berkeley's mastercard foundation scholars program

Berkeley’s Mastercard Foundation Scholar Program for Africans 2023/2024

The application for Berkeley’s Mastercard Foundation Scholar Program for Africans 2023/2024 is currently open for students from the Sub-Sahara African countries. The application deadline is dependent the kind of program applicant has chosen. Therefore, interested and suitably qualified candidates are advised to visit the online application portal and complete their application as soon as possible.

In this article, you are going to be seeing every vital information that you may require about the program and the application. Kindly read it to the end to maximize the benefit.

Berkeley’s Mastercard Foundation Scholar Program

Berkeley’s Mastercard Foundation Scholar Program is a scholarship programme that was established by the Center for African Studies in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation to support 108 master’s degree students from Sub-Saharan African countries who are academically talented and committed to transformative change on the continent.

Annually, the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at UC Berkeley will support approximately 28 master’s degree students with a new cohort of 12-16 entering each year until 2028.

Since 2012, the Program has graduated 134 Scholars from 24 African countries (Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, eSwatini (Swaziland), Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe). Alumni include 71 with bachelors degrees and 63 with master’s degrees in over 35 degree programs.

This partnership program is expected to last for a period of ten years and the organisations are engaging all the necessary resources to ensure that the objective is actualized at the end of this period. The Program recruits widely across Sub-Saharan Africa and encourages applications particularly from women, people with disabilities, and those who are refugees or displaced.

Read Also: University Of California Acceptance Rate 2023-2026

Eligibility for the Scholarship

The main eligibility criteria for the application of the Berkeley’s Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program are:

  1. Being a citizen of a Sub-Saharan African country: This includes Africans who are refugees or displaced within the African continent. This scholarship is not intended for citizens of North African countries. Those with dual citizenship, asylee, refugee or permanent resident status in the US, Canada, UK or EU are not eligible.
  2. Having academic talent: All prospective Scholars must first be admitted to a UC Berkeley master’s degree program to be considered for the Scholarship. An important criteria for admission to the University is demonstrated academic excellence.
  3. Demonstrating leadership potential: The Program seeks those committed to developing the skills and mindsets associated with transformative leadership, i.e, that which engages others in an ethical manner to generate positive and lasting change.
  4. Coming from a socio-economically disadvantaged background: This Scholarship is designed for those extremely talented individuals who might not otherwise have access to quality further education.
  5. Having demonstrated the commitment to give back to your community, country, or continent: We are looking for well-rounded students who are engaged in activities beyond the classroom. Some may be directly related to your field of study, but this may also include other issues (social, economic, political) that you are working on and passionate about. Applicants should elaborate on their achievements both in their application to UC Berkeley, and then later in the Scholarship application.
  6. Having expressed the desire and intention to return to your home country after completing your studies: We are looking for students who are engaged with and passionate about issues affecting their communities, and who will take advantage of their education at UC Berkeley to better equip themselves with the knowledge and training to address these issues upon return. While important work can be done from abroad, the intention of the Program is to enable Scholars to return home, after forming valuable professional connections through internships, academic training and job placements. 

See also:

List of Eligible Programs

Please note that bachelor and doctoral programs do not qualify for the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at UC Berkeley.

UC Berkeley offers many master’s degree programs, including the following:

  • Architecture (M.Arch)- Our priority is the two year, not three year program. Contact us
  • Art (MFA)
  • Business Administration (MBA)
  • City & Regional Planning (MCP)
  • Education (MA)
  • Energy & Resources (ERG)
  • Engineering (M.Eng, MS)
    • Master of Engineering (M.Eng), various concentrations 
    • Master of Science Civil and Environmental Engineering (MS)
    • Industrial Engineering and Operations Research (MS)
    • Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (MS)
    • Mechanical Engineering (MS)
    • Master of Development Engineering (M.DevEng)
    • Master of Design (M.Des)
  • College of Chemistry
    • Bioprocess Engineering (MBPE)
    • Chemical Engineering (PDP)
  • Folklore (MA)
  • Journalism (MJ)
  • Information Management & Systems (MIMS)
  • Global Studies (MA)
  • Public Health (MPH, MS, MA)
    • Community Health Sciences (MPH)
    • Health Policy and Management (MPH)
    • Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology (MPH)
    • Interdisciplinary Division (MPH)
    • Environmental Health Sciences (MPH, MS)
    • Epidemiology (MPH, MS)
    • Biostatistics (MPH, MA)
  • Environmental Science, Policy, and Management (MF, MS)
    • Masters of Forestry (MF)
    • Range Management (MS) 
  • Public Policy (MPP)
  • Social Welfare (MSW)
  • LL.M. Programs- Traditional
  • Translational Medicine (MTM)


MBA students need to secure additional funding from Haas Business School through obtaining Haas scholarships, which requires meeting the Round One application deadline. We encourage you to contact us if you are interested to learn more details about this unique process.

