For many brilliant students in Nigeria, a high-quality education in the UK is a lifetime opportunity. Degrees from renowned UK universities like Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial College London, and others are globally recognized for their academic rigor and prestige.
Graduates gain access to networks and career opportunities at top multinational companies, research institutions, and international organizations. However, the high costs of international tuition, travel, and living expenses in the UK can seem prohibitive for many bright young Nigerians hoping to study abroad.
Thankfully, the UK government, top universities, and charitable foundations provide scholarships aimed explicitly at high-achieving Nigerian students who otherwise lack the financial means to study in the UK.
These scholarships help cover all or part of the costs of a UK undergraduate or postgraduate degree. For Nigerians committed to academic and career excellence, scholarships can make an elite UK education affordable and within reach if they take the time to understand and successfully apply for the funding opportunities.
In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the top scholarships available from the UK government, individual universities, and charitable organizations that enable deserving Nigerian students to fulfill their potential through higher education in the UK.
We provide an overview of prominent scholarships, eligibility criteria, application tips, and inside advice directly from Nigerian scholarship recipients. With diligent research and strategic applications, funding a UK degree is possible for ambitious Nigerian students from diverse backgrounds.
Investing in UK education can pay dividends for individual scholars and Nigeria’s future as they return to leadership positions and make positive changes.
UK Government Scholarships for Nigerians
The UK government offers various scholarships for international students through the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission, Chevening Scholarships, and the GREAT Scholarships program.
· Commonwealth Scholarships
These are funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) and partner organizations in each Commonwealth country. They offer full scholarships for Nigerian students to pursue a master’s or Ph.D. in the UK. You must have at least a second-class upper degree and not more than 3 years of work experience to be eligible. These scholarships cover tuition fees, airfare, living expenses, and more.
· Chevening Scholarships
These are the UK government’s global scholarship programs to develop future leaders. Chevening offers full or partial financial support for Nigerian students to study for any master’s degree at a UK university. Applicants need at least two years of work experience and a strong academic background. The scholarship covers tuition fees, living expenses, travel costs, and more.
· GREAT Scholarships
This scholarship program focuses on undergraduate or master’s students who want to study priority subjects like development, innovation, climate change and more. Applicants need at least 3 years of work experience in a relevant field. The scholarship covers tuition fees, living costs, flights and other expenses.
University-Specific Scholarships for Nigerians
In addition to UK government scholarships, many top British universities provide scholarships and bursaries specifically aimed at talented Nigerian students. By targeting your applications to universities that offer this dedicated funding, you can hugely increase your chances of affordably pursuing a degree in the UK. Here are some leading examples:
· University of Bristol Think Big Scholarships
The University of Bristol offers several prestigious Think Big Scholarships annually to enable academically gifted Nigerian students to study at Bristol. These cover the full tuition fees and living costs for a Nigerian student to complete a one-year master’s program at Bristol.
Applicants need at least a 2:1 bachelor’s degree, evidence of academic excellence, and passion for their chosen field of study. At an interview, shortlisted applicants must also demonstrate their leadership abilities and social commitment.
Competition is intense, but successful scholars gain the opportunity to study at one of the UK’s leading research universities without any financial burden.
· University of Sussex Chancellor’s Masters Scholarships
High-achieving Nigerian applicants accepted onto master’s courses at the University of Sussex can apply for the Chancellor’s Masters Scholarships. These merit-based scholarships provide a grant of £5,000 towards the first year of tuition fees for taught master’s degrees at Sussex.
To be eligible, Nigerian students need to have an undergraduate degree with at least a 3.5 GPA and demonstrate their potential contribution to academic life at Sussex.
Applicants also require references highlighting their academic abilities. Successful Nigerian scholars can benefit from Sussex’s cutting-edge research culture and diverse community.
· University of York Human Rights Scholarships
The University of York offers two Human Rights Scholarships annually aimed at Nigerian students with exceptional academic merit and potential.
These scholarships provide £5,000 grants to Nigerian applicants accepted onto a master’s program related to human rights, development, social justice, peace, and conflict studies at York.
Applicants need a substantial first degree, passion for human rights issues, and community engagement or activism evidence. The scholarship presents an invaluable opportunity for Nigerian students to specialize in human rights and make a difference in Nigeria.
· University of Edinburgh Nigeria Scholarships
The University of Edinburgh offers a number of scholarships aimed at students from Nigeria who display exceptional academic merit. These scholarships are worth £5,000 towards the tuition fees of any one-year taught postgraduate program at Edinburgh.
Nigerian applicants need an excellent undergraduate record, two academic references, and a personal statement outlining their ambitions to qualify. Competition is high, but successful scholars can benefit from Edinburgh’s world-class reputation in law, business, technology, and arts without financial constraints.
The range of university-specific funding provides committed Nigerian students with many opportunities to turn their UK education dreams into reality. By researching universities strategically about targeting Nigerian applicants, demonstrating your academic abilities, and expressing your passion, you have an excellent chance of securing funding.
