The Aga Khan Foundation provides a limited number of scholarships each year for postgraduate studies to outstanding students from developing countries who have no other means of financing their studies.
Scholarships are awarded on a 50% grant : 50% loan basis through a competitive application process once a year in June or July. The Foundation gives priority to requests for Master’s level courses but is also willing to consider applications for PhD programmes, when doctoral degrees are necessary for the career objectives of the student. Requests will also be considered for travel and study awards for PhD students doing their research in Third World countries on topics judged to be of interest to the Aga Khan Development Network. Applications for short-term courses are not considered; neither are applications from students who have already started their course of study.
The Foundation accepts applications from countries where it has branches, affiliates or other AKDN agencies which can help with processing applications and interviewing applicants. At present, these are Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Syria, Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Mozambique, Madagascar, France, Portugal, UK, USA and Canada.
The main criteria for selecting award winners are: l) excellent academic records, 2) genuine financial need, 3) admission to a reputable institution of higher learning and 4) thoughtful and coherent educational and career plans. Candidates are also evaluated on their extra-curricular interests and achievements, potential to achieve their goals and likelihood to succeed in a foreign academic environment. Applicants are expected to have some years of work experience in their field of interest.
Preference is given to students under 30 years of age.
The Foundation assists students with tuition fees and living expenses only. The cost of travel is not included in AKF scholarships. Applicants are requested to make every effort to obtain funding from other sources as well, so that the amount requested from the Foundation can be reduced to a minimum. Preference is given to those who have been able to secure some funding from alternative sources.
Half of the scholarship amount is considered as a loan, which must be reimbursed with an annual service charge of 5%. A guarantor is required to co-sign the loan agreement. The payback period is five years, starting six months after the study period funded by the Aga Khan Foundation.
The application procedures of AKF’s International Scholarship Programme are decentralised. Students may obtain application forms as of January 1st each year from AKF offices or Aga Khan Education Services / Boards in their countries of current residence. Completed applications should be returned to the agency from which the form was obtained, or to the address indicated on the front of the form. They should not be sent to Geneva. The deadline for submission of applications is March 31, although in certain countries internal deadlines may be earlier.
Applicants should be prepared to be interviewed by local Scholarship Committees about their financial situation, their academic performance, extra-curricular achievements and career plans. Interview reports are sent with the applications to Geneva for the final selection.
The annual Scholarship Selection Meeting takes place in late June or early July and the Aga Khan Foundation notifies all students of the outcome of their application shortly thereafter.