Thatcher Scholarships

The Margaret Thatcher Scholarship Trust has been established to create fully-funded scholarships which will enable the most promising students to benefit from the unique education and intellectual environment that is offered by Somerville and Oxford.

Somerville has fostered generations of young minds with its pioneering spirit, which spurred its students on to extraordinary achievements, and counts Margaret Thatcher among its most illustrious alumni.

This is an unprecedented endeavour for an Oxbridge College, both in scale and in scope. The Thatcher Scholarships are open to all, at undergraduate and postgraduate level, regardless of the subject of their course, and without regard to national, cultural or ethnic origin.

Scholars are also supported by the Thatcher Development Programme, a new initiative open to all students at Somerville, providing training, access to internships, help with travel to conferences and support for all kinds of career development.

The aim of the Trust is to create a living legacy for this famous alumna that grows in stature with each passing year, as it enables some of the brightest minds in the world to come to Oxford as Thatcher Scholars.


To be considered for the scholarship, students must first be accepted onto a course by the University of Oxford through the usual admissions process (undergraduate admissions or graduate admissions).

Scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic merit in order:

  • To foster academic excellence
  • To support individuals who have a determination to succeed and
  • To equip them to excel in their chosen field.

The Thatcher Scholarships cover 100% of University Course fees (where applicable) and provides a generous grant towards living expenses and travel to Oxford, enabling Thatcher Scholars to graduate free from debt.

The scholarships are tenable at Somerville College.

The selection timetable for the Scholarships varies for postgraduates and undergraduates, and for undergraduates will also depend on fee status (Home/EU/Islands or International).  But in all cases students who meet the high academic standard will automatically be considered for the Scholarships and invited to apply, where appropriate.  Applications for the Scholarships should not be submitted to Somerville now.

Summary of the process

  • Undergraduates – UK, EU and Islands students will be considered for the Scholarship after their First Public Examinations (for most subjects, these are in the first year). The Scholarship will be extended cover the cost of the initial year(s) retrospectively.
  • Overseas (undergraduate) students will be considered for the Thatcher Scholarship once they have been offered a place to study at Oxford at Somerville College. The scholarships are primarily awarded on the basis of academic excellence.
  • For entry in 2018/19, the Ng Teng Fong Thatcher Scholarship was available to candidates with Overseas fee status, normally resident in Singapore, Hong Kong or China. For entry in 2017/18, all candidates with Overseas fee status were eligible for the Qatar Thatcher Scholarship, for which preference is given to candidates normally resident in Qatar or Arab countries. There will be one Qatar Thatcher Scholar with Overseas fee status at any time; this scholarship opportunity will therefore next be available for entry in 2021/22.
  • For entry in 2020/21, and for three years after that, candidates applying for undergraduate degrees who are normally resident in Singapore will be eligible for the Lee Kuan Yew-Thatcher Scholarship.
  • For postgraduate courses (Masters and DPhils) commencing in 2019/2020, up to five Thatcher Scholarships will be offered, two to specific departments (Maths and Chemistry) with up to three scholarships offered following nominations from across all the Divisions. Applicants to these named departments will be automatically considered for the Scholarship, if they apply by the January deadline for their course. For the other scholarships, the Oxford-Qatar-Thatcher Graduate Scholarships, preference will be given to candidates normally resident in Qatar or Arab Countries accepted onto a postgraduate degree course, which is offered at Somerville College.
  • In 2018/19, three Thatcher Graduate Scholarships were  awarded, two to specific departments(the Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine and Faculty of Modern Languages) and a third was open across all Divisions. For entry in 2017/18, scholarships were offered in: the Faculty of English Language and Literature; Department of Engineering Science; and Faculty of Law. In 2020/21, scholarships will be offered in two Faculties – History and Linguistics, Phonology and Phonetics

Further information can be found at the University of Oxford website.