Commonwealth Scholarships are given to talented individuals with the potential to make change on the global stage. 

Part of the UK’s ongoing commitment to the Commonwealth, each year around 800 students are given the chance to undertake postgraduate degrees with UK universities.

If you are from a Commonwealth country, believe you could make a positive difference to the world and can’t afford to fund your UK studies on your own, then you could be the ideal candidate for a Commonwealth Scholarship.

What is the Commonwealth Scholarship? 

The Commonwealth Scholarship scheme is aimed specifically at students from disadvantaged backgrounds across the Commonwealth. By funding postgraduate studies in a range of different study formats, it helps to support innovators and leaders of the future.

This historic award is the UK’s primary scholarship scheme focused on supporting British international development goals. It is designed to attract outstanding talent to UK universities whilst also supporting sustainable development overseas.

How does it work?

Scholarships are offered in any subject for both master’s and PhD courses, with specific scholarships available for split-site, shared and distance learning study. (Some undergraduate opportunities are also available for residents of St Helena). 

Each scholarship is 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. Additional grants are also available on some scholarships for cold weather clothing, thesis writing, field work, family visits and the costs of mid-term travel home. 

Courses need to be completed in a single year at a UK university. There’s no restriction on what you can study but the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission gives priority to applicants whose studies are most relevant to their development criteria.

Who is it for?

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 British protected person. 

You also 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 the scholarship.

How to apply

To be awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship you need to apply through a National Nominating agency. Each country has its own specific nominating bodies, with its own rules and eligibility criteria and deadlines. 

The course you wish to study will need to be with a university that is partnered with the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission. If you have already been accepted on a course with an eligible university, they can apply on your behalf.

You can start your personal application by following the online process on your country page on the Commonwealth Scholarship Commision website. Your application will then be sent directly to your country’s nominating agency. 

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 and, if you have one, your admission letter.

What is the deadline for applications?

Annual deadlines for application are usually in December.  Check the page of the scholarship you are interested in at the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission website to see dates when they are announced for 2021/22.