Application Deadline: Varying by Course
The University of California, Berkeley has partnered with The Mastercard Foundation in a collaborative, global network of education institutions and non-profit organizations that believe education is a catalyst for social and economic advancement. The Scholars Program aims to develop a cohort of ethical, entrepreneurial, and energetic young leaders who will drive and lead socio-economic transformation in Africa. The Scholars Program is a growing commitment, and, to date, the Program has committed over USD $1.2 billion to supporting the education and leadership development of more than 40,000 young people.
Annually, the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at UC Berkeley will support approximately 28 master’s degree students with a new cohort of 12-16 entering each year until 2028.
Since 2012, the Program has graduated 131 Scholars from 24 African countries (Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, eSwatini (Swaziland), Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe). Alumni include 71 with bachelors degrees and 60 with master’s degrees in over 35 degree programs.
These include African American Studies; Applied Mathematics; Architecture; Bioengineering; Biostatistics; Business Administration; Chemical Engineering; City and Regional Planning; Civil and Environmental Engineering; Cognitive Science; Data Science; Development Practice; Development Engineering, Development Studies; Economics; Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences; Environmental Economics and Policy; Energy Resources Group; Epidemiology; Global Studies; Industrial Engineering and Operations Research; Information Management and Systems; Interdisciplinary Studies; Journalism; Legal Studies; Mechanical Engineering; Microbial Biology; Molecular and Cell Biology; Music; Philosophy; Political Economy; Political Science; Public Health; Public Policy; and Social W
- Being a citizen of a Sub-Saharan African country: This includes Africans who are refugees or displaced within the African continent. This scholarship is not intended for citizens of North African countries. Those with dual citizenship, asylee, refugee or permanent resident status in the US, Canada, UK or EU are not eligible.
- Having academic talent: All prospective Scholars must first be admitted to a UC Berkeley master’s degree program to be considered for the Scholarship. An important criteria for admission to the University is demonstrated academic excellence.
- Demonstrating leadership potential: The Program seeks those committed to developing the skills and mindsets associated with transformative leadership, i.e, that which engages others in an ethical manner to generate positive and lasting change.
- Coming from a socio-economically disadvantaged background: This Scholarship is designed for those extremely talented individuals who might not otherwise have access to quality further education.
- Having demonstrated the commitment to give back to your community, country, or continent: University of California, Berkeley is looking for well-rounded students who are engaged in activities beyond the classroom. Some may be directly related to your field of study, but this may also include other issues (social, economic, political) that you are working on and passionate about. Applicants should elaborate on their achievements both in their application to UC Berkeley, and then later in the Scholarship application.
- Having expressed the desire and intention to return to your home country after completing your studies: University of California, Berkeley is looking for students who are engaged with and passionate about issues affecting their communities, and who will take advantage of their education at UC Berkeley to better equip themselves with the knowledge and training to address these issues upon return. While important work can be done from abroad, the intention of the Program is to enable Scholars to return home, after forming valuable professional connections through internships, academic training and job placements.
- Mastercard Foundation Scholars receive a comprehensive scholarship equivalent to the costs associated with earning a master’s degree, which includes travel, tuition, Berkeley student fees, visa and SEVIS fees, housing, food, living expenses, and cohort signature programs which will focus on leadership and entrepreneurship.
- Scholars in two-year programs will complete an internship in Africa during their studies. Staff and faculty at Berkeley will assist in identifying appropriate opportunities. The Scholarship will pay for round-trip airfare to Africa for the internship and provide a stipend to defray cost of living expenses.
How to Apply
- Master’s degree applicants must first apply to a graduate progam before they will be considered for the Mastercard Foundations Scholars Program. Not all degree programs are eligible. Here is a list of Master’s Degree programs.
- Each eligible graduate degree program(link is external) has specific requirements and applicants should carefully review those. The Graduate Division also provides detailed information on the admissions process for international students. Direct questions regarding admission requirements should be made to the specific graduate program. We outline more details of the Scholars Program application process for master’s program. We will accept applications through the fall of 2028.
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