University of Cape Town - Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program

Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program 2021 at the University of Cape Town (Fully-Funded)

Deadline: 30th September, 2020

The University of Cape Town (UCT) has partnered with the Mastercard Foundation in its global Scholars’ Program: an educational initiative that provides academically talented young people from economically disadvantaged communities in Africa with access to quality university education.

The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at UCT provides full-cost scholarships to young Africans who are first-time undergraduate or postgraduate (honours and master’s) degree-seeking applicants. The scholarships ensure a premium educational package that will produce graduates whose qualifications are internationally recognised and locally applicable, and whose transition into the workforce is underpinned by values of engaged citizenship and social justice.

These scholarships cover the full period of study and are renewable annually subject to satisfactory performance and participation in the activities and opportunities offered by the programme. Successful candidates will be required to commit themselves to returning to their home countries and to invest their gained skills and education in their country’s social and economic growth.

Selection criteria

  • Academically talented – value learning and are driven to complete their education.
  • Economically disadvantaged – facing significant financial barriers to completing their education.
  • Committed to giving back – investing in their communities, using the skills and knowledge that they have acquired.
  • Future leaders – committed to embracing ethical leadership and making a positive change in their home communities.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Comprehensive financial assistance with visa applications, travel, tuition, living expenses, medical aid and accommodation.
  • A relevant and recognised education through academic curricula aimed at producing graduates whose qualifications are internationally recognised and locally applicable.
  • Academic and peer mentor support – to ensure that each Scholar successfully progresses academically.
  • An array of cultural and transition support and training aimed at academic and professional enrichment and assisting in the challenges facing university going students.
  • Career and internship opportunities in Africa, service learning, experiential learning – career guidance and support for transition to further study or the workforce.
  • Leadership development and training.
  • Alumni networks for further support.
  • Future leaders committed to embracing ethical leadership to improve the lives of others.
  • Commitment to community service through previous and/or past engagements with community outreach activities
  • Citizens and residents of a Sub-Saharan African country.
  • Wanting to study at undergraduate or postgraduate level (Masters by research and coursework or research Masters, only). Honours applicants will be considered from 2016.
  • Applying to study in the fields of Commerce, Engineering and Built Environment, Health Sciences, Humanities, Law or Sciences at the University of Cape Town.
  • All prospective Scholars must first be admitted to the University of Cape Town to be considered for the Scholarship. Although each academic department has its own criteria, a minimum of 60% for the Honours, or equivalent degree is the overall academic criterion required for entry into the Masters’ degree.
  • Preference will be given to ‘first-generation’ students, i.e. those who are the first ones in their families to go to university.

Comprehensive financial assistance includes

  1. Visa application costs.
  2. Travel costs to and from South Africa and including travel insurance.
  3. Full tuition and international student fees, including any application fees to UCT.
  4. Full accommodation and living expenses, including medical aid, books, stipends and transport.
  5. Residences provide accommodation for undergraduate men and women students who are usually under the age of 21. These residences provide students with up to three meals a day in a dining hall. In all instances awarded Scholars will be provided with the necessary financial means to afford food services.
  6. Research, development and academic travel costs as approved or recommended by UCT and The Mastercard Foundation (for postgraduate students only).
  7. Access to internship opportunities and ad hoc costs related to such participation.
  8. There are no application fees for applying to the Scholars Program at UCT.

Scholarship Worth

  • The scholarships will cover for the following:
  • Reimbursement of costs incurred for visa application processing
  • An economy class air ticket to Cape Town South Africa for awardees who are i) citizens and/or residents of an African country other than South Africa or ii) residing in South Africa but outside of Cape Town
  • Full tuition fees and international student fees
  • Accommodation in a student residence managed by the UCT Student Housing Admissions and Advocacy Services at UCT
  • Meals through the student housing system at UCT
  • Medical cover with a recommended medical aid service provider
  • A living stipend; to be used to cover ad hoc expenses pertaining to awardees’ studies
  • A book allowance to purchase the prescribed textbooks required for the degree programme
  • Costs related to community activities as prescribed by The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at the University of Cape Town
  • Access to an internship opportunity, career development and job placement assistance
  • An economy class air ticket home upon completion of studies, for awardees who are i) citizens of and/or residents of an African country other than South Africa or ii) residing in South Africa but outside of Cape Town

How to Apply

In order to apply for The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program, applicants must first apply to the University of Cape Town for academic study and placement. Candidates are encouraged to make contact with the relevant department that the academic application will be submitted to.



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