Similarly, if you are interested in a concurrent degree program, be sure to contact each program, and also contact us to discuss any effect this may have on your funding structure.

When considering any program, please keep in mind that it is your motivation for choosing your field, as well as your career goals that will determine if you are eligible for the Scholarship. Please recheck the Eligibility Requirements to see if your goals are in line with those of the Mastercard Foundation Scholar Program.

Check: Commonwealth Shared Scholarship for International Students 2023-24

Chevening Scholarship UK 2023-2024 | Fully Funded

How to Apply for Berkeley’s Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program

Master’s degree program prospective applicants must first apply to the University through the regular admissions process before they will be considered for the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program. After the graduate degree program admissions process is underway, the UCB Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program will invite prospective candidates to apply for the Scholarship.

Applications through the fall of 2028 are being accepted.

Application Requirements

Congratulations on taking the next step towards submitting your graduate application! To help you along the way, we’ve compiled a list of requirements to complete your graduate application.

It’s also important to check with the program to which you’re applying, as they may have additional requirements specific to their program of study and degree not listed on this page.

Minimum Admissions Requirements

The minimum graduate admissions requirements are:

  1. Expect to or hold a bachelor’s degree or recognized equivalent from an accredited institution.
  2. A satisfactory scholastic average, usually a minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0 (B) on a 4.0 scale; and
  3. Enough undergraduate training and/or professional experience to do graduate work in your chosen field.

Academic Records

You must hold or expect to hold a bachelor’s degree prior to the start of classes from a U.S.accredited institution by one of the AACRAO regional accrediting agencies* or a recognized equivalent from an accredited institution outside of the U.S.

* Regionally accredited college or university means an institution of higher education accredited by one of the following regional accreditation associations in the United States:

    1. Middle States Commission on Higher Education
    2. New England Association of Schools and Colleges
    3. The Higher Learning Commission (formerly known as North Central Association of Colleges and Schools)
    4. Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
    5. Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
    6. WASC Senior College and University Commission

Graduates of accredited academic institutions outside the United States should hold a degree equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s degree. Please contact Graduate Admissions with questions.

Bachelor’s Degree from a U.S. Institution

Required Records: Upload unofficial transcripts (ie, a scanned copy) from every post-secondary school that you have attended, including your undergraduate institution, community colleges, summer sessions, and extension programs.

See also:

Queen Elizabeth Common Wealth Scholarship for International Students

University Of Alberta International Scholarship Award

Bachelor’s Degree from an International Institution

Required Records: Upload a scanned copy of your transcript and degree certificate for each institution after high school. If your academic records are in a language other than English or Spanish, you may submit translations in one of two ways:

  1. Submit translations prepared by certified translators from the American Translators Association or the Ministry of Education. Degree names and grades should be transcribed, not converted, into English words or the U.S. grades of A-F. 
  2. Submit an official World Education Services (WES) International Credential Advantage Package (ICAP) evaluation. To electronically submit your WES ICAP, follow the instructions provided by WES. Select “University of California at Berkeley” as the recipient and “Graduate Admissions” 318 Sproul Hall #5900, Berkeley, CA 94720-5900 as the school/division.

Evidence of English Language Proficiency

All applicants who have completed a basic degree in a country/region in which the official language is not English are required to submit official evidence of English language proficiency. This requirement applies to institutions from Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Latin America, the Middle East, Israel, the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asian countries, most European countries, and countries in Africa in which English is not the official language.

There are two standardized tests you may take: the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), and the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

TOEFL is administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). You can obtain detailed information from the TOEFL website.

We accept the internet based (iBT) and iBT Home Edition. We do not accept the TOEFL ITP Plus for Mainland China or Duolingo.

