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Difference Between Scholarship and Fellowship: A Comprehensive Guide


Puzzled about the difference b/w scholarship and fellowship? You're not alone. Deciding between these two can be a game-changer for your education. Imagine this: scholarships are like stepping stones, offering financial support to bright students from diverse backgrounds. It's not just about academic scores; it's about unlocking potential. Contrastingly, a fellowship opens doors to in-depth research and unique projects, a vital key for those diving deep into their field of study. But what sets them apart, and how do they impact your educational journey? This guide unravels the mysteries of fellowship vs scholarship options. Get ready to discover how each path can uniquely light up your educational journey, guiding you towards the right choice for your future.

Meet Priya, a bright student from Bangalore, India, with dreams of pursuing a Master's in Environmental Science in Australia. Priya faced the daunting challenge of funding her education abroad. The course at the University of Melbourne was ideal, but the tuition and living expenses were overwhelming. After extensive research, Priya applied for the Melbourne International Undergraduate Scholarship, securing a 100% tuition waiver, saving approximately AUD 56,000 per year. Her relentless pursuit and strategic approach turned her dream into a reality. 

What is a Scholarship?

A scholarship is a financial boon for students, particularly for those from India looking to study abroad in countries like Australia. These scholarships are not loans and don't need to be repaid. They can significantly reduce the financial burden by covering tuition fees, living expenses, and other educational costs.

Types of Scholarships for Indian Students in Australia:

  1. Merit-based Scholarships: These are awarded based on a student's academic achievements. For example, the 'University of Sydney International Scholarships', offers up to AUD 40,000 for outstanding Indian students for their first year.
  2. Need-based Scholarships: Aimed at students who require financial assistance. The Australian National University offers scholarships where students can receive up to AUD 25,000 per annum based on their financial need.
  3. Field-Specific Scholarships: For students pursuing specific fields of study. For instance, the 'Monash Engineering International Undergraduate Scholarships provide AUD 20,000 for the full duration of the degree in engineering.
  4. Research Scholarships: Specifically for postgraduate research students. The 'Melbourne Research Scholarships' cover full tuition for Masters and Doctoral research students, along with a living allowance of up to AUD 31,200 per year.
  5. Government Scholarships: The Australian Government also provides scholarships like the 'Australia Awards Scholarships', which cover tuition fees, living expenses, and travel costs for Indian students.

What is a Fellowship?

A fellowship is a distinctive form of academic and professional aid, especially crucial for Indian students planning to study in Australia. Unlike a scholarship, which generally aids undergraduate studies, a fellowship is tailored towards advanced research, professional development, or special projects, often at the postgraduate level. It's a cornerstone in understanding the fellowship vs scholarship dynamic.

Types of Fellowships for Indian Students in Australia:

  1. Research Fellowships: These are ideal for students engaged in specific research areas. The 'Endeavour Postgraduate Fellowship' offers up to AUD 272,500 for PhD students and up to AUD 140,500 for Master's students, covering tuition fees, travel allowances, and monthly stipends.
  2. Professional Development Fellowships: Aimed at professionals seeking skill enhancement in their field. The 'Australia Awards Fellowships', for instance, fund short-term study, research, and professional development programs in Australia for up to AUD 25,000.
  3. Industry-Specific Fellowships: For those looking to collaborate with industries. The CSIRO Postdoctoral Fellowships in Australia offer opportunities in various scientific research areas with salaries starting from AUD 83,687 per year.
  4. Cultural Exchange Fellowships: These encourage cultural and educational exchange. The 'Australia-India Council Fellowship' supports projects that strengthen bilateral ties, including travel and living expenses.
  5. Teaching Fellowships: These combine teaching with further studies. The 'Teach for Australia' program, while not exclusively for international students, offers a unique model of paid teaching positions alongside professional development.

Understanding the difference b/w scholarship and fellowship is vital for Indian students aspiring to study in Australia. While scholarships mainly focus on easing the financial burden of studying abroad, fellowships offer more specialised support, targeting specific areas of research or professional growth. This distinction is essential in the fellowship and scholarship landscape, enabling students to strategically choose the path that aligns with their academic and career objectives.

Comparison Between Scholarship and Fellowship

Deciphering the difference b/w scholarship and fellowship is pivotal for students, especially when planning their educational journey abroad. Both scholarships and fellowships offer financial and academic support, but they cater to different needs and stages of education. This comparison table breaks down the key differences, helping students choose the right kind of aid – be it a scholarship or a fellowship – in their pursuit of academic excellence.





Primarily aimed at providing financial aid to cover tuition, living expenses, and academic costs.

Focus on supporting specific research, professional development, or projects, often at a postgraduate level.


Typically available for undergraduate and some postgraduate students, based on merit, need, or specific criteria.

Usually for graduate students, researchers, and professionals with a focus on a specific field or project.


Often covers the duration of the academic program or a specific period like one academic year.

Varies greatly – can range from a few months for short projects to several years for extensive research.

Funding Scope

Can include tuition fees, living expenses, books, and sometimes travel costs.

Generally offers a stipend for living expenses, research costs, and sometimes travel and professional development allowances.

Application Process

Usually involves academic transcripts, essays, and sometimes an interview.

Often requires a detailed project proposal, references, and an interview, focusing more on the applicant's research or professional goals.


