Commonwealth Scholarships are given to talented individuals with the potential to make a positive impact on the global stage.
As 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 and believe you could make a difference to 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?
The Commonwealth Scholarships scheme is 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 supporting British international development goals. It is designed to attract outstanding talent to UK universities whilst also 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 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.
The eligibility criteria for each type of scholarship and fellowship vary. More information is available on the CSC website.
What type of awards are available?
The Commonwealth Scholarships Commission 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 Medical Fellowships
- Commonwealth Professional Fellowships
CSC Development Themes
All Commonwealth Scholarships which are funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) 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 Commonwealth Scholarships Commission 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
Depending on which scholarship you are applying for, you may need to apply through a National Nominating Agency, a university, or a Non-Governmental Organisation.
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 at the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission website to see dates when they are announced for 2023-24.
Commonwealth Scholarships Alumni Associations
To date, over 27,800 people have taken up Commonwealth Scholarships since the first group of 175 Scholars arrived in the UK in 1960. Our alumni include Prime Ministers and cabinet ministers, Nobel Prize winners, academics, diplomats, writers, and leaders in major NGOs and businesses.
You are a Commonwealth Scholar for life and we hope that you will stay involved as an active alumnus. Through our alumni network you will have the opportunity to build contacts with a diverse range of scholars in your home country and across the Commonwealth which will support your work and development goals.
Membership to the CSC Alumni Network is free and comes with numerous benefits including regular issues of the CSC newsletter, access to online professional networks and opportunities to attend alumni networking events in your home country.
Each alumni association is different, from the types of events they organise to their membership requirements. View a list of current alumni associations and contact information.