How To Apply for Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at UBC

The University of British Columbia (UBC) is partnering with The Mastercard Foundation to develop the next generation of African leaders. This is through the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program. This program at UBC will provide 163 academically talented yet economically disadvantaged young people from Sub-Saharan Africa with access to quality and relevant university education at UBC. Upon graduation, the scholars will then utilize their learning and experiences to contribute to the economic growth and social transformation of their communities in Africa. If this is something that is of interest to you, read on, This article will show you how to apply for Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at UBC.

UBC and The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program

The University of British Columbia (UBC) is consistently ranked among the best universities in the world. UBC’s vision is to create an exceptional learning environment that fosters global citizenship, advances a civil and sustainable society, and supports outstanding research to serve the people of British Columbia, Canada, and the world.

The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at UBC will take place over a ten-year period with a total of 163 Mastercard Foundation Scholars, including 80 undergraduate and 83 Masters students. If you are an international student looking to study in Canada, you should check this program.  The applications for the 2021/22 Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program are now open.

The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program will cover all expenses associated with UBC tuition, housing and food. In addition, the scholars also receive a stipend each month to support their lives in Vancouver.

Please note that the Mastercard Foundation Scholars program only covers expenses of the admitted scholars. Also, note that Canadian citizens or Permanent Residents are not eligible to apply for this award.


You will find below details of the selection criteria and also how to apply for the program.

Eligibility and Selection Criteria

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

  • 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;
    • Faculty of Forestry
    • The Faculty of Land and Food Systems
    • Faculty of Science

Please note that funds from the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at UBC cannot be applied to pursue programs at other academic institutions.

Application Deadline

You will find below the application steps and deadline

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

Please note that these dates may vary from those posted on faculty websites. So, check out the respective faculty’s website for details. Also, f you are applying for the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at UBC, you must submit all your documents (including your reference letters) by the application deadline.


How To Apply for Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at UBC

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

Step One: Admissibility Submission

The first step is the admissibility submission. See below the details.

  1. Decide your Program(s) of Interest from the list.
  2. Visit UBC’s website to determine your academic eligibility for the program and MCF.
  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. UBC will accept and verify your admissibility submission 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 the school’s 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. You will need to submit your application electronically in a single document PDF. UBC will not accept late or incomplete packages and UBC will not be 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.

As an applicant, you must do the following:

  1. Complete the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program Eligibility FormIf you are submitting a hand-written Eligibility Form, ensure that the document is clearly legible.
  2. Submit the Personal Statements. You must submit an answer to each question below and it must not exceed the word limit:
    • 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. You also need to submit a CV / resume. This should include any relevant education and work experience
  4. Provide two reference lettersPlease 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 it 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. So, ensure you follow these requirements.
  5. Submit your transcripts. Please attach a legible copy of your (unofficial) transcripts. If your transcripts are in a language other than English, 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. Note that the declaration must be signed by hand, electronically, or typed, otherwise, the package will be considered incomplete.


Step Four: UBC Faculty Applications

The next is to submit your UBC faculty application.

  1. Apply Online: Once your Mastercard Foundation Application is complete, you will receive an email with instructions to submit an online application. You can review the instructions for faculty applications on UBC’s website.
  2. Application Fees: You may be eligible for a fee waiver if your country is listed as one of the world’s 50 least developed countries, according to the United Nations. Please visit the UN’s website to check if you are eligible.

If your country is not listed on the website, please email the UBC’s team 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 entertained.

Step Five:  Reviewing Process

Please see below the details of the review 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. UBC team will contact successful candidates  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.


For further questions about the UBC Mastercard Foundation Scholarship, please visit the program’s website.

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