Commonwealth Shared Scholarships 2020 – UK universities

Commonwealth Shared Scholarships are for candidates from least developed and lower middle income Commonwealth countries, for full-time Master’s study on selected courses, jointly supported by UK universities.

Funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), Commonwealth Shared Scholarships enable talented and motivated individuals to gain the knowledge and skills required for sustainable development, and are aimed at those who could not otherwise afford to study in the UK. These scholarships are offered under six development themes:

  1. Science and technology for development
    The scholarship, which may be in any area of science or technology (including, for example, agriculture, veterinary science, or forestry), will develop knowledge and/or skills that are directly related to the specific needs of a low or middle income country. Where possible, applications should cite expressed national or local priorities
  2. Strengthening health systems and capacity
    The scholarship will develop knowledge and/or skills that will improve health provision or outcomes for disadvantaged groups in low and middle income countries. A range of approaches could be adopted, such as training staff to fill critical shortage areas; establishing better systems, processes, or management; health promotion and improving understanding of non-take up; or developing new treatments.
  3. Promoting global prosperity
    The scholarship will support economic prosperity in low and middle income countries. The knowledge and/or skills gained could lead to, for example, enhanced trade capacity; improved economic understanding or decision-making by business or government; new products and services; or long-term capacity building, through the development of entrepreneurial skills, for instance.
  4. Strengthening global peace, security and governance
    The scholarship will develop knowledge and/or skills that will strengthen peace and security at national, regional, or international levels. Multiple approaches could be used, such as strengthening open and transparent governance; improving mutual understanding within and between societies; or building systems that reduce the potential for conflict or encourage its resolution.
  5. Strengthening resilience and response to crises
    The scholarship will develop knowledge and/or skills which will help low and middle countries adapt to changing contexts, withstand sudden shocks, or increase capacity to preserve the continuity of operations following such events. This could apply to a broad range of threats, including natural and physical disasters; long-term threats such as climate change; interruptions to the supply of key resources; or sudden economic or technological disruption.
  6. Access, inclusion and opportunity
    The scholarship will develop knowledge and/or skills that will promote opportunity amongst historically disadvantaged groups in low and middle income countries. This could be through, for example, expanding educational opportunities; conducting community outreach; enhancing access to decision-making; or increasing understanding of the barriers faced. A range of disadvantage can be addressed – including social, economic, gender, ethnic, regional, or political – provided that the need is clearly stated.

Purpose: To contribute to development needs of Commonwealth countries by providing training for skilled and qualified professionals and academics who would not otherwise have been able to study in the UK.

Intended beneficiaries: High-quality postgraduate students who have not studied extensively overseas before and who have the potential to enhance the development of their home countries with the knowledge and leadership skills they acquire.

UK universities are invited to bid for up to ten Commonwealth Shared Scholarships to be offered in the 2020-2021 academic year. Invitations have been sent to all UK university vice-chancellors and existing administrative contacts.

Terms and conditions

In this scheme, the university is responsible for:

  • Recruiting and nominating candidates
  • Ensuring that nominated candidates meet the eligibility criteria as set out in the bidding guidance
  • Paying a stipend to Commonwealth Shared Scholars at UK government-set rates
  • Looking after the welfare of Commonwealth Shared Scholars while they are on award

The CSC is responsible for:

  • Paying tuition fees (at full overseas level, to a maximum of £22,500)
  • Paying for return flights to the UK
  • Paying additional grants for study travel and thesis costs

For full terms and conditions, see the Commonwealth Shared Scholarships 2020 university bidding guidance.

How to bid

All bids must be made using the CSC’s online application system.

The deadline for bids is 09:00 (BST) on Monday 2 September. Late bids cannot be accepted.

Bidding results should be available in October 2019.

Submit a bid here


Enquiries from UK universities only about Commonwealth Shared Scholarships should be sent to

General enquiries about applying for Commonwealth Scholarships or Fellowships sent to this email address will not be answered; please use the Contact us form instead.

Please note that the CSC does not charge candidates to apply for any of its scholarships or fellowships through its application system and it does not charge organisations to nominate candidates.

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