Commonwealth Split-site (PhD) Scholarships – developing Commonwealth country citizens

Commonwealth Split-site (PhD) Scholarships 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 Split-site (PhD) Scholarship to support up to 12 months’ study at an eligible UK university as part of a PhD being undertaken in your home country, under the joint supervision of home country and UK academics.

Purpose: To widen access to UK equipment and expertise for quality doctoral candidates from Commonwealth countries, and to contribute to UK and Commonwealth higher education and research through collaboration and partnerships.

Intended beneficiaries: High-quality graduates who have the potential to become influential leaders, teachers, or researchers in their home countries, and whose proposed research has a developmental and leadership focus.

Your application must be made in the context of a departmental/institutional link with a UK university already in operation or currently under negotiation. Applications without supporting statements from both your home country supervisor and your proposed UK supervisor will be considered ineligible.

Your final qualification will be awarded by your home country university (not the UK university). The scholarship does not support your period of study at your home country university.

The 12-month period of study in the UK supported by the scholarship can be taken at any stage during your PhD study, providing this is justified in your study plan. It can be divided into two or more periods, with no more than 12 months elapsing between each award term. If you have not already started your PhD at the time of your application, you will be eligible to spend a maximum of six months in the UK in your first year of study.

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 registered for a PhD at a university in your home country
  • Be available to start your academic studies in the UK by the start of the UK academic year in September/October 2016
  • By October 2016, 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 Split-site (PhD) Scholarships 2016 prospectus

Selection process

Once received by the CSC, each 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 proposal
  • Potential impact of the work on the development of the candidate’s home country

For further details, see Selection criteria for 2016 Commonwealth Split-site (PhD) Scholarships

You may also find the Feedback for unsuccessful candidates useful.

How to apply

You must make your application directly to the CSC using the CSC’s Electronic Application System (EAS). Click here for full information on how to use the EAS, including detailed guides.

You are not required to apply via a nominating body for these scholarships.

All applications must be submitted by 23.59 (GMT) on 19 November 2015 at the latest. Please note that this is an earlier deadline than in previous years.

How to access the EAS


If you have an enquiry, please contact the CSC using the Contact us form.

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