercard Foundation scholarship.
Can I apply for a degree programme which varies from the subject of my BA degree?
It is possible for applicants to apply for programmes which vary from their bachelor’s field. We advise that you take the opportunity in your application to demonstrate genuine interest in the programme and how it links to your current and future goals.
To guide you in making the strongest possible application, we would also recommend that you review the eligibility requirements of the programme in which you are interested.
Do I need to identify as a woman, refugee, displaced, or as having a disability in order to qualify for the Mastercard Foundation scholarship?
Applicants need not identify as women, refugee, displaced, or with a disability to apply for the Mastercard Foundation Scholarship. Our eligibility information states we ‘particularly welcome applications’ from these groups as we hope to encourage as diverse and inclusive an application pool as possible.
How is disability defined?
Persons with disabilities include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.
- According to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD)
Who is a youth?
Young people and youths are individuals between the ages of 15-35 years
-According to Africa Youth Charter
How is displacement defined?
Along with the Mastercard Foundation we understand that there are many reasons why young people may be forcibly displaced. If this is part of your story, please articulate it in a way that feels authentic to you in your application. You may have a legal status or another experience of displacement that has created barriers to access to education. We will consider this as we review your application and will be proactive in creating scholarship opportunities for young people who have been displaced.
Can I be considered if I do not meet all the criteria?
Due to the large volume of applications and for transparency purposes, we are unable to extend any exemptions. You must meet all the eligibility criteria to be considered for the Mastercard Foundation scholarship.
We are unable to make exceptions on eligibility requirements.
What documents do I need to apply for this Scholarship?
Postgraduate entry: Your final official university degree certificate and final official transcript. You will need to have these to upload this as part of your application.
If you do not have these documents by the application deadline (7th December 2023), you will not be able to proceed with the application.
What is involved in the application process?
In the first stage you will be asked a series of questions to determine whether you meet all the eligibility criteria for the scholarship. If you do not, you will not proceed to the next stage.
If you do meet the eligibility criteria you will be invited to answer a series of short essay questions outlining your personal story, your academic and leadership experience and your future ambition. These responses will then be submitted for review by the Program Application Review team to short list applications for a university admissions review and then a scholarship interview.
I have applied for the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at other institutions, can I submit the same application for all?
All Mastercard Foundation Scholars Programs have similar, although not identical eligibility criteria. We would encourage you to take your time to tailor your application to each individual institution and think carefully about why you would like to study at each institution you are applying to and shape your responses accordingly.
You are, therefore, most welcome to apply if you meet all required eligibility conditions.
Do I need to take an English language test?
English Language Test results are not a requirement when applying for the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program.
However, depending on where you did your undergraduate studies you may be required to undertake an English language test as part of the admissions process to the University of Edinburgh, unless you already have a valid English language test that meets the University’s minimum. The English test assesses applicants on reading, writing, speaking and listening. Some of the test providers are IELTS and TOEFL.
Is the support and program offered only in English, or is it available in another language as well?
The support and the study programme is provided entirely in English ONLY.
What happens during the review of applications period?
Each submitted application is read and assessed by representatives from across the University of Edinburgh. This includes a further assessment undertaken by Admissions staff to determine the academic suitability of each application for the specific degree chosen by the applicant.
I have completed and submitted the application, when will I hear back?
We will inform candidates whether they have been shortlisted for an interview from 31st March for on campus applicants and from 14th April for online applicants.
Can I apply for both the online and on-campus Mastercard Foundation Scholars Programs at University of Edinburgh?
Applicants are only able to apply for either the online (Master’s or Diploma) OR on-campus (Master’s) programmes and not both. As we want to ensure candidates are fully invested and interested to pursue a particular study route.
Can I apply for the scholarship if I have a Masters already?
Masters scholarship applicants should not be planning to or have completed a graduate/postgraduate degree already. However, PG-Diploma scholarship applicants can either have an undergraduate or Master’s degree from a Sub-Saharan African university
Do I have to pay for the application fee to my degree programme if applying for an Mastercard Foundation scholarship?
Your degree programme application fee will be waived ONLY if you are accepted to the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program - please do not contact Fees or the Admissions office to request a waiver. If you are successfully awarded the Mastercard Foundation scholarship, the Program team will support your application to your degree programme and the application fee will then be waivered. If the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program is the only Program you are applying to at the University of Edinburgh, you do not need to apply to your degree programme as part of your application to the Mastercard Foundation programme, you will be supported to apply to your degree programme, ONLY if you are awarded the Mastercard Foundation Scholarship Program.
