New Colombo Plan scholarship program

What is the NCP Scholarship Program?

The New Colombo Plan (NCP) scholarship program is an opportunity for undergraduate students to undertake study, internships and language training overseas in the Indo-Pacific region. An initiative of the Australian Government and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the NCP scholarship program offers recipients up to AUD $67,000 for an overseas semester or year length study experience.

In December 2013 the Australian Government announced that it will fund $100 million over five years for the New Colombo Plan scholarship program and a student international mobility grants scheme. Since then NCP is proving to be a great success, and around 120-150 scholarships are awqarded each year.

NCP aims to generate a genuine, two-way flow of students between Australia and the Indo-Pacific. The Australian National University is committed to supporting the five-year plan and promoting the opportunities available to our students.

Information Sessions

Information sessions are held each year in May. Please refer to Global Programs Facebook site for details of sessions.

What can an NCP Scholarship provide?

An NCP scholarship can provide recipients with:

  • Travel allowance up to $2,500
  • Establishment allowance up to $2,500
  • Monthly stipend up to $2,500 per month
  • Tuition fees up to $15,000
  • Support for language training up to $1,000
  • Health and travel insurance for the duration of the scholar's program
  • A dedicated case manager for the duration of the scholar's program, who provides services including pre-departure briefings, advice on health and travel insurance, advice and assistance relating to accommodation, and payment of allowances

NCP scholarship recipients will also have the opportunity to participate in an awards ceremony and meet Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.

For more information on the NCP scholarship program, including Frequently Asked Questions and program guidelines, visit the DFAT website.

Why participate?

  • Enrich your education
    A New Colombo Plan scholarship is a valuable opportunity to contribute to your academic qualifications while traveling overseas. It is a chance to test your skills and gain a deeper understanding of a foreign culture and language, while gaining awareness and insight that may not otherwise be achieved in your studies at home in Australia. You may find after completing the program that you return to your studies at ANU with a fresh perspective and renewed energy.
  • Enhance your career opportunities
    International study experience within the Indo-Pacific region will add value to your academic record and CV and broaden your options for life after undergraduate study in Australia and abroad. Participation in an internship/mentorship during the program is strongly encouraged and could give you valuable work experience that may be looked upon favourably by prospective employers and graduate programs.

    Personal development
  • Participating in a New Colombo Plan scholarship could be very rewarding, character-building and eye-opening. It may help you gain independence, confidence, resourcefulness and problem-solving skills. You may also discover new interests and activities that you may not have found at home.
  • Strengthen ties within the region
    By participating in the NCP scholarship program you would be contributing to strengthening Australia's important relationships and professional networks within the Indo-Pacific region. This could help to enhance career prospects and postgraduate study options for Australian graduates.

    'It is only by taking a 'bottom up' approach to studying the culture, history, language and politics of the region that we will be able to properly understand and appreciate their affairs, and be capable of engaging on a truly equal playing field.' -- Emma Roberts, ANU NCP scholarship recipient.
  • Networking
    A New Colombo Plan scholarship is an opportunity to make new friends and colleagues and form networks within the Indo-Pacific region. The program is developing an active alumni community so that participants can share their experiences and ensure that connections made through the New Colombo Plan are long-lasting. The program aims to provide ongoing opportunities for New Colombo Plan alumni to engage with the region.
  • Culture and travel
    Studying overseas as part of the NCP is not just an academic opportunity but also a chance to experience first-hand the language, customs, architecture, monuments, terrain, food and music of your host country.

    'The New Colombo Plan is an opportunity to change the way we think as a nation, and break down the cultural and historical barriers which have previously separated us from the region that lies only a few hundred kilometres to the north of Cape York.' -- Nick Horton, ANU NCP scholarship recipient.


To be eligible to apply you must be an Australian citizen, in at least your second year of undergraduate studies when the scholarship commences, and aged between 18 and 28.

For more information on eligibility requirements, please refer to the NCP scholarship program guidelines on the DFAT website.

How to apply

Applications are open once a year and students should submit their application to ANU Global Programs on the Global Program System.

Round One - ANU selection process

In order to apply for an NCP scholarship, you must submit an application to ANU. NCP applications are open once a year, betwen 1 May until 31 May. Applications are open for one month.

