Monday, January 17, 2011

The graduate's guide to scholarships abroad

ONCE AGAIN, DISTANT shores are luring Irish graduates. The push factors are wearily obvious: lack of employment opportunities at home and the increased competition for dwindling postgraduate scholarship funds. The pull factors, however, are perhaps even stronger: opportunities to explore another country, meet international researchers, secure a prestigious scholarship award, and gain experience and employment opportunities abroad.Graduates considering a move will be faced with a rather surprising problem: finding the right scholarship, fellowship, or internship among the thousands on offer.

There’s an almost limitless range, covering every possible subject area, including science, humanities, law, art, drama, sport, and medicine plus students can tackle them in English-speaking countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia, Austria,New Zealand, and Canada, or opt to learn a new language in far-flung destinations such as Argentina or Japan. Embassies and overseas third-level institutions, as well as various funding organisations, can provide further details.A comprehensive list of international scholarships can be found on the International Financial Aid and College Scholarship Search.


The Rotary Foundation’s Ambassadorial Scholarships provide funding for year-long scholarships abroad, covering a range of subjects. Irish scholars would be expected to serve as goodwill ambassadors to their host country and give presentations about Ireland to Rotary clubs and other groups. In 2009, the organisation distributed approximately $16.2 million to nearly 700 recipients.


The most prestigious and well-known scholarship for postgraduate study in the United States, the 2012-2013 competition will open for Irish students in September 2011.Fulbright is open to scholars from all academic disciplines, who intend to enroll on a US Masters/PhD programme or conduct independent research as part of an Irish or European PhD programme. The award includes up to $25,000 plus insurance, a J-1 visa and the programme is for between six and 12 months of postgraduate study or research in the US. This year, 23 Fulbright scholarships were offered to Irish applicants. Fulbright also offers two awards for postgraduates, academics or professionals working through the Irish language in the US. For more information, see


The IIE, a private, non-profit organisation dedicated to the international exchange of people and ideas, runs 20 international scholarship programmes for Irish students. These include:Acumen Fund Fellows Programme: a one-year programme focused on the development of leadership and social enterprise. Participants will use their operational and financial skills to create solutions to global poverty.KAUST Fellowships: offered by Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, the fellowships are offered to science, engineering and technology students who wish to pursue graduate study at the Jeddah-based institution.Alcoa Foundation’s Conservation and Sustainability Fellowship Programme: scholarships, grants, and fellowships offered across the world. The programme connects scholars with NGOs and the business community to develop practical solutions to environmental sustainability issues.The Russell Berrie Fellowship Programme: open to priests and laity carrying out research on inter-faith issues, leading to a license or doctoral degree with a concentration on Inter-religious Studies at the Pontifical University of St Thomas Aquinas. Deadline: March 18th, 2011The Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Centre: offers a residency for scholars and creative artists to attend the centre at Lake Como, Italy, between February 1st and mid-August 2011. Application process opens in March. The programme offers a serene setting for artists, policymakers, scholars, and thinkers to meet, develop connections, and focus on their area of interest in a scenic and serene setting.

For more information see


This programme provides scholarship funding on programmes offered by a consortia of higher education institutes which operate in at least two European countries. The programme covers all subject areas. Current research opportunities include places on:EMARO, the European Master on Advanced Robotics: an integrated Masters course conducted by three Asian and three European institutions, including the Warsaw University of Technology, Ecole Centrale de Nantes, and the Faculty of Science and Technology in Keio University, Japan.Global Studies, A European Perspective: an interdisciplinary Masters offered by five European universities in collaboration with six non-European partners.GLITEMA (German Literature in the European Middle Ages): an integrated Masters course run by three European universities and supported by 12 global higher education partners.European doctorate in Law and Economics (EDLE): offered by the universities of Hamburg, Rotterdam and Bologna, with the collaboration of the Indira Ghandi Institute of Development Research in Mumbai, India. This course provides the chance to study law and economics at PhD level in at least three different countries.International Relativistic Astrophysics PhD: joint doctorate programme involving universities from Europe and Asia, including Stockholm, Berlin and Rome, as well as observatories in India, China, and Estonia.


Many countries reserve scholarship places for Irish postgraduate students. Application is conducted through the country’s Irish embassy. These include Australia, Austria, Belgium, China, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Switzerland, and Turkey. Details and application for Finland can be found at /studying, for France at the French Cultural Service, and for Italy at the Italian Cultural Institute. For all other countries, contact the relevant embassy in Ireland.


Many third-level institutions offer undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships to students with a proven track record in soccer, athletics, rugby, swimming or other sports. In return, the student is expected to represent their college in the chosen sport. The organisation pass4soccer offers a soccer scholarship consultancy service.


Third-level institutions worldwide offer scholarships and fellowships for international applicants. Students considering a Masters or Doctoral degree programme should begin by exploring which universities offer courses of interest. Log on to their website and see if they provide scholarships. Popular options for Irish postgraduates include the University of Wellington Victoria PhD Scholarships (New Zealand), the Utrecht University Excellence Scholarships (The Netherlands), and University of Edinburgh Scholarships (Scotland).

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