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15 Best Scholarships for Master’s Degree Students in 2020

For most career-oriented and driven individuals, pursuing postgraduate education (masters and doctorate programs) seems to make a lot of sense, and why not? While some may argue that a college or graduate degree does not guarantee career success, there’s no denying that acquiring quality higher education boosts your chances.

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The global health crisis and the apparent economic slump is a looming threat to job security among Americans. The uncertain times underscore the need to become well-educated to gain the skills that drive better career opportunities!

While a college degree equates to a chance at getting a job in a competitive market, a master’s degree would, therefore, cement your path towards getting a stable job in a niche that you’ve been well prepared for.

We made things easy for you! Navigate this article using these page jumps:

What the Facts and Statistics Say
Why A Master’s Program?
The Best Master’s Degree Scholarships
* Rotary Peace Fellowships
* AAUW Selected Professions Fellowships in USA for Women
* Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program
* Truman Scholarship
* Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship
* Johns Hopkins University Humanitarian Health Scholarships
* NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship Program
* SWE Scholarship Program
* REDW Scholarship
* American University Online Merit Scholarships
* Graduate Fellowships for Incoming Students
* Sidney Topol Fellowship in Nonviolence Practice
* ACMPE Scholarship Fund
* AICPA Scholarships
* Throlson American Bison Foundation Scholarship

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What the Facts and Statistics Say

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This relevant data support the value of higher education, as well as postgraduate education, in the U.S.:

  • CBS News reports that there is a notable income disparity (among other things, like health, marriage, job security, and retirement funds) among Americans with only a high school degree in hand compared to those who graduated college. This trend continues to grow every year.
  • According to the updated labor and unemployment stats (December 2019) gathered by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, there is a 2.2% unemployment rate among college graduates. On the other hand, 6.5% of individuals without a college degree are unemployed, but these numbers may change drastically, given our present economic conditions. Obtaining a postgraduate degree would even boost the chances of getting tenure and job security.
  • A 2019 article by the U.S. Census Bureau reports that more than 13% of working adults in the U.S. now have master’s, professional or doctorate degrees. Additionally, a person with an advanced degree in 2017 earned 3.7 times the salary of a high school dropout.
  • Workers 25 years old and up who obtained a master’s degree earned higher wage premiums compared to workers who only had a bachelor’s degree, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics confirms. Some entry-level, lucrative jobs may even require a master’s degree.
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  • A recent article by Forbes cited a study under the COVID Inequality Project studying different facets of the economy and public policy around the world. It found that college graduates in the United States and the United Kingdom were less likely to be jobless despite the global threat of COVID-19.
  • According to the 2019 edition of the Open Doors Report on International Education, there is an improved international student enrollment rate for graduate school programs from previous years, with more than a million international students in the academic year 2018-2019. This would be indicative of the U.S. as one of the top destinations for quality education among international students.
  • According to The Pie News, the Department of Homeland Security’s current H-1B visa system is projected to put a higher value on skilled foreign workers that possess a U.S. master’s degree (or higher). U.S. companies can, therefore, boost their workforce and hire workers from overseas, provided that they have exemplary credentials, adding to a pipeline of specialized and well-trained individuals.
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Why A Master’s Program?

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College graduates and those who are still on the road to graduation are now seeing the appeal of a master’s diploma. Although pursuing a master’s degree program, which usually requires 32-36 credit hours according to the U.S. News and World Report, may seem like a time-consuming, stressful endeavor, it is not without its perks and opportunities:

  • Job security and wage premiums are just a few of the reasons why graduates should consider advancing their knowledge on their field of interest, which are essential factors to think about in this highly unpredictable economy.
  • With the imperative need for flexibility in various areas of life and education, there are now many colleges and universities that cater to many types of students who may not be able to enroll in regular classes. Distance learners, as well students who could use the convenience of hybrid programs, are now one of the biggest markets for postgraduate education programs. Students can take up courses in less than two years with intensive programs, or extended baccalaureate (4+1) programs that merge both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in 5 years.
  • For individuals who possess a general love of learning and innovation, pursuing a master’s degree would mean a higher involvement in their chosen fields, with most postgraduate programs requiring extensive research studies and other related dissertations as final outputs. This would give your credentials an added boost in terms of employability and advancement.
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The Best Master’s Degree Scholarships

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If you’re looking to pursue a master’s degree anytime soon, scholarships are the best way to go in terms of having your education financed. Although graduate scholarships may seem difficult to obtain, some fellowships or assistantships can help ease qualified individuals from the burden of financing their education.