Students must also submit an application for exchange or study abroad studies at the same time as completing an NCP application.

Applications will be assessed and shortlisted by a panel of ANU staff. See the application guidelines below for information on putting together your application.

Downloadable Information session

ANU Global programs has recorded an information session about the New Colombo Plan scholarship program. To access the recording of the session, click here. You can also access to Power Point presentations here.

Round Two - DFAT selection process

If your Round One application is successful, you will be recommended to DFAT for consideration and you will receive application guidance. ANU Global Programs will liaise with short-listed candidates about how to best frame their applications.

The final selection process will be administered by DFAT, and shortlisted applicants will attend a face-to-face interview with a panel during September and October of the same year. All successful and unsuccessful applicants will be notified of the outcome of the DFAT selection process in November. Student's proposed activities will take place in the following year.

Application guidelines

  • Choose a country
    Choose to study in a university in one of the participating host countries: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, Burma, Cambodia, China, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Hong Kong SAR, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kiribati, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nauru, Nepal, New Caledonia, Niue, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Vietnam. ANU has partner universities in some of these countries so you may choose to study at an ANU exchange partner university from the above list, or you can create your own study plan in a non-partner university from the above list.
  • Choose a program
    Choose a study program for which you will receive credit at ANU. The study period must commence as per DFAT guidelines. This will be between 1 January and end of December of the following year. Please see DFAT NCP guidelines.
  • Put together your application and selection criteria
    Demonstrate how you would benefit from the NCP scholarship program, and how you would establish an internship/mentorship if you were selected for consideration for the scholarship (see DFAT NCP scholarship program guidelines).

In your application, you must address each of the following selection criteria, limiting responses to 300 words per criterion. Use the notes under each criterion as guidance for drafting your responses.

  1. Demonstrated academic excellence at the tertiary level (40 per cent weighting)
    You must have achieved a minimum 70 per cent graded average or equivalent for your undergraduate program to date. Consider detailing academic awards at tertiary level and/or university commendations. The assessment will also relate to evidence of excellence demonstrated through referee reports. Students with GPAs of at least 6.0 are encouraged to apply.
  2. Demonstrated leadership in the community (30 per cent weighting)
    Consider including leadership roles and/or activities in your university (for example: student residence committees, student clubs, student politics), your local community (for example: sporting, not-for-profit, religious, arts organisations), or overseas (for example: volunteering, not-for-profit work).
  3. Ability to adapt and operate in new or changing environments and understanding of how the proposed Scholarship Program will enhance cultural awareness (15 per cent weighting)
    Assessment of this criterion will relate to your potential to undertake successfully, and gain maximum advantage from, a study experience in an Indo-Pacific location. Consider how your resilience, flexibility and adaptability (particularly in different cultural contexts) will be enhanced and how you will develop relationships in the Indo-Pacific region and maintain them on your return to Australia.
  4. Ability to contribute to New Colombo Plan goals through the Scholarship Program (15 per cent weighting)
    Assessment of this criterion will relate to the depth of your understanding of New Colombo Plan goals, and how your proposed scholarship program would contribute to your own future goals and the goals of the New Colombo Plan.

NCP news & previous recipients

ANU wins nine New Colombo Plan 2018 scholarships 29 November 2017

ANU wins 9 New Colombo Plan 2018 scholarships 28 November 2017

ANU collects six New Colombo Plan scholarships for 2016, 1 December 2015

Video of ANU student Linda Ma, 2016 NCP Scholar for Hong Kong, 30 November 2015

Burgmann Alumnus awarded the ANU New Colombo Plan Funding, 12 December 2014

International students as foreign relations: a research agenda in the context of Colombo Plans old and new - abstract of a public lecture by Professor David Lowe, Director of the Alfred Deakin Research Institute, 28 August 2014

Rebecca wins Colombo Plan scholarship, 8 July 2014

Students win scholarships in New Colombo Plan, 26 June 2014

Learning in and from our region - speech by NCP scholarship winner Emma Roberts, 26 June 2014

Foreign Minister farewells ANU students under New Colombo Plan, 17 March 2014

New Colombo Plan news on the DFAT website

Subscribe to the DFAT NCP newsletter