Explore Courses

What is the Difference Between Fellowship and Scholarship?

Updated on 01 April, 2024

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad abroad Editorial Team

Get all your Study Abroad doubts clarified Now for FREE: Fix an Appointment Now

The modern education system is expensive. Quality education opportunities are beyond the reach of many deserving students due to financial constraints. Many students lack financial resources and are not able to afford higher education. To offer assistance, there are various types of financial aids that are offered to aspirants with excellent academic record. The two most common forms of financial aids are–scholarships and fellowships. But what is the difference between a fellowship and a scholarship and how do they work?

The two financial aids, scholarships and fellowships, are very different from each other, and it is important to know what differentiates them to apply for the most suitable one. So read on as we break down these two kinds of fundings for you in the article that discusses fellowship vs scholarship.

Recommended Read: Masters in Abroad

What is a Scholarship?

A scholarship is a financial grant or help given to students with excellent academic records.  This financial aid is given only to students with good grades, excellent academic scores, and educational achievements. It is granted by various educational institutions like colleges, schools, and universities. A scholarship is offered by both private and public educational institutions. Every educational institution has its criteria for offering scholarships depending upon the coursework and degree. There are scholarship schemes offered by national and international schools, colleges, and universities. The amount of money sanctioned through a scholarship program completely depends upon the eligibility and requirements. The fund is flexible and can cover elements like tuition fees, accommodation, travel, food and other education-related expenses. 

A scholarship applies to school, college and university-level education. There are various types of scholarships that are based on education, sports, and other quotas. It has become very common for students to study abroad with the help of scholarship programs. These programs make international education completely free for students with low economic resources. A scholarship does not come with repayment. It means that there is no need for the students to pay back the amount. Depending upon the eligibility, a scholarship fund can cover either 100% of the educational expenses or a part of them. Excellence in academic and co-curricular activities is the only way to get a scholarship grant.

Recommended Read: Pathway Programs

Expenses covered under the scholarship:

  • Tuition fee: The tuition fee is the main component that is covered under a scholarship. The fee is usually high for reputed institutions across the globe and technical courses like data science, engineering, aviation, and medicine. There are a lot of students who travel abroad every year to study under scholarship programs. An excellent rank in competitive exams such as IELTS or TOEFL can also make students eligible for a scholarship abroad. The tuition fee is completely covered and sometimes a part of it is covered, as per the eligibility requirements. 
  • Accommodation: Higher education is always preferred from foreign lands where there is a robust education system and immense work opportunities. A scholarship covers the entire living and accommodation cost like that of food, rent and utilities. This lightens huge financial burden from the shoulders of the students who leave their homes to pursue higher education from prestigious institutions. 
  • Traveling: Studying abroad includes visa charges and air tickets that many students cannot afford. A scholarship grant covers the entire travel cost. However, this varies from institution to institution. It is not the same under every scheme. While some would offer 100% scholarships, others would grant 50% of the entire expense. 
  • Books and study materials: Technical books and study materials are not necessarily affordable. Therefore, the expenses for study materials are covered under a scholarship program. It encourages brilliant students to come forward and pursue higher education. 

Recommended Read: What is a Scholarship?

Types of scholarships available for higher education:

  • Need-based scholarship: This form of scholarship is very common among economically weak students. If the students can show some sort of hardship in completing their studies, this kind of scholarship is granted. 
  • Merit-based scholarship: Stellar academic records form the sole eligibility for a merit-based scholarship. This kind of scholarship is the most common in schools, colleges and universities worldwide.
  • Test scholarship: There are several globally reputed tests that play an instrumental role in getting students earn admissions into renowned institutions and study abroad. An excellent score in these tests can get you a scholarship. Some tests that offer scholarships are NET, GRE, GMAT, SAT, IELTS and NMSQT/PSAT.

Get all your Study Abroad doubts clarified Now for FREE: Fix an Appointment Now

Top Scholarships to Study Abroad

What is a fellowship?

A fellowship is a funding award granted to students with excellent academic records. A fellowship is very different from a scholarship. In fellowship, a certain amount of fund or just some status is granted to research scholars and PhD holders for contributing towards research and development of the education system. It can only be about being a part of an academic institution with no salary or job. A fellowship is granted after graduation. It can be a monetary award paid to scholars and researchers for contributing towards research and development. For advanced studies, aspirants contribute to the education system. This contribution may be awarded through monetary fund, status or just a table and a computer. 

