Saturday 6 February 2021

Scholarships in US & Canada (Mathew Birgen, Gilbert Kiprop & Maria Chemeli Sang)


Mathew: Theme - Graduate Schools in Canada (Social Sciences & Humanities) 

·        Choosing a program in graduate school

o   Choose the trajectory you desire for your graduate studies i.e. For professional or academic reasons.

o   Search a school (online) then on the faculty page, pick a professor whose research interests align with your own.

o   Write to a professor expressing your interest for his/her(they?) supervision. Be sure to have familiarised with the work of the prof before initiating contact (search online for their work and read before). Please note that contacting a potential supervisor is a crucial step towards securing admission and even funding. So consider it carefully.  For a sample email  and guidelines on how to initiate first contact with a prof., see below or click on this link; https: //uvasrg. prospective/

o   In your initial contact include your CV and a copy of your transcripts.

o   If the prof. Invites your to apply, then proceed to apply through the set procedure in the admission page of the relevant faculty.

o   Have your research proposal ready for submitting with your application. On page limit and bibliographic information etc, follow the guidelines set in the school’s admission instructions. (Check this twitter thread for general guidelines; )

o   Be sure to get your academic reference in, in time and from people (usually your former professor/lecturer)  who can speak to your academic ability necessary for the rigour of graduate studies.

o   Sample paper: choose one of your previous papers from college/master’s thesis. 

o   Please check to avoid plagiarism always**

·        In your application, you may be asked to provide a statement of purpose and/or a personal statement for admission purposes. These two are different.  


Statement of purpose(SOP)

1 Introduction, interests & motivations.- a very brief & direct description of yourself

2. Brief description of your undergrad (or MSc) journey- important modules, your publications, past research, conferences- point out just the significant things & why they’re important. 

3. Your activities- past or current-; work experience, leadership or volunteer that prepared you for graduate school and specifically for that MSc/PhD you’re applying

4. Discuss more on your research interests- the question you would like to study for MSc/PhD, Prof(s) you have contacted & will be working with (if admitted), what you bringing to the school/lab & how the program will benefit you

5. Close this SOP with optimism, let them know you have the right experiences to excel & you’re confident of contributing significantly. 


Personal Statement (PS)

Here, you're giving the admission committee a chance to know you as a person. This essay enables one to tell a compelling story(ies) about your life, show communication skills & show your potential in increasing collaboration in a cross-section setting.

1.Discuss some personal events that have shaped you to become who you’re today.

2. Why and how did you become interested in your course? what have you learned?- “I’ve always wanted to study biochemistry since childhood” HOW?- this is a general statement & way too common

3. Discuss your significant achievement despite your low background (economic wise or others).

4. Your leadership experience and community involvement and how that has helped you and perhaps help develop your community.

5. Your interest in contributing to higher education and giving back- career goal

6. Any gap in your result, test scores you would like them to note? – please let them know in this essay.

Tips in writing these two statements;

1.     Unless otherwise stated, I would be very concise & maintain my essays to be 1000words max. (ideally, way less)

     2. Your opening Paragraph- please write this in a well convincing way to grab the reader’s attention (if this is good, the flow will continue)

    3. Don’t write SOP/PS with “I’ve always wanted to become ABC”- substantiate

    4. It’s not a CV- Don’t list your achievements & forget to explain the importance & how it describes you as a person

    5. Show example- don’t just say “I’m a brilliant student”, demonstrate it.

    6. Be specific, ensure continuity, and let the flow link to each other. 

    7. Be a bit confident, write from a positive perspective- they don’t know you before, so MARKET YOURSELF WELL. 

    8. Close the essay with a statement full of excitement and optimism

·         PS and SOP info source: (Hammed,A Akende Msc @twitter2021)**


·        Personal funding

·        You can secure funding through your research supervisor (talk your potential supervisor about possibility of funding from their own research funding), or

·        Most graduate programs are funded from the school. Consult the “funding” page on the faculty page of your program of interest.

·        Secondary source in partnership with the university; eg.


Trudeau foundation:

Vanier Scholarship:

·        See also  https://www.wemake  

Tips for securing funding

·        Submit your application on time (most schools have either december 15th or January 15th for fall admission (following september) and for your application to be considered for funding.

·        Good grades (first class or strong upper)

·        Publication, conference participation, previous awards, project involvement (experience gathered).

·        Your research interest; interdisciplinary? Trendy? Innovative?

·        Strong recommendations

·        Your presentation in your essays and or during interviews.

·        Search online: Gates foundation, Fulbright, Funding for developing countries, commonwealth countries etc.

Link to list of universities in Canada: 

A-Z list of accredited Canadian Universities & Colleges (

List of universities in Canada - Study in Canada (  

SECTION 2.          

Maria: Theme - Graduate Studies in Science and undergraduate applications

1.     Most information for application is available online, as long as you have access to internet

2.     For graduate students in Natural Sciences, the process is similar to that of Social Sciences and Humanities highlighted above.  Identify the professor and send a professional email introducing yourself and express your interest in working with them. Don’t send a text message. You should be very clear in expressing your interests. Below is a sample of how the email would look like: 


Email Template:


Dear Dr. (last name of professor),

My name is (your first and last name), and I am a (chemistry/biology, etc) graduate at (name of university). I am currently considering (topic of graduate study) graduate programs for (fall/winter/summer semester). My research interests are in line with the research conducted in your lab. More specifically, I have conducted research on (main focus of project) under the advisement of Dr. (name of your professor).


