Scholarships and Student Funding

The Catto Combined MSc and PhD Scholarships

The Centre of African Studies, University of Edinburgh is pleased to announce the availability of one (1) full scholarship for suitable female applicants from Africa to study for an MSc in Africa and International Development and subsequent PhD in African Studies or, where more suitable, go directly into a PhD.

The funding covers four years of support in either case. Successful applicants will start their studies in September 2022. This Scholarship is made possible through generous funding from the Stephen Gordon Catto Charitable Trust. It will cover full fees as well as an annual stipend of £15,840 during the one-year MSc and in the subsequent three years of PhD study or throughout four years of PhD study. Upfront support of £4000 will also be provided to help cover UK visa application costs, travel costs to Edinburgh and any other costs incurred by the awardee before arriving in Edinburgh.

This scholarship has been designed to offer a combined package in order to enable those who may not feel they have sufficient research experience to embark on a PhD to get that grounding with an MSc. The MSc year helps build a bridge between undergraduate studies and the PhD. We hope the combined package of support encourages some who may not have thought a PhD was in reach to re-consider. A key goal of the scholarship is to diversify the scholars from the African continent who contribute original and important research to African Studies.

Where appropriate, we are also able to offer direct admission into the PhD African Studies Programme. If you are applying directly to the PhD, note that you must have received an excellent Masters Degree. In this case, four years of full funding towards the PhD would be awarded.


To be eligible, applicants must:

  1. Be a female who is normally domiciled in an African country listed here.
  2. have received an excellent undergraduate degree (minimum of a high 2.1) in the social sciences from an accredited university in Africa (a Masters degree achieved with distinction will be an advantage for those wishing to go directly into a PhD).
  3. not have previously received a degree from a university outside Africa (with the exception of current or former students of The University of Edinburgh)
  4. demonstrate commitment to studying for a PhD in African Studies
  5. demonstrate leadership potential (broadly defined), and intention to maximize the impact of their research.
  6. have submitted an application to study for the MSc in Africa and International Development and/or the PhD in African Studies at the University of Edinburgh by April 15th, 2022.

Preference will be given to those studying conflict resolution, elections, technology, peace building, gender and/or governance in African contexts, although the selection panel may consider other areas in the field of African Studies, politics and international development.


If you are interested and meet all the above, please send:

  1. A summary of your research proposal (maximum 2 pages)
  2. A cover letter indicating your motivations and future plans (maximum 1 page)
  3. An academic CV, clearly showing class of degree and previous educational achievements (maximum 2 pages)
  4. 1 letter of reference from an academic familiar with your work

The PDF document must be named as follows: First Name Surname_CATTO APPLICATION_2022

Example:  Idia Asante_CATTO APPLICATION_2022

All applications must use the email subject line CATTO SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION 2022

Applications must be submitted in a single pdf document on or before 12: Noon GMT on April 30th, 2022 to


Application Information Session

An application open session will be organized by the Centre of African Studies, on April 1st , 2022, at 14.00-15.00 GMT. Please keep an eye on our website and twitter handle @africanstudies for details of the meeting. All intending to apply for the scholarship are strongly encouraged to attend. At this session, we will provide information on the Centre, what we are looking for in applications, and details of the dedicated support and mentorship that would be available for the awardee. This could include family support where appropriate.


Please do not contact us after submitting. If you do not hear from us by May 20th, 2022, it means you have not been shortlisted for this year. Shortlisted candidates may be contacted for interview.