There are many reasons why pursuing graduate study in the U.K is a good idea.
Your academic discipline might be understood quite differently in the UK, with different underlying philosophical or methodological assumptions. Doing graduate work abroad will widen your sense of what kind of work you do (and how you should do it), along with strengthening your sense of an international academic community. If you already have a Masters, you might be drawn by the possibility of enrolling in a Doctorate of Philosophy, which is essentially a three-year graduate degree that would give you the British equivalent of a PhD. And if you’re interested in an international career, studying abroad offers a great launching pad.
Keep in mind that while most of these scholarships have deadlines in October / November, many also have internal NYU deadlines so that you can secure NYU’s endorsement. You will need to review the endorsement process at at each scholarship’s webpage here.
- Fulbright is increasingly offering fellowships for 1-year taught Masters Programs abroad, and one of their most extensive offerings is the United Kingdom’s. Fulbright’s UK Partnership Awards are currently offered at 34 universities.
- The Rhodes Scholarship is arguably the most well-known American fellowship abroad. Bill Clinton has one. So does Kris Kristofferson. Tom Wolfe satirically wrote them in his novel I am Charlotte Simmons. (One character says to another, “You’re not doomed to being some obscure college teacher. You become a public intellectual. Everybody talks about your ideas.”) If awarded a Rhodes, you can study at Oxford University for up to two years. There are specific eligibility criteria that you need to read carefully. The Rhodes Trust is looking for men and women of outstanding intellectual ability who are well rounded, show leadership potential and have great moral character. (An overview of Oxford’s graduate degrees is here. You can also search by department.)
- The Marshall Scholarship is also extremely prestigious and focused on leadership, academic excellence as well as ambassadorial potential, which is essentially the ability for its recipients to further US-UK ties. Recipients of the Marshall can study at a variety of different UK universities, and may choose to embark on a 2-year degree or 2 1-year degrees.
- The Mitchell Scholarship allows students to compete a year-long graduate program or research in Ireland or Northern Ireland.
- The Gates Cambridge Scholarship Programme offer scholarships to men and women of outstanding academic ability who show leadership potential and a commitment to improving the lives of others and who are interested in pursuing a graduate degree at Cambridge University. (An overview of Cambridge’s graduate degrees is here and a discussion of the benefits here. They also describe the structure of the university and term dates.) The Gates Cambridge is one of the few UK scholarships listed here that is also open to non-U.S. citizens; there is both an American competition and a global competition.
- The Churchill Scholarship provides funding to American students for a year of Master’s study in science, mathematics and engineering at the University of Cambridge.
It’s imperative that there is a good fit between your current academic focus and the program of graduate study you wish to undertake in the United Kingdom. Oxford is not automatically the best fit, and none of these scholarships should be applied to for the prestige alone. Your proposed plan of study will need to be well-researched, and compelling. You can use the UK course search to find all types of institution that teach the courses you're interested in, or find a school, college or university by name here. The following websites should help to give you a better idea of what each university and college has to offer you:
- Unistats allows you to search for and compare information on university and college courses across the UK. You can use Unistats to find out what previous students thought about the course you're interested in, the likely costs, and the kind of jobs or further study that students went on to after graduating.
- QAA conducts reviews of all recognized and listed UK higher education institutions, evaluating the quality of their teaching, facilities and academic education. Have a look at their website to find out how each institution performed.
- The Research Assessment Exercise (to be replaced by the Research Assessment Framework in 2014) evaluates UK universities and colleges in terms of the quality of their academic research. Visit their website for reports on each institution that took part in the assessment.