In this day and age of "alternative facts", here is a ground reality: Pakistani women are second to none. Then why is it that the ratio of women to men participation in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) is one of the lowest in the world? Women Engineers Pakistan has been actively trying to come up with solutions for this worrisome gender gap for the past three years or so. One of the common answers to this problem is the lack of opportunity, or the lack of fiscal ability. Today we present to you a comprehensive list of scholarships (both domestic and international) for pursuing the educational career of your dreams.
Scholarships within Pakistan
1. HEC Need-Based Scholarships
The Higher Education Commission of Pakistan has announced over 10,000 scholarships for students with financial constraints. This scholarship is available all over Pakistan, and can be applied for over 61 public sector universities. See more at: http://hec.gov.pk/english/scholarshipsgrants/NBS/Pages/default.aspx#sthash.0DLlQK9p.dpuf
2. Higher Education Opportunities for the students of Balochistan & FATA
In order to be eligible for this scholarship, the applicant must possess Local/Domicile Certificate from Balochistan Province/FATA. A minimum 12 years education with 60% marks in FA/F.Sc or equivalent is required. This scholarship program covers the average Tuition Fee and other charges up to Rs.60,000 per semester. It also provides a living allowance of Rs. 6,000/month with Rs. 500 annual increments. Book allowance and initial settlement allowance is also provided. See more at: http://hec.gov.pk/english/scholarshipsgrants/BAL-FATA/Pages/Eligibility-Criteria.aspx#sthash.RSFUj9eZ.dpuf
3. Prime Minister’s Fee Reimbursement Scheme for Less Developed Areas
Newly admitted student in Public Sector University in Spring/Fall Session are required to apply through the HEC online web portal system i.e. http://pmfrs.hec.gov.pk/ See more at: http://hec.gov.pk/english/scholarshipsgrants/tfp/Pages/How-To-Apply.aspx#sthash.krdOuFLr.dpuf
4. NUST Need-Based Scholarships
NUST provides need-based scholarships to selected Under Graduate and Post Graduate students. This is based strictly on the basis of their financial need. Only students securing admission on open merit are eligible for the award.
5. LUMS National Outreach Programme
Applicants are required to apply to the LUMS NOP during the first year of Intermediate or A-Levels. Application form can be downloaded from the following link: https://nop.lums.edu.pk/downloads-nop
6. Aga Khan Foundation Scholarship Program
As per their official website, "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)."
7. Habib Univeristy Scholarship Programs
Habib University offers a total of 8 scholarships, which are "awarded to the students who demonstrate good academic merit. These scholarships cover 35% to 50% of tuition and fee of the recipients."
1. Bestway Foundation Scholarships for Students from Pakistan
Applicable courses include Master's courses in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM fields). In order to be considered eligible, you must already meet the minimum English Language entry requirements. See more at: http://www.bradford.ac.uk/fees-and-financial-support/university-scholarships-and-support/
2. Chevening Scholarships
Chevening Scholarships are the UK government’s global scholarship program. This scholarship offers a building ground for the leaders of tomorrow who come from all over the world, developing them both, professionally and academically by helping them to network extensively, experience UK culture, and build lasting positive relationships with the UK.
3. Commonwealth Scholarships
Back in 2015, we published a procedure to apply for a Commonwealth scholarship to the UK. The deadline to submit the application is by end November/early December of the same year. One should understand that the screening process done by CSCUK on the basis of this online application is tough so one should properly research when writing the details. The results of the award are given out in April. The detailed procedure can be read here.
4. Fulbright Scholar Program
As per the United States Education Foundation in Pakistan, "The Fulbright Masters and PhD Program funds graduate study in the United States for a Master's or Ph.D. degree. Funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), these grants cover tuition, required textbooks, airfare, a living stipend, and health insurance. USEFP also assists with the visa process."
5. The American Association of University Women (AAUW) Scholarship
The AAUW's educational funding for women remains an important element to closing the funding gap for women in higher education. These scholarships are mostly aimed at education carried out within the United States.
6. OFID Scholarship
7. KAIST University Scholarships
8. Rhodes Scholarship
9. The Annemarie Schimmel Scholarship
10. And many others!
Our blogger, Sara Mashhadi compiled a list of scholarships some time ago. You can check this list out here.
