The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Graduate Scholarship Program (GSP) is part of a WCS strategy to invest in developing individual conservation leaders around the world. The GSP provides access to international graduate education opportunities (masters or doctoral programs) to exceptional conservationists from Asia/Pacific, Africa, Latin America, and North American indigenous groups. Scholars are nominated by WCS global conservation staff and are selected based on their exceptional abilities and potential to become leaders of the conservation movement in their home countries.

Depending on funding availability in any given year, the WCS Graduate Scholarship Program (GSP) offers the following awards:

  1. Christensen Conservation Leaders Scholarship – for applicants from Asia/Pacific, Africa, Latin America, and North American indigenous groups
  2. C.V. Starr Tiger Conservation Fellowship – for applicants from a tiger range country in Asia working on tiger conservation and/or who will study tigers
  3. Robertson Big Cat Conservation Fellowship – for applicants from a big cat range country in Asia, Africa or Latin America, or from a North American indigenous group, working on big cat conservation and/or who will study big cats
  4. Beinecke African Conservation Scholarship – for applicants from Africa
  5. Clive Marsh Conservation Scholarships – for applicants from Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam
  6. Tellus Leadership Scholarships – for applicants from Africa

For information on scholarships available in any given year please contact kmastro@wcs.org.


Following the award of a scholarship, WCS initially assists each scholar in identifying appropriate institutions of study. Both the scholar’s nominator (or another designated WCS field person) and WCS NY program staff will provide advice and guidance to the scholar.

A WCS GSP scholarship covers the following (funding limits apply within certain categories):

  • Funds as needed towards tuition, room, board and/or a stipend (GSP staff can negotiate the exact arrangement, which is dependent upon the institution the scholar chooses to attend. Depending on the choice of university, a WCS scholar may need to secure additional funding in order to cover all their financial needs.)
  • Depending on the type and level of scholarship and the scholar’s needs, the scholarship may also cover related costs such as graduate school application fees, preparation and sitting fees for exams such as the GRE and TOEFL, visa processing fees, English language training as needed, health insurance, and other expenses as required.
  • It is the policy of the WCS GSP, and the generous donors, that no indirect costs are taken by WCS, nor our university partners.


Only nominated applicants will be considered. No unsolicited applications are reviewed or acknowledged.

WCS country program directors, or other agreed and designated nominators, may nominate one applicant per year per country, using the nomination guidelines provided separately. WCS staff should coordinate with their Regional Director and/or Executive Director(s) in selecting their nominees.

  • Nominees should be a citizen of the country from which they are nominated.
  • Affiliation of the nominee or nominator with WCS is not required; the program goal is to support the best candidates, regardless of organizational affiliation. However, all nominees must be formally approved by the representative WCS country program director before an application can be prepared and submitted.
  • Nominees do not need to have been accepted in any graduate program in order to be eligible, but should plan to begin studies no later than the fall of the year following their award.

Completed nominations/applications should be submitted electronically to kmastro@wcs.org unless prior permission for alternate submission is granted. Individuals seeking information on application deadlines in any given year should also write to the above contact. Each applicant will be considered for every award for which s/he is eligible; a single application to the WCS Graduate Scholarship Program is all that is required.


The selected scholars are expected to immediately begin preparation for the graduate school application process, including the identification of appropriate graduate programs, registration for the required admissions tests, and completion of the required applications for admission to programs of interest with a start date no later than the fall of the following year (under special circumstances, a GSP scholarship can be used to start a graduate program sooner).

The first step in the process is often to prepare for and register for the TOEFL examination in early autumn, as needed. Students who plan to apply to institutions in the U.S. must also take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) prior to the end of the year. Students whose first language is not English may need to take an English language course (at GSP’s expense) prior to signing up for the TOEFL and GRE exams.

Any scholar wishing to extend their scholarship to start a graduate program after the fall of the following year will need permission from WCS.


*Please direct all questions regarding the program to: Kate Mastro, Program Officer, at kmastro@wcs.org