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UK Scholarships 2020 – Apply for top scholarships to pursue studies in the UK

by Aatif Nafees
UK Scholarships

UK Scholarships – The United Kingdom has always been a popular destination among Indian students who want to go abroad for higher education. Till a decade back, the number of Indian students going to the UK was close to 39,000 yearly. However, the trend took a dip after a controversial decision was taken in 2012 by the then UK Home Secretary Theresa May to scrap the 2 year work visa and bring the limit down to a mere 4 months. This move was a part of the UK governments decision to drive down immigrant numbers, but had put the UK universities at a disadvantage in the competition to attract international talent, compared to rival countries with generous visa regimes. Due to this change, the numbers of overseas student applications kept dropping and the year 2016-17 saw the least number of students going to the UK in many years. Now, the UK government is wooing the Indian nationals yet again by scrapping its 2012 move and bringing the 2 year post-study work visa back. In fact, in 2018-19, the UK government offered 480 scholarships worth almost 4.7 million to Indian students and this scholarship allocation is only expected to increase in the years to come.  

While it is common knowledge that studying in the UK is a great opportunity, its quality of education, international exposure and cultural offerings dont come cheap and most international students seek for scholarships to support their studies either fully or at least partially. Thankfully, there are a number of fully-funded scholarships available for Indian students who want to pursue their education in the UK. 

In this article, we will discuss some of the most sought-after government scholarships for studying in the UK and some university-specific scholarships for those who have zeroed in on their dream university.

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UK Scholarships – List of fully-funded scholarships in 2020


Commonwealth scholarships are sponsored by the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC) in the UK.

The CSC offers the following PG scholarships for Indian students:

  • Commonwealth Masters Scholarships
  • Commonwealth Shared Scholarships

Below are mentioned all the details on above two scholarships – 

Opening/Closing Dates –  Applications open in early November and close in mid December.

Purpose – This scholarship is offered to postgraduate students of lesser developed and lower-middle-income Commonwealth countries. It is intended to enable talented and motivated individuals to gain the knowledge and skills required for sustainable development and to support the students who are unable to afford a higher education in the UK.

Latest reads: UK Universities

Benefits- Open for the students who are enrolled in a full-time masters course in the UK, this scholarship offers the following benefits:

  • Approved airfare from India to the UK and return at the end of the award 
  • Approved tuition fees
  • A stipend of GBP 1,110 or GBP 1,362 per month for students studying at universities in London metropolitan area
  • Warm clothing allowance (if applicable) 
  • Thesis grant (if applicable) 
  • Study travel grant
  • Excess baggage allowance 
  • Reimbursement of the cost of mandatory TB test 
  • Child allowance, if applicable 
  • Supplementary family allowance

Eligibility- Applicants who are fulfilling the following eligibility can apply for these scholarships:

  • Be a citizen of or have been granted refugee status by an eligible Commonwealth country (India), or be a British Protected Person
  • Be a permanent resident of an eligible Commonwealth country (like India)
  • Be available to start academic studies by the start of the UK academic year in September/October 2020
  • By September 2020, hold a degree of at least upper second class (2:1) honours standard, or a second class degree (2:2) and a relevant postgraduate qualification (usually a masters degree). The CSC would not normally fund a second UK Masters degree for an applicant who already has a Masters degree. If the applicant is applying for a second UK Masters degree, he/she will need to provide justification as to why he/she wishes to undertake this study
  • Be unable to afford a higher education in the UK without this scholarship
  • Have provided all supporting documentation in the required format

Get full knowledge of UK universities, courses, tution fees and application in the UK country page here.

Application Process- The CSC does not accept direct applications for these scholarships. The applications must be submitted through National nominating agencies, which are the main routes of application and selected non-governmental organisations and charitable bodies. All applications must be made through one of these nominating bodies. Each nominating body is responsible for its own selection process and may have additional eligibility criteria.

Read more about the Commonwealth Scholarships here.

