Commonwealth Scholarships are awarded to talented individuals with the potential to make a positive impact on the global stage. Commonwealth Scholarships are managed by the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC) in the UK.
As part of the UK’s ongoing commitment to the Commonwealth, each year, around 700 students are given the chance to undertake postgraduate degrees with UK universities.
If you are from a Commonwealth country and believe you could make a difference in the world but you can’t afford to fund your UK studies on your own, then you could be the ideal candidate for a Commonwealth Scholarship.
What are Commonwealth Scholarships?
Commonwealth Scholarships are aimed at students from across the Commonwealth who would not otherwise be able to afford to study in the UK. By funding postgraduate studies in a range of different study formats, the scheme helps to support future innovators and leaders.
This historic award is the UK’s primary scholarship scheme focused on contributing to the UK's international development aims. It is designed to attract outstanding talent to UK universities while supporting sustainable development overseas.
Who can apply?
To apply for a Commonwealth Scholarship, you must be a citizen or permanent resident of a Commonwealth country. You will still be eligible if you are a refugee or a British-protected person.
You need to have an undergraduate honours degree of at least upper second class (2:1). If you wish to study a PhD, you will need an appropriate master’s degree too.
Finally, you must be unable to afford to study in the UK without a scholarship.
The eligibility criteria for each type of scholarship and fellowship vary. More information is available on the CSC website.
What types of awards are available?
The Commonwealth Scholarships Commission (CSC) offers:
- Commonwealth PhD Scholarships (for least developed countries and fragile states)
- Commonwealth Split-site Scholarships (for low and middle-income countries)
- Commonwealth Master’s Scholarships
- Commonwealth Shared Scholarships
- Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholarships
- Commonwealth PhD Scholarships (for high-income countries)
- Commonwealth Professional Fellowships
CSC Development Themes
All Commonwealth Scholarships are offered under six CSC development themes.
- Science and technology for development
- Strengthening health systems and capacity
- Promoting global prosperity
- Strengthening global peace, security and governance
- Strengthening resilience and response to crises
- Access, inclusion and opportunity
There is no restriction on what you can study, but the CSC gives priority to applicants whose studies are most relevant to their development criteria.
What financial support is available?
Most scholarships are fully funded, which means that as well as covering your tuition fees, you will also receive your airfare to and from the UK and a living allowance to support you while you are here.
How to apply
To find out how to apply for each of the scholarships, please visit the CSC apply page.
What do I need to apply?
To begin your online application, you’ll need a scanned copy of your passport, your academic transcript, your existing university degree certificate, two references and, if you have one, your admission letter.
What is the deadline for applications?
Annual deadlines for applications are usually in December. Check the page of the scholarship you are interested in on the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission website to see the dates when they are announced for the upcoming academic year.
Commonwealth Scholarship Alumni Network
To date, over 31,000 people have taken up a Commonwealth Scholarship or Fellowship since the first group of 175 Scholars arrived in the UK in 1960. Commonwealth alumni include Prime Ministers and cabinet ministers, Nobel Prize winners, academics, diplomats, writers, and leaders in major NGOs and businesses.
Upon finishing their scholarship or fellowship, recipients join a thriving global community.
Through the alumni network, Commonwealth Alumni can build contacts with a diverse range of scholars and alumni in their home country and across the Commonwealth through a range of activities. Visit the Alumni pages on the Commonwealth site to learn more about these activities.
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