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Chevening Scholarships for LLM & PG Law Students

The UK Government offers funding in several different ways for international postgraduate law students who want to come and study LLM programs and other postgraduate law courses at UK law schools, and one of these funding opportunities is the Chevening Scholarships program. Chevening Scholarships aim to fund international postgraduate students from countries that do not already have a scholarship program with the UK, and this includes postgraduate law students. Successful Chevening Scholarship applicants are exceptional students who wish to become pioneers or future leaders in their fields or industries after their postgraduate studies and want to improve international cooperation through personal relationships and international networking opportunities.

Chevening ScholarsWhat are Chevening Scholarships?

Chevening Scholarships is a program run by the UK Government and a small group of private and public partners to offer sponsorship for postgraduate study at universities in the UK for international students. The UK Government’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office administers the program, but it is not restricted to the 54 countries of the Commonwealth as funding has been awarded to postgraduate students – including LLM students and other postgraduate law students – from more than 140 territories and countries. All of the countries and territories that participate in the Chevening Scholarships do not have access to another form of postgraduate funding in the UK from the UK Government. This means that the United States does not participate in the Chevening Scholarships scheme as American students have access to the Marshall Scholarships, a scholarship program that is also funded by the UK Government.

Chevening Scholarships are not awarded evenly around the world, as there is a focus on countries, territories and communities that will benefit from the education and skills that a Chevening Scholar will develop. The focus of the program is to develop leadership skills and Chevening Scholars are usually aiming to become leaders in their home countries. The idea is that Chevening Scholars will meet, network and create lasting friendships with postgraduate students who will become leaders of their professions in the future in the UK and beyond. This unique funding and networking opportunity creates very positive outcomes in the legal world, as Chevening Scholars often pursue successful careers in law and human rights following their postgraduate law studies. This means that Chevening Alumni can often find themselves in important and unique legal positions, for example Amna Zamir Shah who is the first female judge in Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan, and Honorable Mr Justice Winston Anderson, a judge of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) the highest judicial tribunal in the Caribbean. This table shows some of the high positions achieved by Chevening Scholars who studied postgraduate law programs.

Chevening Scholarships are competitive and when the Chevening Scholars are selected they attract local and national press attention. Postgraduate law students who come to the UK as Chevening Scholars are expected to involve themselves with both university and law school campus life, as well as in wider cultural and volunteering activities. Over 50,000 postgraduate students have studied through the program since it began in the 1980s, and these students have come to know both the UK and how the UK's Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office operates as they are the UK Government department that runs the scholarship program.

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Chevening ScholarsHistory of Chevening Scholarships

In 1979 the UK Government introduced tuition fee payments for postgraduate students and in 1980 international students started paying the full cost of their tuition fees. As a result of this the UK Foreign Secretary at the time, Francis Pym, suggested increasing the funding for international students to study in the UK. Chevening Scholarships were established in 1983 by the UK Government through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and the scholarship program was known as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Awards Scheme (FCOAS). The FCOAS quickly became an important part of British foreign policy, and by 1986 many British Embassies and High Commissions were describing it as some of their most important work.

In the first academic year, 100 scholars were studying in the UK and this has increased to over 1,500 per year in recent times. The name of the scholarship program was changed in 1994 to the Chevening Scholarships drawing the name from Chevening House, which is the official residence of the UK Foreign Secretary and the Deputy Prime Minister. In 2004 a sister program, the Chevening Fellowships, was introduced that offers mid-career professionals a three-month program of study in the UK with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. In 1999 the first alumnus of the program became a Head of State when Rinchinnyamyn Amarjargal became the Prime Minister of Mongolia, and this cemented the program’s aims of assisting in the development of the world's future leaders – there have now been 17 Chevening Alumni who have gone on to become Heads of State or government. The Chevening Alumni Association was launched as an official organisation in 2014 – although it had been operating informally since the program's inception – and it now offers a network of world-class leaders for Chevening Scholars to connect with. This table illustrates the success of the Chevening Scholarship program describing the Chevening Alumni who have gone on to become world leaders so far.

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Chevening ScholarsWho is eligible for a Chevening Scholarship?

Since the Chevening Scholarship program aims to encourage and develop leadership potential in high calibre postgraduate students, much of the eligibility for the scheme rests on academic excellence. Students must be citizens of a Chevening-eligible country, but since over 140 countries are eligible, this includes many countries where English is not the local language. Check with your local British Embassy or High Commission to see if your country is a Chevening-eligible country. Those postgraduate students who are also British citizens or hold a British Overseas Passport are not eligible for the Chevening Scholarships, nor are those who have a relative who works for the British Government.