Depending on your career goals, prospective employers may even see scholarships as positive points that could give your application a boost.

Here are 15 best scholarships for master’s degree students:

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Rotary Peace Fellowships

Rotary International

Scholarship inclusions: Fully-funded; covers tuition and other school fees, board and lodging, transportation; all internship and field-study expenses.

Number of scholarships per cycle: Up to 130 successful candidates (50 for master’s programs; 80 for certificate programs).

Requirements for eligibility: Minimum of three years of full-time employment and volunteer experience in related fields. Must be proficient in English, with proficiency in a second language preferred. Professional and academic achievements and strong leadership skills geared towards personal and community service will be held in high regard.

The Rotary Peace Fellowships is awarded to professionals with experience in international relations, conflict resolution, and prevention. Master’s programs are offered in different campuses around the world, including Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Master of International Development Policy Program), the University of Queensland in Australia (Master of Peace and Conflict Studies), and Uppsala University in Sweden (Master of Science in Peace and Conflict Studies). Interested? Submit your application to the Rotary district office in your area.

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AAUW Selected Professions Fellowships in USA for Women

American Association of University Women

Scholarship inclusions: $5,000 – $18,000

Number of scholarships per cycle: Not specified.

Requirements for eligibility: Candidates must be citizens or permanent residents of the U.S., achieving academic excellence in their respective fields. This is for students who are presently enrolled as full-time master’s students at any accredited U.S. university or college. Priority is given to women who are not graduate degree holders and those who belong to ethnic minority groups who were historically underrepresented in different STEM areas.

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) ‘s Selected Professions Fellowships was established to support women who would wish to pursue a course of study at any accredited institution in the U.S., in fields where the participation of women has usually been low. Eligibility for fellowship funding in the following master’s programs is granted in any year of study: Masters in Architecture, Master of Science in Computer/Information Science, Master of Science/Master of Engineering, Master of Science in Mathematics/Statistics.

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Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program

Stanford University

Scholarship inclusions: Funding for up to three years in any graduate degree, with excess paid by Stanford home department(s) depending on their standard funding commitment guidelines. Students receive a fellowship to cover tuition and other fees, stipend for school and living expenses, and travel grant that covers one return ticket every year. Fellowship stipends may be taxable under the law.

Number of scholarships per cycle: Not specified.

Requirements for eligibility: First, baccalaureate degrees should have been awarded in 2014 or later, and 2012 or later for U.S. military applicants. Current students enrolled at Stanford are not eligible.

The Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program by Stanford University is a robust, multidisciplinary community that extends fellowship and educational aid across its seven campuses. As a host institution, Stanford University targets a broader, more inclusive range of students who have what it takes to become the next leaders and innovators. Candidates can receive funding for full-time Masters and Ph.D. degrees in any area of study they wish to pursue. Additionally, they can apply for funding if they would want to study under Stanford’s joint and dual graduate degree programs (i.e., M.D. and Ph.D. hybrid program).

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Truman Scholarship

The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation

Scholarship inclusions: Up to $15,000 for the first year of graduate study, and $15,000 in the final year; covers actual expenses for tuition and other school fees, average room and board costs, and up to $1,000 for books.

Number of scholarships per cycle: Around 50-60 scholars per year.

Requirements for eligibility: Full-time students currently in their third year of schooling, pursuing their bachelor’s program, nominated by their Fac Rep or Truman Nomination Committee based on their respective colleges and universities.

The Truman Scholarship offers funding and financial aid to students who wish to complete a professional diploma or graduate degree in one of the following areas of study:

  • Law
  • Master of Public Administration
  • Master of Public Health
  • Master of Education
  • Master of Social Work
  • Master of Public Policy
  • Master of International Affairs

Applicants are expected to possess excellent leadership skills to become a “change agent” in the near future. Students must possess an excellent academic standing (enough to get accepted at a first-rate institution) and active participation in one or more community and public service programs (student government, government internships, military, etc.).

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Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship

The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans

Scholarship inclusions: Up to $45,000 per recipient.

Number of scholarships per cycle: 30 recipients per cycle.

Requirements for eligibility: Program intended for immigrants and children of immigrants in the U.S., with specific criteria found on their website; must be 30 or younger at the time of application; list of ineligible programs include executive graduate programs and graduate programs that are not in the U.S.

