Scholarships and Fellowships | Key Differences Between Scholarship and Fellowship

Scholarships and Fellowships are generally seen as financial aid for students and researchers, or individuals with interest to search, find and research something new.

Scholarships and Fellowships
Scholarships and Fellowships

However, these programs are sponsored by universities, research centres, academic institutions, laboratories, governments or foundations.

Scholarships and Fellowships

Scholarships and fellowships are both systems of financial aid that are meant to support a student’s education. However, they are typically differentiated by their purpose, eligibility criteria, and application process.

Scholarships are awarded based on merit, such as academic achievement, and athletic skills. Or involvement in community service, but some may consider financial need. Scholarships are primarily aimed at covering tuition fees or the costs of education at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. They do not need the beneficiary to carry out certain duties in exchange for the funding.

However, Fellowships, on the other hand, are associated with graduate or postgraduate studies and professional development. They are usually merit-based but are more focused on supporting research, scholarly activities, or specific projects. They do come with certain expectations, like carrying out research, teaching, or engaging in other activities as part of the fellowship agreement. Fellowships do offer a stipend to cover living expenses in addition to or just tuition fees.

Scholarships and Fellowships do offer financial support; however, scholarships are more focused on covering educational costs and are available to students at various levels of their education. While Fellowships support advanced study, research, or professional development, mostly at the graduate level, and may include a stipend for living expenses.


Scholarships are mainly designed to offer financial support to students for their educational expenses. The main aim of a scholarship is to make education more accessible and affordable, and in the process encourage academic achievement and support to students with financial needs.

Eligibility and Selection Criteria for Scholarship

Below are the criteria that make one selected and eligible for a scholarship.


Most scholarships are given to individuals based on academic achievements, sporting excellence, artistic talents, or other skills.


Some scholarships are meant to support those with financial situations who may not be able to afford education.

Other Criteria

Scholarships can also be awarded based on specific characteristics, like community service, leadership qualities, field of study, or demographic factors like ethnicity, gender, or geographic location.

Application Process

When you apply for scholarships, you may have to submit academic transcripts, recommendation letters, essays, and sometimes evidence of financial need. This will vary depending on the scholarship. The scholarship selection process can be very competitive, as committees will review each application to pick out the most deserving candidates based on the scholarship’s criteria.

Usage of Funds

Scholarship funds are channelled towards educational expenses, like tuition, fees, textbooks, and living costs or study abroad programs. The flexibility in the usage of funds differs by scholarship.


Fellowships are meant to support advanced study, research, or professional development. They are mostly associated with graduate or postgraduate levels but they can also support professionals who undertake research projects or who want to further their expertise in a specific field.

Eligibility and Selection Criteria for Fellowships

Written below are the criteria that make one eligible and selected for a scholarship.

Research and Study Focus

Fellowships are given based on the merit of a research proposal, academic record, or the potential impact of the work in a specific field.

Professional Development

Some fellowships are aimed at supporting the development of skills and knowledge in a professional context, and they offer opportunities for networking, mentoring, and career advancement.

Application Process

The application process for fellowships can be hard, as it requires detailed research proposals, project outlines, or study plans. Applicants for fellowships may need to prove how their work contributes to their field, and also submit academic transcripts, recommendation letters, and sometimes evidence of previous work or research.

Usage of Funds and Conditions

The funds for Fellowships can cover a stipend for living expenses, research support (like materials, travel, and equipment), and sometimes tuition fees. Fellows may also need to engage in activities like teaching, showing their research, or publishing their findings. The conditions needed will be outlined in the fellowship agreement.

Key Differences Between Scholarship and Fellowship

Here are the main differences between a scholarship and a fellowship:

Level of Study

Scholarships are accessible to a large range of students from high school to graduate levels, while fellowships on the other hand are aimed at graduate students, researchers, and professionals.


The purpose of Scholarships is to reduce the financial burden of education, while fellowships focus on supporting research, study, or professional development in certain areas.

Engagement and Expectations

Fellowship beneficiaries do have certain obligations that are linked to their research or professional development activities, whereas scholarship recipients are obligated to maintain a certain academic standard.

Scholarships and Fellowships do play vital roles in supporting education and advancement in different fields. They provide priceless opportunities for individuals to pursue their academic and professional goals with financial support.



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