Applicants to the Chevening Scholarships must apply to three eligible masters programs in the UK – we have created a unique course search facility to help Chevening applicants identify eligible courses – and have been accepted with an unconditional offer onto one of them by July of the application year. Most students will need to have achieved the equivalent of a British 2:1 in their undergraduate degree to gain access to a masters level program in the UK. Those students who received a scholarship from the UK Government to study in the UK previously, regardless of the level of study, are not eligible for a Chevening Scholarship. Students must have also gained two years of work experience either before or after their undergraduate degree and must agree to return to their home nations for the two years after their postgraduate course in the UK is completed.

Chevening ScholarsWhat LLM & PG law courses are eligible for a Chevening Scholarship?

Most full-time postgraduate law masters courses taught out of UK universities are relevant for the Chevening Scholarship program – although the course needs to be mostly studied in the UK so double check this when doing your research in case the program includes a substantial portion of time spent studying overseas. Potential scholars must be applying for a one-year masters program at a UK university or law school on a full-time on-campus basis, part-time courses or distance learning programs are not eligible. Interested postgraduate law students can use our unique course search facility to find LLM programs or other law-related masters courses that are eligible for Chevening Scholarship. Choosing the right three courses at the most suitable UK law schools or universities is one of the most important aspects of your Chevening application, and the Chevening Find-a-course page hosts our course search finder to help you to search for eligible LLM programs and masters degrees at every eligible university in the UK.  A top tip to help you find the right postgraduate law course is to cut and paste the exact title of the LLM or PG law course that you are interested in into our course finder to establish whether it is eligible. We recommend that you do this at the early stage of your decision making so you have time to broaden your research if your particular LLM or postgraduate law program isn’t eligible for Chevening Scholarship for some reason.

An eligible LLM or postgraduate law course must last more than nine months, but not more than 12 months, and can only have up to one month of study outside of the UK. Many UK universities and law schools have a London base as well as a main campus elsewhere, if you apply to a masters program that is offered both at a London campus as well as the main campus elsewhere, then students are expected to study at the main campus outside of London, thereby ensuring that Chevening Scholars experience life across the UK. Please note that the Chevening application is not an application to study your chosen courses – you will need to apply separately for your LLM or postgraduate law masters courses via the relevant universities.

Chevening ScholarsChevening funding & PG law students

UK universities and the Chevening Scholarship program welcome LLM and postgraduate law applicants, and in fact some UK universities and law schools offer additional funding opportunities, co-sponsor specific courses with Chevening to encourage exceptional international students to study at their institution. Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) welcomes applications from students residing in all Chevening-eligible countries in any subject, however this prestigious university also co-sponsors a range of PG law programs taught out of its School of Law with Chevening, including its comprehensive portfolio of Master of Laws programs listed here.

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Another example of this additional funding for LLM students can be found at the University of Reading, who also welcomes applications from students living in all Chevening-eligible countries in any subject, and for 2021 it is also co-funding a number of awards for specific courses including their LLM in Global Conflict, Crisis and Disaster Management. You can search all qualifying LLM and postgraduate law courses using our unique course search facility on Chevening’s Find-a-course page and start your Chevening journey.

Chevening ScholarsBenefits of being a Chevening Scholar

There are plenty of benefits to being a Chevening Scholar and then a Chevening Alumnus – let's take a look at the key ones.

 Funding

The most obvious benefit of a Chevening Scholarship is the funding that covers tuition fees and basic living costs while in the UK.

 Language skills

For international law students for whom English is not their first language, a year studying in the UK in English provides an excellent opportunity to develop fluency in English. Unlike some countries that have universities that offer postgraduate courses in English but have a different local language or substantial communities speaking different languages, English is the main language of communication for the UK, especially outside of larger cities such as London, Birmingham and Manchester. Apart from the cultural output for small numbers of Gaelic and Welsh speakers in Scotland and Wales, all television programming, radio broadcasts, and local newspapers are produced in English. Your fellow students are less likely to speak other languages fluently, which means that all communication in and out of lectures and tutorials will be in English.

 Networking opportunities & support

The networking opportunities presented to Chevening Scholars are also unrivalled, and a year spent in this capacity will open many doors for your future career. The Chevening Alumni Association now includes the 50,000 students who have been awarded a Chevening Scholarship since 1983. This association has groups all over the world and these local associations are focused on improving their local areas and home nations as well as encouraging others to apply to the Chevening Scholarships. They also offer support and friendship to each other helping them achieve their career and personal aims and ambitions. Since leadership skills are a big part of the Chevening Scholarship program the Chevening Alumni Association has a growing number of global leaders in a wide range of industries, organisations and governments.

 Personal growth

International study allows you to understand how other people and cultures all view the world and this cultural understanding will improve international cooperation in the future. This is great for those students interested in pursuing a career in law or human rights after their studies and will really help them to get a broader perspective on global human rights and legal issues and ultimately lead to global reform. Time spent as a Chevening Scholar will also allow the student to grow as an individual and develop resilience and self-reliance while settling into life as an international PG law student.

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Chevening ScholarsHow do you become a Chevening Scholar?