The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans seeks to provide vast opportunities for immigrants and their children. Full details about the screening process are available on their website. Additionally, candidates who are about to pursue graduate education full-time (or are presently enrolled in a specific graduate program) will be eligible to apply for the scholarship grant, which is open to various fields of study. Applicants with previous postgraduate degrees or in a joint-degree program may still apply for scholarship eligibility.

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Johns Hopkins University Humanitarian Health Scholarships

Johns Hopkins University – Bloomberg School of Public Health

Scholarship inclusions: $10,000 of tuition cost; disbursement over the extent of the online program.

Number of scholarships per cycle: 2 applicants per cycle.

Requirements for eligibility: Completed application process. Students must be proficient in English and complete a bachelor’s degree with evidence of strong academic performance. Professionals must have at least two years in related areas, with plans to proceed with valuable work in the said field (i.e., health emergencies, disaster management).

Johns Hopkins University offers two annual slots in their Humanitarian Health Scholarships for their online Master of Applied Science program worth $10,000. Students will also be awarded an OPAL scholarship of $460 per credit. To maintain this scholarship, students must maintain at least a cumulative GPA of 2.75, a letter grade equivalent of C, or a passing grade for “pass/fail” grading systems. Students must come from low- and middle-income countries; otherwise, students who are temporarily residing in high-income countries (such as the U.S.) for work and study may be admitted.

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NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship Program

National Collegiate Athletic Association

Scholarship inclusions: $10,000 scholarship award.

Number of scholarships per cycle: 126 postgraduate scholarships per year.

Requirements for eligibility: Candidates must be/have been part of NCAA athletics (final season or with complete athletic eligibility), and be in the final year of undergrad studies or already have a baccalaureate degree. Applicants may enroll as full-time or part-time students at any accredited degree-granting graduate and professional school.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association is awarding $10,000 to qualified applicants who have displayed excellence in sports, leadership, and academics to encourage student-athletes (old and new) to strive for excellence, continuous learning, and involvement in their communities. To apply, interested parties must be nominated and recommended by their respective FARs (Faculty Athletics Representatives) or equivalent in-charge. Students must have earned an overall GPA of at least 3.2, which includes all undergrad hours attended.

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SWE Scholarship Program

Society of Women Engineers

Scholarship inclusions: $1,000 – $10,000 depending on eligibility.

Number of scholarships per cycle: 260 new and renewed scholarships in 2019.

Requirements for eligibility: Awarded to women; Masters and Ph.D. candidates must be enrolled in ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) accredited colleges and universities that offer engineering, computing, or technology programs.

The Society of Women Engineers financially helps women who are geared toward a career in engineering, engineering tech, computer science, and related tracks. Aside from first-time applications, SWE also offers a non-traditional scholarship program with no minimum GPA requirement that prioritizes women who have stopped schooling due to different circumstances, to assist them in pursuing careers in engineering. Interested parties must be registered online and submit all necessary documents following guidelines prescribed in SWE’s scholarship portal.

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REDW Scholarship

American Indian Graduate Center

Scholarship inclusions: Varies depending on eligibility.

Number of scholarships per cycle: Not specified.

Requirements for eligibility: Applicants must be enrolled members of one of the following: (a) federally recognized American Indian or Alaska Native tribes; (b) member of a state-recognized U.S. tribe or (c) students with sufficient documentation that proves ancestry/possession of at least ¼ degree Indian blood of a state or federally recognized ethnic tribe in Arizona or New Mexico, with a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

The American Indian Graduate Center’s REDW Scholarship is one of the many programs under the AIGC initiative that prioritizes both undergraduate and graduate students with Native American ancestry. Candidates must possess strong leadership skills and a high level of commitment to the American Indian and Alaska Native community. The merit-based, multi-year program qualifies students who are currently taking up graduate programs related to accounting, finance, taxation, and business administration.

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American University Online Merit Scholarships

American University

Scholarship inclusions: $10,000 scholarship award.

Number of scholarships per cycle: Not specified.

Requirements for eligibility: A.U. standard application materials; a transcript of records and transcript evaluation (with translation, if necessary) that show excellent academic performance; letter/s of recommendation; GRE test scores (possibly waived for candidates with existing postgraduate credentials); IELTS/TOEFL certificate.

