If you are looking for a way to pursue your master’s degree in the UK, one of the world’s most coveted destinations for higher education, you might have heard of the Chevening Scholarship. This is a fully-funded scholarship that enables outstanding emerging leaders from all over the world to study at any UK university and join a global network of change-makers. Sounds impressive, right? But what exactly is the Chevening Scholarship, who can apply for it, how to apply for it, and why should you use for it? In this article, I will answer all these questions and more based on my experience as a Chevening Scholar and the information available on the official Chevening website. So, sit back, relax, and read on to find out everything you need to know about the UK’s most prestigious award.
What is the Chevening Scholarship?
The Chevening Scholarship is a scholarship programme funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and partner organisations. It was established in 1983 and has since supported over 50,000 professionals from 160 countries and territories to study in the UK. The Chevening Scholarship offers full financial support for one-year master’s degrees in any subject and at any UK university. The scholarship covers the following costs:
- Tuition fees
- Monthly stipend
- Travel costs to and from the UK
- Arrival allowance
- Homeward departure allowance
- Visa application fee
- Travel grant to attend Chevening events in the UK
- Access to a variety of exclusive events, mentoring, and professional development opportunities
The Chevening Scholarship is more than just a financial award. It is a life-changing opportunity that will equip you with the knowledge, skills, and networks necessary to bring your own ideas to life and make a positive impact in your chosen field. You will live and study in the UK for a year, during which time you will develop professionally and academically, network extensively, experience UK culture, and build lasting positive relationships with the UK and other Cheveners.
As a Chevening Scholar, you will also become part of the Chevening Alumni Network, a global community of over 50,000 influential leaders and innovators in various sectors and regions. You will have access to a range of benefits and opportunities, such as online platforms, local and international events, awards, grants, and publications. You will also have the chance to contribute to the Chevening community and the UK’s international development goals through your work, research, or voluntary activities.
Who can apply for the Chevening Scholarship?
The Chevening Scholarship is open to citizens of over 160 countries and territories, who have completed at least two years of work experience in a relevant field. You can check the eligibility criteria and the list of eligible countries on the Chevening website.
The Chevening Scholarship is highly competitive and selective. It is looking for the kind of people who have the passion, ideas, and influence to provide the solutions and leadership needed to create a better future. You will need to demonstrate your academic excellence, leadership potential, and commitment to your chosen field and to the UK.
To be eligible for the Chevening Scholarship, you must meet the following requirements:
- Be a citizen of a Chevening-eligible country or territory
- Return to your country of citizenship for a minimum of two years after your award has ended
- Have completed all components of an undergraduate degree that will enable you to gain entry onto a postgraduate programme at a UK university by the time you submit your application
- Have at least two years of work experience
- Apply to three different eligible UK university courses and have received an unconditional offer from one of these choices by the relevant deadline
- Meet the Chevening English language requirement by the relevant deadline
The work experience requirement can be met by a combination of paid or unpaid employment, voluntary work, internships, or extracurricular activities. The work experience can be in any sector, but it must be relevant to your chosen field of study and career goals. The minimum work experience is equivalent to 2,800 hours, which can be accumulated over a period of two years. You can use the work experience calculator on the Chevening website to check if you meet this requirement.
The English language requirement can be met by taking one of the approved English language tests, such as IELTS, TOEFL, or PTE Academic, and achieving the minimum scores specified on the Chevening website. Alternatively, you can claim an exemption from the English language requirement if you meet one of the criteria listed on the Chevening website, such as having a degree from an English-speaking country or having worked in an English-speaking environment for a certain period of time.
How to apply for the Chevening Scholarship?
The application process for the Chevening Scholarship is online and consists of several steps. You will need to:
- Register an account on the Chevening website and complete the online application form.
- Choose up to three master’s courses in the UK that match your academic and career goals. You can use the course finder tool on the Chevening website to search for suitable courses.
- Provide two references from people who can vouch for your professional and academic abilities.
- Submit your application before the deadline, which is usually in early November each year.
- If you are shortlisted, you will be invited to an interview at the British embassy or high commission in your country, where you will be asked about your motivation, goals, and plans.
- If you are selected for the scholarship, you will receive a conditional offer, which will be confirmed once you meet the academic and English language requirements and secure admission to your chosen university.
