• Scholarship Type: Master’s and Undergraduate
  • Application Deadline: March 1, 2024

Scholarship Overview:

The University of California Berkeley MasterCard Scholarships have the aim of nurturing a group of young leaders characterized by ethics, entrepreneurship, and vitality. These leaders are expected to steer and lead socio-economic transformation in Africa.


This scholarship program is a substantial commitment, with an already pledged sum exceeding USD $1.2 billion dedicated to supporting the education and leadership development of over 40,000 young individuals.

Value and Duration of the Scholarship:

  • The scholarship is fully funded.
  • Mastercard Foundation Scholars will receive a comprehensive scholarship that covers all expenses related to obtaining a master’s degree. This includes costs like travel, tuition, Berkeley student fees, visa and SEVIS fees, housing, food, living expenses, and specialized programs within the cohort that emphasize leadership and entrepreneurship.
  • MBA students need to secure additional funding from Haas Business School, which requires meeting the Round One or Two application deadline. If you are interested in learning more about this unique process, please contact us.

Eligible Fields of Study:

This scholarship covers a wide range of Master’s degree programs.

Eligible Countries:

All countries in Sub-Saharan Africa are eligible. This excludes citizens of North African countries. Individuals with dual citizenship, asylee or refugee status, or permanent resident status in the US, Canada, UK, or EU are not eligible.


Eligibility Criteria:

To be considered for this scholarship, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Citizenship in a Sub-Saharan African country, which includes Africans who are refugees or displaced within the African continent. Citizens of North African countries are not eligible, and individuals with dual citizenship, asylee, refugee, or permanent resident status in the US, Canada, UK, or EU are also excluded.
  • Demonstrated academic talent, as all potential Scholars must first gain admission to a UC Berkeley master’s degree program. Academic excellence is a critical criterion for admission.
  • Demonstrated leadership potential, with an emphasis on cultivating the skills and mindsets related to transformative leadership that ethically engages others to bring about positive and enduring change.
  • A socio-economically disadvantaged background, as this scholarship is designed for exceptionally talented individuals who may not otherwise have access to quality higher education.
  • A demonstrated commitment to giving back to the community, country, or continent. The program seeks well-rounded students engaged in activities beyond the classroom, which can be directly related to their field of study or encompass other areas such as social, economic, or political issues they are passionate about.
  • Expressing the desire and intention to return to the home country after completing the studies. The program aims to enable Scholars to return home, better prepared to address the issues impacting their communities after forming valuable professional connections through internships, academic training, and job placements.
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Application Process:

For Master’s degree applicants, the first step is to apply to a graduate program to be considered for the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program. However, not all degree programs are eligible, so it is essential to review the specific requirements of each program. The Graduate Division provides detailed information on the admissions process for international students. Any questions regarding admission requirements should be directed to the specific graduate program.

While the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at UC Berkeley does not accept undergraduate applicants, undergraduate students are welcome to apply directly to the University of California, Berkeley. More information on the undergraduate application process is available on the Undergraduate Admissions site.


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