Scholarships for Indian students in the UK

The UK is one of the most popular destinations for higher education and it attracts lakhs of international students each year. The UK has numerous high ranking, prestigious universities like the Oxford University, Cambridge University, London School of Economics, University of Edinburgh, etc. which offer world class facilities and the best faculty. Furthermore, these colleges offer a wide variety of courses and programmes at various educational levels, across all disciplines. Apart from that, the UK also offers international students a high standard of living, possibility of a high-paying international career as well as potential permanent residency. All these incentives, along with the country’s natural beauty, rich history and varied culture, make it the perfect study abroad destination, especially for South-Asian and Indian students. 

However, while it has so many advantages, a major disadvantage with studying in the UK is the massive financial burden it places on students. Most universities in the UK have extremely high tuition fees that are hard to afford without student loans. Furthermore, the cost of living, accommodation rent and travel also end up being very costly, especially in cities like London. Indian students need not be disheartened though, as there are lots of scholarships, grants and other financial aids that they can apply to to reduce the financial burden caused by higher education in the UK. Here are some of the best scholarships for Indian students in the UK:

Dr Manmohan Singh Scholarship

The Dr Manmohan Singh Scholarship is a scholarship that is available to any student wishing to complete their doctoral study at St John’s College at the University of Cambridge as well as for students wanting to complete their undergraduate studies at this university. Dr Manmohan Singh, the former Prime Minister of India, graduated from St John’s College and later went on to receive an honorary doctorate from the university, which is why this scholarship was established in 2008, in his honour. 

The scholarship is funded by a collection of private organisations and individual sponsors. The doctoral studies scholarship is offered in fields like science and technology, economics, social sciences, engineering, etc. The applicants for this scholarship need to be Indian citizens below 31 years of age, holding a Master’s degree in the relevant subject. The undergraduate applicants must want to pursue a BA in Cambridge, in any field, and must be in financial need. The scholarship covers academic and tuition fees, international airfare, visa costs as well as offers a monthly stipend for other living expenses.

Rhodes Scholarship

One of the oldest and most sought after scholarships in the UK, the Rhodes Scholarship was started in 1902 in England and has been available to Indian students since 1947. The Rhodes scholarship is awarded in 22 countries, out of which India is one. The scholarship is applicable for any full time Master’s course in the University of Oxford, including an MBA program. It is offered only at Oxford University and therefore any student who does not have admission at Oxford is automatically ineligible. 

This scholarship covers all university tuition fees, international travel to and from the UK and also offers the student a personal stipend for other expenses during their stay. Only 5 scholarships are awarded to Indian students each year which is why this is an incredibly competitive grant and candidates have to go through many rounds of selection to be approved. First the candidate must be nominated by Oxford university and are then asked to do an initial interview, a cocktail party and another final interview before selection. Only Indian citizens and residents are eligible for this and anyone with an OPI or PIO card is not eligible. Furthermore, two years of work experience is a must for applicants.

Charles Wallace India Trust Scholarship (CWIT)

Established in 1981 as part of an agreement between the Indian and British governments, the CWIT is an English charity that offers financial aid and grants to Indians in need and allows them to study, gain exposure and build networks in the UK. The British Council is involved in the various types of grants given to Indian students, at various levels of academic life. The CWIT offers long-term as well as short-term grants, along with grants for doctoral studies, artist residencies, visiting fellows, etc. 

The most popular grant that those wishing to study in the UK apply for is the long term grant.This grant, open to any Indian citizen between the ages of 25 to 38 years, is aimed at letting mid-career professionals study, network and broaden their horizons in the UK. The grant covers living costs, accomodation, travel expenses as well as the tution fees of any one year Master’s of Arts (MA) course in the field of arts or heritage conservation. The CWIT does not support two year courses. The chosen candidate must have an admission letter from the selected university and must bear visa and insurance costs on their own. 

Felix Scholarship

The Felix scholarship is a need-based scholarship that was specifically established with the aim of providing underprivileged students from developing countries a chance to study in the UK. This scholarship is offered at three universities, namely Oxford University, University of Reading and School of Oriental and African Studies, which is part of University of London. This scholarship is offered in countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, SriLanka, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Ethiopia, etc. About 20 students are funded each year and a total of more than 400 students have been supported by this programme since it was established in 1991. 

In order to apply for this scholarship, an Indian student must hold a Bachelor’s degree from a recognised Indian university. Candidates who are above 30 years of age and are not residents of India, i.e. living outside the country, are not considered eligible. Upon completion of the post-graduate degree, the student is expected to return to their home country to continue their professional career. Among the applicants, the selection is made on the basis of academic record and excellence. 

British Chevening Scholarship

Widely regarded as one of the best and most prestigious scholarships in the UK, the British Chevening Scholarship is an award scheme that offers full financial support to post-graduate international students wishing to complete their Master’s in the UK. This is a fully funded scholarship that covers all travel expenses, accommodation costs as well as tuition fees for any one year Master’s programme. This is a government funded scholarship awarded by the United Kingdom Government. 

This scholarship is offered to students of various countries such as India and China and is merit as well as need based. A student wanting to apply must have an admission letter from the university of their choice and must belong to a country where the scholarship is offered. Furthermore, they should obtain the minimum required scores on English language tests as listed officially. Indian students wishing to apply should do so in October, since the deadline is in November. Decisions are announced in mid-June.

Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan

The Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan is a British Council funded scholarship plan that is awarded to candidates from any of the 53 Commonwealth countries like India, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Belgium, etc. This is a highly prestigious scholarship that was established in 1959 and has funded more than 30,000 students till date. Students can use this scholarship to study in New Zealand, Singapore and the UK, although it is most commonly used for study in the UK. 

This is a merit-based scholarship awarded to those international students who have an exemplary academic record. Under this plan, 200 scholarships are offered each year at Master’s and Doctorate levels. The scholarship covers tuition fees for the given programme as well as travel expenses and other allowances. Any Indian resident below the age of 40 who has been accepted at a UK university can apply for this scholarship and the shortlisted candidates have personal interviews to confirm their selection. 


The UK has been a dream destinations for international students for quite a few decades now. It’s rich history and culture, prestigious universities and bright future prospects make it the perfect place to complete one’s higher education from. However, on the other hand, the high tuition fees and costs of living place a significant financial burden on the family of the student. While student loans are always an option, scholarships and financial aid are better alternatives to reduce the financial burden while also completing your dream of studying abroad. There are a range of scholarships, both private and government-funded which Indian students are eligible to apply for. Apart from the ones mentioned previously, there are lots of other scholarships available too. Some of these are, Erasmus Mundus Joint Master’s Degree Scholarship, A.S. Hornby Educational Trust Scholarship, Scotland Saltire Scholarship, Inlaks Scholarship, etc. Any Indian student with a exemplary academic record can apply for and avail the benefits of such scholarships to study in the UK. 

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