A successful candidate for a PhD scholarship typically possesses the following:
- GPA of at least 87%
- Study plan that demonstrates originality
- Age under 40 years
- Specialization in a rare or high-demand field (e.g., STEM areas)
Application deadlines, selection criteria, and the required documents vary depending on the chosen program. Generally, a completed application form and a compelling motivation letter are essential. Additionally, the following documents are often required:
- Certificate of proficiency in a foreign language. A high level of language proficiency — typically C2 — is necessary. For English-language programs, a 100-120 TOEFL iBT or a 7.5 IELTS score is recommended.
- Two recommendations. These should be written by a supervisor from a university or research laboratory if you have relevant work experience.
- Motivation letter. It should highlight your potential as a promising scientist. Unlike letters for bachelor’s and master’s programs, the focus here is on showcasing scientific capabilities.
Research plan. This is a separate document attached to the application, in which the candidate outlines their future research. The research proposal should convincingly demonstrate the following:
- Relevance of the proposed research
- Clear work plan
- Achievability of research objectives
A research proposal serves as an introduction to your thesis, outlining the significance, originality, and methodology of your research. It should provide a clear overview that allows the reader to envision the completed work, even if only in general terms.
Acquiring a PhD scholarship is a challenging endeavor, often requiring exceptional test scores, a distinctive research topic, and notable achievements. However, there are instances where belonging to an underrepresented social group or directly approaching interested companies can simplify the funding process. While specific criteria must still be met, having research that benefits others can facilitate obtaining financial support. As a prospective PhD student, you are already highly regarded by numerous organizations, ranging from corporations to research institutes.
Where to look for PhD scholarships
Start by exploring opportunities at your chosen university. Even if the institution doesn't provide direct funding, the financial office can offer guidance on relevant public and private programs. To search for scholarships, use one of the following services:
|International Student||Free search engine for scholarships by country, keywords, and field of study.|
|Great College Deals||An updated list of the Top 20 US Scholarships for International Students.|
|Find a PhD||English portal for searching for PhD programs, grants, and scholarships. Includes keyword search.|
|Scholars 4 Dev||Scholarship aggregator for PhD programs worldwide. Offers a keyword search feature.|
|We Make Scholars||Portal to find scholarships and study programs based on specialty, level of study, and country. Includes application deadline countdown.|
|Scholarship Portal||Website that compiles all existing scholarships for your selected country and level of study.|
|Go Overseas||Selection of 46 scholarship programs for international PhD students (current as of April 2021). Annual opportunities available.|
Notable PhD scholarships
The Fulbright Program
The Fulbright Program is widely recognized as one of the most prestigious American programs for international students. It offers:
- Comprehensive benefits
- Including full tuition coverage
- Monthly payments starting from 1,200 USD — depending on the chosen university.
Program participants can pursue a master's degree at an American university or do an internship with a company. Scholars are given the opportunity to spend up to nine months in the United States, where they can deliver lectures, conduct master classes, or carry out scientific research, ultimately enhancing their academic portfolio.
Please note that at the beginning of 2022, the Fulbright scholarship representatives announced a suspension of applications from Russian citizens for the upcoming academic year. According to the information available on the scholarship's official website, Russians can participate in the scholarship competition for the 2024/2025 academic year. However, the application window closed on May 15, 2023.
For more detailed information, we recommend contacting the scholarship representatives directly.
For the participants from other eligible countries, the procedure and the requirements remain unchanged.
L’Oréal UNESCO for Women in Science
This international research grant, available specifically for women under 35, is funded by L'Oréal in collaboration with UNESCO. It aims to address gender inequality in the field of science. To be eligible for the grant, applicants are required to demonstrate the significance of their research through a motivation letter. Priority is given to research works in the fields of biology, medicine, physics, and chemistry. The grant amount varies between 40,000 USD and 100,000 USD, depending on the category in which the applicant wins. Each year, five women are awarded this grant, representing North America, Africa and the Middle East, South and Latin America, Asia and Oceania, and Europe respectively.
American Association of University Women
Another grant program exclusively for women, providing full coverage for three years of study at American universities. In case the program cannot be completed within this timeframe, an extension can be requested. The annual payment amount is 18,000 USD for master's programs and 20,000 USD for PhD programs. The main objective of the candidate is to demonstrate the significance of her research.
Wellcome International Training Fellowships
The foundation provides funding for medical research and education at the master's level and above. Individual applications for scholarships are not accepted; they must be submitted by the applicant's employer. Only organizations operating in low- and middle-income countries (excluding India and China) are eligible to apply. The complete list of eligible countries can be found on the program website. The grant amount is 314,026 USD per year, distributed over a three-year period.
Friedrich Ebert Foundation Scholarships
International students wishing to study in Germany can apply for the Friedrich Ebert Foundation Scholarships. Priority is given to second-generation migrants and students from low-income families. While there are no specific field of study requirements, scholarships are primarily awarded to candidates actively involved in social work. Applicants are required to submit a motivation letter demonstrating political solidarity with the foundation, which promotes the ideology of social democracy. The monthly scholarship payments can reach up to 779 USD, with additional coverage for medical insurance. For scholarship holders with minor children, the medical insurance payments amount to 162 USD per month, while for others, it is up to 74 USD per month. Foreign applicants must also provide proof of their German language proficiency.
Studying abroad is not as expensive as it seems, especially if you study on a scholarship.
We will help you save money on education abroad and submit documents for government grants.