Ruth First Master Scholarship, Durham University, UK

Publish Date: Jan 27, 2016

Deadline: Feb 22, 2016

Ruth First Master Scholarship, Durham University

The aims of the Ruth First Educational Trust

  • To enable southern African students from historically disadvantaged backgrounds to undertake postgraduate study at the University of Durham.
  • To educate and inform students and staff at the University, as well as residents of the area, about educational and development issues in southern Africa.
  • To raise funds to support these activities.

Southern Africa is defined for this purpose as comprising the following countries: Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Republic of South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Benefits to southern Africa and Durham

  • Scholarships make an important contribution towards social, educational and economic development in the region. In addition to their value to individuals they have wide developmental impact, within and beyond southern Africa.
  • Ruth First Scholars have played positive leadership roles in their communities and are chosen for their active commitment to good causes, as well as for their academic ability.
  • Many former Ruth First Scholars now hold important positions in the public and private sectors in southern Africa, and have become inspirational role models for young people.
  • This is what Archbishop Desmond Tutu said in 1998 about the value of the Trust's work:

I want to congratulate and encourage those who instituted the Ruth First Educational Trust. The damage wrought by apartheid on generations of black students cannot be quantified; it has been horrendous. The opportunity offered by Durham University to South African students is the opportunity of a lifetime. I am thrilled that this offer for postgraduate study at such a prestigious institution is available. Please keep the door open. Every opportunity, every avenue, for South Africans to study abroad should be seized with both hands. Education is the key to our country's future. You are helping our young people to reach their potential and and take their place in the wider world, and for that I am deeply grateful.

How to apply for a Ruth First Scholarship

The Trust plans to offer, in the academic year 2016-17, a scholarship to support a student from southern Africa taking a one-year taught course leading to the award of a Master's degree at Durham University.


You should:
(a) hold a relevant honours degree of sufficient standard to be admitted to your chosen Master’s course (further conditions apply to the MBA programme), and
(b) not hold a Master’s degree, nor have previously studied at a university outside southern Africa, and
(c) show evidence of active involvement in and commitment to voluntary work for the benefit of causes such as rural or urban community development; young people or educational projects; charitable organizations; health or AIDS awareness projects; student welfare or guidance. If you have a paid job that involves working in such areas, you should show evidence of leadership and commitment beyond the requirements of the job.

English language requirements for international students coming to study in the UK were tightened in 2011. The person selected for the Ruth First Scholarship will need to provide evidence of possessing a qualification in English language that meets the minimum requirement for the programme applied for. The general minimum set by the UK Government is Level B2 in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, and there are strict guidelines about which qualifications are acceptable. If you already have a suitable qualification (see the University's guidance here), send a scan of the certificate with your application. If you haven't, don't do anything about it now: we'll sort this out with the successful applicant. Requirements for particular programmes at Durham are listed here.

If you are employed, or receiving a grant or sponsorship, you must be able to provide written evidence that an agreement has been made with your employer or sponsor approving your absence for the period of the Scholarship and confirming any arrangements for continued payment of salary or sponsorship.

The Trust aims to award the Scholarship to individuals who not only have the academic and personal qualities to enable them to complete and benefit from a postgraduate course, but who will also act as positive ambassadors for their home countries in Durham and put their enhanced knowledge and skills to good use for the benefit of the societies to which they return in Africa.


The University, with the agreement of the Department concerned, will award a tuition fee scholarship covering the full fees for the programme chosen. Through a Gift Agreement between the Trust and the University, the Scholar will receive a monthly allowance to cover living and other expenses for 12 months, as well as free accommodation and meals at St Chad's College (the cost of which is shared between the Trust and the College). In 2015-16 the allowance is £500 per month and the value of the full-board accommodation is approximately £515 per month.

The Scholar will also receive a settling-in allowance on arrival and a contribution to the cost of sending belongings home before departure if necessary. The Trust will pay for one return air ticket from the home country to the UK and the cost of return travel between the UK airport and Durham City. The Trust will also pay £400 towards the cost of applying for a Tier 4 UK visa and the immigration health surcharge. The Trust cannot provide additional support for dependants, nor for travel during the period of the Scholarship.

The Scholar is required to attend all taught components of the chosen course and complete all assignments prescribed, including a dissertation. The normal starting date for most Masters programmes is the beginning of October.

How to apply

Application forms (5 pages plus 2 referee report forms) have been sent to universities in South Africa and other southern African countries. You may download the form as a Word document here and type into the boxes. The application and references may be submitted as e-mail attachments. Academic results transcripts should be sent by post, or by e-mail as scans of the original documents (please compress image files sent electronically).

Download application form

Download Academic reference form

Download Non-academic reference form

Completed applications (form + 2 references + transcript) should be sent to:

Dr Mike Thompson
Ruth First Educational Trust
School of Modern Languages & Cultures
Durham University
Durham DH1 3JT
Fax: +44 191 334 3421

This opportunity has expired. It was originally published here:

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Study Levels


Opportunity Types


Eligible Countries







South Africa




Host Countries

United Kingdom