Frequently Asked Questions

Scholar Questions

May Mastercard Foundation Scholars work while on campus?

Adjusting to academic expectations at Berkeley requires time and energy. Scholars will also be engaged in myriad activities on- and off-campus. While Mastercard Foundation Scholars are permitted to work part-time on campus, this is highly discouraged during their first year, and will need to be discussed with their advisor for future years. We envisage that they might wish to pursue internship opportunities in the United States which are closely aligned with their research or academic interests. In such instances we urge them to consult and liaise with the Mastrecard Foundation Program Manager and the appropriate faculty members in their respective departments.

What kind of visa will Mastercard Foundation Scholars receive?

Mastercard Foundation Scholars at Berkeley are issued J-1 Student visas

Must Mastercard Foundation Scholars return to their home country?

Most Scholars presumably will return to their home country. Some, while adhering to immigration policies, may work in other African countries on issues related to their areas of training and, in so doing, 'give back' to the continent of Africa.

What happens if Scholars cannot complete their program on time?

Berkeley faculty and staff members will assist Scholars to complete their programs on time. If unforeseen circumstances prohibit this, Berkeley and its constituent parts will work with students on an individual basis. Mastercard Foundation Scholars at Berkeley are expected to remain in good academic standing throughout their program.

How will Mastercard Foundation Scholars find jobs when they return?

As part of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Network, Scholars will have access to the Africa Careers Network to assist in identifying employment opportunities on the continent upon completion of their studies. Furthermore, the team at Berkeley will assist Scholars in finding suitable employment opportunities in Africa and make sure they are aware of opportunities in Africa during their studies at Berkeley.

I have read that Mastercard Foundation Scholars become part of a network. What does this mean?

Scholars at Berkeley will join their counterparts at the aforementioned institutions in the United States, Benin, Canada, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, France, Ghana, Kenya, Lebanon, Mauritius, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Uganda, the United Kingdon and other countries to form a network of scholars. Informed by an ethical and unalloyed commitment to service, the network allows scholars to forge a common identity, meet and exchange ideas with their peers and connect via social media.

When must Mastercard Foundation Scholars return home?

The Mastercard Foundation created this program with the specific aim of having Scholars return home after graduating from Berkeley and undertaking any optional practical training in accordance with visa regulations. Scholars should not anticipate staying for a prolonged period in the United States after completing their studies.

What expenses does the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program cover?

Mastercard Foundation Scholars receive a comprehensive scholarship equivalent to the costs associated with earning a master's degree, which includes travel, tuition, Berkeley student fees, visa and SEVIS fees, housing, food, living expenses, and cohort signature programs which will focus on leadership and entrepreneurship.    

Mastercard Foundation Scholars are required upon review and approval to undertake an internship in Africa during their studies at Berkeley. How will these internships be identified? When must this occur? Will students be paid?

Scholars in master's degree programs longer than two semesters will complete an internship in Africa during their studies. Staff and faculty at Berkeley will assist in identifying appropriate opportunities to which the Scholar can apply. The Africa Careers Network and the Baobab Platform and networks of UC Berkeley and Scholars Program alumni can also help in identifying opportunities. The Scholars Program will pay for round-trip airfare to Africa for the internship and provide a stipend to defray cost of living expenses.