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Graduate funding

Graduate Funding Opportunities

The Faculty of Divinity is delighted to announce a range of funding opportunities for PhD and MPhil students applying to start research in the field of theological and religious studies at the University of Cambridge in the academic year 2017-18. The university’s competitions for AHRC awards and Cambridge Trust awards are all open to eligible applicants to the Faculty.

AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership at Cambridge

AHRC doctoral awards cover fees for Home or EU students, and also maintenance at the university’s standard rates for Home students only. Applicants who wish to be considered for an AHRC studentship must not only tick the relevant box on their application form but also complete and submit a special AHRC application form. See full details of how to apply for the Cambridge AHRC awards.

Cambridge Trust awards

Candidates applying to the Faculty of Divinity for graduate study and wishing to apply for graduate funding from the Cambridge Trust should tick the appropriate box on their application form. See important information on Cambridge Trust awards.

Gates Cambridge Scholarships

Candidates for the PhD and MPhil programmes in the Faculty of Divinity may be considered for Gates Cambridge Scholarships. Applicants who wish to be considered for Gates Cambridge Scholarships must both tick the relevant box and fill in the relevant section of the application form. Gates Cambridge Scholars are expected to demonstrate not only academic excellence but also leadership potential and a commitment to improving the lives of others, and it is important to use the Gates section of the application form to convey this information to the assessors.

The deadline for applications for Round 1 of the Gates Cambridge competition (for US citizens normally resident in the USA) is 12 October, and the deadline for Round 2 (for citizens of all eligible countries other than USA, and US citizens normally resident outside the USA) is 7 December 2016.

It should be noted that citizens of the UK are not eligible for Gates Cambridge Scholarships.

Background

Gates Cambridge Scholarships are highly prestigious awards and competition is fierce. There are two rounds: for US nationals and for non-US international students. The scholarships are awarded to applicants who can demonstrate excellence in all four Gates’ criteria: outstanding intellectual ability; leadership potential; a commitment to improving the lives of others; and, a good fit between the applicant's qualifications and aspirations and the postgraduate programme at Cambridge for which they are applying. Full details about the scholarships and the selection procedure are found at the Gates Cambridge Scholarships web site.

Applying for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship

Because the Cambridge application form places strong emphasis on intellectual ability, the Gates Trust has requested that candidates fill in a statement supporting their application for a Gates Cambridge Scholarships (up to 500 words) and an additional reference. These should make particular reference to the Gates’ criteria that are not covered elsewhere in the Cambridge application form, viz. leadership potential and a commitment to improving the lives of others.

Common mistakes made in applying for a Gates Cambridge Scholarship

  • Seeking to impress academically in the Gates box on the application form. There are numerous pages on the application form that should demonstrate your academic abilities. The Gates box and reference are the only places where you can demonstrate your service for others and leadership. There is no need to make a further case for your intellectual qualities.

  • Failing to detail the nature of service or leadership. Assessors view significant quantitative information about your academic study: academic grades, professors’ assessment of how students compare to their cohort, degrees studied, languages learnt and to what level. Similar detail should be given about service and leadership. What did you do? How did it make a difference? How many years did you undertake the role? How many people were in the team you led?

  • Assuming knowledge on the part of the assessors. Applicants often enumerate service and leadership in just a single sentence, and so fail to provide the detail that is needed and assume assessors will understand the service undertaken. Theologians and RS scholars often fail to describe what leadership and service can be seen in a mission trip, being a minister of religion or Sunday school teaching.

  • Choosing a referee who comments on academic ability only. Two academic references are required for any application for postgraduate study in Cambridge. The Gates reference needs to specifically address leadership potential and commitment to improving the lives of others.

  • Writing an aspirational statement about future leadership or service. Commitment to others and leadership potential are demonstrated through past activities, however modest.

  • Having a narrow sense of what leadership and commitment to the lives of others means. Starting an international charity and managing a team of thirty people are not the only means of demonstrating leadership and service. In addition, note that ‘others’ has not been restricted to human beings.

Awards from the Faculty of Divinity

Funding decisions and admissions decisions are separate. An offer of a place for the MPhil or the PhD is not in itself an offer of funding. But all those to whom an offer is made will, if they indicate that they are seeking funding, be considered for the available funding opportunities.

Funding decisions are taken on the basis of an assessment of academic ability and research potential, examination results, and references.
Admissions decisions are taken on the same basis as funding decisions, but with consideration also given to the suitability of the proposed topic within the Faculty’s research priorities, the availability of expert supervisors, and an overall assessment of graduate student numbers.

