Mastercard Foundation AfOx Scholarships
The University of Oxford and the Mastercard Foundation have an innovative and ambitious partnership under the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program and the Africa Oxford Initiative (AfOx). The partnership is set to provide 400 young African scholars with a fully-funded opportunity to pursue taught Masters degrees in programmes related to pandemic preparedness and recovery at the University of Oxford.
The Mastercard Foundation AfOx Scholarship programme supports passionate, locally rooted and globally minded African young people to undertake graduate studies at the University of Oxford. The Mastercard Foundation AfOx Scholarship programme is grounded in the Mastercard Foundation, and AfOx shared values of collegiality, empathy, commitment, inclusion and community. The Scholarship is part of the broader AfOx Graduate Scholars Program, which aims to support African students to access opportunities at Oxford and to thrive both during and after their time at the University.
The Scholarship funds a rigorous one-year taught Master’s course at Oxford aimed at equipping the Scholars with relevant technical, entrepreneurial and leadership skills and connecting them to world-leading resources in their respective sectors. Key elements of the scholarship programme include adequate support and preparation for students to take up their studies, intensive emphasis on life skills beyond academia and support for a lifelong network of alumni. Each Scholar will benefit from the highest calibre training in specific disciplines critical to solving pressing problems, including food systems, health sciences, sustainable water and energy systems, governance and public policy, and entrepreneurship, among others. Their programs will centre the four AfOx themes relevant to Africa’s Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals: Healthy People, Integrated Societies, Green Futures, and Innovation for Prosperity.
An important and innovative aspect of the program is the “Ubuntu period of service” undertaken upon completion of the Master’s degree. During this second year of the Program, the Scholars will be supported and encouraged to design and deliver impactful projects based on African organisations, which could include launching start-ups and working in multinational development agencies, governments, NGOs or research institutions.
The scholarship specifically emphasises groups who have historically been under-represented, including but not limited to female scholars, people from refugee and displaced backgrounds and scholars with accessibility needs. A cohort of 20 Mastercard Foundation AfOx Scholars studying various academic disciplines, including global health, engineering, public policy, law, and refugees and forced migration Studies, began their studies in the 2022 academic year. This group of emerging African leaders come from 13 African counties and are members of 9 Oxford colleges.
This full-cost scholarship is available to Master's students, covering tuition fees and living expenses for international students. The scholarship also provides logistics support, including an economy return flight, visa and Immigration Health Surcharge fees, settling down allowance, and access to a Thrive Fund for emergencies. The first year includes a rigorous academic Master’s course at Oxford and a Leadership and Impact Programme, which support the scholars in developing collaborative leadership qualities needed to build cross-sector, interdisciplinary solutions to address complex social and environmental problems.
After completing their Master’s Program, Scholars will be supported to take up 4-6 months placements in leading Africa-based organisations for their Ubuntu Period of Service. The scholars will work on initiatives in Africa, receiving mentoring from leading Africa-based academics and practitioners, enabling the Scholars to develop pathways to building impactful careers in Africa.
The Scholars benefit from a bespoke Leadership and Impact Program delivered in partnership with the Skoll Centre for Social Enterprise and tailored academic and social support throughout their studies. Beyond their studies, Scholars will join the AfOx Alumni Network, where they can continue to draw on and contribute to the community of African Scholars linked to the University of Oxford. In addition to the peer support from the Scholar Community, the Scholars have access to mentorship and career support from AfOx Research and Innovation Fellows and the more comprehensive AfOx network of research leaders and entrepreneurs.
How to apply:
The Mastercard Foundation AfOx Scholarship enables students from all African countries to pursue graduate studies at the University of Oxford. All students with an African nationality and residence who receive a conditional offer from the University will be eligible for the scholarship.
The scholarship emphasises explicitly groups who have historically been under-represented, including but not limited to female scholars, people from refugee and displaced backgrounds and disabled scholars. Necessary residence considerations will be made for students from refugee and displaced backgrounds.
(a) To be considered for this scholarship, submit your application for graduate study to the University of Oxford via the graduate admissions portal by the deadline for your chosen course of study. Please read the Application Guide in detail ahead of making the application. We strongly recommend you submit your application form and all of your supporting documents at least a week before the December/January for your course.
(b) Eligible candidates who receive a conditional offer from their course will be then invited to apply for the AfOx Graduate Scholarship Program. All invited candidates will be expected to fill in the AfOx Graduate Scholarship questionnaire during the application process.
(c) Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed virtually before decisions are made, and the timelines will be communicated at the interview stage.
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