The application timeline for the Chevening Scholarship varies depending on your country and the academic year you are applying for. You can check the application timeline on the Chevening website.
The online application form is the most important part of your application. It is your chance to showcase your achievements, aspirations, and suitability for the Chevening Scholarship. The application form consists of several sections, such as personal details, education, work experience, courses, references, and essays. You should fill in all the sections carefully and accurately, and make sure you save your progress regularly.
The most challenging and crucial part of the application form is the essays section. You will have to write four essays, each with a word limit of 500 words, on the following topics:
- Leadership and influence
- Studying in the UK
- Career plan
These essays are your opportunity to demonstrate your leadership potential, your ability to build and maintain relationships, your reasons for choosing the UK and your courses, and your long-term career goals and how they align with the UK’s international development objectives. You should write your essays in a clear, concise, and coherent manner, using specific examples and evidence to support your claims. You should also avoid plagiarism, as your essays will be checked for originality and authenticity.
The references section is another important part of your application. You will have to provide the names and contact details of two referees, who can attest to your skills, character, and achievements. Your referees should be people who know you well in a professional or academic capacity, such as your current or former employer, supervisor, colleague, professor, or mentor. Your referees should not be your relatives, friends, or peers.
You should contact your referees well in advance and ask for their permission and availability to provide a reference for you. You should also inform them about the Chevening Scholarship and your chosen courses, and share your essays with them, so that they can write a relevant and specific reference for you. Your referees will receive an email from Chevening asking them to submit their references online by a certain deadline. You should follow up with your referees and make sure they submit their references on time.
The interview is the final stage of the application process. If you are shortlisted, you will be notified by email and invited to an interview at the British embassy or high commission in your country. The interview will last for about 30 minutes and will be conducted by a panel of three or four people, including a Chevening representative, a FCDO representative, and a subject matter expert. The interview will be based on your application form and essays, and will assess your suitability for the Chevening Scholarship.
You should prepare well for the interview and review your application form and essays before the interview. You should also research the UK, your chosen courses, and the current affairs and issues related to your field of study and your country. You should dress professionally and arrive on time for the interview. You should be confident, honest, and respectful during the interview, and answer the questions clearly and concisely, using examples and evidence to illustrate your points. You should also ask relevant and thoughtful questions to the panel at the end of the interview.
Why study in the UK with the Chevening Scholarship?
Studying in the UK with the Chevening Scholarship is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that will open many doors for you. Here are some of the reasons why you should apply for the Chevening Scholarship:
- You will have access to some of the world’s best universities, which offer a wide range of courses and research opportunities in various disciplines. The UK is home to four of the top ten universities in the world, according to the QS World University Rankings 2023. The UK is also a leader in innovation and creativity, with a strong reputation for excellence and quality in education.
- You will learn from leading experts and practitioners in your field, who will challenge you to think critically and creatively. You will benefit from the UK’s teaching methods, which encourage independent learning, problem-solving, and teamwork. You will also have access to state-of-the-art facilities, resources, and technology to support your learning and research.
- You will immerse yourself in a diverse and vibrant culture, where you will meet people from different backgrounds, perspectives, and interests. You will experience the UK’s rich history, heritage, and traditions, as well as its modern and dynamic society. You will also enjoy the UK’s cultural attractions, such as museums, galleries, theatres, festivals, and sports events.
- You will join a global community of over 50,000 Chevening alumni, who are influential leaders and innovators in various sectors and regions. You will have access to a range of benefits and opportunities, such as online platforms, local and international events, awards, grants, and publications. You will also have the chance to contribute to the Chevening community and the UK’s international development goals through your work, research, or voluntary activities.
- You will develop a strong bond with the UK, which will foster mutual understanding and cooperation between your country and the UK. You will gain valuable insights into the UK’s values, policies, and practices, and share your own culture and experiences with the UK and other Cheveners. You will also build lasting friendships and partnerships with the UK and other Cheveners, which will benefit your personal and professional development.
As you can see, the Chevening Scholarship is a golden opportunity for anyone who wants to pursue their academic and professional aspirations in the UK. It is not a piece of cake, but it is definitely worth a shot. If you think you have what it takes to be a Chevening Scholar, don’t hesitate to apply. You never know, you might be the next Chevening success story. Good luck!