“Bolashak” International Scholarship of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan

“Bolashak” means “Future”.
Established in 1993 by the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
Awarded for Bachelor, Master and PhD degrees’ studies (since 2005) and for conducting research (since 2008).
Fully covers all study related costs (tuition fees, accommodation expenses, book allowances, medical insurance, travel expenses, entry visas and other registration costs, application fees, etc).
Fully funded by the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
The Bolashak Scholarship is awarded to future leaders on an individual basis each year to train in economics, engineering, medicine and other key fields. This year students will study under 87 priority majors and conduct research under 110 majors.
Placement to the best overseas universities.
Geographical coverage: the USA, the UK, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Canada, Russia, China, Australia, Italy, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Austria, Sweden, Switzerland, etc. 200 universities in 23 countries for academic programs and 105 research centers and laboratories in 24 countries for internships.
High selection criteria – awarded to the best students only.
Upon completion of their programs, scholarship recipients return to Kazakhstan to work for a period of 5 years (3 years after research internship).
More than 2170 experts trained under the Bolashak Program are already working in various sectors of Kazakhstan’s economy.
Up to 3000 scholarships awarded annually (since 2005).
Administered by the Center for International Programs (since 2005) and overseen by the Ministry of Education and Science.
International partners in academic programs’ administration: DAAD, CNOUS and others.

Historical Retrospective

The Bolashak Presidential Scholarship Scheme for study abroad was launched in 1993; and for more than 15 years it provides a unique opportunity for the most talented students from Kazakhstan to get higher education at the best universities all over the world.
During the first years of independence, amid acute social problems and economic crisis, Kazakhstan was the first among the CIS countries to educate its best students at the top universities abroad, enabling them to acquire necessary skills and knowledge to build a democratic and prosperous society.
The Decree of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev dated November 9, 1993 says “Kazakhstan’s transition towards market economy and expansion of international contacts requires personnel with the advanced western education, and it is now necessary to send the most talented youth to study at the top-ranking universities abroad”.

Bolashak Mission

The Bolashak Program is designed to train future leaders in economics, public policy, science, engineering, medicine and other key fields.
Upon completion of their programs, Bolashak alumni have to return to Kazakhstan to work in different Kazakhstani companies, government structures, and international organizations for a period of five years.
Since 1993 over 6500 Kazakhstani students became the Bolashak Scholarship recipients. 2170 students have already successfully completed their Bachelor and Master’s degrees at universities such as Harvard, Cambridge, Columbia, Sorbonne, etc. Currently they are working in various sectors of Kazakhstan’s economy. The Bolashak scholars are proud to make a difference and contribute to democratic transformation of their country.

Bolashak Program Expansion

With rapid growth of economy and certain industry sectors, with active realization of the Industrial Innovative Strategy and other development programs in Kazakhstan, the Bolashak Program faces new challenges and requirements to adapt to the present-day reality. Since 2005 the Bolashak Program has been expanded with the President’s decision to increase the number of grants for Bachelor, Master or PhD study abroad up to 3000 students.

Selection Criteria

The strict selection criteria of the Bolashak students and highly competitive nature of the selection process ensure that only the best students, who represent Kazakhstan’s most promising young leaders, are named the Bolashak Scholars.
Selection procedures are established by the governmental regulations. The Bolashak Scholarship is awarded not only for studies under Master and PhD level, but also for studies under Bachelor level (Engineering majors).
The scholarship is awarded after three selection stages. The first stage includes a language test held by independent examination committee (usually ITP, IELTS or other language tests and an interview with foreign experts) and a psychological test. Since 2008 applicants for the Bolashak Scholarship must take the Kazakh language test. The second stage is conducted by a panel of experts which interviews the applicants. The experts recommend a list of applicants admitted to the next stage. The Republican Commission has the final decision about who scholarships are awarded to after thorough examination of applications and results of the first two stages.

Deadlines and Dates

Every year the Ministry of Education and Science sets a deadline for applications. Usually the deadlines are as follows: mid August for applicants participating in the competition on common grounds and mid July for self-enrolled applicants who have been admitted to overseas universities.
The selection procedures take place in July-December with the start of actual study programs in January or September of the next academic year.
The interviews with the panel of independent experts are held in early September and final recommendations on the list of successful applicants are made by November-December.
The panel of independent experts conducts interviews with the applicants who have been admitted to the best universities in July or early August, so that they can start their studies in September of current year.

Diversity and Equal Opportunities

There are over 100 nationalities living in Kazakhstan. The exceptionally talented young people of different nationalities and from different regions of Kazakhstan become recipients of the Bolashak Scholarship. Among scholarship recipients there are representatives of 29 nationalities, including Kazakhs, Russians, Tatars, Koreans, Germans, Uigurs, Ukrainians, Uzbeks, Dungans, Greeks, Ingushs, and Turks. Male and female applicants are equally represented in the Bolashak Program (51% of men and 49% of women).

Administration and Partnership

The program is fully funded by the Government of Kazakhstan and overseen by the Ministry of Education and Science.
Since 2005 the Program is administered by the Center for International Programs accountable to the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
The Center works in close cooperation with universities and international partners, such as British Council, ACCELS, DAAD and CNOUS.