UK Scholarships – British Chevening Scholarships 

Chevening Scholarships is an initiative taken by the UK Government with an objective of creating global leaders. The awards are given in the form of Chevening Scholarships and Chevening Fellowships to the candidates selected by the British Embassies and High-Commission from all over the world. 

Opening/Closing Dates –  Applications open in August and close in November.

Purpose- The aim of this scholarship is to provide support to the outstanding professionals from India who wish to pursue a one-year masters degree in any subject at any UK university. It is the UK Government’s global scholarship programme that offers future leaders the unique opportunity to study in the UK on fully-funded scholarships.

Benefits- The following benefits are included as part of the Chevening Scholarship:

  • University tuition fees
  • Monthly stipend
  • Travel costs to and from the UK
  • Arrival allowance
  • Homeward departure allowance
  • Cost of visa application
  • Travel grant to attend Chevening events in the UK

Eligibility- Applicants who fulfil the following criteria can apply for this award:

  • Applicants must be citizens of India (or another Chevening-eligible country).
  • Applicants must return to India for a minimum of two years after the candidate’s award has ended.
  • Applicants must have an undergraduate degree that will enable them to gain entry into a postgraduate programme at a UK university (Equivalent to an upper second-class 2:1 honours degree in the UK).
  • Applicants must have at least two years of work experience.
  • Applicants must apply to at least three different eligible UK universities and should have received an unconditional offer from one of those choices by 16 July 2020.
  • Applicant must meet the Chevening English language requirement (IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, C1 Advanced, or Trinity ISE II)

Application Process- Candidates who wish to study in a UK university and avail the benefits of Chevening scholarship can apply online through the official website of Chevening. Candidates are not required to pay any fees for this application. Find below the steps involved in filing the application form for Chevening scholarship-

  • Visit the official website of Chevening to access the online application system of the scholarship.
  • Click on the Apply button that takes the applicant to a page where applicants need to select their country/territory,  level from the dropdown buttons and click on Search.
  • The applicants need to register with the Chevening website as new users.

UK Scholarships – Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford University

Rhodes Scholarships at Oxford University for Indian Students are offered by the Rhodes Trust, the University of Oxford. The Rhodes Scholarship is the oldest and one of the most prestigious scholarship programmes enabling outstanding young individuals from around the world to study at the University of Oxford. 

Opening and Closing Date – Applications open in early June and close in late July.

Purpose – The aim of this scholarship is to enable young Indian undergraduates to get postgraduate education at the University of Oxford and provide financial benefits to them.

Benefits Every year, a total of just 5 scholarships are given to selected students. The scholarship covers the following benefits:

  • University and college fees
  • University application fee
  • Living stipend of approx. GBP 15,144 per annum
  • Two economy class airfare to and from the UK at the beginning and the end of the studies in Oxford
  • A settling-in allowance of approx. GBP 225 at the time of arrival
  • International health surcharge to cover the scholar for the duration of the scholarship

Eligibility – To be eligible, an applicant must:

  • Be an Indian citizen (holding an Indian passport, or equivalent proof of citizenship) between the ages of 19 to 25 years
  • Have undertaken formal study at an educational institution in India for a minimum of 4 of the last 10 years.
  • Have either completed a school-leaving exam (10th or 12th standard or equivalent) at a school in India, or have received, or be in the final year of an undergraduate degree at a university in India.
  • Have completed the undergraduate degree (or will complete by June / July 2020) with First class or equivalent.
  • Be willing to pursue postgraduate study at the University of Oxford, UK.

UK Scholarships – Great Scholarships

In collaboration with the UKs GREAT Britain campaign, the British Council has launched Great Scholarships over a broad range of subjects. This is a great opportunity for Indian students wishing to access a UK university education. 

Opening/Closing Dates –  Applications open in early January and close in mid-last May

Purpose – Great Scholarships aim to provide Indian students with an opportunity to pursue a postgraduate degree in a broad range of subjects from one of these eleven listed Universities –

  • Cranfield University
  • Imperial College London
  • Newcastle University
  • Robert Gordon University
  • Sheffield Hallam
  • The University of Bath
  • The University of Manchester
  • The University of Warwick
  • University of East Anglia
  • University of Kent
  • University of Nottingham

Benefits- The selected students will get full tuition fee for a one-year masters course and first-year tuition fee for a two-year masters course.

