The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation established the Gates Cambridge Trust through a donation to the University of Cambridge. The sole purpose of the Gates Cambridge Trust is to award scholarships to enable the brightest of the world’s young leaders and scholars to undertake graduate work at Cambridge. The Gates Cambridge Scholarship covers the full cost of studying in Cambridge and may be held for one to three years of study. The value of the scholarship depends on the level of tuition fees for individual courses but is around $32,000 a year.
Applicants from every country outside the United Kingdom are eligible to apply and should normally be under 30 years old. Candidates must obtain a bachelor's degree (with honors distinction is recommended), or its equivalent, from a recognized university before beginning study in Cambridge. High GPA and strong GRE scores are also required. A Gates Cambridge Scholarship can only be taken up by a student who has been admitted to Cambridge through the University’s normal academic admissions procedures. These procedures are separate from those to select Gates Cambridge Scholars.
Gates Cambridge Scholars are expected to be outstanding students who have leadership potential and a commitment to serve their communities. These criteria are interpreted broadly. The Gates Cambridge Trust has noted that scholarly achievement and potential should be “coupled with a commitment to use the benefits of higher education for the common good.” Applicants must also have a sound academic reason for wanting to study at Cambridge. Gates Cambridge Scholars are expected to be intellectually curious, emotionally mature, intellectually robust, and possess a willingness to take risks, to argue, to challenge, and to reflect on the wider implications of their subject.