Commonwealth Scholarships for Masters and PhD Students from Developing Countries (Fully-funded for Study in UK)

Commonwealth Master’s Scholarships
Commonwealth PhD Scholarships

Course(s) Offered: All fields
Course Level: Graduate (Masters, PhD)
Provider: CSC, DFID
Country to Study in: UK

Scholarship Description
Each year, the UK Department for International Development (DFID) offers Commonwealth Scholarships for Master’s and PhD study for citizens of low and middle income Commonwealth countries to pursue full-time advanced study (Masters or PhD) in the UK.

The Commonwealth Master's Scholarships and the Commonwealth PhD Scholarships enable talented and motivated individuals to gain the knowledge and skills required for sustainable development, and are aimed at those who could not otherwise afford to study in the UK.

The Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC) aims to identify talented individuals who have the potential to make change. It is committed to a policy of equal opportunity and non-discrimination, and encourage applications from a diverse range of candidates for the Commonwealth Scholarship for Developing Countries.

Commonwealth Scholarships for Citizens of Developing Commonwealth Countries

To apply for these scholarships, you must:
  • Be a citizen of or have been granted refugee status by an eligible Commonwealth country, or be a British Protected Person
  • Be permanently resident in an eligible Commonwealth country
  • Be available to start your academic studies in the UK by the start of the UK academic year in September/October 2018
  • By October 2018, 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)
  • Be unable to afford to study in the UK without this scholarship
  • FOR PHD CANDIDATES: NOT be registered for a PhD, or an MPhil leading to a PhD, at a UK university before September/October 2018
Selection criteria
Applications are considered following these selection criteria:
  • Academic merit of the candidate
  • Quality of the proposal
  • Likely impact of the work on the development of the candidate’s home country
Eligible groups
Citizens of eligible Commonwealth countries (for Masters study and for PhD study)

Participating Institutions
All UK universities or higher education institutions with whom the CSC has a joint and/or part funding agreement for a specific programme of study or research. See list of UK universities with which the CSC has a part funding agreement.

Fields of study
Not restricted to particular subject areas. All subject areas are eligible, although the CSC’s selection criteria gives priority to applications that demonstrate strong relevance to development. These scholarships are offered under six themes:
  1. Science and technology for development
  2. Strengthening health systems and capacity
  3. Promoting global prosperity
  4. Strengthening global peace, security and governance
  5. Strengthening resilience and response to crises
  6. Access, inclusion and opportunity
Number of Awards
Hundreds of scholarships each year -- no quotas for any individual country. Candidates nominated by national nominating agencies are in competition with those nominated by universities/university bodies, and the same standards will be applied to applications made through either channel

Sponsorship duration
Awards are to obtain one degree (a masters or a PhD); funding will not be extended to enable candidates to complete an additional or higher qualification than that for which the selection was made

Scholarship benefits
Each scholarship provides:
  • Approved airfare to the United Kingdom and return on expiry of the scholarship
  • Approved tuition and examination fees
  • A personal maintenance allowance
  • A grant towards the expenses of preparing a thesis or dissertation, where applicable
  • An initial arrival allowance, incorporating an initial clothing grant for scholars from tropical countries
  • Grants for
    • approved travel within the UK or overseas; 
    • towards fieldwork costs for those scholars undertaking doctoral studies for whom a case has been made for fieldwork outside the UK;
    • for paid mid-term fare to their home country for Scholars on three year doctoral awards; and 
    • additional allowances for married scholars selected by the Commission for awards exceeding 18 months; and widowed, divorced or lone parents.
Please see the 2018 Commonwealth Scholarship Prospectus for full scholarship benefits.

Method of Application
You must apply to one of the following nominating bodies in the first instance – the CSC does not accept direct applications for these scholarships:
All applications must be made through one of these nominating bodies. 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, their own eligibility criteria, and 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 an application using the CSC’s Electronic Application System (EAS), in addition to any other application that you are required to complete by your nominating body.

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.

All applications, with full transcripts detailing all your higher education qualifications (with certified translations if not in English), must be submitted by 23.59 (GMT) on 22 February 2018 at the latest.

You are advised to complete and submit your application as soon as possible, as the EAS will be very busy in the days leading up to the application deadline. The CSC does not charge candidates to apply for any of its scholarships or fellowships through its Electronic Application System (EAS), and it does not charge organisations to nominate candidates.

Application Deadline: 22 February 2018
Open for International Students: Yes

MASTERS Scholarship Information and Application
PHD Scholarship Information and Application

Related: Shared Scholarships || Distance Learning Scholarships || Professional Fellowships


  1. when will the federal gov. call for interview for the common wealth scholarship

  2. Please where is the link to apply for the commonwealth scholarship on this website? thanks

  3. Please where is the link to apply for the commonwealth scholarship on this website. Thanks

    1. Please see the "Method of Application" section of the article above for guidance

  4. Please how can one contact the nominating agency to apply for the scholarship, thank you

  5. Please how can one contact the Nominating Agency to apply for the scholarship

  6. For the past 3 years now, I have tried unsuccessfully to apply for the commonwealth scholarship because whenever the application window opens for it ,you will discover then that the official website of the federal scholarship board becomes inaccessible all of a sudden. Initially I thought I was a coincidence but alas I come to discover that it their way of shutting out duly qualified applicants so they can nominate whomever they deem fit.

  7. Nonetheless, thanks for the information. I have submitted my application online using the CSC EAS and I chose the federal scholarship board as my nominating agency as usual. but I learnt that I would have to submit a printed copy of the completed application form at the federal scholarship board. pls what are the supporting documents that I would need to take along for the submission. secondly I would like to know if interviews are organized for the commonwealth scholarship by the board like they do for the BEA scholarships. if yes, when is the interview coming up. In a nutshell I would like to get an idea of how the whole nomination is done by the board and the completion of the online application. NOTE: The federal scholarship board website is presently still not accessible. Thanks for your time and your anticipated timely response.