Although not all, most scholarship programs are merit-based meaning scholars are chosen based on academic merit or in others forms such as leadership, athletic, or artistic merits. Merit-based scholarships are sometimes referred to as excellence scholarships since it seeks out the most bright and most talented students.
In this list, we highlight the most popular merit-based scholarships out there.
Merit-based Scholarships offered by Foreign Governments »
Fulbright Foreign Student Program (USA)
The Fulbright Foreign Student Program enables graduate students, young professionals, and artists from abroad to research and study in the United States for one year or longer at U.S. universities or other appropriate institutions. The Fulbright program provides funding for the duration of the study including tuition, textbooks, airfare, a living stipend, and health insurance.
Chevening Scholarships (UK)
Chevening Scholarships are the UK government’s global scholarship program which offers awards to outstanding scholars with leadership potential from around the world to study postgraduate courses at universities in the UK.
Most Chevening Scholarships cover tuition fees; a living allowance at a set rate (for one individual); an economy class return airfare to the UK; additional grants to cover essential expenditures. Some Scholarships cover part of the cost of studying in the UK; for example, tuition fees only or allowances only.
Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships (Canada)
The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships (Vanier CGS) was created to attract and retain world-class doctoral students and to establish Canada as a global center of excellence in research and higher learning. The scholarships are towards a doctoral degree (or combined MA/Ph.D. or MD/Ph.D.) at participating Canadian Universities. The scholarship is worth $50,000 per year for three years.
Eiffel Excellence Scholarship Programme (France)
The Eiffel scholarship program was developed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a tool to allow French higher education institutions to attract the best foreign students for Masters and Ph.D. degree programs. Eiffel scholarship holders receive a monthly allowance and other expenses such as return trips, social security cover, and cultural activities. It does not cover tuition fees.
Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships (Switzerland)
The Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships provide graduates from all fields with the opportunity to pursue doctoral or postdoctoral research at one of the publicly funded universities or recognized institutions in Switzerland. The scholarship covers a monthly allowance, tuition fees, health insurance, lodging allowance, etc.
Merit-based Scholarships offered by Global Universities »
Gates Cambridge Scholarships (UK)
Gates Cambridge Scholarships are awarded to outstanding applicants from countries outside the UK to pursue a full-time postgraduate degree in any subject available at the University of Cambridge. The scholarship covers the full cost of studying at Cambridge, namely the University Composition Fee and College fees at the appropriate rate, a maintenance allowance for a single student, one economy single airfare at both the beginning and end of the course, and inbound visa costs.
Rhodes Scholarships (UK)
Established in the will of Cecil Rhodes in 1902, Rhodes is the oldest and perhaps the most prestigious international scholarship program in the world. The Rhodes Scholarships are postgraduate awards that support exceptional international students from selected countries at the University of Oxford. A Rhodes Scholarship covers all university fees, personal stipend, health insurance, and airfare to and from the student’s home country.
Clarendon Scholarships at University of Oxford (UK)
The Clarendon Fund is a major graduate scholarship scheme at the University of Oxford and is awarded based on academic excellence and potential across all degree-bearing subjects at the graduate level at the University of Oxford. The scholarships cover tuition and college fees in full and a generous grant for living expenses.
Macquarie University Vice-Chancellor’s International Scholarships (Australia)
The Macquarie University Vice-Chancellor’s International Scholarship provides a partial tuition fee scholarship for outstanding students to study for an undergraduate or postgraduate degree at the Macquarie University North Ryde campus. The scholarship amount is varied up to AUD$10,000.
University of Maastricht Scholarships for High Potential International Students (Netherlands)
University of Maastricht High Potential Scholarships is made available to talented students from outside the EU/EEA to follow a Master’s program at Maastricht University. The scholarships cover tuition fees, living expenses per month, insurance, and visa costs.
Leiden University Excellence Scholarships for International Students (Netherlands)
The Leiden University Excellence Scholarship Programme (LExS) is open to outstanding Non-EU/EEA students enrolling in a master’s degree program offered at Leiden University. The scholarships come in the form of the following: €10,000 of the tuition fee, €15,000 of the tuition fee, or total tuition fee minus the home fee.
Utrecht University Excellence Scholarships (Netherlands)
The Utrecht Excellence Scholarship offers several outstanding prospective students the opportunity to pursue a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in a selected number of fields at Utrecht University. The scholarship can be awarded as tuition fees OR tuition fees plus 11.000 euro living expenses.
Amsterdam Excellence Scholarships (Netherlands)
The Amsterdam Excellence Scholarships (AES) awards scholarships to exceptionally talented students from outside the EU to pursue eligible Master’s Programmes offered at the University of Amsterdam. The AES is a full scholarship of €25,000 covering tuition and living expenses.
TU Delft Excellence Scholarships (Netherlands)
The Delft University of Technology offers the Justus & Louise van Effen scholarship which aims to financially support excellent international MSc students wishing to study at TU Delft. The scholarship covers the tuition fees and monthly allowance for living expenses.
ENS International Selection Scholarships (France)
Each year, the ENS organizes an international selection allowing the most promising international students, either in Science or in Humanities, to follow a two or three-year course at the ENS. Scholars receive a monthly stipend of approximately 1,000 Euros and a room on one of the ENS campuses.
ETH Excellence Scholarships (Switzerland)
ETH Zurich supports excellent students wishing to pursue a Master’s degree at ETH with two scholarship programs: the Excellence Scholarship & Opportunity Programme (ESOP) and the Master Scholarship Programme (MSP).
The Excellence Scholarship consists of a grant covering living and study expenses (CHF 11,000 per semester) as well as a tuition fee waiver. The Master Scholarship Programme consists of a partial stipend for living and study expenses (CHF 6,000 per semester) as well as a tuition fee waiver.
University of Geneva Excellence Master Fellowships (Switzerland)
The Faculty of Science of the University of Geneva offers scholarships for outstanding students from any university who wish to pursue a Master of Science Programme offered by the Faculty of Science. The Excellence Fellowship consists of a grant amounting to CHF 10,000 to CHF 15,000 per year.