For purposes of admission, your TOEFL test score must be at least 90 for the Internet-based test (IBT). Please contact individual academic departments for more information, as they may choose to require a higher score.

For Fall 2024, tests taken before June 1, 2022 will not be accepted even if your score was reported to UC Berkeley. Please send your test score directly from ETS to the institution code for UC Berkeley: 4833 for Graduate Organizations. We do not accept MyBest Scores.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

You can also submit scores from the Academic Modules of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), which is jointly managed by the British Council, IDP:IELTS Australia, and the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations. Consult the IELTS website to locate the office of the test center where you plan to take the test.

For purposes of admission, your most recent overall band score must be at least 7 on a 9-point scale.

For Fall 2024, tests taken before June 1, 2022 will not be accepted. All IELTS scores must be sent electronically from the testing center, and no institution code is required. Our address for identification purposes is: University of California, Berkeley, Graduate Division, Sproul Hall Rm 318, MC 5900, Berkeley, CA 94720. Please do not mail any score reports to us.


To qualify for a TOEFL/IELTS exemption, you must fulfill one of the following options:

  • Have a basic degree from a recognized institution in a country where the official language is English.
  • Have completed a basic or advanced degree at an institution, in the United States or a United States institution abroad, where the language of instruction is English and the institution is accredited by one of the United States’ regional accrediting agencies.
  • Have completed at least one year of full-time academic course work with grades of B or better at a regionally accredited institution within the United States.*
    • The following courses do not qualify for an exemption: courses in English as a Second Language, courses conducted in a language other than English, courses that will be completed after applicants submit their application, or courses of a nonacademic nature.

The TOEFL or IELTS must be submitted by applicants who do not meet the exemption criteria above.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and Other Test Scores

Some programs require applicants to take a standardized test such as the GRE General Test, a GRE Subject Test, the GMAT or MCAT. Consult the program to which you are applying for the department’s requirements.

For the GRE, send your test score directly from ETS to the institution code for UC Berkeley: 4833 for Graduate Organizations. No department code is needed unless specified by the specific program. ETS will not report test scores older than 5 years.

For the GMAT or MCAT, please consult your program for details.

Letters of Recommendation

The application requires at least three letters of recommendation. Applicants should check with their prospective program for questions. Your recommenders are asked to give their personal impressions of your intellectual ability, your aptitude in research or professional skills, your character, and the quality of your previous work and potential for future productive scholarship. Be sure to inform your recommenders of the program’s application deadline.

Applicants may waive the right to inspect their letters of recommendation on a voluntary basis. This option can be selected when you fill out the recommendation invite for your recommender.

The Graduate Division may verify the authenticity of academic letters of recommendation with the school or recommender.


Submit a Statement of Purpose and Personal History statement, along with any other essays the program you are applying to requires.

The Statement of Purpose should describe your aptitude and motivation to enter the program. This can include relevant details about your preparation or specialization in the field. This is a good place to share your academic plans, research interests, and future career goals. Read tips on how to craft your Statement of Purpose.

The Personal History statement describes how your own background and experiences influenced your decision to pursue a graduate degree. Read tips on how to write your Personal History statement.

Application Fee

If you are a U.S. citizen or current permanent resident, the application fee is $135; for all others, the fee is $155.

Fee Waiver: U.S. citizens or permanent residents who demonstrate financial need or have participated in an eligible program may apply for an application fee waiver.

Fee Exemption: Some programs do not require the application fee payment. 

See also:

CSC Scholarship For American Students | Shaanxi Normal University, China

Institutions That Accept CSC Scholarship In China | Complete List

Is UC Berkeley a Good Institution?

Yes, the University of California, Berkeley is one of two partner universities that offers professional Master’s degrees, along with undergraduate degrees.

Founded in 1868, UC Berkeley is one of the world’s leading academic institutions and ranked as the premier public university. Widely known as “Cal,” the campus is renowned for the distinction of its faculty and students, the scope of its research and publications, and the size and quality of its libraries and laboratories. National rankings consistently place Berkeley’s undergraduate and graduate programs among the very best in a variety of disciplines.

Students with a Disability: UC Berkeley offers some of the most comprehensive services and assistance in higher education for students with disabilities.

I hope you have found this article helpful. In case of any other questions about Berkeley’s Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program 2023/2024, kindly make use of the comment section below.

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