The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program Expands to University of the Western Cape

The Mastercard Foundation and the University of the Western Cape will collaborate to provide 500 talented and service-oriented young Africans with fully-funded higher learning and leadership development opportunities over the next seven years.

July 18, 2023 – The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program is expanding to the University of the Western Cape (UWC). Launched in 2012, the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program is an initiative designed to enable highly talented, service-oriented young people, primarily young Africans, to pursue their higher education and grow as transformative leaders. The Program is specifically targeted toward young people whose access to higher education is impeded by economic and social barriers. The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program places particular emphasis on reaching young women, forcibly displaced youth, and young people with disabilities.

“We are happy to welcome the University of the Western Cape to the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program partner network, where they will join a movement of more than 40 institutions working to make higher education more inclusive and accessible while preparing young people for lives of achievement and service. We are especially excited to see what Mastercard Foundation Scholars at the University of the Western Cape will achieve during their time on campus and beyond as they build on a decade of incredible youth-led impact,” said Pauline Gangla, Head of the East & Southern Africa Partner Network of the Scholars Program.

The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at UWC will provide fully-funded access to Masters’ level study in the following fields:

  • Humanities & Arts (Applied Linguistics, History, Gender Justice, Migration Studies, Sociology for Development)
  • Community & Health Sciences (Public Health)
  • Economic & Management Sciences (Development Studies, Information Sciences and Migration Studies)
  • Law (Governance and Human Rights)
  • Natural Sciences (Biological, Computational, Mathematical and Physical Sciences).

“The launch of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at the University of the Western Cape marks a landmark for the university, which celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2020.  It provides UWC with a unique opportunity to build on its longstanding commitment to inclusive education.  UWC looks forward to welcoming more students from the rest of Africa, including refugees and displaced persons, as well as students with disabilities, all of whom will enrich the diversity of our student body and, in turn, the learning and teaching experience of all our students. Through the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program we look forward to strengthening our role in contributing to the development of the next generation of transformative leaders for the African continent,” said Professor Tyrone Pretorius, UWC Rector and Vice-Chancellor.

Recruitment for the first cohort of Mastercard Foundation Scholars at UWC is ongoing, with applications open until July 24, 2023. To apply, prospective candidates can complete and submit the application form available on the University of the Western Cape’s website.

To date, the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program has supported the learning and leadership journeys of over 45,000 young people, more than half of whom have graduated from the Program.

The Mastercard Foundation is a Canadian Foundation and one of the world’s largest foundations, with a mission to advance education and financial inclusion. It works with visionary organizations to enable young people in Africa and in Indigenous communities in Canada to access dignified and fulfilling work. The Foundation was established in 2006 through the generosity of Mastercard when it became a public company. The Foundation is an independent organization and separate from the company. Its policies, operations and programs are determined by the Foundation’s Board of Directors and leadership.


The University of the Western Cape (UWC) was founded in 1960 and occupies a unique space in the South African higher education landscape. It is a dynamic institution committed to excellence in learning, teaching, research and innovation in a globally competitive environment whilst remaining true to the values and ethos that have shaped its identity as a university rooted in serving the public good.

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