Deadline: 30 September 2020|

Location: South Africa: University of Cape Town (UCT)|


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.

Academic Criteria

  • Only applicants who have applied to the relevant academic department at UCT are eligible to apply for The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program at the University of Cape Town awards.
  • The comments on the academic abilities of the applicant by the academic referees will form part of the academic criteria for this scholarship.
  • Successful applicants will be required to produce the original academic transcripts on arrival and registration at UCT.
  • Applicants will be required to produce translated copies of all academic transcripts where English is not the primary language.

The scholarship includes:

  • 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.

How to apply?

  • 7.1. In order to apply for The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at the University of Cape Town, applicants must first apply to UCT for academic study and placement.
  • 7.2. At the point of selection, the applicant should have a conditional/firm offer from UCT
  • 7.3. The following required supporting documents must be attached/uploaded to the POSTGRADUATE or UNDERGRADUATE scholarship application form:
  • Certified copy of Identity Document, Passport or Refugee Papers
  • Applicant’s Curriculum Vitae (CV) of no more than two(2) A4 pages using the following points as context: ⎯ Participation in Extra-Curricular Activities ⎯ Skills and Interests
  • Academic and/or Professional Experience Certified copies of all Secondary education transcripts
  • Certified copies of all current and previous Tertiary education transcripts
  • 2 Academic Referee Reports
  • Applicants are required to produce translated copies of all academic transcripts and academic referee reports where English is not the primary language
  • Referees may attach additional pages or documentation in support of the recommendation on the official institutional letterhead with original signature, stamp and date in support of the applicant
  • Applicants’ are required to submit an essay, of no more than 2000 words using the following points as context: o In which ways do you envisage contributing to the economic growth and social development of your country and Africa on completion of your studies, using your education as leverage?
  • Explain any community service activities you have been involved in.
  • List the qualities that, for you, define leadership and elaborate on leadership initiatives that you have undertaken.
  • 7.4. Shortlisted applicants will be required to attend an interview and may be required to submit documentary evidence of the information provided on the scholarship application form.
  • 7.5. The submission of incomplete and / or late scholarship applications will not be Page 4 of 3 accepted and will be cancelled. Such applicants will not be considered for selection of scholarships. 7.6. Appeals against a scholarship outcome decision should be submitted to The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program Selection Committee Chairperson, within 5 days of the publication of the scholarship outcome result at
  • The subject line of the e-mail should read as MCF SCHOLARSHIP APPEAL. Any appeal received after 5 days of notification of the scholarship outcome decision will NOT be considered.
  • 7.7. To apply for a MasterCard Foundation scholarship applicants will need to visit The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program at The University of Cape Town website available at this link:
  • 7.8. Alternatively, request information on how to apply for a Mastercard Foundation scholarship from The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program: Recruitment and Peer Mentor Officer at (telephone number + 27 21 650 5923 / 3601).

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