If you are applying to multiple programs at the University of Edinburgh, please check the Program application requirements as some may request that you apply for the degree programme as well as the completing a scholarship application (whereas Mastercard Foundation doesn’t, as explained above). If this is the case, you will have to pay for the application fee to your degree programme.
Is there flexibility in the duration for completing a postgraduate degree at the University of Edinburgh under the scholarship program?
The period for completing a postgraduate degree at the University of Edinburgh is fixed and we adhere to the outlined degree programme guidelines.
How can I ensure I have successfully completed and submitted my application?
Whether you are using a phone or a computer to make your application, ensure you complete and click the ‘submit’ button for you to advance to the next stage of your application.
Will the scholarship support my family and dependents as well?
The Program only covers costs for an individual, and we are unable to provide financial or practical support for family members and other dependents. The University accommodation we provide is also for individuals and cannot be used by family members.
In principle, a successful candidate could travel with one or more family members, but covering the costs in such cases would be the sole responsibility of the scholars. Unless family members already have the right to work and live in the UK, obtaining a visa for them is likely to be difficult and usually requires applicants to show evidence of having a significant amount of money available to cover life in the UK.
For further details, please see the UK government website.
Interview and references stage
How will I hear about being invited to interview?
From 1st February 2024, on campus applicants who have been shortlisted will be invited to interview. From 8th February 2024, online applicants who have been shortlisted will be invited to interview.
You will receive an email to the address you registered with asking you to choose a convenient time slot for you. Interviews will usually be held via video connection e.g. MS Teams/ Zoom.
If undertaking your interview via a video connection is not possible, we will work with you to find a solution. We will also request a reference for all short-listed applicants at this stage.
Why do you request a reference?
We are keen to know as much as we can about each of our short-listed applicants. A reference is important to ensure we are awarding the scholarship to applicants who meet the eligibility criteria and who will benefit most from the experience at Edinburgh.
What should the reference include?
You will not need to instruct your referees what to include in their reference letter. The reference letter request will be sent directly to your chosen referee. The referee will be provided with guidance on how to complete the reference for you.
We would encourage you to ensure your chosen referee is aware you have nominated them and that they have explicitly agreed to oblige, as and when requested.
How and when should my reference be submitted?
We do not request reference letters at the application stage, you will simply need to provide their name and email address. When required, referees will be provided with instructions on how to submit a reference.
What will my interview be like?
All interviews should last approximately 30 minutes. We will ask you questions directly related to the scholarship and it is our opportunity to get to know you better. Depending on the number of applicants, we may opt for group interviews.
There will also be a chance for you to ask questions.
What happens if I have technology or connection issues and cannot attend the interview?
Applicants should undertake reasonable preparations to ensure the interview goes smoothly. This includes a quiet environment with a good connection for you to concentrate and for us to hear you.
We understand that sometimes unavoidable technical difficulties can affect the interview and we take this into consideration. As a last resort, we may have to reschedule your interview if we are not able to connect with you at all.
When will I hear about the result of my interview?
We aim to notify all short-listed applicants of the outcome of their interview as follows:
On-campus applicants by the end of February 2024
Online applicants by the start of March 2024
If you are successful, the outcome will be a conditional offer of the Program. You will then be required to apply to the University of Edinburgh. Over the next few months, the Program team at Edinburgh will support and guide you so that your offer becomes unconditional.
What happens when I do not hear about the status of my application?
Applicants will receive emails from SM Apply directly. These emails sometimes end up in the junk mail folder by default. To ensure you receive timely updates and notifications regarding your application, we strongly advise marking these emails as 'safe sender' or 'not junk' and regularly checking your junk folder throughout the application process.
Is my offer binding?
We expect applicants who accept their offer to take up their place on the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program. Once your offer is unconditional, the scholarship and admission to the University of Edinburgh is binding.
What happens during the Confirmation of Admission to the University of Edinburgh period?
We will notify shortlisted on-campus applicants by end of February, and shortlisted online applicants by the beginning of March whether they have successfully been offered the scholarship.
As much as we are confident you will also gain admission to the University of Edinburgh, for most applicants, the offer is still conditional at this stage and could still be subject to the conditions mentioned above.
What do I do if I have a question which is not answered above?
Please ensure you have read all the guidance provided to you via this website and the application form. If you are still unable to find an answer to your query, please contact the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program team at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please also follow us on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn where we will be sharing content to help support those in the application process.