Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program

Online postgraduate scholarships

Find out more about the process of applying for an online postgraduate scholarship with the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Edinburgh.

scholar studying online

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:

Climate Leadership Programme

Applying for an online learning scholarship

We recruit exceptional young people with great academic and leadership experience who have overcome barriers to their education and are diligently committed to pursuing their studies to apply for an Online Scholarship at the University of Edinburgh.

Online studies are an excellent way to earn a qualification for those who would like to continue working and prefer to study in their local context (for example, to be closer to their families).

Online qualifications through the University of Edinburgh are equivalent to degrees taught on campus.

Applicants can apply for either:

  • Online Masters (part-time over 3 years) OR
  • Online Post-graduate Diploma (part-time over 2 years)

Online Masters

Masters programmes normally aim at those who have completed an undergraduate degree and want to develop more specialised knowledge in the same subject or similar career area.

Applicants who already have a postgraduate qualification are not able to apply for this Program.

The Program is designed to cover three years of part-time online study.

Online postgraduate diploma

Postgraduate diplomas are aimed at those who are considering a potential change in their careers and tend to be more vocational.

Candidates with either an undergraduate or Master’s degree from a Sub-Saharan African university are equally able to apply (provided they will graduate from either degree and provide their degree certificates and transcripts by 7 December.)

The Program is designed to cover two years of part-time online study.

We offer scholarships for the following online degree programmes ONLY:

Apply for the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program before applying to the University

If you are only applying for the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program please apply for the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program first, only once you have received a Program 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.


Application timeline 2024/25

23 October 2023 (10am UK time) Applications open.
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) Applications close.

Early February 2024

Online Distance Learners (ODL) Interview shortlisting begins; both successful and unsuccessful applicants will be notified.
Mid to Late February 2024 ODL interviews take place.
By mid March ODL Interview outcomes will be announced.
March - July 2024 Support provided through admissions processes.
September 2024 Academic program starts.

How to apply

You must qualify academically for admission to the University of Edinburgh. We require that applicants apply for this Program 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:

2024/25 applications are closed. Applications for 2025/26 will open in October 2024.

Selection Process

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 Scholars 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).