The dome of the Radcliffe Camera against a blue sky
The Radcliffe Camera
Credit: Liam Peck / Graduate Photography Competition

Optiver Foundation Scholarships

This new scholarship programme will increase the number of women from low and middle-income countries who are able to take up offers to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects at postgraduate level at Oxford. The programme, which will provide support for 30 taught master’s students over a period of five years, has been made possible by a generous donation from the Optiver Foundation.


The next Optiver Foundation Scholars will begin their studies at Oxford in October 2024, and will be the second cohort of the scholarship scheme. Scholars will join the Departments of Statistics, Computer Science, Physics, Chemistry and Engineering Science, or the Mathematical Institute, and will receive full financial support to cover their course fees, as well as a a grant for living costs. The donation will also enable the provision of tailored induction activities, mentoring and on-course support for the scholars.

Thanks to the generosity of the Optiver Foundation, Oxford will also develop and pilot a new way of assessing the socio-economic background of international applicants. This will ensure that the funding provided through the new Optiver Foundation Scholarship Programme is finely targeted at eligible offer-holders who are most in need of financial support. Key findings from this pilot will be used to inform future scholarship programme development at the University.

Oxford is committed to nurturing the global researchers, academics and scientific leaders of the future. However, financial barriers are known to prevent some talented students from pursuing postgraduate study at the University, particularly those from more disadvantaged backgrounds. This situation is further compounded in STEM disciplines (excluding biomedical and life sciences), where, despite progress in recent years, additional barriers have resulted in lower participation of women on postgraduate courses – both internationally and at Oxford.

By targeting support at women from low to middle-income countries, the Optiver Foundation Scholarship Programme will play an important role in increasing postgraduate diversity in STEM subjects at Oxford, as well as contributing to a more a diverse workforce in the longer term.


Up to six scholarships are available to females who are ordinarily resident in an eligible country and who are applying to start an eligible master's course at Oxford in October 2024. 

For selection purposes we will include all candidates on relevant courses who have indicated on the postgraduate application form that their sex is female. The sex on the application form must match that shown in identity documents, e.g. passport or visa, but does not have to be the applicant’s legal sex. Transgender people may be able to obtain a passport or visa in a binary sex other than their legal sex.  

Please review the information below to see the complete list of eligible courses and countries.

Eligible Courses

  • MSc Energy Systems (Engineering Science)
  • MSc Advanced Computer Science
  • MSc Mathematical and Theoretical Physics
  • MSc Mathematical Modelling and Scientific Computing
  • MSc Mathematical Sciences 
  • MSc Mathematics and Foundations of Computer Science
  • MSc Statistical Science
  • MSc Theoretical and Computational Chemistry

Eligible Countries 

  • Afghanistan
  • Albania
  • Algeria
  • Angola
  • Argentina
  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Bangladesh
  • Belarus
  • Belize
  • Benin
  • Bhutan
  • Bolivia
  • Bosnia And Herzegovina
  • Botswana
  • Brazil
  • Bulgaria
  • Burkina Faso
  • Burundi
  • Cabo Verde
  • Cambodia
  • Cameroon
  • Central African Republic
  • Chad
  • China
  • Colombia
  • Comoros
  • Congo, Dem. Rep.
  • Congo, Rep.
  • Costa Rica
  • Cote D'ivoire
  • Cuba
  • Djibouti
  • Dominica
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • Egypt, Arab Rep.
  • El Salvador
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Eritrea
  • Eswatini
  • Ethiopia
  • Fiji
  • Gabon
  • Gambia, The
  • Georgia
  • Ghana
  • Grenada
  • Guatemala
  • Guinea
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Iran, Islamic Rep.
  • Iraq
  • Jamaica
  • Jordan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kenya
  • Kiribati
  • Korea, Dem. People's Rep.
  • Kosovo
  • Kyrgyz Republic
  • Lao PDR
  • Lebanon
  • Lesotho
  • Liberia
  • Libya
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Malaysia
  • Maldives
  • Mali
  • Marshall Islands
  • Mauritania
  • Mauritius
  • Mexico
  • Micronesia, Fed. Sts.
  • Moldova
  • Mongolia
  • Montenegro
  • Morocco
  • Mozambique
  • Myanmar
  • Namibia
  • Nepal
  • Nicaragua
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • North Macedonia
  • Pakistan
  • Palau
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Russian Federation
  • Rwanda
  • Samoa
  • Sao Tome And Principe
  • Senegal
  • Serbia
  • Sierra Leone
  • Solomon Islands
  • Somalia
  • South Africa
  • South Sudan
  • Sri Lanka
  • St. Lucia
  • St. Vincent And The Grenadines
  • Sudan
  • Suriname
  • Syrian Arab Republic
  • Tajikistan
  • Tanzania
  • Thailand
  • Timor-Leste
  • Togo
  • Tonga
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
  • Turkmenistan
  • Tuvalu
  • Uganda
  • Ukraine
  • Uzbekistan
  • Vanuatu
  • Venezuela, RB
  • Vietnam
  • West Bank And Gaza
  • Yemen, Rep.
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

You should be intending to return to your country of ordinary residence once your course is completed. Students currently at Oxford are not eligible to apply. 

This scholarship is not open to applications from candidates who hold deferred offers to start in 2024-25.

How to apply

We will contact you to ask you to apply for these scholarships if you have: (1) applied for an eligible course by the relevant November, December or January application deadline for your course and received an offer; and (2) you meet the advertised eligibility criterion. Once you have received a course offer, we will ask you to complete a scholarship application form to ask about your socio-economic situation and to assess for potential disadvantage and under-representation.

What happens after you apply?

  1. Applicants who have received an eligible course offer and are eligible, and have completed the application form will be assessed for the scholarship by a panel of academic staff, based on academic merit and potential.
  2. Successful candidates will be contacted with a scholarship offer.
  3. If you are offered, and accept, a scholarship, this means your funding is now secure as long as you meet the conditions of your offer of a place to study at Oxford.

All successful applicants will be contacted by email and the majority of offers are sent out in May.