Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship

The Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship is a prestigious scholarship program that provides financial assistance to outstanding students from developing countries to pursue higher education.

This posts covers everything you need to know about the Aga Khan Foundation scholarship, including eligibility requirements, application process, selection criteria, benefits and frequently asked questions.

Overview of the Aga Khan Foundation Scholarship

The Aga Khan Foundation is an international development agency that aims to provide long-term solutions to problems of poverty, hunger, illiteracy and ill health in developing regions of Africa and Asia. As part of its mandate, the Foundation offers the International Scholarship Programme to outstanding students from select developing countries to pursue graduate studies abroad.

The scholarship program was established in 1983 and has helped over 9,000 students gain access to higher education opportunities. The Aga Khan Foundation scholarship is extremely competitive, with only around 4% of applicants selected annually.

Objectives of the Scholarship

The key objectives of the Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship are:

  • To develop effective future leaders in developing countries who can contribute to solving development challenges
  • To provide financial assistance to enable students from impoverished backgrounds to pursue higher studies
  • To prepare students for leadership roles in government, civil society, and the private sector in their home countries
  • To build a strong global network of individuals committed to improving quality of life in developing regions

By investing in quality education for high-potential students, the Foundation aims to empower future generations to become agents of positive change in their communities.

Eligibility Criteria

Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship

The Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship is open to students from select developing countries in Africa, Middle East, Central and South Asia. The key eligibility criteria are:


  • You must be a citizen from one of the following eligible countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Syria, Egypt, Madagascar, Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Tajikistan etc.

Academic Background

  • You must have an excellent academic record with minimum GPA of 3.7 out of 4.0, or equivalent percentage
  • You must have completed a bachelor’s degree with high marks from an accredited university

Graduate Study Plans

  • You must be applying to start a new graduate degree program abroad in fields relevant to AKDN, such as social sciences, architecture, education, earth sciences, economics, health sciences etc.

Work Experience

  • Recent graduates with exceptional academic records can apply directly after completing undergraduate studies
  • 2 years of full-time work experience is required for mid-career applicants

Leadership Potential

  • Demonstrate leadership skills and potential through academic, professional, extracurricular activities
  • Display a commitment to improving lives in your home country

English Proficiency

  • Meet English proficiency requirements for admission at chosen university (TOEFL 80+, IELTS 6.5+ etc.)

Apart from the above criteria, the Foundation may consider applicants’ financial need, personal circumstances, community involvement and country context when awarding scholarships. Female applicants are especially encouraged to apply.

Benefits of Aga Khan Foundation Scholarship

The Aga Khan Foundation Scholarship is an extremely generous scholarship. It offers the following benefits:

  • Full tuition coverage – The scholarship covers 100% of tuition fees and university-provided accommodation.
  • Living stipend – A monthly stipend is provided to cover basic living expenses like food, transportation, books etc.
  • Health insurance – Comprehensive health insurance coverage is provided.
  • Travel costs – Economy class air travel costs are covered at the start and end of studies.
  • Pre-academic training – A pre-departure orientation is provided to prepare for graduate school.
  • Application fees waiver – University application fees are covered.
  • Visa application assistance – Guidance is given for student visa application process.

In addition to the financial support, Aga Khan scholars gain access to a widespread alumni network and ongoing career mentoring opportunities within the AKDN agencies.

How to Apply for the Aga Khan Scholarship

The Aga Khan scholarship application process is highly competitive. Here are the key steps:

1. Determine Your Eligibility

Go through the eligibility criteria carefully and assess if you meet all the requirements. Only apply if you meet all criteria.

2. Find Appropriate Universities/Programs

Identify universities with strong programs in your area of interest that align with AKDN’s mandates. Shortlist universities you can realistically get admission into based on your profile.

3. Prepare a Strong Application

Your application needs to highlight both your academic excellence as well as leadership capabilities. Pour your effort into every aspect – writing stellar essays, getting strong recommendation letters etc.

4. Submit Online Application

Applications are submitted online through the Foundation’s online portal. You will need to submit transcripts, test scores, essays, recommendations and other supporting documents. Pay close attention to the application instructions.

