Introduction to the Sciences Po Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program

Applications are open for the Sciences Po Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program for undergraduate and graduate Africans. The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Sciences Po aims to support 120 talented African students through their studies and offer the next generation of leaders a world-class social science education so they can become changemakers in their home countries.

This program will also provide scholarships, mentorship, and other forms of support to ensure these students are able to reach their full potential. Additionally, it will also provide a platform for these students to network and build relationships with their peers, mentors, and professionals from around the world.

About Sciences Po Mastercard Foundation Scholars Programme

Scholarships for the 2024–2025 academic year are awarded in collaboration with a network of partner institutions authorized to nominate candidates. The scholarship supports high-performing African students from low-income backgrounds to pursue undergraduate studies at Sciences Po. In addition, the scholarship provides mentorship, resources, and career advice to ensure students reach their full potential.

Sciences Po is the first university in continental Europe to join the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program. Within this international network, 27 prestigious institutions in Africa, America, and Europe are committed to ensuring that all young people, whatever their background, have the same opportunities to get a quality education and fulfill their potential.

The Mastercard Foundation works to provide access to inclusive and quality education to young people in Sub-Saharan Africa and to enable as many of them as possible to secure dignified and fulfilling employment.

As part of an ambitious new strategy (Young Africa Works), the Foundation aims to enable 30 million young people in Africa to enter employment and entrepreneurship by 2030. The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program, of which Sciences Po is a partner, is to play a central role in this strategy through university partnerships that give young people in Africa access to a top education.

The Mastercard Foundation Scholarships are designed for students who demonstrate academic excellence and strong leadership potential but who face difficulties or need more funds to access higher education. They are particularly aimed at students who aspire to make a real and lasting impact in tackling some of the foremost issues facing the continent, particularly in the fields of public policy and major political, environmental and societal transitions.

The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program has three major strategic objectives: providing specialized support for students, developing their soft skills outside of the student experience and, lastly, building a strong alumni network.

Eligibility Criteria

The scholarship program is designed to support and encourage talented and high-performing students of sub-Saharan African countries who have demonstrated exceptional academic achievement and possess strong leadership potential. These students may come from low-income backgrounds and face financial and other obstacles in gaining access to higher education.

The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Sciences Po recognizes the importance of providing these students with the opportunity to access a world-class social science education, in order to nurture their talent, develop their potential, and empower them to become the next generation of leaders in their home countries.

To be eligible for the Mastercard Foundation scholarship, applicants must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Be a citizen of a country in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Show a willingness to commit to bringing about change in Africa and making a genuine impact on the region in the areas of public policy and major political, environmental and societal transitions.
  • Have a demonstrable need for higher education funding (please note that proof of your financial circumstances will be required as part of your application).
  • Provide a recommendation from your university.
  • Have obtained a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree (or international equivalent) by the following academic year.
  • Be applying for a two-year Master’s programme at one of Sciences Po’s seven Graduate Schools. Applicants to one-year Master’s programmes, dual degree programmes or joint Master’s programmes are not eligible for the scholarship.
  • Have attained a minimum of C1 level in French or English, depending on the programme you are applying for. Please note that programmes are either taught entirely in French, entirely in English, or in both languages.
  • Not have obtained or be working towards a prior Master’s degree.
  • Be under 35 at the start of the graduate academic year.

Benefits of the Sciences Po Mastercard Foundation Scholars Programme

These scholarships cover the full cost of tuition fees at Sciences Po and living costs in France during the study.

As well as funding their studies, Sciences Po will offer scholars a specific suite of resources to ensure they have appropriate academic support and to facilitate their transition from education to employment:

  • An orientation programme and individualized academic advising throughout their studies at Sciences Po
  • A mentor programme offered in collaboration with the Africa Division of Sciences Po Alumni
  • Career guidance and support: an online job platform dedicated to professional opportunities in Africa (internships and first jobs), access to our business incubator and the network of employers and alumni working in Africa, and specific career workshops.

Duration of Program

The scholarships are awarded for three years for the Bachelor’s degree, two years for the Master’s degree and one month for Summer School.

How to Apply for the Sciences Po Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program

Before you begin your application process here are some important dates concerning the scholar’s program:

  • Deadline for requesting eligibility for the Mastercard Foundation Scholarship: 26 November 2023
  • Deadline for applying to Sciences Po: 3 December 2023
  • Admissions outcome: between the 10 and 22 February 2024
  • Scholarship allocation outcome: 8 March 2024

Ready to apply? Click on the link below to visit the official webpage of the scholar’s program for additional information before you proceed to the application page.