I first became intrigued by your research after (how you first discovered their research, online search?). I am particularly interested in investigating (research topics that relates to the work conducted in the professor’s lab).

I would love to talk more with you regarding (name of university and department)’s program and your lab specifically as a potential avenue for graduate school. Attached is my CV, containing my references. The attached cover letter outlines my research experiences in more detail and potential graduate project ideas.

Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing back from you.


(Your Name)


3.              For undergraduates to Canada, there are also two ways to apply; 

·        Self guided applications or 

·        You can use educational consultants such as:

·         Uniserve

·        Uniserve helps connect students to various universities in Canada and other parts of the world. On their website you have access to all the universities and colleges accepting international students in Canada.

·        Here is a link to Uniserve site:

Study in Canada | Uniserv Education

                    Contact and Location in Kenya


                      Offices: Fortis Tower, 9th Floor, Woodvale Grove, Westlands, Nairobi

                     Telephone: 0723 597445


·        Transworld education Consultants- This is among the best rated international students recruitment agencies in Kenya.

              Contact and location

               Offices: 9th Floor, Hazina Towers, PSC Centre, Nairobi

            Telephone:  0720927977


·        Koala (Mostly Australia)

KOALA EDUCATION CONSULTANTS LIMITED - Educational Consultant in Nairobi (


The challenge is in identifying which agency is legit as there are scammers. Be careful, and ensure to have some research before working with an agent.


Link to applying for a study permit in Canada:

Some most popular colleges admitting international students:

·        Douglas College in British Columbia

·        Lethbridge College in Alberta, 

·        For a list of colleges and universities refer to the link in section 1.


For kenyan trained Nurses, Check Omni College, BC. It offers bridging programs if you have a background in Nursing.

·        Omni College -

·        Canadian Nursing Review for International Students | OMNI College

4. Other ways of coming to Canada besides education

·        As a professional athlete

·        Application to come for an international conference

·        Coming as a trained nanny (the program is currently closed)


Gilbert: Schools in the US 

Undergraduate (Bachelors or Associate (Diploma)

·        How do I Apply? 

o   Access programs

§  KenSAP -   

§  EASEP -

§  Equity Group Foundation -

§  Zawadi -

§  UWC -

§  Education USA:

§  ALA -

o   Self guided applications

§  You can apply yourself

·        What scholarships are available?

o   Athletic/talent based scholarships

o   Need-based financial aid

o   Merit-based scholarships

o   External scholarships 

§  Example - MasterCard 

·        What are schools looking for?

o   Whole rounded applicant

·        What should I study? 

o   STEM - 

·        Graduate (Masters & PhD)

o   Most PhDs are fully funded

o   Masters funding there but fewer

·        Direct PhD application

How to Improve your application

·        Extra-curricular 

o   Volunteering 

o   Leadership 

·        Academics

o   Do well in your exams


o   Free Open Courseware 

§ - Can get free education from MIT

·        Athletics

·        Research

o   Try to do research with Professor

o   Long holiday - opportunities to help your CV


·        Vanderbilt -

·        University of Delaware 





M.Sc/PhD Job Board in Canada

1.   IALE- North America

2. – American Society of Animal Science

3. - Canadian Society of Zoologists

4. - Canadian Society for Ecology and Evolution

5. - by Richard L. Boyce and Dept of Biological Sciences, Northern Kentucky University.

6. - The entomological society of Canada


8. - Canadian Society of Environmental Biologists

9. - Pacific Regional Society of Soil Science

10. – TAMU Job board

M.Sc/PhD Position (General)

1. - University of Toronto, Earth Sciences.

2. - Physics

3. - Water Resources

4. - Canadian Geophysical Union

5. - Global Institute for Water Security

6. Water Job

7. - University of Western Ontario, Dept of Biology

8. - U Alberta, Faculty of Agriculture.

9. - Global Opportunity.

10., Physics.

Schools Dropping GRE as Part of their Admission Requirements. 

1.     Biology, Ecology, Biomedical, and other life sciences dropping GRE scores (Credit: Joshua Hall):  

2.     Public Health Graduate Programs Dropping GRE Requirements (Credit: Jess Millar): 

3.     Chemistry & Biochemistry (Credit: Olivia and Ashley): 

4.     Chemistry (Credit: Alive Batka): 

5.     Computer Science (Credit: Pat Pannuto): 

6.     Mathematics- USA&Canada (Credit: Emily T Winn): 

7.     Mathematics (Credit: Hannah Bennet): 

8.     Plant Associated Programs (Credit: Megan Lynch): 

9.     Geology & Geography (Credit: Sarah Ledford): 

10.  Astronomy/Physics (Credit: James Guillochon): 

11.  Cognitive Psychology/ Neuroscience (Credit: Pinar Toptas): 

12.  Clinical/Counseling Psychology (Credit: Karen Tang/Aradhana Srinagesh): 

·        Credit: Hammed,A Akende Msc (mathew’s friend) for allowing us to share this assembled links with many of our viewers/readers

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Scholarships in US & Canada (Mathew Birgen, Gilbert Kiprop & Maria Chemeli Sang)

SECTION 1.  Mathew: Theme - Graduate Schools in Canada (Social Sciences & Humanities)  ·         Choosing a program in graduate s...