5. Clear Interviews and Assessments

Shortlisted candidates will go through detailed interviews and written assessments to evaluate their aptitude and leadership potential. Prepare thoroughly for this important stage.

6. Accept Award and Finalize Plans

If selected, you will receive an award letter outlining the terms of scholarship and amount awarded. Confirm acceptance and coordinate with AKF to finalize university admission and other plans.

Start preparing your application well in advance – at least 12 months before your planned enrollment. The application deadline each year is around March 31. Only around 250 scholarships are awarded annually, so set your expectations accordingly. Leverage all resources at hand to submit the best application possible.

Selection Criteria and Process

The Aga Khan Foundation scholarship selection process is extremely rigorous, competitive and merit-based. Here are some insights into what the selection committee looks for:

Academic Excellence

Stellar academic results are a prerequisite. You need to demonstrate intellectual abilities through grades, test scores and other credentials.

Financial Need

Your economic background and need for financial assistance is considered. Those from lower-income communities get preference.

Leadership Potential

Extracurricular activities, community work and internships that display leadership skills are evaluated closely, apart from the essays and interviews.

Future Impact

Your commitment to country and potential to drive positive change after graduation is assessed.

Field of Study

Chosen field being relevant to AKDN’s objectives will be favored. Commitment to sector demonstrated through past experiences.

The selection process includes:

  • Eligibility screening – Applications are checked for completeness and meeting eligibility criteria
  • Document review – Detailed evaluation of transcripts, test scores, essays, recommendations and experiences
  • Written assessments – Shortlisted applicants undergo timed written tests to assess critical thinking abilities
  • Interviews – Panel interviews by experts assess leadership potential and alignment with AKF’s goals
  • Reference checks – Feedback is collected from referees to validate claims in application
  • Final review – Country, university, and faculty balance is considered before finalizing awardees

Competition is intense for the Aga Khan scholarship, with <5% selection rate. Put your best foot forward and showcase your excellence holistically.

Timeline and Key Dates

Here are the typical timelines to keep in mind when applying for the Aga Khan Foundation scholarship:

  • September – Start researching potential universities to apply to
  • December – Take required standardized tests like GRE, GMAT, TOEFL etc.
  • January – Finalize list of universities and programs to apply for
  • February – Submit university admission applications
  • March 31 – Aga Khan scholarship application deadline
  • May-June – Interviews and assessments for shortlisted candidates
  • July – Notification of final scholarship awards
  • August-September – University enrollment and preparatory activities
  • September-October – Depart for studies

As you can see, preparation needs to start 12-18 months before planned enrollment. Apply for universities with winter intake deadlines where possible. Confirm exact scholarship application timelines on the AKF website.


Here are some frequently asked questions about the Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship:

Does the scholarship cover undergraduate studies?

No, the AKF scholarship only funds graduate-level master’s and PhD degrees. You must already have an undergraduate degree with high results to qualify.

What types of expenses does the scholarship cover?

It provides full tuition fee coverage, university housing, books & supplies allowance, health insurance and air travel costs. A monthly stipend for food and necessities is also provided.

Can I get the scholarship for studying in my home country?

No, the scholarship is only awarded for studying abroad at accredited universities in other countries, not in your home country.

How long can I receive the AKF scholarship?

It usually covers the minimum time required to complete your degree – 1 year for master’s, and 3-5 years for PhD. Extensions are only provided under exceptional circumstances.

Can I work part-time during my studies?

Yes, some scholars do work off-campus part-time. But your studies should be the top priority if accepting the scholarship.

Do I have to work for AKDN after graduation?

No, there is no such obligation. However, scholars are encouraged to return to their countries and give back.

Can applications be submitted after the deadline?

No late or incomplete applications are accepted. Strictly adhere to the application deadline.

What are my chances of selection?

The selection rate is extremely competitive, under 5%. You need to have an outstanding application to have a realistic chance.

How many scholarships are awarded annually?

Around 250 students are selected annually from thousands of applicants. The total number varies based on availability of funds.

By admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *