In a move aimed at better serving Arab students who are looking for competitive scholarships, Al-Fanar Media recently organised a panel on the Chevening Scholarships, one of the world’s most prestigious scholarship programmes that allows students to study for one-year master’s degrees at universities in the United Kingdom.
Mohammad El Hawary, Al-Fanar Media’s editor-in-chief, moderated the panel. Nevine Sharaf, Chevening programme manager at the British Embassy in Egypt, and Nour El-Ashmawy, a winner of the scholarship in 2020-2021 and a current consultant at the International Labour Organisation, were speakers on the panel. To watch their discussion (in Arabic) on Al-Fanar Media’s YouTube channel, click here.
Candidates can apply now through early November for the current round of scholarships, for study beginning next fall.
Following are some of the most important questions answered in our panel. We hope this conversation will help Arab students achieve their dream of studying abroad.
What is a Chevening Scholarship?
The Chevening Scholarship is the U.K. government’s international scholarships and fellowships programme. It allows its holders to study for a year at any university in the United Kingdom, to earn a master’s degree.
Students from 160 countries can apply for the scholarship, including 16 Arab countries: Algeria, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Palestine, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, and Yemen.
The Chevening programme began in 1983 and is intended for individuals who demonstrate the ability to make positive change, says the programme’s website.
Which Arab nationalities are eligible for the Chevening Programme?
The Chevening progamme’s website identifies 160 countries whose nationals can apply, including 16 Arab countries: Algeria, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Palestine, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, and Yemen.
Which academic disciplines are available through the Chevening programme?
The programme does not specify certain disciplines. You can choose any subject available as a full-time, taught master’s degree course in U.K. universities. Nevine Sharaf, the Chevening programme manager at the British Embassy in Egypt, explained that what distinguishes U.K. universities is the presence of many sub-specialities, unlike universities in other countries that offer somewhat general academic programmes.
What are the advantages of the Chevening programme?
The Chevening programme covers full tuition costs, in addition to living costs, airfare, visa fees, and health insurance.
The programme’s most important aspect is its offering students a chance to experience living in the United Kingdom and connecting with international students from around the world. The programme organises many events and activities for the grantees, in addition to study. Universities are also aware of the needs of international students, and some offer a special section specialised for these students, to communicate with them, meet their needs and assist them throughout their stay in the United Kingdom.
The scholarship does not put an upper limit on a candidate’s age. Moreover, the requirement for English language proficiency was removed from the scholarship application process in 2020. Candidates will still need to meet the language requirements of their chosen universities, however.
The programme is also suitable for people with disabilities, since U.K. universities make provisions for them.
What are the requirements to apply for a Chevening Scholarship?
To apply for a Chevening Scholarship, you must be a citizen of one of the eligible countries. You need to have a bachelor’s degree. It is also required that you have completed two years of work experience, equivalent to 2,800 work hours.
The scholarship does not put an upper limit on a candidate’s age and does not require proof of English-language proficiency. Candidates will still need to meet the language requirements of their chosen universities, however.
Scholarship applicants are also required to show excellent leadership and communication skills. They also need to show a vision and a specific plan for what they want to achieve after completing the study, so they can leave an impact in their field. It is also required that scholarship recipients agree to reside for two years in their country of origin after completing their studies.
How can you apply for the Chevening Scholarship?
You can apply for the Chevening Scholarship online via its website. The application process requires uploading details of your educational qualifications and work experience.
Applicants are also required to choose three Chevening-eligible courses they would like to enroll in. Scholarship candidates must apply separately for each course via the university that runs the course. A Chevening application does not constitute an application to the courses.
The scholarship application process also requires writing four essays. The first asks you to talk about examples from your working life that show your ability to lead and influence. The second is about your communication and relationship-building skills, how you currently use them, and how you intend to use them in the future.
The third essay asks you to specify the reasons for choosing the three academic programmes you have listed on your scholarship application. Here, you must explain how the courses relate to your previous academic or professional experiences and your plans.
The fourth question is about your career plan. The Chevening programme seeks people who have a clear career plan after studying. In this question, you are asked to outline your immediate plans upon returning home, and your long-term career goals. It may be a good idea to link your career plans to the relationship between the United Kingdom and your home country.
What is the timeline for the Chevening Scholarship’s selection process?
The current application period opened on August 2 and will continue until November 1. The process of screening applications begins on November 2, according to the programme’s website.
From mid-November to December, independent reading committees assess eligible applications before they pass them back to local British embassies. From early to mid-February 2023, local embassies will produce a shortlist of candidates whom they will invite to interview. From mid-February to April, shortlisted candidates will be requested to submit two references and their educational documents prior to their interview date.
Next comes the interview phase, from late February to April 2023. Interview results are announced from June onwards.
Winners have to present an unconditional offer from at least one U.K. university before July 13, 2023. Scholarship winners will begin their studies in the United Kingdom In September or October 2023.
- Want a Master’s Degree in the U.K.? Think ‘Chevening’
- The Fulbright Scholarship: A Chance to Earn a Master’s Degree in the U.S.
- Scholarships Open Doors. Here’s a Primer on How to Find Them
- A Door Opens, But I Can’t Enter Yet