Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program

Frequently Asked Questions

To help you in your application, we have put together some frequently asked questions on the application process including which program to apply to, English language tests, interviews, references, entry tests and receiving an offer.

Application Stage

When does the next round of applications open?

Applications for our 2022 online Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program, for Online Learning postgraduate degrees only, will open on 31st January 2022 at 10am UK time and will close on 14th March at 4pm UK time. Only graduated (or soon to graduate) Mastercard Foundation undergraduate Scholars from a Mastercard Foundation partner institution are eligible to apply.

I want to learn more about the Online Learning scholarship application process, where can I find even more information?

We frequently update the Online Learning Scholarships | The University of Edinburgh link, where you can find eligibility criteria, supported degree programmes and other information. We are also hosting an information session on January 27 from 5-6PM (GMT) / Zoom link here.

Can I apply for an undergraduate study scholarship?

Applications for undergraduate study at the University of Edinburgh have now finished, with the final Scholar cohort enrolled at the University in September 2019.

Can I apply for an on-campus postgraduate study scholarship?

Applications for on-campus postgraduate study at the University of Edinburgh are currently closed, we will provide more details on if these open again.

I have not graduated as an MCF scholar from an MCF partner university; will I still be eligible to apply for an MCF scholarship at the University of Edinburgh?

As we are only recruiting for Online Learning postgraduate scholars, you will not be eligible if you have not graduated/ about to graduate as an MCF undergraduate scholar. For more information about the eligibility criteria for the Online Learning scholarships, please visit: Online Learning Scholarships | The University of Edinburgh

Will there be another undergraduate/ postgraduate on-campus round for recruitment?

At the moment, we have stopped recruitment for both undergraduate and on-campus postgraduate scholarships. If recruitment for either scholarship opens again, our sites will be updated accordingly.

What documents do I need to apply for this Scholarship?

Your university degree certificate and final official transcript - If you do not have these documents, you will be given the chance to provide these documents if you are offered scholarship, and a place on an online degree programme.

Should I apply to the scholarship or for admission to the degree first? Why shouldn’t I apply for the degree programme as well?

If the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program is the only scholarship you are interested to apply for in the University of Edinburgh, please apply for this scholarship only. If your scholarship application is successful, we will assist you with applying to your degree programme of choice (from the list mentioned in Online Learning Scholarships | The University of Edinburgh)

If you are also applying for other scholarships at the University of Edinburgh, please apply directly for the degree programme of your choice. 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:

Do I need to take an English language test?

All applicants who receive an offer will be tested by the University’s English Language Education (ELE) centre unless they already have a valid English language test.

There is no fee for this test and all testing takes place via video or web link. The ELE English test assesses applicants on reading, writing, speaking and listening.

We aim to have a number of appointments available to you. Please note this only applies to this specific scholarship program at this University. For other scholarships at the University of Edinburgh, or for other Mastercard Foundation Scholars Programs at other Universities, it is possible you will need an English language qualification prior to receiving an offer of admission.

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 member to determine the academic suitability of each application for the specific degree chosen by the applicant.


Interview Stage

How will I hear about being invited to interview?

From early March, applicants who have been shortlisted will be invited to interview.

You will receive an email to the email address you registered with, asking you to choose a convenient time slot for you. Interviews will usually be held via video connection e.g. Skype but could also be held in person based on the availability of program staff.

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.

You will also be provided with the questions we will ask you during the interview to help you prepare well in advance.

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?

The reference request will be sent directly to your chosen referee. The referee will be provided with guidance on how to complete the reference for you. Reference requests will only be sent out for those shortlisted for an interview.

How and when should my reference be submitted?

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’s our opportunity to get to know you better. 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 by mid May 2022. If you are successful, the outcome will be both an offer of scholarship as well as for admission to the University.

Please note that your offer of admission to the University is likely to be conditional at this stage. Over the next few months, the MCF team at Edinburgh will support and guide you so that your offer becomes unconditional. Common conditions linked to an offer can be the confirmation of your university qualification, and successfully demonstrating your English language proficiency.


Scholarship Offer Stage

Is my offer binding?

We expect applicants who accept their offer to take up their place on the MCF 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?

By mid May, we will notify shortlisted applicants 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 based on the conditions mentioned above.

What do I do if I have a question which is not answered above?

Please ensure you have read all of 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 team at