The Aga Khan Foundation provides a limited number of scholarships each year for postgraduate studies to outstanding students from select developing countries who have no other means of financing their studies, in order to develop effective scholars and leaders and to prepare them for employment, primarily within the AKDN. 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 willing to consider applications for PhD programmes, only in the case of outstanding students who are highly recommended for doctoral studies by their professors and who need a PhD for the fulfilment of their career objectives (academic or research oriented).
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 nationals of the following countries: Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Syria, Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Madagascar and Mozambique. In France, Portugal, UK, USA and Canada, applications are accepted from those who are originally from one of the above developing countries, are interested in development-related studies and who have no other means of financing their education.
The Foundation only accepts applications of eligible nationals listed above who are residing in one of the countries where there are local Aga Khan Foundation (AKF), Aga Khan Education Services (AKES), or Aga Khan Education Board (AKEB) offices which process applications and interview candidates.
Preference is given to students under 30 years of age.
The main criteria for selecting award winners are: l) consistently excellent academic records, 2) genuine financial need, 3) admission to a highly reputable university or programme of study and 4) relevance of the field of study to AKDN’s focus areas. Candidates are also evaluated on demonstrating thoughtful and coherent educational and career plans, 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.
The Foundation assists students with tuition fees and living expenses only. The cost of travel is not included in AKF scholarships. Funding for PhD programmes is only provided for the first two years of study, after which the students are expected to find alternative sources of assistance. Financial assistance is provided according to the needs of students, but the ISP must be considered a lender of last resort. 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 1st January 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. They should not be sent to Geneva.
The deadline for submission of entire completed applications is 31 March, although in certain countries internal deadlines may be earlier in order to process and review applications. Applicants are advised to contact the local offices for internal deadline dates and requirements as these may vary from country to country. Late or incomplete applications will not be accepted.
Applicants should be prepared to be interviewed by local Scholarship Committees about their financial situation, their academic performance, extra-curricular achievements and career plans.
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.
The 2022-23 International Scholarship Programme application cycle is open from 1 January 2022 to 31 March 2022. During this time period, application forms can be obtained from the Aga Khan Foundation or Aga Khan Education Board/Service office