Commonwealth Scholarships for Master’s and PhD study in the UK are offered for citizens of developing Commonwealth countries. These scholarships are funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), with the aim of contributing to the UK’s international development aims and wider overseas interests, supporting excellence in UK higher education, and sustaining the principles of the Commonwealth. For information on other scholarships offered by the CSC, visit our Apply page.
You can apply for a Commonwealth Scholarship for the following levels of study:
- Master’s (one-year courses only)
All subject areas are eligible, although the CSC’s selection criteria give priority to applications that demonstrate the strongest relevance to development.
You should apply to study at a UK university with which the CSC has a part funding agreement. Click here for a list of UK universities which have part funding agreements with the CSC
To apply for these scholarships, you must:
- Be a Commonwealth citizen, refugee, or British protected person
- Be permanently resident in a developing Commonwealth country
- Be available to start your academic studies in the UK by the start of the UK academic year in September/October 2017
- By October 2017, hold a first degree of at least upper second class (2:1) honours standard, or a second class degree and a relevant postgraduate qualification (usually a Master’s degree)
The CSC promotes equal opportunity, gender equity, and cultural exchange. Applications are encouraged from a diverse range of candidates. The CSC is committed to administering and managing its scholarships and fellowships in a fair and transparent manner – for more information, see the CSC anti-fraud policy.
Terms and conditions
For full terms and conditions, see the Commonwealth Scholarships 2017 terms and conditions
If you are applying for PhD study, you may, if you wish, propose to study at one university for a four-year PhD, but this must be based in a recognised Doctoral Training Centre. You must research this option thoroughly (further details can be found on the websites of the individual Research Councils in the UK) and justify the added value of this above a three-year PhD. As the CSC will fund only a limited number of four-year PhDs, if you do choose this option, you are strongly advised to also propose at least one three-year PhD choice.
Each year, the CSC invites selected nominating bodies to submit a specific number of nominations. The deadline for nominating bodies to submit nominations to the CSC is 13 December 2016.
The CSC invites around three times more nominations than scholarships available – therefore, nominated candidates are not guaranteed to be awarded a scholarship. There are no quotas for scholarships for any individual country. Candidates nominated by national nominating agencies are in competition with those nominated by other nominating bodies, and the same standards will be applied to applications made through either channel.
Each nominated candidate’s application is first considered by a member of the CSC’s panel of advisers with expertise in the subject area concerned, and then by the CSC’s selection committee in competition with other candidates.
Applications are considered according to the following selection criteria:
- Academic merit of the candidate
- Quality of the plan of study
- Potential impact of the work on the development of the candidate’s home country
For further details, see the Selection criteria for 2017 Commonwealth Scholarships for Master’s and PhD study
You may also find the Feedback for unsuccessful candidates useful.
How to apply
You must apply to one of the following nominating bodies in the first instance – the CSC does not accept direct applications for these scholarships:
- National nominating agencies – this is the main route of application. Click here for a list of national nominating agencies, with contact details
- Selected universities/university bodies, which can nominate their own academic staff. Click here for a list of nominating universities/university bodies
- Selected non-governmental organisations and charitable bodies
All applications must be made through your nominating body in your home country. Each nominating body is responsible for its own selection process. You must check with your nominating body for their specific advice and rules for applying, their own eligibility criteria, and their own closing date for applications. The CSC does not impose any age limit on applicants, but nominating bodies may do so in line with their own priorities.
You must make an application using the CSC’s Electronic Application System (EAS), in addition to any other application form that you are required to complete by your nominating body. Click here for full information on how to use the EAS, including detailed guides.
Your application must be submitted to and endorsed by one of the approved nominating bodies listed above. The CSC will not accept any applications that are not submitted via the EAS to a nominating body in your home country.
All applications must be submitted by 23.59 (GMT) on 15 November 2016 at the latest.
You are advised to complete and submit your application as soon as possible, as the EAS will be very busy in the days leading up to the application deadline.
You must provide the following supporting documentation to be received by the CSC by 6 January 2017 in order for your application to be eligible for consideration:
- References from at least two individuals
- For PhD candidates only, supporting statement from a proposed supervisor in the UK from at least one of the institutions named on your application form
Please note that the CSC does not charge candidates to apply for any of its scholarships or fellowships through its Electronic Application System (EAS), and it does not charge organisations to nominate candidates.
Choosing a university/course
You may find the following resources useful when researching your choices of institution and course of study in the UK:
- Education UK (British Council) – British Council website, with guidance for international students and a course and institution search
- Postgrad.com – information for postgraduate students, with a course search
- Prospects – information on postgraduate study in the UK
- Research Excellent Framework 2014 results – results of a system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions
- Steps to Postgraduate Study – a guide to asking the right questions about taught postgraduate study in the UK
- UCAS Postgraduate – guidance on how to find and apply for a postgraduate course
- Unistats – the official website for comparing UK higher education course data
- UKCISA (UK Council for International Student Affairs) – advice for international students on choosing a course of study
The CSC is not responsible for the content of external sites.
All enquiries about these scholarships should be directed to your nominating body in your home country.