Fellowship vs Scholarship to Study Abroad

Fellowship vs Scholarship to Study Abroad

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Read to know the difference between fellowship and scholarship. Compare scholarship and fellowship programs and apply to which you are eligible for.

Brinda Khurana
Updated on:  23 Oct 2023  | Reviewed By: 
| 12.1K | 6  min read

Several organizations and governments across the world run several programs to help underprivileged and meritorious students further their education. These programs are based on particular criteria that must be met by the student to be eligible. Scholarships and fellowships are two examples of schemes that are frequently misunderstood in this regard. The majority of students are unsure about the distinction between a scholarship and a fellowship. These two expressions are sometimes misconstrued since they both imply “financial assistance” for students and researchers, or anyone with a desire to learn, discover, and investigate something new. A University, a Research Centre, an academic institution, a laboratory, the government, or a foundation establishes “scholarships” and “fellowships”. 


  1. list items What is scholarship?
  2. list items What is fellowship?
  3. list items Difference between scholarship & fellowship
  4. list items Frequently asked questions

What is a scholarship?

A scholarship is a type of financial aid intended to assist students in covering the cost of an undergraduate, postgraduate, and research program. It is a form of financial aid given to students by the government, universities, or other organizations to help them further their education. Scholarships can come in the form of one-time cheques. Other scholarships provide money to the recipients each semester or academic year and are renewable.

  • list items Most scholarships are awarded solely based on an application or any qualifications that make a person particularly qualified for the award. 
  • list items Many unusual circumstances, such as a person's last name, status as a single parent, or the fact that they have a handicapping ailment, may qualify them for a scholarship. Students who attend school full-time, have a minimum grade point average (GPA) of at least a B, and can demonstrate financial need may be eligible for more general scholarships offered by countries and states.
  • list items The scholarship money can be used to cover a variety of costs, including books, tuition, project work, and other educational expenses. It does not accrue interest or require repayment, unlike an education loan. Even before beginning undergraduate or graduate school, students can apply for a scholarship.

Types of scholarships to study abroad

There are three types of scholarships:

  1. list items Merit-based scholarships
  2. list items Need-based scholarships 
  3. list items Student specific scholarships 

Merit-based Scholarships 

These are the scholarships that are awarded based on academic or extracurricular achievements including test scores, grades, community service, etc. These awards recognize and promote achievement and typically have strict eligibility requirements for applicants. The majority of schools, colleges, and institutions in every country award this type of scholarship.

Need-based Scholarships

These kinds of scholarships are quite popular among students who are struggling financially. This type of scholarship is awarded if the applicants can demonstrate some sort of hardship in finishing their studies. So, while determining eligibility, factors including your family's income, assets, and other conditions that may affect your capacity to pay for college are taken into account.

Student specific Scholarships

Many student-specific criteria, including gender, ethnicity, nationality, religion, family background, and medical history, are taken into consideration while choosing students. Scholarships for minorities are a prime example of this category of applicants.


What is a fellowship?

Fellowship is a type of scholarship which is a completely merit-based form of funding. It is a short-term, fully sponsored opportunity and can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few years. Fellowship is usually concerned with personal, professional, or intellectual advancement. A particular association, organization, institution, or government sponsors fellowships and establishes the criteria for applicants. It is not required that the student/scholar get financial help as part of the fellowship; the research fellow may receive any additional advantages as part of the fellowship.

Fellowships are frequently created to promote a variety of activities, such as:

  • list items Standalone or integrated with a bigger effort, research
  • list items Establishing new nonprofits in the community
  • list items Training in a certain field
  • list items Opportunities to delve deeper into a specific sector of work
  • list items A graduate degree

The benefits of getting a fellowship are numerous. Among other things, fellowships can offer chances for professional development, personal and professional network growth, cultural immersion, and experience learning. Students gain from the application process itself, which aids them in developing their presentation and interview skills as well as their ability to communicate their values and future aspirations.

Types of fellowships to study abroad

There are two types of fellowships:

  1. list items Doctoral and Post-doctoral fellowships 
  2. list items Medical fellowship

Doctoral and Post-doctoral Fellowships

Doctoral and post-doctoral fellowships are accessible to deserving researchers who choose a specific topic and conduct in-depth studies on it. They provide a significant contribution to the educational system. Researchers receive a Ph.D. fellowship in the form of a stipend, the potential for improved possibilities, and temporary employment as lecturers. In the particular academic institution where the researcher is pursuing the degree, a Ph.D. fellow is also given a reputable status.

Medical Fellowship

Physicians who have finished their general medicine training and choose to specialize are eligible for the medical fellowship program. There are numerous medical specialties, and there are subject-specific fellowships available. This encourages medical professionals to succeed and advance to the level of master practitioners. These scholars receive assistance from several medical schools and research institutions as they practice medicine and conduct research. In exchange, they receive financial support to carry out additional research and development. 


What is the difference between scholarship and fellowship?

The primary aim of a scholarship or fellowship is to offer grants and financial assistance to students for a predetermined time to aid them in their academic endeavors. A scholarship is awarded to students from elementary school through senior secondary school, or up to the bachelor's degree level. This is the fundamental distinction between a scholarship and a fellowship. Students who conduct scholarly study in a particular field at institutions or universities are given fellowships.

Fellowship vs Scholarship to Study Abroad

Find out tips to increase your chances of availing scholarships 

Note: One important contrast between a scholarship and a fellowship is that the term scholarship always includes financial assistance. It can take the shape of a tuition fee, a daily allowance, or any other type of allowance, but it must include money.

In the case of a fellowship, however, the rewards are usually not in the form of financial aid. Benefits might also take several forms.

Example: If someone receives a "scholarship" to study at Ohio University or conduct research at NASA, for example, that individual has unquestionably received funding to study or conduct research. When MIT or Harvard announces “scholarships” for undergraduate, graduate, or postgraduate students, researchers, or journalists, it means that the university, research institute, or foundation will cover all or part of the costs.

However, the “fellowship” is first and foremost a status, and secondly a “financial aid.” The term "fellowship" refers to a university or Research Centre position that may or may not offer "financial aid." Cambridge or Oxford may offer a "fellowship" but just supply a library desk with a computer. Many notable researchers or popular persons apply for such jobs, willing to pay for all other expenditures themselves in exchange for the declared "fellowship." 

A “fellowship” may be granted just as a status inside an academic institution, with no salary, financial aid, or other benefits. A person may be admitted as a fellow of a certain college or department and have access to certain library and research resources with that status. 


In conclusion

While a scholarship is offered to students to assist them with their pre-graduation studies, a fellowship is given to research scholars to assist them with their research after they have completed their graduation or post-graduate studies.

Some scholarships are renewable, which means students can reapply for them. The fellowship, on the other hand, has a fixed duration and cannot be extended. 

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Frequently asked questions

Is fellowship equal to scholarship?

Scholarship is a form of financial aid given to students by the government, universities, or other organizations to help them further their education whereas fellowship is a financial aid awarded to students who wish to research further after the completion and qualification of a prescribed examination. 

What is a 100% scholarship?

A 100% scholarship, also named a full-ride scholarship is a financial aid that covers all college expenses including tuition fees, travel, accommodation, food, insurance premiums, and cost of living. 

Can I have 2 fellowships?

Yes, an individual can have 2 fellowships as applicants often submit applications for multiple fellowships.

What are the disadvantages of fellowships?

The major disadvantage of fellowships is that they are highly competitive. It will require a lot of hard work and commitment from an applicant.

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