Commonwealth PhD Scholarships are for candidates from least developed countries and fragile States in the Commonwealth, for full-time doctoral study at a UK university.
To contribute to the development needs of Commonwealth countries by supporting research that will have a developmental impact. These awards will also enhance individual teaching and research capacity leading to increase institutional capacity in academic and other sectors in Commonwealth countries, and will contribute to UK higher education and research by attracting high-calibre international candidates and encouraging links and collaboration.
Intended beneficiaries: High-quality graduates who have the potential to undertake world-class research of a developmental nature and to become influential leaders, teachers, or researchers in their home countries.
You may find the following resources useful when researching your choices of institution and course of study in the UK:
- Study UK – British Council website, with guidance for international students and a course and institution search
- Steps to Postgraduate Study – a guide to asking the right questions about taught postgraduate study in the UK
- Postgrad.com – information for postgraduate students, with a course search
- Prospects – information on postgraduate study in the UK
- Research Excellent Framework 2014 results – results of a system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions
- UCAS Postgraduate – guidance on how to find and apply for a postgraduate course
- Unistats – the official website for comparing UK higher education course data
- UKCISA (UK Council for International Student Affairs) – advice for international students on choosing a course of study
The CSC is not responsible for the content of external sites.
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 2022
- By September 2022, hold a first degree of at least upper second class (2:1) honours standard, or a second class degree (2:2) and a relevant postgraduate qualification (usually a Master’s degree). The CSC would not normally fund a second UK Master’s degree. If you are applying for a second UK Master’s degree, you will need to provide justification as to why you wish to undertake this study
- NOT be registered for a PhD, or an MPhil leading to a PhD, at a UK university or in your home country before September/October 2022
- Be unable to afford to study in the UK without this scholarship
- Have provided all supporting documentation in the required format
The CSC aims to identify talented individuals who have the potential to make change. We are committed to a policy of equal opportunity and non-discrimination, and encourage applications from a diverse range of candidates. For further information on the support available to candidates with a disability, see the CSC disability support statement.
Scholarship Duration and Reward
Each scholarship provides:
- Approved airfare from your home country to the UK and return at the end of your award (the CSC will not reimburse the cost of fares for dependants, nor the cost of journeys made before your award is confirmed)
- Approved tuition fees
- Stipend (living allowance) at the rate of £1,133 per month, or £1,390 per month for those at universities in the London metropolitan area (rates quoted at 2021-2022 levels)
- Warm clothing allowance, where applicable
- Study travel grant towards the cost of study-related travel within the UK or overseas
- Provision towards the cost of fieldwork undertaken overseas (the cost of one economy class return airfare to your fieldwork location), where approved
- Paid mid-term visit (airfare) to your home country (unless you have claimed (or intend to claim) spouse and/or child allowances during your scholarship, or have received a return airfare to your home country for fieldwork)
- Family allowances, as follows (rates quoted at 2021-2022 levels):
- If you are accompanied by your spouse but no children: spouse allowance of £244 per month for a maximum period of nine months, if you and your spouse are living together at the same address in the UK (unless your spouse is also in receipt of a scholarship; other conditions also apply)
- If you are accompanied by your spouse and children: spouse allowance of £244 per month and child allowance of £244 per month for the first child, and £120 per month for the second and third child under the age of 16, if your spouse and children are living with you at the same address in the UK (unless your spouse is also in receipt of a scholarship; other conditions also apply)
- If you are accompanied by your children but no spouse: child allowance of £485 per month for the first child, and £120 per month for the second and third child under the age of 16, if your children are living with you at the same address in the UK
If you declare a disability, a full assessment of your needs and eligibility for additional financial support will be offered by the CSC.
The CSC’s family allowances are intended to be only a contribution towards the cost of maintaining your family in the UK. The true costs are likely to be considerably higher, and you must be able to supplement these allowances to support any family members who come to the UK with you.
Please note that only candidates from the eligible countries listed below can apply for Commonwealth PhD Scholarships (for least developed countries and fragile states) in 2022.
Method of Application
Applications must be made using the CSC’s online application system.
In the application form, prospective Scholars will be asked to:
- List all undergraduate and postgraduate university qualifications obtained (if applicable)
- List up to 10 publications and prizes (if applicable)
- Provide details of your employment history and explain how each job is relevant to the programme you wish to undertake in the UK (up to 100 words per employment)
- Provide a statement on the relevance of your previous work experience to the proposed Scholarship (up to 300 words)
- List names and positions of three referees who are qualified to comment on both your capacity to benefit from your proposed Scholarship in the UK and your ability to deliver development impact afterwards. One of your referees must be your current employer.
- Provide a Development Impact statement in 4 parts. In the first part you should explain how your proposed Scholarship relates to:
a) getting 40 million more girls in primary and secondary school by 2025 and improving learning levels, so girls can achieve their full potential
b) development issues at the global, national and local level
c) development issues connected to the theme of girl’s education and the wider sector
(up to 200 words)
- In the second part you should explain how you intend to apply your new skills once your Scholarship ends (up to 100 words).
- In the third part you should outline what you expect will change in development terms following your Scholarship, including:
a) the outcomes that you aim to achieve
b) the timeframe for their implementation
c) who the beneficiaries will be
(up to 250 words)
- In the fourth part you should write about how the impact of your work could be best measured (up to 100 words).
- Confirm what your award objectives are and how each of them will be met by the Scholarship programme
- Confirm what your objectives are for the next two years and how each of them will be met by the Scholarship programme
- Confirm what your objectives are in the longer term and how each of them will be met by the Scholarship programme
- Provide a personal statement to summarise the ways in which your personal background has encouraged you to want to make an impact in your home country. You should indicate areas in which you have already contributed, such as having overcome any personal or community barriers to your chosen career (up to 500 words).
- Summarise the ways in which you have engaged in voluntary activities and the opportunities you have had to demonstrate leadership (up to 500 words).
- Provide a scan of your passport or national identity card