What is a Chevening Scholarship?

Chevening scholarship student in graduation gown

This article was written by the Great British Mag editorial team on 20 January 2021.

Studying in the UK comes at a considerable price. Luckily, the UK has lots of scholarship opportunities available to give international students the financial help they need to get their qualifications here.  

The Chevening Scholarship scheme is perhaps the most popular and prestigious of them all and has been running since 1983 and in that time awarded funding to an impressive 50,000 students.

These UK government-funded scholarships are designed to support international students wanting to gain a masters degree in the UK and cover the cost of postgraduate masters degrees, taking care of all the associated expenses including tuition (up to £18,000), travel, visas and accommodation. 

On top of that, the scholarships also facilitate opportunities for networking and experiencing British culture during the year-long course, so if this sounds like something you’d like to apply for keep on reading to find out how to apply.

UK Survival Service for international students

Am I eligible for a Chevening Scholarship?

While students from many different countries and fields of study win Chevening Scholarships, there are certain criteria that everyone must meet before they can apply. 

Firstly, this scheme is specifically designed for outstanding students who show real promise for becoming leaders and having a positive impact on our future. 

There is no upper age limit, nor any preferences surrounding class or income for this funding, and a broad range of masters courses are supported. 

As this is a postgraduate scheme, you need to have completed an undergraduate degree with a mark equivalent to a 2:1 or higher in the UK. On top of that, applicants need to have at least two years’ worth of work experience under their belt – this can be from any full- or part-time employment, as well as voluntary work or internships. 

At the time of applying to the scholarship, you should have already applied to three eligible UK universities – and you’ll need to receive an unconditional offer for a masters degree in order to accept a scholarship, if you’re offered one. 

The Chevening scholarship is open to students from many countries around the world – about 160 – with conditions stipulating that recipients must return home for a minimum of two years following their studies. So if you were planning to stay in the UK after your course ends, this might not be the scholarship for you. 

If you have any form of British citizenship or have received government funding to study here before, you won’t be eligible. 

How do I apply?

The window for applications will open in the autumn and close around two months later. Within that time you must sign up to Chevening’s online application system and complete the process. This will take some time, so be prepared to put the hours in! 

As well as the application form, there are questions that you’ll need to answer in essay style, with a word count of 100-500 each. 

All of this will need to be done in English, and can only be done once – so make sure it’s your best work before hitting that submit button. 

When is the deadline for Chevening Scholarship applications?

The scholarships open for applications every autumn. The dates for 2021 haven’t been released yet, but last year the window for applying was between 3 September and 3 November, and shortlisted applicants were notified in early February.

It’s best to keep an eye on the Chevening website for updates on deadlines. 

What happens after I apply for the Chevening Scholarship?

Applications are checked against the eligibility criteria and assessed by independent bodies. Then, they’re passed to British Embassy and High Commission officials who will shortlist candidates for interviews. 

If you’ve been selected for the next stage, you’ll need to supply two reference letters – these can be from former tutors, employers or anyone else able to comment on your professional abilities as well as your interpersonal qualities. 

After the interviews – which will take place at British Embassies and High Commissions – final decisions will be made on who will be awarded the funding. 

What are my chances of being awarded funding?

As we mentioned, Chevening Scholarships are perhaps the most popular and fiercely contested in the UK; only a small number of people are awarded them each year in relation to the scores who enter. 

There are some things you can do, though, to help boost the chances of your application being successful. 

Prepare for each stage of the process as much as possible. Sign up to the online application system as early as possible so you can familiarise yourself with the questions and start working on your answers. Take your time and ask others to check your work before submitting anything. 

Be very careful when answering the eligibility questions – you don’t want your application to be binned needlessly because you made it look like you didn’t adhere to the criteria for the award in the first place. 

The website has a handy guide for applications, so make sure you read that thoroughly, too. 

You may also want to read:

Everything you need to know about scholarships for studying in the UK

Is it expensive to study in the UK?

How to save money on academic books