American University is awarding a $10,000 scholarship award to students who display exceptional leadership skills and academic excellence. Qualified candidates who want to pursue an online master’s program may do so in one of the following areas of study: M.A. in Economics (Applied Economics Specialization); MA in Strategic Communication; Master of Public Administration and Policy; M.S. in Health Promotion Management; M.S. in Counter-terrorism and Homeland Security and M.S. in Nutrition Education. At least GPA 3.0 is often required, although program requirements vary.

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Graduate Fellowships for Incoming Students

Robert A. and Sandra S. Borns Jewish Studies Program –  Indiana University

Scholarship inclusions: Stipend starting at $22,000; with health insurance and fee remission (which can be bound to the program’s multi-year packages). Eligibility under the university’s graduate programs (including Religious Studies, History, or Jewish Studies MA) required. Additionally, a copy of these admission requirements and other pertinent documents must be submitted to the Jewish Studies Program department for evaluation.

Number of scholarships per cycle: Not specified.

Requirements for eligibility: Interested parties must complete admission processes and be eligible for a graduate degree. Letters of recommendation must be addressed to Borns JSP.

The Borns Jewish Studies Program of Indiana University is a tight-knit and supportive community that is now opening its doors to men and women with leadership skills and high levels of commitment. The department offers annual fellowships to interested candidates who possess the dedication and promising academic performance. Students pursuing extensive studies in one of many core areas of Jewish Studies gets a stipend of at least $22,000, depending on the degree program and other related factors.

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Sidney Topol Fellowship in Nonviolence Practice

Brandeis University – Heller School for Social Policy and Management

Scholarship inclusions: Full-tuition scholarship (exclusive of airfare, health insurance, housing, and other fees).

Number of scholarships per cycle: Not specified.

Requirements for eligibility: Applicants must exhibit a personal commitment to nonviolent strategies through previous professional projects or volunteer initiatives, with the willingness to secure required practicum in organizations that may need their services. A personal essay outlining their experiences, and personal/phone interviews may be a requirement.

The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University is offering a full-tuition fellowship for students pursuing the Master’s Program in Coexistence and Conflict (COEX). COEX focuses on the “ethnic, religious, and cultural fault lines” that impact our world today. Concepts related to conflict resolution and peaceful coexistence are at the heart of this program, with students expected to return to their communities and create programs that will bring a positive impact in terms of nonviolence and leadership.

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ACMPE Scholarship Fund

American College of Medical Practice Executives

Scholarship inclusions: Partial Scholarships, ranging from $1,500 – $5,000.

Number of scholarships per cycle: Not specified.

Requirements for eligibility: Board certified through ACMPE; Signed application/resume with two reference letters and current experience in medical practice management.

If you’re a professional who’s currently working as a board-certified medical practice manager in any health care setting, you can sign up for the ACMPE Scholarship Fund, which grants funding for experienced professionals with endless potential and propensity for success.

This program is for students pursuing their postgraduate degrees, explicitly training in relevant fields of study—except medicine, nursing, and other clinical professions. They also offer a scholarship fund that has various programs, with grants ranging from $1,000 – $5,000. A certification through the ACMPE is a prerequisite before eligibility is granted.

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AICPA Scholarships

American Institute of CPAs

Scholarship inclusions: Partial scholarships, ranging from $5,000 – $10,000/year.

Number of scholarships per cycle: Not specified.

Requirements for eligibility: Generally, the scholarship is awarded to students currently enrolled in a graduate-level program and with a GPA of 3.0.

The American Institute of CPAs offers various scholarship opportunities for individuals who would like to advance their professional practice and pursue further studies related to the accounting profession. The AICPA Scholarship for Minority Accounting Students awards qualified candidates who belong to racial and ethnic minorities $5,000/year. On the other hand, the AICPA/Robert Half Student Scholarship awards full-time accounting students who plan to become CPAs $10,000/year.

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Throlson American Bison Foundation Scholarship

National Bison Association

Scholarship inclusions: Minimum of $2,000 partial funding.

Number of scholarships per cycle: Not specified.

Requirements for eligibility: Open to all U.S. nationals who want to pursue studies in agriculture economics, animal science, agribusiness, and related fields, with a specific interest in livestock (bison).

The Throlson American Bison Foundation Scholarship of the National Bison Association aims to encourage and promote the expansion of study and career opportunities for American individuals who want to explore and work in different agriculture and animal science fields. Candidates have the option to study in university programs (in the U.S. and Canada) related to the bison industry. Both undergraduate and graduate studies are supported under this program. You may complete the scholarship application on their website, or contact the foundation directly for more information.