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Deadline varies by program

The Center for African Studies at the University of California - Berkeley is pleased to announce a new phase of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at the University of California, Berkeley. With the Mastercard Foundation, US Berkely is embarking on a ten-year partnership in 2020 to support 108 master’s degree students from Sub-Saharan African countries who are academically talented and committed to transformative change on the continent. The Program will recruit widely across Sub-Saharan Africa and will encourage applications particularly from women, people with disabilities, and those who are refugees or displaced. Since 2012, the MCF Scholars Program has supported over 120 students from Sub-Saharan African countries to pursue bachelor’s and master’s degrees at UC Berkeley.


Mastercard Foundation Scholars receive a comprehensive scholarship equivalent to the costs associated with earning a master's degree, which includes travel, tuition, Berkeley student fees, visa and SEVIS fees, housing, food, living expenses, and cohort signature programs which will focus on leadership and entrepreneurship.

As part of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Network, Scholars will have access to the Africa Careers Network to assist in identifying employment opportunities on the continent upon completion of their studies. Furthermore, the team at Berkeley will assist Scholars in finding suitable employment opportunities in Africa and make sure they are aware of opportunities in Africa during their studies at Berkeley.


The five main eligibility criteria are:

Being a citizen of a Sub-Saharan African country - This includes Africans who are refugees or displaced. This scholarship is not intended for citizens of North African countries.

Excelling academically - All prospective Scholars must first be admitted to a UC Berkeley master's degree program to be considered for the Scholarship. An important criteria for admission to the University is demonstrated academic excellence.

Coming from an economically disadvantaged background - This Scholarship is designed for those extremely talented individuals who have no other means of acquiring the further education required to help realize their dreams and ambitions.

Having demonstrated the will to give back to your community, country, or continent - well-rounded students who are engaged in activities beyond the classroom, some of which may be directly related to your field of study, but this may also include other issues (social, economic, political) that you are working on and passionate about. Applicants should elaborate on their achievements both in their application to UC Berkeley, and then later on the Scholarship application.

Having expressed the desire and intention to return to your home country after completing your studies - Students who are engaged with and passionate about issues affecting their communities, and who will take advantage of their education at UC Berkeley to better equip themselves with the knowledge and training to address these issues upon return. While important work can be done from abroad, the intention of this Program is to enable Scholars to return home, after forming valuable professional connections through an internship, Academic Training and job placements.


UC Berkeley offers the following Master's programs. When considering any program, please keep in mind that it is your motivation for choosing your field, as well as your career goals that will determine if you are eligible for the Scholarship. Please revisit Eligibility Requirements to see if your goals are in line with those of the Mastercard Foundation Scholar Program.

Architecture (M.Arch)

Art (MFA)

Business Administration (MBA)*

City & Regional Planning (MCP)

Development Practice (MDP)

Education (DMS, EMST, or MUSE)

Energy & Resources (ERG)

Master of Engineering (M.Eng), various concentrations

Master of Science Civil and Environmental Engineering (MS)

Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (MS)

Mechanical Engineering (MS)

Folklore (MA)

Journalism (MJ)

Information Management & Systems (MIMS)

Public Health (MPH), various concentrations

Public Policy (MPP)

Social Welfare (MSW)


Master's degree applicants must first apply to an eligible graduate program before they will be considered for the Mastercard Foundations Program Scholarship. Each eligible graduate degree program has specific requirements and applicants should carefully review those. The Graduate Division also provides detailed information on the admissions process for international students. Questions regarding admission requirements should be directed toward the appropriate graduate program. More details of the admissions process for master's program here have been outlined here: Applications will be accepted each year until 2028.


The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at UC Berkeley will not be offering undergraduate scholarships. The eight year program from 2012 to 2020 that included undergraduate recruitment has ended. Other partner institutions in the Scholars Program will continue recruiting undergraduates, and prospective applicants should contact those institutions for more information. A list of MCF Partners offering undergraduate scholarships follows:

African Leadership Academy

African Leadership University

American University of Beirut

Ashesi University College

Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST)

Sciences Po

United States International University-Africa

University of Abomey-Calavi

University of Cape Town

University of Edinburgh

University of Gondar

University of Pretoria

  • Wellesley College

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