Home Student Funds/Bursaries Mandela Rhodes Scholarships 2021 | How to Apply

Mandela Rhodes Scholarships 2021 | How to Apply


Application is now open for the 2021 Mandela Rhodes Scholarships by the Mandela Rhodes Foundation. It also includes steps on how to apply but you must meet the criteria before applying.

Mandela Rhodes Scholarships

The Mandela Rhodes Scholarship is now officially open. It offers comprehensive funding for the core costs associated with your studies. It covers tuition for a one-year Honours degree or a two-year Masters degree in any field at a recognised South African institution of higher education. This includes tuition and registration fees, allowances for study materials, research, and medical aid, accommodation and meals, personal allowance and economy class travel to and from your home country to your South African university at the beginning and end of your degree. You will also receive a personal allowance.


  • If you are between the ages of 19 and 29, are a citizen of any African country, and have a first degree with above average academic results (70% or upper second), you are eligible to apply for the scholarship
  • You must be academically strong: your marks should be above 70% or an upper second. You must also have demonstrated leadership on your campus or in your community.
  • If you are between the ages of 19 and 29 at the time of applying, you are eligible. As long as you are under the age of 30 at the time you take up the scholarship, you are eligible to apply.
  • Students who are citizens of an African country, no matter where they are currently living or studying, are eligible. The scholarship is for study in South Africa, at a South African institution of higher education – you cannot study in your home country. Distance learning is not allowed – you must study at an institution in South Africa so that you can participate in our programme.
  • The Mandela Rhodes Scholarship is for postgraduate study (Honours and Masters degrees) in any field, with the exception of MBAs, which we do not fund. You can study at any recognised South African institution of higher education.


Step 1: Check the timeline
  • March: Applications open on Tuesday, 23 March 2021. Candidates can add recommenders on the platform and begin uploading their documentation and working on their personal essays. See ‘requirements’.
  • April: Applications close by the end of Tuesday, 20 April 2021. No late or incomplete applications will be accepted under any circumstances.
  • June: You will be notified by the end of June whether or not you are through to Round Two.
  • July: You will be notified by the end of July whether or not you are through to Round Three.
  • August: You will be notified by the end of August if you are invited for an interview in the Final Round, or if you have been unsuccessful.
  • October: Interviews will be conducted virtually this year. You will be notified by the end of October if you are selected as a Mandela Rhodes Scholar.
  • October-December: Selected Mandela Rhodes Scholars must do their best to secure acceptance at their university of choice, and their study visa for travel to South Africa in January.
Step 2: Check programme requirements
  • Take the quiz to see if the Mandela Rhodes Scholarship is for you.
Step 3: Get your documents ready
  • Recommenders: We require three letters of recommendation as part of your application. Your recommenders must submit their letters through our application platform.Without these letters, you cannot submit your application. Get in touch with three people who have relevant experience of you and insight into your character as soon as possible – even before applications open – to ask them permission and give them time to write their letters. Once you register a recommender on the platform, they will receive an email asking them to log on and upload their letter.
  • Documentation: You will be required to upload certificates of completion for your degrees, transcripts of your academic results, and scans of your ID and passport documents.
  • Essays: You will be asked to write two short essays, one on your personal journey, and one on a specific question relating to our principles.
  • Application for university: You will be asked to fill in your proposed course of study on your application. We do not require proof that you have applied, but we recommend that you apply as soon as possible, and to more than one university.
  • Do your qualifications meet the requirements for your proposed course of study? Each country has its own framework for registering and rating qualification levels. In South Africa, this is managed by the South African Qualifications Agency (SAQA). SAQA accreditation can take 4-8 weeks, which can delay your acceptance to university and thus your study visa to South Africa.
    • To ensure that you will be accepted for your chosen programme, we highly recommend that you find out as soon as possible what the National Qualification Framework (NQF) requirements for your course are, and whether your qualifications meet these requirements.
    • Masters programmes in South Africa may require several years of work or clinical experience as an admission requirement. It is your responsibility to check if you will be accepted to the course, and apply for backup options.
Step 4: Kindly proceed to the Application Portal to apply

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