To become a Chevening Scholar you must display a combination of ambition, leadership potential and a clear vision of your future career path. This is done through the application process and the interviews. To display your ambition there is a requirement of the Chevening Scholarships to have undertaken two years or 2,800 hours of work experience before you apply. This work experience can be a combination of full- and part-time work, voluntary and unpaid or paid internships. It allows you to develop an understanding of the industry or sector that you wish to develop a career in and gives you knowledge and experience to draw on during your postgraduate study. The work experience will show your commitment to a cause, issue or area of development for your home nation. Through the application process, you will show how you wish to use the knowledge and understanding that you will gain during your law-related masters program in the UK to improve this cause, issue or area of development.

Your application and interview must also show that you have a clear vision of your future and the leadership potential to achieve your goals. Your references, written statements and an excellent academic record must all support your aims. When you are writing your statements and preparing for the interview to become a Chevening Scholar you must show that your goals fit with the aims of the Chevening Scholarship program of improving international cooperation. However, the criteria for selection varies between countries and year to year, so you should do plenty of research and get in touch with your local British Embassy or High Commission for any advice that they can offer. If you can, try and get in touch with previous Chevening Scholars as they can offer you advice and access to the Chevening Alumni Association for more help with your goal of becoming a Chevening Scholar.

Chevening ScholarsLLM Chevening Scholar Case Study

Leonela Vanessa Beltran Carrasquero is a Venezuelan student who studied an LLM in International Law at the University of Southampton in the academic year 2016/2017. Speaking about her experience as a Chevening Scholar and an LLM student, Leonela says, “Studying in England introduced me to new concepts that have changed my vision of the world and of myself from an academic and personal standpoint. In my country, we have a completely different legal system (based on codes and not cases) and the assessment method differs as well. In the UK I had the opportunity to write essays and take exams, which I found excellent because the combination of both allowed me to learn a subject in depth. I particularly enjoyed essay writing because the topics were very specific, and the professors gave me the freedom to argue and provide my opinion with due scientific support.”

Speaking about her LLM program Leonela explains, “My course – LLM International Law – was very useful. I enjoyed all my lectures and my professors were truly excellent, and of the highest academic calibre. Furthermore, I had the opportunity to participate in the University of Southampton’s LLM challenge, which is a competition that rewards the creativity and legal research skills of postgraduate students. I thoroughly enjoyed this experience which helped me develop my research abilities more deeply.”

She continues, “I truly appreciated my time in the UK. This has been the best year of my life so far and it was all made possible thanks to Chevening and the University of Southampton. I am thankful for every single day.”

Chevening ScholarsApplying for a Chevening Scholarship

The scholarship application is completed online through the Chevening website and each nation or region has their own specific application site. Applications usually open in the September of each year and you should get in touch with your local British Embassy or High Commission before you begin your application process. Applications are assessed by your local British Embassies or High Commissions, so you should ensure that they are expecting your application. A team at the Embassy or High Commission then checks all of the applications to ensure that they are eligible. These eligible applications are then sent to independent commission groups who read through and assess all of the applications. This group ranks the applications and returns them to the Embassy or High Commission. The Embassy or High Commission assesses the recommendations of the commission and invites successful students for an interview. The interview stage requires students to upload documents to support their academic achievements, the references and an additional personal biography that tells the interviewers more about you. This is an extra chance to express in writing how you and your community would benefit from a Chevening Scholarship. The interview is also a chance to display your English language skills and to discuss your course options. After the interviews, the scholarships are announced in the June or July before your course begins in the UK in September. When you are applying online keep a close watch on the deadlines as the times are in British Standard Time rather than your local time. If you think you've got what it takes to apply for a Chevening Scholarship – take a look at these five top tips to ensure that you provide the Chevening selection panel with a strong application.

 Demonstrate leadership

It’s one thing thinking that you could be a future leader but can you demonstrate that you have leadership potential in your application? Have you influenced a situation positively? Have you taken on responsibilities above and beyond what was expected of you? Have you found solutions to problems?

 Why the UK?

Whilst the UK is the second most popular destination for international students, we are interested in knowing why you want to study in the UK? Think carefully about why a UK education – particularly a legal one ­– could benefit you and your career plans.

 Meet the English language requirements

Show that you have a commitment to studying in the UK by meeting the English language requirement. This is a mandatory requirement for many applicants, so the earlier you start to prepare, the more time you have to meet it. Applications and interviews are conducted in English, so the more confident you are, the better you can represent yourself.

 Know your courses

When making an application you should already know the law school courses that you wish to apply for. Do your research to ensure that the postgraduate law courses meet your own personal objectives as well as the Chevening requirements. Use our unique course search facility on the Chevening Find-a-course page to find eligible LLM or postgraduate law masters degrees to apply for.

Dream about your country’s future

Think about the contribution you want to make to the future of your home country. If this ties in with your course choices, then it’s an indication that you’re thinking in a joined-up manner. Visit www.chevening.org/apply for more information.

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