Ruth First International Scholarships for Africans in Durham University, UK

The Ruth First Educational Trust and Durham University offer a scholarship to support a student from Africa taking a one-year taught course in the academic year 2019-20 leading to the award of a Master’s degree at Durham University.

The Trust aims to award the scholarship to individuals who not only have the academic and personal qualities to enable them to complete and benefit from a postgraduate course, but who will also act as positive ambassadors for their home countries in Durham and put their enhanced knowledge and skills to good use for the benefit of the societies to which they return in Africa. The goal of the Ruth First Educational Trust is to enable southern African students from historically disadvantaged backgrounds to undertake postgraduate study at the University of Durham. Southern Africa is defined for this purpose as comprising the following countries: Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Republic of South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Scholarships make an important contribution towards social, educational and economic development in the region. In addition to their value to individuals they have wide developmental impact, within and beyond southern Africa. Ruth First Scholars have played positive leadership roles in their communities and are chosen for their active commitment to good causes, as well as for their academic ability. Many former Ruth First Scholars now hold important positions in the public and private sectors in southern Africa, and have become inspirational role models for young people.

The Scholar is required to attend all taught components of the chosen course and complete all assignments prescribed, including a dissertation and a placement if required. The normal starting date for most Masters programmes is the beginning of October. The winner of the Scholarship will be notified separately once the selection process has been completed.

Location: England


  • The University will award to the successful candidate a tuition fee scholarship covering the full fees for the programme chosen.
  • Through an agreement between the Trust and the University, the Scholar will receive a monthly allowance to cover living and other expenses for 12 months, as well as free accommodation and meals at St Chad’s College (the cost of which is shared between the Trust and the College).
  • In 2018-19 the allowance is £500 per month and the value of the full-board accommodation is approximately £520 per month.
  • The Scholar will also receive a settling-in allowance on arrival.
  • The Trust will pay for one return air ticket from the home country to the UK and the cost of return travel between the UK airport and Durham City.
  • The Trust will also cover the cost of applying for a Tier 4 UK visa and the Immigration Health Surcharge.


  • Applicants should hold a relevant honors degree of sufficient standard to be admitted to their chosen Master’s course, and
  • Applicants should not hold a Master’s degree, nor have previously studied at a university outside southern Africa, and
  • Applicants should show evidence of active involvement in and commitment to voluntary work for the benefit of causes such as rural or urban community development; young people or educational projects; charitable organisations; health or AIDS awareness projects; student welfare or guidance; the defence of human rights; the promotion of equal opportunities or social justice; environmental sustainability. If applicants have a paid job that involves working in such areas, they should show evidence of leadership and commitment beyond the requirements of the job.
  • The Ruth First Scholarship may not be awarded to a student taking the MBA programme.
  • English language requirements for international students coming to study in the UK were tightened in 2011. The person selected for the Ruth First Scholarship will need to provide evidence of possessing a qualification in English language that meets the minimum requirement for the programme applied for. If applicants already have a suitable qualification (see the University’s guidance on their official website), they need to send a scan of the certificate with their application. If they haven’t, they don’t need to do anything about it now: this will be a condition of any offer made to them by the University.

Eligible Regions: Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Republic of South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe.


  • Go to Durham University’s page for the Ruth First Scholarship and complete the online application form. The deadline for applications is 1 March 2019.
  • A scan of applicant’s first degree results transcript must be uploaded with the application form.
  • Reference letters (one academic and one non-academic) can be uploaded with the form or e-mailed to Dr Michael Thompson at
  • Applicants must also submit an online application to the University. When applicants initiate their University application, the system will generate an applicant code number which they must include in their Ruth First Scholarship application.
  • An offer of a place at the University does not imply that applicants have been awarded the Ruth First Scholarship. The winner of the Scholarship will be notified separately once the selection process has been completed.

Application Deadline: March 1, 2019

Application Form

Official Scholarship Website

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