MasterCard Foundation Scholarship at the University of British Columbia, Canada

MasterCard Foundation is now accepting applications for their University of British Columbia scholarship in Canada. Read eligibility, available courses and how to apply.

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The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program is a 10-year global initiative to educate and develop next-generation leaders who will contribute to social and economic progress.

The Program enables young people from economically disadvantaged communities to complete quality secondary and tertiary education, and make successful transitions to further education, or to the workforce in their home countries. Through comprehensive support, Scholars receive learning opportunities that equip them with knowledge, skills, and values needed to succeed in the economy, and make positive impacts in their communities.

Scholars in the Program are primarily from Africa. In recent years, the continent has experienced unprecedented economic progress and political resurgence. More than 60 percent of its population is under the age of 25, making it the youngest continent. Yet, Sub-Saharan Africa is the region with the lowest enrollment rates in secondary and tertiary education.

Scholarship Details

The Program will educate an estimated 15,000 young people from economically disadvantaged communities. This network of next-generation leaders – unified by a common philosophy of change and ethical leadership – will drive social and economic transformation in their communities.

UBC is pleased to join the Mastercard Foundation in achieving their vision.

MasterCard Foundation Scholarship at the University of British Columbia, Canada

Scholarship Requirements

To be eligible for consideration for the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Masters’ Degree Program at UBC, the applicant must:

  • have completed a Bachelor’s degree;
  • must not already have a graduate or PhD degree;
  • be 35 years old or younger (i.e. born in 1985 or after);
  • be a citizen or a refugee of a Sub-Saharan African country;
  • have lived a significant part of their life in a Sub-Saharan African country;
  • present economically disadvantaged financial circumstances, and be able to show lack of financial means from family or other sources to pursue graduate education in their home country or elsewhere;
  • have achieved academic excellence under difficult circumstances and show leadership qualities or potential;
  • demonstrate an interest in and commitment to giving back to his/her home community in ways that enhance the economic growth and social development of Africa, through engagement in activities in their current profession, university or community;
  • be a person who requires a Canadian study permit to study in Canada;
  • commit to returning to Africa in order to apply their training and skills to the betterment of others;
  • be applying for a Master’s degree in one of the following faculties and programs at UBC’s Vancouver campus;

Available Courses

Faculty of Forestry

Faculty of Land and Food Systems

Faculty of Science

Key Notes

  • Please note that the Mastercard Foundation Scholars program only covers expenses of the admitted scholars.
  • Please note that Canadian citizens or Permanent Residents are not eligible to apply for this award.
  • Please note that funds from the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at UBC cannot be applied to pursue programs at other academic institutions.


  • Step 1: Admissibility Submission: November 6, 2020
  • Step 2: Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program Application: December 11, 2020
  • Step 3: UBC Faculty Applications:
    Forestry: January 13, 2021
    Land and Food Systems: January 8, 2021
    Science: January 8, 2021

These dates may vary from those posted on faculty websites. Please note that if you are applying for the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at UBC, you must submit all your documents (including your reference letters) by the dates requested above. 

*Applicants applying to these programs should consider the different deadlines. Late submissions will not be accepted.

How to Apply

Please read through all the application steps outlined before proceeding to the eligibility form and application. This will help you understand our entire application process, answer any questions that may arise, and help you avoid any errors.

Step One: Admissibility Submission

  1. Decide your Program(s) of Interest from the list.
  2. Consult the link/chart below identifying the Minimum Academic Requirements/International Credentials for Graduate Students, listed by country to determine your academic eligibility for the program and MCF.*Given that the number of applicants exceeds the number of positions available, a record that satisfies basic entrance requirements does not guarantee admission to graduate studies*
  3. Consult the program website to determine if you possess the appropriate background experience.
  4. If you meet the minimum academic requirements and have the appropriate background, complete the eligibility verification form (at the bottom of this page) to verify your eligibility for the scholarship. We will accept and verify Admissibility Submissions until November 6th,2020.