'Chevening Scholarships' in the UK, 'Monash University Merit Scholarships' in Australia.

'Rhodes Scholarship' at the University of Oxford, 'Endeavour Postgraduate Fellowship' in Australia.

How to Apply for an Academic Financial Grant?

  • Research and Identify Opportunities: Start by identifying the right scholarships and fellowships. Websites like ScholarshipPositions and FastWeb offer extensive databases. For instance, the 'Australia Awards Scholarships' for students from developing countries, including application deadlines and eligibility criteria.
  • Check Eligibility Criteria: Each scholarship and fellowship has its criteria. For example, the 'Rhodes Scholarship' requires not only academic excellence but also proven leadership qualities.
  • Prepare Necessary Documents: Commonly required documents include academic transcripts, a statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, and sometimes a research proposal. The 'Fulbright Program', for instance, requires a detailed project statement outlining your research plans.
  • Adhere to Deadlines: Applications have strict deadlines. The 'Chevening Scholarships' application window, for example, typically opens in August and closes in November each year.
  • Write a Compelling Application: Personal statements and essays should reflect your passion, goals, and suitability for the grant. For the 'Monash University Merit Scholarships, a personal statement highlighting academic achievements and community involvement is crucial.
  • Prepare for Interviews: Some grants like the 'Commonwealth Scholarship require an interview as part of the selection process. Practice and prepare to articulate your goals, experiences, and how the grant will aid your academic journey.
  • Understand the Terms and Conditions: Each grant comes with its obligations. For instance, the 'Australia Awards Scholarships require students to leave Australia for a minimum of two years after completing their studies.
  • Follow-up and Stay Informed: After applying, keep track of your application status and respond promptly to any further requests for information or interviews.

Fellowship vs Scholarship: Example

To illustrate the difference b/w scholarship and fellowship for Indian students, let's consider examples from the University of Melbourne, Australia. This will provide a clear contrast, helping students understand which option better suits their needs.

Scholarship Example: Melbourne International Undergraduate Scholarship

  1. Purpose: To support international undergraduate students, including those from India, with exceptional academic merit.
  2. Scholarship Amount: Offers fee remission ranging from 50% to 100%. For a course costing AUD 45,000 per year, this could mean a scholarship value of AUD 22,500 to AUD 45,000 annually.
  3. Eligibility: High academic achievement in previous studies, acceptance into an undergraduate program at the University of Melbourne.
  4. Selection: Automatically considered upon application for an eligible course; based on academic merit.
  5. Key Benefit: Reduces financial burden significantly, allowing students to focus on their undergraduate studies without the stress of tuition fees.
  6. Courses Covered: Includes a wide range of undergraduate courses, from Bachelor of Arts to Bachelor of Science and Engineering.
  7. Additional Benefits: Some scholars might receive a one-time grant of AUD 5,000 for travel expenses.
  8. Number of Scholarships: Approximately 50 scholarships are awarded each year.
  9. Application Deadline: No separate application is required; students are automatically considered when they apply for an eligible course.

Fellowship Example: Melbourne Research Scholarships (MRS) for Indian Postgraduate Students

  1. Purpose: Aimed at supporting high-achieving postgraduate research students.
  2. Coverage: Provides a living allowance of AUD 32,400 per year (2023 rate), a relocation grant of AUD 2,000 for students moving from States or Territories outside Victoria, or AUD 3,000 for students moving from outside Australia.
  3. Eligibility: Academic excellence, enrolment in a research master or doctoral degree at the University of Melbourne.
  4. Selection: Based on academic merit, research potential, and the research proposal.
  5. Key Benefit: Beyond financial aid, it offers a focus on research and professional development, crucial for a career in academia or industry research.
  6. Living Allowance: AUD 32,400 per year, adjusted annually for the standard full-time study load.
  7. Relocation Grant: AUD 3,000 for students moving from outside Australia. Useful for initial setup costs in Melbourne.
  8. Health Insurance: Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) Single Membership, covering basic medical and hospital care in Australia.
  9. Duration: 3.5 years for doctoral students and up to 2 years for masters by research students.
  10. Research Areas: Broad range of fields, from humanities to technological sciences, ensuring diverse research opportunities.

In summary, understanding the difference b/w scholarship and fellowship is crucial for students, especially those from India aiming to study abroad. While a scholarship typically covers educational expenses, a fellowship offers deeper research or professional opportunities. This knowledge empowers students to make informed decisions, aligning their choices with their academic and career aspirations. Ready to embark on your international education journey? Explore a world of opportunities with AECC's expert guidance. Discover your perfect scholarship or fellowship today and take the first step towards realising your academic dreams!


Is fellowship equal to scholarship?

No, fellowships typically focus on postgraduate research and professional development, while scholarships usually support undergraduate and some postgraduate studies.

What is a 100% scholarship?

A 100% scholarship covers the entire tuition fee, sometimes including other expenses like living costs and books.

Can I have 2 fellowships?

It's possible, but depends on the specific rules of each fellowship. Always check their terms and conditions.

Which tests help in getting a scholarship abroad?

Key tests include SAT, ACT, GRE, GMAT, IELTS, and TOEFL.

Fellowship vs Scholarship: which is better?

Depends on your academic goals: scholarships are generally better for undergraduates seeking financial aid, while fellowships suit postgraduates focusing on research.

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