The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at the University of Edinburgh aims to empower Africa’s future leaders



The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at the University of Edinburgh is an impactful initiative designed to empower emerging leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa by equipping them with the necessary skills, education, and opportunities to foster inclusive and fair socio-economic transformation within their communities and beyond. Since its establishment in 2012, the Program has assisted about 45,000 young African individuals in pursuing secondary or university education. Now, it offers fully financed online learning scholarships for postgraduate students for 2023/2024.

We are pursuing the goal of promoting accessible education to everyone and contributing to long-term environmental, social, and economic progress.


The primary objective of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program is to establish a network of young leaders and institutions committed to promoting inclusive and sustainable development in Africa. The Program acknowledges the structural obstacles that impede attaining high-quality education and seeks to tackle them by enhancing capability, endorsing inventive approaches, and promoting cooperation among participants in the education ecosystem. The initiative aims to generate a ripple effect throughout the continent by investing in the education and development of young people, therefore fostering good change in communities.


Process and Eligibility for Scholarship Application


Prospective scholars must adhere to a meticulously crafted application procedure to be considered for the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at the University of Edinburgh. The Program is executed via collaborations with partner institutions and non-governmental organizations, with each partner independently overseeing its recruiting and selection process. Hence, prospective candidates must submit their applications directly to their preferred institution. It is crucial to acknowledge that partner colleges have distinct deadlines and admission costs, which may differ. Prospective applicants are encouraged to thoroughly study the application criteria or directly reach out to the institution of their choice for more details.


The qualifying requirements for the Mastercard Foundation scholarship aim to find promising young leaders who possess both academic excellence and leadership potential yet have restricted access to educational options. The Program strongly encourages applications from women, refugees, displaced persons, and those with disabilities. However, it is also accessible to all qualified applicants who match the stipulated requirements. Disability is a comprehensive term that includes many physical, mental, intellectual, and sensory problems that might impede complete and efficient social engagement.

Postgraduate degree programs currently offered


The University of Edinburgh’s Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program provides fully financed scholarships for various postgraduate degree programs. The programs are meticulously chosen to tackle crucial issues and possibilities in many sectors, enabling academics to influence their communities significantly. The online learning scholarships include the following degree programs:


Master’s degree in International Development (available solely for the Master’s Program)


  • Carbon Management is available only as a Masters program.


  • Social Justice and Community Action (available only for the Masters program)


  • Master’s or Diploma program in Global Food Security and Nutrition


  • Global Challenges (Master’s or Diploma)


  • Master’s or diploma program in One Health


  • Program in Circular Economy (Master’s or Diploma)


  • Program in Sustainable Lands and Cities (Master’s or Diploma)


The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program offers scholarships for postgraduate degrees at the University of Edinburgh, both online and on-campus. The programs include the following:


  • Africa and Global Development


  • Financing and investing in climate change initiatives


  • Business creation and originality


  • Ensuring access to a sufficient and reliable supply of food


  • Master of Science in Environment and Development


  • Master of Science in Environmental Sustainability


  • Planetary Health refers to the overall well-being and sustainability of the Earth and its ecosystems.


  • Operations research


  • The interplay between data, inequality, and society.


Only the degree programs mentioned above are eligible for the Mastercard Foundation award. Applicants are encouraged to apply to any academic program, but only those programs that are expressly stated will qualify them for the award.


Procedure for Applying and Key Dates


The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program application procedure at the University of Edinburgh adheres to a precise timeframe. The application period for the 2023/2024 academic year will commence on October 23, 2023, at 10:00 am and conclude on December 7, 2023, at 5:00 pm BST. It is crucial to emphasize that applying early has no strategic benefit since all candidates must complete the eligibility examination by December 1, 2023, at 5:00 pm BST. After this date, the SM Apply system will no longer allow new applications.


Applicants must undergo an eligibility evaluation as the first step in the application process. This evaluation aids in ascertaining if the candidates fulfill the essential requirements to advance to the subsequent round. Applicants who meet the qualifying requirements will be invited to respond to concise essay prompts that explore their narrative, academic and leadership background, and future aspirations. The Scholarship Application Review team will evaluate these replies to choose applicants for a university admissions review and subsequent scholarship interviews.

Tips for Applying for Scholarships


Seeking a scholarship may be a fiercely competitive endeavor, but receiving appropriate counsel can augment your likelihood of success. The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program provides essential guidance on creating a robust and persuasive scholarship application. These suggestions provide valuable guidance on actions to take and actions to avoid, providing you with the necessary resources to help your application distinguish itself. Adhering to these guidelines may enhance your readiness to go to the next stage in your educational pursuit.


Summary: Harnessing the Untapped Potential of Africa’s Young Population


The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at the University of Edinburgh provides inspiration and opportunity for aspiring African leaders. The Program offers fully financed scholarships for postgraduate degrees, enabling scholars to access transformational experiences and empowering them to have a lasting influence in their communities. The Program employs a meticulous selection procedure to identify students with outstanding academic and leadership capabilities, guaranteeing that the scholarships are granted to those who will make significant contributions to positive transformation.


The primary objective of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program is to unleash the potential of Africa’s young by prioritizing equitable education and sustainable development. By allocating resources towards their education, the Program initiates a chain reaction that surpasses the influence on the scholars themselves, resulting in a beneficial effect on their families, communities, and the whole continent. The University of Edinburgh and the Mastercard Foundation are fostering the development of future African leaders by providing them with the necessary information, skills, and opportunities to influence a more promising future.

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