Commonwealth Scholarship

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Commonwealth Scholarships

Commonwealth Scholarships for Master’s and PhD study

The Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan ( CSFP ) is one of the largest and most prestigious scholarship schemes for international study in the world. Since it was established in 1959, around 34,000 individuals have benefited – 26,000 of them have held awards funded by the UK government, managed by the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the United Kingdom ( CSC ). The CSC’s Secretariat is provided by the Association of Commonwealth Universities ( ACU ), which is responsible for all matters concerning selection, academic studies, and evaluation.

This document outlines the terms and conditions of Commonwealth Scholarships for Master’s and PhD study in the UK offered by the CSC for citizens of developing Commonwealth countries in 2017. 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.

Commonwealth Scholarship Eligibility

To apply for these scholarships, you must :

  • Be a Commonwealth citizen, refugee, or British protected person
  • Be permanently resident in a developing Commonwealth country. For a full list of eligible countries, visit http://bit.ly/cscuk-developing-cw-countries
  • Be available to start your academic studies in the UK by the start of the UK academic year in September / October 2017
  • By October 2017, 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.

How to Apply for Commonwealth Scholarships

You should apply to study at Master’s / PhD level at a UK university with which the CSC has a part funding agreement. Part funding agreements are at the discretion of individual universities. For a list of universities that have already agreed to part fund Commonwealth Scholarships, visit http://bit.ly/cscuk-uk-universities

All subject areas are eligible – although you should note that the CSC’s selection criteria give priority to applications that demonstrate the strongest relevance to development.

You must apply to one of the following nominating bodies in the first instance – the CSC does not accept direct applications for these scholarships:

  • National nominating agencies – this is the main route of application. For a full list of agencies and contact details, visit http://bit.ly/cscuk-agencies
  • Selected universities / university bodies, which can nominate their own academic staff. For a full list of eligible universities, visit http://bit.ly/cscuk-scholarships-developing-cw
  • Selected non-governmental organisations and charitable bodies

All applications must be made through your nominating body in your home country. Each nominating body is responsible for its own selection process. You must check with your nominating body for their specific advice and rules for applying, and for their own closing date for applications. The CSC does not impose any age limit on applicants, but nominating bodies may do so in line with their own priorities.

You must make your application using the CSC’s Electronic Application System (EAS) – information on how to use the EAS, including detailed guides, is available at http://bit.ly/cscuk-scholarships-developing-cw.

Your application must be submitted to and endorsed by one of the approved nominating bodies listed above. The CSC will not accept any applications that are not submitted via the EAS to a nominating body in your home country.

All applications must be submitted by 15th November, 2016 at the latest

You must provide the following supporting documentation to be received by the CSC by 6th January, 2017 in order for

your application to be eligible for consideration :

  • References from at least two individuals
  • Transcripts
  • For PhD candidates only, supporting statement from a proposed supervisor in the UK from at least one of the institutions named on your application form

Awards made by the CSC are subject to the ongoing endorsement of the nominating body. The CSC cannot accept nominations for these scholarships from other organisations or applications directly from individuals; such applications will not be acknowledged.

Universities or other organisations that wish to be invited to nominate candidates for these scholarships should write to the Executive Secretary, Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the UK, Woburn House, 20-24 Tavistock Square, London WC1H 9HF, UK.

Commonwealth Scholarship Selection Process

Each year, the CSC invites each nominating body to submit a specific number of nominations. The deadline for nominating bodies to submit nominations to the CSC is 13th December, 2016.

The CSC invites around three times more nominations than scholarships available – therefore, nominated candidates are not guaranteed to be awarded a scholarship. There are no quotas for scholarships for any individual country. Candidates nominated by national nominating agencies are in competition with those nominated by other nominating bodies, and the same standards will be applied to applications made through either channel.

Each nominated 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 plan of study
  • Potential impact of the work on the development of the candidate’s home country