The fellows taking up courses like PhD are a part of the fellowship program. They are a part of a project, and they take research to the next level. For their contribution, the organization or the government rewards them with a certain amount of financial help to keep their research work going. However, sometimes the research fellows only receive the status of being a part of a reputed organization and do not get any financial help. It does not apply to any school-level or college-level courses. The fellowship applies to research-based work after graduation. Under the fellowship program, students can also teach at the respective academic institution and earn a good amount of status, work experience and funds. 

Types of fellowships:

  • Doctoral and post-doctoral fellowships: The doctoral and post-doctoral fellowships are offered to meritorious research scholars who take up a definite subject and do research on it. Theirs’ is a huge contribution to the education system. Scholars get a PhD fellowship in the form of a stipend, temporary employment as lecturers, and scope for better opportunities. A PhD fellow is also awarded a reputed status in a particular academic institution where the scholar is pursuing the degree.
  • Medical fellowship: The medical fellowship program is awarded to physicians who have completed their general medicine course and take up a specific field of medicine. There are various medical niches and medicine fellowships are offered for specific subjects. This helps medical practitioners to excel and become master practitioners in their field. Various medical colleges and universities help these scholars to practice medicine and contribute to research work. In return for this, they get monetary help to continue their further research and development work.

Recommended Read: Advantages of studying abroad

Differences between Fellowship and Scholarship:

Here is a complete list enumerating the differences between a fellowship and a scholarship:

A scholarship is a financial grant given to students with excellent educational and academic records. It includes the educational cost of a certain course that is taken up by the students. The scholarship may include all the educational expenses that a student would need to bear for taking up a particular course. A fellowship is an award granted to research scholars and researchers for their excellent merit and research contribution towards a particular educational niche. It can include monetary awards for the scholars to take up further research, or sometimes it is all about the status of being a part of research under a particular academic institution. 
A scholarship is applicable for school level, college level and university level education. It is not only restricted to higher education. A scholarship can be earned by every student, irrespective of their education level. There are private schools, colleges and universities that offer scholarships. A fellowship is only available on courses after graduation. It is applicable for post-graduation, doctoral and post-doctoral courses. A fellowship is focused only on research and development-related courses. It has nothing to do with school and undergraduate degrees. 
A scholarship includes all the expenses like tuition fee, accommodation, living costs, utilities, traveling and books study material. A fellowship includes monetary or/and non-monetary awards. It can be financial aid, employment, research opportunities and status in an academic institution. 
Scholarships focus on need, motive and financial crisis. Fellowships focuses on the merit and research scope of the scholars. 
The scholarship amount is paid for the welfare of the students. It is done to encourage meritorious students with low economic resources. There is no repayment of the fund that is granted to the students. The fellowship amount is paid for the welfare of the education system. The research scholars contribute to research and development, which works for the welfare of the education system. 
Scholarship is based on monetary help only. There will not be any other benefit offered in terms of employment, status, or any other opportunities. Fellowship is not based solely on monetary help. It can be in the form of recognition, status, employment and sometimes just a desk and computer are all that the research fellows get for contributing to the education system. 
It is a help that is offered to the students by various educational institutions and universities. Fellowship is not any help; it is an award given to the research fellows for contributing towards the education system. They contribute towards the betterment of a niche that they are researching on. The education system gets better with the research and development contribution made by fellow students. 

While numerous meritorious students are eager to study abroad, financial restrictions often stop them from achieving their goal. This is where financial aids assume utmost importance. A right financial aid can help aspiring students to complete their higher education without any charge. For all the scholars and research fellows, the fellowship program is the best way to get financial support, status and employment opportunities. Therefore, understand the difference between fellowship and scholarship to take the right step. Visit upGrad Abroad to speak to one of the mentors and get assistance regarding scholarship and fellowship programs worldwide. 

