Commonwealth Shared Scholarships (CSS) Scheme
Course(s) Offered: Any field
Course Level: Graduate (masters)
Provider: DFID, UK universities
Country to Study in: UK
The Commonwealth Shared Scholarships (CSS) Scheme allows students from developing Commonwealth countries who would not otherwise be able to study in the UK to benefit from postgraduate study at a University in the UK which will help them to contribute toward the development of their home countries.
Awards made under this scheme are jointly funded by the Department for International Development (DFID), as part of the UK international development programme to developing countries, and participating institutions in the UK.
The scheme is administered by the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC), whose secretariat is provided by The Association of Commonwealth Universities.
To apply for a Commonwealth Shared Scholarship, candidates must:
- Be Commonwealth citizens, refugees, or British protected persons
- Be permanently resident in a developing Commonwealth country (a full list of eligible countries is available in the Commonwealth Shared Scholarships 2015 prospectus - link to it is below)
- Be available to commence their academic studies in the UK by the start of the UK academic year in September/October 2015
- Hold, by October 2015, a first degree of at least upper second class Honours standard
- Not have undertaken studies lasting one year or more in a developed country
- Be unable themselves, or through their families, to pay to study in the UK
Nationals of Commonwealth Developing Countries, including:
Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Botswana, British Virgin Islands, Cameroon, Dominica, Falkland Islands, Fiji, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Kiribati, Lesotho, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Montserrat, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guineas, Pitcairn, Rwanda, St Helena, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Tanzania,Tonga,Trinidad and Tobago, Tristan da Cunha, Turks and Caicos, Tuvalu, Uganda,Vanuatu, Western Samoa, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Please see the Commonwealth Shared Scholarships 2015 prospectus for a more current list.
Awards are available at various participating institutions in the UK only. See the '2015 CSS prospectus' for full list of participating universities.
For the year 2014, 69 universities have offered to support the scholarships by contributing the stipend for the students from their own resources, or those which the university has been able to generate from elsewhere. See list of participating universities from the 'CSS prospectus 2014' below.
Fields of study
Awards are for taught Masters courses only. No awards will be made for undergraduate or doctoral study. All courses undertaken must be demonstrably relevant to the economic, social or technological development of the candidate’s home country.
Additional details of the eligible courses (or departments) offered by the institutions are found in the 'CSS prospectus 2015' (link to it is below).
Number of Awards
Up to 227 scholarship positions.
To date, in excess of 2,500 students from developing Commonwealth countries have been awarded Shared Scholarships.
Awards are normally tenable for one-year taught postgraduate courses only
The CSC funds the cost of tuition fees (at overseas rate), return airfares, and other allowances. Participating universities are required to support the student stipend for the award holder (at the rate set by the UK government).
Method of Application
All applications must be made through the university at which you wish to study. You must check with them in the first instance for specific advice on eligibility and how to make an application, and for their own closing date.
To apply for a Commonwealth Shared Scholarship, you must use one of two methods (as instructed by the university you are applying to):
- Via university: Applying to the university in the first instance using the university’s own application form. If selected, candidates will then be asked to submit an application to the CSC using the EAS. Any applications made via the EAS only and not directly to the university first will not be considered.
- EAS only: Applying to both the university and the CSC at the same time using the Electronic Application System (EAS).
It is not possible to submit an EAS application after the deadline that you will see when you open an application. If you are applying to more than one university and/or more than one Master’s course, you may submit as many EAS applications as you require.
Before you start your application, you should read the 'How to Apply Guide' (a step-by-step guide on applications) and refer to the 'Frequently Asked Questions' for information. Both are found on the official website.
It is important to read carefully the "Commonwealth Shared Scholarships 2015 Prospectus"(PDF) and also to visit the official website (link to it is below).
The specific deadlines set by the participating institutions varies each year (see 'CSS prospectus' for exact deadlines). Each university has its own closing date for applications. Any applications received after this date will be deemed ineligible.
Traditionally, deadline for application to participating universities will vary between December of preceding year and April of year of award. The EAS will close to applicants on 16 April 2015 and no further applications can be submitted after that date. Candidates should note that most university closing dates fall before 16 April and you must submit your application by the date advised by the university to which you are applying.
Candidates must complete their application via the EAS by 16 April 2015 at the latest, in order to be nominated to the CSC by their host university.
Candidates should note that institutions are asked to forward their nominations to the CSC no later than 30 April each year; where institutions have not specified a closing date, candidates should contact the institution to ascertain the latest date the institution is willing to accept applications.
Applications should be made directly to the institutions at which candidates wish to study. The sponsoring institutions will be the judges of academic calibre and will forward their nominations to the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission for its agreement. Institutions will normally advise candidates of the result not later than July.
Candidates should note that although they may apply to more than one institution, only one offer of award may be accepted.
All universities are asked to forward their nominations to the CSC no later than 30 April 2015 using the EAS. The CSC will not accept any applications which are not submitted via the EAS to a university.
All enquiries about making an application and eligibility should be addressed to the university at which you wish to study and through which you should therefore apply for a 'Commonwealth Shared Scholarship', not to the CSC. The university will advise you on eligibility issues and how to make an application (contact details are given in the 'CSS prospectus').
Application Deadline: 16 April 2015
Open to International students: Yes
More Scholarship Information and Application
Related: Commonwealth Scholarships for Developing Commonwealth Countries