Step Two: Additional Tests

If your Bachelor’s degree was not taught in English, make arrangements to take an English Proficiency Exam (TOEFL or IELTS) and have the results sent to UBC. Please visit this website to confirm whether you meet UBC’s English requirement:

Step Three: Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program Eligibility Package

You must complete the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program Applications before you apply to UBC. The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program Applications are due on December 11, 2020. We ask that all applications be submitted electronically in a single document PDF, via email as this is faster and costs less. Late or incomplete packages cannot be accepted and UBC is not responsible for any packages not received by the deadline.

In order for the Selection Committee to determine your eligibility for this scholarship, you must demonstrate financial need, a commitment to give back and how your education will contribute towards the transformation of your community, your region or your country in Africa. You must:

  1. Complete the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program Eligibility Form. If submitting a hand-written Eligibility Form, ensure that the document is clearly legible.
  2. Submit the Personal Statements. An answer to each question not exceeding the word limit must be typed and submitted:
    • Please tell us your story. What is of importance to you and reflects who you are? (200-300 words max.)
    • Describe a recent, meaningful involvement in your community, including what your role is/has been in the activity/ies. (200-300 words max.)
    • Why are you interested in studying at UBC, and how do you envision your chosen program of study at UBC helping you to reach your long-term career and personal goals? What drives you to achieve your goals? (200 – 300 words max.)
    • Persistence is crucial to the completion of this. Please describe a situation where you had to overcome a significant obstacle/ challenge(s) to reach a goal. How did you react to this challenge, and what did you learn from the situation? (200 – 300 words max.)
    • What else should we know about your financial condition in order to consider you for this scholarship? (200-300 words max.)
  3. Submit a CV/resume. This should include any relevant education and work experience
  4. Provide two reference letters. Please provide two reference letters on official letterhead that will attest and speak extensively to your community service, volunteering abilities, and leadership potential. If your referees would like to send their letters directly to us for privacy reasons, please note that these should be sent to us via email by December 11, 2020. Any letters sent after this date will deem your package as “incomplete”, and hence, will not be considered for the scholarship. The same references letters can be provided for your academic application given that they meet the requirements. However, a strong preference will be given to references that can attest to your leadership skills, commitment to community services and why you are suited for this award. Please note that each faculty will have specific requirements for reference letters separate to the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program – make sure to follow these requirements.
  5. Transcripts. Please attach a legible copy of your (unofficial) transcripts. If your transcripts are in a language other than English, note that you will be required to also provide a translation.
  6. Submit the Checklist, Eligibility Form, Personal Statements, CV, two reference letters on official letterhead, transcripts, and signed declaration. Upon completion of your Eligibility Package, please submit a copy of your package as one pdf. document via email to [email protected]. Note that the declaration must be signed by hand, electronically, or typed, otherwise, the package will be considered incomplete.

Step Four: UBC Faculty Applications

Step Four: UBC Faculty Applications

  • If your country is not listed above, please email us to see if you are eligible for a fee waiver after you have submitted your application package. You will receive instructions and a deadline of when to submit a fee waiver request from the MCF Program. Any fee waiver requests after this date will not be .

Step Five:  Reviewing Process

  1. In February 2021, faculties will nominate admitted candidates for the Mastercard Foundation Scholarship. A university-wide selection committee will review scholarship applications from the three faculties, rank them and select award recipients. Shortlisted candidates will be contacted at this time and invited to submit a video interview.
  2. In April 2021, only the MCF Scholar award recipients will be contacted and soon thereafter an announcement of award recipients will be made. Unfortunately, due to the high volume of applications we receive, we are not able to respond to applicants who have not received the scholarship.

Now that you have read through the entire application process and determined you are eligible to apply, please fill out the eligibility form for your desired program.


For further questions about the UBC Mastercard Foundation Scholarship, please email: [email protected] .

Deadline: December 11, 2020

Please note that faculty applications for Mastercard Foundation Scholarship applicants may be different than what is posted on faculty websites. Be sure to review deadlines as noted in the DEADLINES section above.

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