Eligibility: Applicants must fulfil the following criteria to be eligible for this scholarship –

  • Applicants must be Indian passport holders and resident in India at the time of application. 
  • Applicants must have an undergraduate degree 
  • Applicant must meet the English language requirement of the UK Higher Education Institution
  • Have an offer from one of the participating UK universities
  • The course applied is starting in September 2020

Application Process: Students can apply for this scholarship from the webpages of the UK universities mentioned in the list above. Complete information is available on the listed webpages and students can directly apply from there.

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UK Scholarships – Gates Cambridge Scholarships

Gates Cambridge Scholarships are hosted by the University of Cambridge for the international students who have secured admission at postgraduate and research levels. It provides an opportunity for those students who have secured admission but can not afford the cost of education.

Opening/Closing Dates –  Applications open in early August and close in early January.

Purpose- This scholarship aims to build a global network of future leaders committed to improving the lives of others and offers adequate funds to pursue post-graduate or PhD studies. There are about 225 such scholars from approximately 50 countries studying in Cambridge at any one time who pursue the full range of subjects available at the university and are spread across its departments and colleges.

Benefits- This scholarship covers the full cost of studying at Cambridge including tuition fees, maintenance allowance, travel costs, etc. It also provides additional, discretionary funding such as academic development funding, family allowance, fieldwork, etc.

Eligibility- International students who are applying to pursue full-time residential courses of study at the University of Cambridge PhD, MSc/MLitt or one-year postgraduate course are eligible to apply for this scholarship.

Selection Criteria- The selection will be made on the basis of outstanding intellectual ability, reasons for the choice of the course, a commitment to improving the lives of others and leadership potential.

Application Process – The students who have secured admission in the postgraduate and PhD programmes and having filled the funding section while submitting the online application for the course, will be automatically considered for this scholarship.

Looking for study options in UK? Read about Study in UK after 12th

Some Notable Mentions of Partially-funded scholarships






Scholarship worth GBP 10,000

UG and PG Semester 1 full-year students

Late November


Course fee, living costs, and one return airfare

Undergraduate degree applicants

Mid October


50% tuition fee waiver

Postgraduate degree applicants

Late October


Accommodation and living costs

Degree, diploma or professional qualification holders

End of December


Full tuition fee waiver and other benefits

PG applicants at the University of Reading,UK

End of January


UK Scholarships – FAQs

Q. What are fully-funded scholarships?

A: Fully-funded scholarships are the financial grants awarded by an organisation/institution to the eligible students which cover all the expenses that occur during the full length of the study programme. These scholarships usually cover the full tuition fee, living expenses including cost of accomodation, travel cost, visa cost and airfare (for international students); and other study related expenses.

Q. Who provides the scholarships to study in the UK? Is it required to return the scholarship amount in the future?

A: Scholarships are offered by UK universities, the British government, a number of organizations and Indian government. Unless it is mentioned in the conditions of a scholarship, which is rare, students don’t need to return the amount of scholarship. However, when a student becomes a recipient of a scholarship, he/she bears the responsibility to realise and carry the vision and values of the provider organisation.

Q. Do scholarships cover my travel and living expenses?

A: Fully-funded scholarships cover all study-related expenses including travel, accomodation and other such expenses. Note that scholarships available to international students are very limited and the competition is very intense. Scholarships offered by most of the UK institutions are only partial and you may still need to pay the rest of the tuition fees, living and other expenses.

Q. Is it helpful to apply early for a scholarship?

A: Yes. Starting with the application process with enough time in hand helps your selection chances. Scholarships are limited in number and a complete, in-time and detailed application helps in achieving a selection. It also leaves room for rectification of any error or submission of additional information to strengthen the application.

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