Carnegie Mellon University

Gates Cambridge Scholarships

Scholarships for one to four years of graduate study and research at the University of Cambridge. A small number are also available for study towards a second undergraduate degree.  Award covers full cost of study at Cambridge plus airfare to and from the U.K.

Seniors and recent graduates. May be citizens of any country outside the United Kingdom and may apply to any subject available at the University of Cambridge.  Applicants must apply directly to the University of Cambridge and complete the supplemental portion of the application to the Cambridge Trusts to be considered for the award.

Candidates will be expected to have excellent transcripts showing evidence of sustained achievement in study, together with academic references that speak of the candidate's leadership potential, social commitment, intellectual ability, and why further study at Cambridge is particularly appropriate.  The Gates Trust looks for students with enthusiasm, robustness of intellect, a willingness to engage, and humility.

The four key selection criteria are:

  1. Academic excellence: Applicants should have an extremely strong academic record, with a GPA over 3.7.  Successful applicants will have the ability to make a significant contribution to their discipline while at Cambridge, with a strong aptitude for research, analysis and a creative approach to defining and solving problems. 
  2. Leadership potential: Successful applicants must demonstrate a clear ability to “take others with them.”
  3. Commitment to improving the lives of others: Gates Scholars will be driven by the values of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which include a commitment to reducing inequities and improving lives around the world, particularly in the areas of health and education, often through the use of science and technology. 
  4. Good academic fit with Cambridge: The Trust expects a good match to be made between the applicant's qualifications and aspirations and what Cambridge has to offer.  This means that the applicant’s research track record and future goals should connect with their targeted Cambridge program and proposed research supervisor(s) at Cambridge.



Although university endorsement is not required for the Gates Cambridge, students are encouraged to submit pre-applications and work with FSO on their materials in advance of the campus deadline (August 26, 2021).

  • Interested students must contact the FSO as early as possible in spring semester (and no later than June 15, 2021) to discuss their possible candidacy.
    • Book an appointment with FSO Assistant Director Dr. Brittany Allison or Director Dr. Stephanie Wallach.
    • If you are away from campus, we will arrange a phone or Skype meeting.


The pre-application process allows us to begin working early with applicants for the Gates Cambridge and other UK awards.  After submitting your pre-application, you will receive targeted feedback from FSO that will allow you to begin crafting a competitive full application for the campus deadline and Cambridge deadline. In some cases, we may recommend that you consider other opportunities that are a better fit.

Required materials:

  • Pre-Application form (link in right-hand side bar)
  • Current résumé
  • Unofficial Carnegie Mellon transcript
  • Two to Four recommendation letters emailed to FSO. Be sure to give each recommender the document “Instructions for Recommenders – UK Awards.” Note that these are not final letters, and recommenders will have the opportunity to make updates to them.
  • A personal statement of 1,000 words that outlines your intellectual and professional interests and achievements, future goals, and reasons for pursuing study in the UK.


Required Materials:

  • A signed FSO Scholarship Waiver
  • Transcripts for all colleges or universities attended, including study abroad (unofficial CMU transcripts are okay at this stage)
  • Three letters of recommendation, two of which are academic and part of the Cambridge application, and a third that serves as a personal reference. Recommenders should email their letters directly to FSO
  • Your Gates Cambridge personal statement


Gates Cambridge scholarship applications are part of the University of Cambridge application. Some key points regarding the Cambridge application:

  • If your account is inactive for 2 or more weeks, your application will be automatically deleted, so be sure to log in frequently.
  • Your application will require 2 academic letters of recommendation, plus the third, personal reference.  Your online submission of the Cambridge application will send automated email prompts to your references, who will then have 14 days to submit their letters.
  • Your Cambridge program may have distinct requirements, such as a research proposal or other essays, test scores, or differing deadlines. Carefully review their website!
  • If you are also applying for the Churchill Scholarship, Churchill College MUST be your first choice of college on the Cambridge application.