Scholarships from Charities and Foundations
Beyond government and university funding, there are many charitable foundations and non-profit organizations that offer scholarships aimed at helping bright Nigerian students undertake studies in the UK. By taking the time to research scholarships in your specific field of interest, you can uncover funding opportunities:
· The Rhodes Scholarships
The Rhodes Scholarship is the oldest and one of the world’s most prestigious international scholarship programs. It fully funds 2-3 outstanding Nigerian students annually to pursue a postgraduate degree at the University of Oxford.
The selection criteria are incredibly rigorous, looking for scholars with exceptional academic achievement, leadership potential, commitment to the public good, and compassion for others. Successful Nigerian Rhodes Scholars gain access to Oxford’s rich learning environment, varied research opportunities, and accomplished alumni network.
· Commonwealth Shared Scholarships
The Commonwealth Shared Scholarship Scheme is funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and allows students from developing Commonwealth countries like Nigeria to pursue one-year master’s degrees at UK universities.
Each year over 20 scholarships are available specifically for Nigerian students across subjects as diverse as education, governance, agriculture, health, engineering and more. The scholarships cover airfares, tuition fees, living expenses and thesis costs.
To apply, Nigerian students need at least 2:1 undergraduate degrees, 3 years’ work experience, and proof of admission to an eligible UK university master’s program.
· A.G. Leventis Foundation Scholarships
The Leventis Foundation provides full scholarships for Nigerian students to study for master’s or Ph.D. programs in any subject at select UK universities, including Cambridge, Oxford, Edinburgh, Leeds, Manchester, and SOAS.
Outstanding applicants are selected based on academic merit, leadership skills, and commitment to Nigeria’s development. The scholarship covers all academic and living costs and is awarded predominantly in the fields of engineering, agriculture, health sciences, management and economics.
· The Schlumberger Foundation Faculty for the Future Fellowships
This scholarship program funded by Schlumberger explicitly supports women from developing countries pursuing PhDs in physical sciences, engineering, and technology subjects at leading universities worldwide.
Nigerian women accepted onto engineering, science or technology doctorates at eligible UK universities can apply for funding covering tuition, living costs, travel, and health insurance. Applicants need academic excellence, research experience, and plans to contribute to their home countries after graduation.
How to Apply for UK Scholarships as a Nigerian Student
Applying for scholarships to study in the UK as a Nigerian requires thorough preparation and strategic planning. Here are some essential tips to strengthen your scholarship applications:
For UK Government Scholarships:
- Start preparing your application documents like transcripts, references, and CV at least 6 months before scholarship deadlines.
- Read the scholarship criteria carefully and tailor your application to show how you meet each requirement. Highlight relevant academic achievements, work experience, and skills.
- Write a compelling personal statement explaining your academic interests, career goals, and how you will contribute to Nigeria’s development.
- Take language exams like IELTS early, aiming for high scores to prove English proficiency.
- Get feedback on your application from mentors, professors, or the scholarship agency to improve the quality.
- Submit your scholarship application as early as possible. Do not wait until the last minute.
For University-Specific Scholarships:
- Identify UK universities that align with your academic interests and offer dedicated funding for Nigerian students.
- Thoroughly research each university scholarship’s eligibility criteria, application process, and deadlines.
- Tailor your application statements and documents to show how you fit the university and scholarship’s selection priorities.
- Apply for university admission well before the scholarship deadlines to secure your place.
- Get strong reference letters from professors or employers highlighting your academic abilities and potential.
- Contact the university to express your interest in the scholarship and ask any relevant questions.
For Charitable Scholarships:
- Use scholarship databases to identify funding opportunities from foundations and charities in your desired field.
- Check if the foundation prioritizes applicants from Nigeria or supports studies at UK universities.
- Follow all directions carefully for documents, referee choices, and application statements.
- Demonstrate how your study aligns with the foundation’s charitable mission and objectives.
- Highlight previous community service, leadership experience, and commitment to improving Nigeria.
- Express financial need and lack of access to other funding sources if relevant.
With diligence, thorough preparation, and strategic applications, Nigerian students can access life-changing scholarship opportunities to fulfill their UK education goals.
A UK education represents a significant milestone, unlocking global career opportunities through prestigious qualifications, valuable skills, and influential networks. But for many bright Nigerians, the dream of attending renowned universities like Oxford, Cambridge, or Imperial seems out of reach due to high international student fees and living costs.
Thankfully, the UK government, universities, and foundations provide a breadth of scholarship funding tailored specifically for deserving Nigerian students to make a UK degree financially accessible.
By understanding eligibility criteria, strategically targeting relevant scholarships, and submitting outstanding applications, Nigerian students can secure funding for their UK studies. The investment of time and effort is well worth it for gaining a lifetime of benefits from a UK education.
Beyond individual professional success, Nigerian scholarship recipients will contribute meaningfully to Nigeria’s future as they take up leadership positions and pioneer change and innovation across fields. Every deserving Nigerian student should explore UK scholarship opportunities to realize their higher education dreams.