10 min

The Chevening scholarship: study for free in the UK

The Chevening Scholarship is a well-known and prestigious program that opens doors to UK universities for many students from around the world.

It celebrated its 35th anniversary in 2018, and the overall number of Chevening graduates had surpassed 50,000 earlier that year.

What is a Chevening scholarship?

In short, the Chevening initiative allows students from more than 160 countries and territories to study in the UK for free. The initiative is funded by British Foreign and Commonwealth Office and its partner organizations.

Chevening offers both scholarships and fellowships. Scholarships are for those individuals who got accepted for one-year Master degree studies in the UK. Fellowships are for mid-career professionals who wish to take a short course (a few weeks’ or months’ length) to deepen their knowledge in a certain area. The list of fellowships includes Chevening Gurukul Fellowship for Leadership and Excellence which is a fellowship for Indians hosted by the University of Oxford.

Because both scholarships and fellowships are completely financed (flights, lodging, and course costs are all covered), students can concentrate entirely on their studies, and then bring their knowledge back to their home country.  

The program identifies climate change as one of the areas of impact, in the hope that its alumni are going to lead the fightback against this global issue in their own countries.

Who can apply?

Chevening Scholarship states that it does not have a ‘typical’ Chevening scholar, it rather searches for a person with the passion, ideas, and leadership qualities to make the world a better place.

You can apply for Chevening if you are a citizen of a Chevening-eligible country, have an undergraduate degree, two years of work experience (can be full- or part-time employment, as well as voluntary work or internship), and have not received any similar scholarship before.

One of the requirements is that you have to return to your country of citizenship for a minimum of two years after your scholarship has ended.

Applications for 2022/2023 Chevening Scholarships will open on August 3.

What are the steps to getting the award?

All Chevening applicants should provide their academic transcripts and other papers such as proof of work experience through the Chevening scholarship website.

Part of getting the scholarship is applying to three different eligible UK university courses and receiving an unconditional offer from one of these courses of your choice. Eligible UK universities and programs are listed on the Chevening website.

Next step is providing references. You will be asked to file two reference letters to the online application system if your application is advanced to the next step of the process. Choose your referees carefully – they should know you in your academic or professional capacity and be able to provide comments on your eligibility in English language.

After that, you may be selected for the Chevening Scholarship interview. You will meet with the representatives from the British embassy or high commission in the city/town where you live. The panel will ask you questions that will allow you to describe your personal and professional goals, as well as how Chevening may help you to accomplish them.

What’s next?

If you win the scholarship, your university tuition fee, travel costs to and from the UK, and the cost of visa application will be covered. You will most likely get a monthly stipend, an arrival allowance, a homeward departure allowance, and a travel grant to attend Chevening events in the UK.

All you need to do after winning it is to apply for a visa, get the tickets (Chevening has a designated travel provider for that), pack your bags, and come to the UK to study!

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the UK's world-renowned National Health Service (NHS) has and will continue to care for individuals from all over the world. You will be able to use NHS services in addition to university assistance, just like UK students. Chevening covers the cost of your Immigration Health Surcharge, allowing you to use the NHS.

Alumni stories

Chevening scholarship aims to create a worldwide network of decision makers working hard to address global and local issues. It boasts many notable alumni among which are the president of Costa Rica and the president of Iceland, several prime ministers, numerous  top managers and entrepreneurs.

Some notable examples:

Carlos Andrés Alvarado Quesada returned to Costa Rica after finishing his master's degree at the University of Sussex and continued his political career as Minister of Human Development and Social Inclusion before being appointed Minister of Labor. Alvarado was elected President of Costa Rica in a landslide win in May 2018, at the age of 38, making him the country's youngest president since 1916.

Amna Zamir Shah is the first female judge in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B), Pakistan. She has decided on hundreds of cases since her appointment in 2017, and has been praised for her dedication to equitable legal processes for women and other marginalized segments of society. Zamir earned her Bachelor of Laws at the International Islamic University in Islamabad before coming to the UK.

Zhao Qi is a Beijing-based documentary filmmaker who has won Sundance and Emmy prizes. Last Train Home (2011 Emmy Award), China Heavy Weight (2012 Golden Horse Award), Fallen City (2013 Sundance nominee), and The Chinese Mayor (2015 Sundance Special Jury Prize) are some of his most well-known works.

Chinwe Ohajuruka is a Nigerian green architect who has pioneered a novel way to address housing and environmental concerns. She delivers sustainable housing by developing cheap dwellings that use natural ventilation and solar energy and can be erected in about 12 weeks, responding Nigeria's water, electricity, and sanitation challenges, while also addressing global climate change issues.