Crosse Studentship

The Faculty of Divinity is pleased to announce that the Crosse Studentship will be offered for funding towards a PhD in the Holy Scriptures in Greek and Hebrew, Ecclesiastical History and Christian Doctrine from October 2017. The studentship will cover fees and maintenance for a PhD at the University’s home/EU rate. It is tenable for one year and will be renewed for a further two subject to satisfactory progress.  All students who are offered a place in the relevant fields for the studentship and who indicate that they are seeking funding will be considered for the award. The award will be made on the basis of the quality of the applicant’s academic record, the research proposal, and any other indications of outstanding academic merit.

Peregrine Maitland Studentship

The Faculty of Divinity is pleased to announce that the Peregrine Maitland Studentship will be offered to candidates for graduate study from October 2017 whose research concerns the study of subjects arising from or affecting the spread of the Christian Religion, the comparison of the Christian Religion with other religions, and the contact of Christian and other civilisations. Preference will be given to candidates wishing to prepare themselves for missionary work. The studentship which will partly fund the costs of a PhD is tenable for one year and will be renewed for a further two subject to satisfactory progress. All students who are offered a place in the field of the studentship and who indicate that they are seeking funding will be considered for the award. The award will be made on the basis of the quality of the applicant’s academic record, the research proposal, and any other indications of outstanding academic merit

Hartwell and Sheikh Zayed MPhil Studentship in Islamic Studies

The Faculty of Divinity is delighted to announce an MPhil studentship for starting graduate study in October 2017. The studentship is funded by the Hartwell and Sheikh Zayed Funds and is available for those undertaking Islamic Studies in the Faculty of Divinity on the MPhil in Theology and Religious Studies.

 The sum awarded will cover the costs of fees and maintenance at either Home or Overseas rate following University guidelines, and may be offered to students undertaking study at MPhil level.

 All students who are offered a place in the field of Islamic Studies and who indicate that they are seeking funding will be considered for the award. The award will be made on the basis of the quality of the applicant’s academic record, the research proposal, and any other indications of outstanding academic merit.

Barnard Randolph Studentships in Christian Theology

The Faculty may offer one or more Barnard Randolph Studentships towards the fees of students proposing to specialise in Christian Theology within the Divinity Faculty’s MPhil in Theology, Religion, and Philosophy of Religion in the academic year 2017-18. The maximum possible value of a Barnard Randolph Studentship for the academic year 2017-18 would be £10,800 (the course fee at the Home/EU rate).

Kirby Laing Home/EU MPhil Studentship

The Faculty of Divinity is delighted to announce an MPhil studentship open for home and EU candidates intending to start graduate study in October 2017. The studentship is funded by the Kirby Laing Graduate Studentship Fund and is available for those undertaking New Testament Study in the Faculty of Divinity on the MPhil in Theology, Religion and Philosophy of Religion.  The sum awarded will cover the costs of fees (£9468) and maintenance (£10,800) at the Home/EU rate.

All eligible students who are offered a place on the MPhil in the field of New Testament and who indicate that they are seeking funding will be considered for the award. The award will be made on the basis of the quality of the applicant’s academic record and research commitment, of an interview with Faculty staff in the New Testament field, and of any other indications of outstanding academic merit.

Shapiro Studentships in Jewish Studies

The Faculty may offer one or more Shapiro Studentships towards the fees of students proposing to specialise in Jewish Studies within the Divinity Faculty’s MPhil in Theology, Religion, and Philosophy of Religion in the academic year 2017-18. The maximum possible value of a Shapiro Studentship for the academic year 2017-18 would be £10,800 (the course fee at the Home/EU rate).

Westminster College, Cambridge: Lewis and Gibson Scholarship

This Scholarship has its own page.

C.F.D. Moule MPhil Studentship

Clare College and the Faculty of Divinity are delighted to announce an MPhil studentship for home/EU candidates intending to start graduate study in October 2017.  The studentship is funded by the CFD Moule Memorial Fund which is administered by Clare College and is available for those undertaking New Testament Study in the Faculty of Divinity on the MPhil in Theology, Religion and Philosophy of Religion.  The sum awarded will be £12,000 and the successful candidate will be a member of Clare College.

All eligible students who are offered a place on the MPhil in the field of New Testament and who indicate that they are seeking funding will be considered for the award.  The award will be made on the basis of the quality of the applicant's academic record and research commitment, of an interview with Faculty staff in the New Testament field, and of any other indications of outstanding academic merit.