Related Reads:

How to Study for Master in FranceImmigration Friendly Countries for IndianWhat documents are required for PCC issuance
MBA in NetherlandsStudy in SwitzerlandVidya Lakshmi Portal for Education Loans
Study in Singapore after 12thWhat is Work Experience CertificateMS in New Zealand for Indian Students
Education Loan for Abroad Studies by Indian GovernmentHow to Choose Where to Study AbroadExams for studying abroad
MSC or MBA which is betterStudy in France for Indian StudentsWhat is a motivation letter

Fellowship vs Scholarship: Example

Several governments and organizations in the world run various programs to help meritorious and underprivileged students continue with their further education. These programs have specific criteria that interested students must be eligible for. Most people get confused between fellowship and scholarship schemes. Therefore, it is important to understand the difference between fellowship and scholarshipbefore applying for any of themLet us look at an example, explaining the difference between scholarship and fellowship.

Example: If an individual gets a scholarship for research work at NASA has received funding to conduct research.

When a college or university announces scholarships for students wanting to pursue undergraduate, postgraduate, or graduate studies, research work, or journalism, it means that it will cover the expense of the whole degree.

Comparison between scholarship and fellowship

Let us look at the comparison between fellowship and scholarship:

Comparison Chart:

DescriptionScholarship means a grant or award that provides students financial help as per their academic achievement and encourages them to do better.Fellowship means financial aid awarded or given to individuals who want to research further (specific subject) after qualifying for the prescribed exam.
Given toStudentsResearch fellows
Based onNeed, merit or categoryMerit
Funded byGovernment or any other educational institution.Government, private companies, research organization, etc.
Type of studyGeneral degreesResearch work

Know More:

LOR for MS in CSWhat is SkillSelectHow to check visa status
CV Writing Tips for Studying AbroadWhat is a Backlog CertificateCredential Evaluation
Student VisaAdmission Essays for study abroadCRS Calculator
Common Mistakes to Avoid in a LORWhat are Academic TranscriptsTop Free Education Countries for Indian Students
How to get PR in New ZealandMBA in SingaporeStudy in Netherland for Indian Students

Get all your Study Abroad doubts clarified Now for FREE: Fix an Appointment Now


Will scholarships cover 100% of education cost?

Yes, some scholarships cover up to 100% of the education cost. However, there are eligibility criteria as per the marks or ranks obtained by the students. Depending on the rank, the percentage of scholarship grants is decided by the educational institutions. The top ranks and merits are eligible for a complete 100% scholarship grant.


How to apply for a scholarship?

The application process for scholarships at various institutions varies. You need to visit the website of the educational institution and then follow the rules and guidelines. Check the eligibility criteria for the scholarship and then start preparing for it.


What is a good scholarship amount?

A good scholarship amount is a 100% grant. This is completely based on your eligibility and rank. The portion of scholarship percentage will vary according to the scores and ranks of the students. To obtain a 100% scholarship, you need to hold the top academic position as asked in the eligibility criteria.


Can I apply for more than one fellowship?

Yes, you can apply for more than one fellowship at a single time. There is no limit to the number of fellowship applications. Various fellowship programs offer almost the same opportunities and benefits.


Which are the main tests that help in getting a scholarship abroad?

Various competitive exams offer overseas scholarships. A few of them are NET, GRE, GMAT, SAT, IELTS, TOEFL and ACT.


Is Fellowship Considered Financial Aid?

Both Scholarships and fellowships provide financial aid but they are not the same. You can explore the main differences between the two in this article to better understand what each type means.


Fellowship vs Scholarship: which is better?

A scholarship is a financial aid that is meant to support an individual’s education whereas a fellowship is considered free education. They are similar but are not completely the same.


Do fellowship gives you money?

Fellowships pays for an individual’s graduate or postgraduate degrees. Fellows are chosen based on their long-lasting and positive contributions to society and academic discipline. Fellowships are very helpful as the training degrees are quite expensive.


What is the difference between scholarship and stipend?

Scholarships are either paid once or in installments where the student is given a fixed stipend for their school expenses. The word scholarship denotes a fund awarded to individuals who need financial support for their education. But a stipend refers to regular and fixed income earned by trainees.


upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad abroad Editorial Team

We are a dedicated team of study-abroad experts, ensuring intensive research and comprehensive information in each of our blogs. With every piece written, we aim at simplifying the overseas education process for all. Our diverse experience as journalists, content writers, editors, content strategists, and marketers helps create the most relevant and authentic blogs for our readers.

See More

Refer Your Friend & Earn upto ₹15000

Help your friend upgrade to a Global Career and earn rewards together.