2023 postgraduate scholarships in Asian universities
Asian universities have powered through global rankings in recent years, and offer enticing scholarship packages to students from all over the world in their bid to compete with Western institutions. Source: Jung Yeon-Je/AFP

If you’re still looking for postgraduate opportunities abroad, it’s time to look East. Global university rankings released this year have shown that Asian universities continue consolidating their presence in international higher education. No longer playing second fiddle to Western universities, many institutions in Asia now offer competitive academic and research opportunities at a much cheaper cost.

The race to compete among the best is an enormous boon to study abroad hopefuls. Many Asian universities now offer generous scholarship awards to foreign applicants as a strategy to internationalise their higher education industry.

From reputable research centres in South Korea to emerging competitors in the Middle East, these scholarships are often tailored to the current job market, giving students the added benefit of career readiness after graduation. Whether you’re diving straight into your master’s programme after your first degree or upskilling as a professional, here are four competitive scholarships currently accepting applications for 2023:

2023 postgraduate scholarships in Asian universities

Many postgraduate programmes across Asian universities use English as the medium of instruction, easing the way for more international students to access study abroad opportunities. Source: Jung Yeon-je/AFP

Full postgraduate scholarships in Asian universities 

GIST Scholarship, South Korea

One of the most competitive international scholarships in South Korea, the Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology (GIST) offers a comprehensive financial package for its master’s and PhD programmes to international students. Known for rigorous research output in science and technology, GIST ranked fourth globally for the number of citations per faculty in the 2020 QS World University Rankings.

A joint project between the university and the country’s Ministry of Science and Technology, the award includes a monthly stipend starting from 120,000 won (≈US$86 at the time of writing), on top of food and travel allowance from your country of origin. The programmes are all taught in English, and the deadline for the current application cycle is on Oct. 14, 2022.

Asian Development Bank-Japan Scholarship Programme (ADB-JSP)

The ADB-JSP award finances full-time postgraduate studies in science and technology, economics and business, development studies, as well as law and public policy. Unlike what the scholarship name suggests, you can study in any of the nine countries with partner institutions attached to the programme, including the US and New Zealand.

International students must be from an ADB-borrowing member country, have at least two years of working experience, and not be older than 35 years old at the time of application. ADB grants the award to around 300 students annually and scholarship recipients are expected to contribute to the social and economic development of their country after graduation.

Application deadlines vary according to your selected country and programme but are generally between November 2022 to February next year for the nearest 2023 intake.

Singapore International Graduate Award (SINGA) 

Singapore boasts two top 20 universities in the latest QS World University Rankings, and you can pursue a PhD there free of charge as a SINGA recipient. The scholarship fully covers up to four years of doctorate studies with a monthly stipend, in addition to a one-time airfare grant and settling-in allowance.

The scholarship is open to any researcher in biomedical sciences, computing and information sciences, engineering and technology, and physical sciences. Depending on your project, your degree will be conferred by either one of these distinguished universities:

  • Nanyang Technological University (NTU)
  • National University of Singapore (NUS)
  • Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD)
  • Singapore Management University (SMU)

You have until Dec. 1, 2022, to submit for the August 2023 PhD intake, and shortlisted candidates will be notified within 12 weeks of the deadline. You can click here for more information on eligibility criteria and how to apply.

 2023 postgraduate scholarships in Asian universities

The SINGA award is a joint collaboration between the Agency for Science, Technology & Research (A*STAR) and several top-ranked universities in the country, including the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University. Source: Roslan Rahman/AFP

King Abdulaziz University scholarship, Saudi Arabia  

One of the rising stars among Asian universities in recent years, this Jeddah-based university was hailed as the Arab world’s top university by THE rankings in 2015-2016. Its reputation aside, the university is renowned for fully-funded opportunities for foreign students at all levels of study.

The King Abdulaziz University scholarship package is unlike any other university award. Not only are tuition fees and accommodation covered; but newcomers also get a free airport pickup service to the campus, an arrival allowance, emergency financial subsidies, and annual airfare tickets to visit home for the duration of your programme, among many other perks.

With its competitiveness, there’s a series of eligibility criteria for candidates. Scholarships for the master’s programme have an age limit of 30, while the PhD programmes are capped at 35 years of age at the time of application. There is no deadline mentioned for the 2022-23 application cycle, but you can apply for them here.