Pakistani women aspire to be among the renowned and well-informed lot of women scientists and engineers throughout the world as others. Most of them wish to pursue their Masters and Post-doctoral degrees from foreign universities at times so that they can benefit from the teaching and research methodology of the developed states. Along with this, studying abroad has its own lessons and experiences which help women become confident, independent individuals.
The most common restraint they experience in attaining their goals is financial. Shortage of funds is the most commonly cited reason for not pursuing a degree or research programme, abroad. What, however, most women need to understand is that a strong academic background and efficient communication skills can provide you the needed financials. There are numerous scholarship opportunities provided by developed countries like the UK, USA, Australia and many more.
Women need to be aware of the pros and cons of accepting scholarship opportunities. A few privately-funded scholarship opportunities can turn out be exploitative but the best ones to rely on are state-sponsored. Although there are various reliable Non-Government Organizations which sponsor students but state-led and fully-funded opportunities are preferable. State-sponsored schemes are highly competitive and only a few students are able to earn them but a major advantage of attaining them is that they relieve you off the burden of tuition fees, living and recreational expenses and many more.
Here are a few short-listed scholarship programmes which are highly reliable and are mostly state-led. These scholarships are fully-funded and are suitable for women who want to pursue (a Masters, PhD) higher education or research programme in all fields of science and technology. Every university has its own pool of scholarships as well but they come with certain terms and conditions which can turn out to be burdensome for the student in the future. These scholarships are generic, which take into account other factors than tuition fees as well. For a detailed view, you must visit the official page of each scholarship programme
Be the change you want to see
How can an engineer score the UK commonwealth scholarship (Commonwealth Scholarship Commission UK – CSCUK) for Masters? We have the answer! Read out this short guide for participating in the Commonwealth Scholarship Programme 2015:
Commonwealth Scholarship Programme 2015 - Application for Engineering students:The procedure to attain this scholarship is lengthy but not complex. But if compared to one of the other major scholarship awards such as the Fulbright Scholarship, it’s much simpler.
Before moving further to the procedure on how to score the scholarship, one needs to know 2 main things about this award; it’s a 1 year program and it’s a taught masters program. For further details about the award itself, please visit http://cscuk.dfid.gov.uk/apply/scholarships-developing-cw/.
Let’s move on to the procedure:
Step 1 – Nomination by the Government Agency
CSCUK requires that a candidate needs to be nominated first from their Government Agency before further screening. The first step to pre-qualify for the award is to clear the local test given by the Government Agency. In case of Pakistan, one is required to take the GAT test conducted by National Testing Service – NTS and the nominating government agency is Ministry of Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC). This test is generally taken in the month of September/October of each year.
The GAT general test usually comprises of three sections; English, Analytical and Mathematics. Since the competition is intense, one is suggested to score at least and 88 out of 100. Basically this is an assumed score as the nominations are done on quota bases from each province. Benchmark scores vary from province to province but my advice is to target the above mentioned score. To register for the test, click here.
Once the test has been passed and one qualifies, a letter from the Ministry of IPC is sent to the person stating that they have been nominated for the Commonwealth Scholarship and further instructions are provided accordingly. These instructions comprise of appearing for IELTS which should not be taken before October of the same year (the fee of the test is exempted as it is paid by the government), attested education documents and most importantly Study Plan. Also an online portal is provided which is https://csc.do-it-online.org.uk/csc/ElectronicApplicationSystem.htm
Step 2 - Completing the Online Application for CSCUK
The nominated applicant will then fill in the online application in the online portal which is mentioned in the above stated link. In the link, standard details are required; name, education, address, references, work experiences, merits etc. Other than the standard details, now come the important areas of the application. One is required to have properly researched their future Masters prospects. The person has to fill out 1) Preferred Institutions (3 max), 2) Detailed Plan of Study, 3) Benefit to Your Home Country (from the prospected Masters) and 4) Future Career Plans. Be careful to note here that everything that you mention is weighted for your candidacy. Your detailed plan of study should align with the degree that you currently hold (having researched in, or completed a Final Year project in the chosen field is a big plus.) Work on the part where you need to chart out all the benefits that your home country will gain by your chosen field of study. Please note here that the CSCUK is an established institution, and they will weed you out if you put in far-fetched or superficial reasons to participate.
The deadline to submit the application is by end November/early December of the same year. One should understand that the screening process done by CSCUK on the basis of this online application is tough so one should properly research when writing the details.
The results of the award are given out in April.
Article written by: Syed Ali Hamza Naqvi