The Commonwealth PhD Scholarships are awarded to candidates from the Commonwealth’s least developed and fragile states for full-time doctoral study at a UK university.
Commonwealth PhD scholarships, which are funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), contribute to the development needs of Commonwealth countries by funding research with a developmental impact. They also enhance individual teaching and research capacity, leading to an increase in institutional capacity in academic and other sectors in Commonwealth countries, contribute to UK higher education and research by attracting high-calibre international candidates and fostering links and collaboration, and are intended for those who would otherwise be unable to afford to study in the UK.
Commonwealth PhD Scholarships Eligibility
- 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 academic studies in the UK by the start of the UK academic year in September 2023.
- By September 2023, 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).
- 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 2023
- Be unable to afford to study in the UK without this scholarship
- Have provided all supporting documentation in the required format
Eligible Commonwealth Countries
Bangladesh, Cameroon, Kenya, Kiribati, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Pakistan, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Tanzania, The, Gambia, Tuvalu, Uganda, Zambia
Commonwealth PhD Scholarships Benefits
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: full fees are covered by agreement between the CSC and the UK university, and scholars are not liable to pay for any part of the tuition fee
- Stipend (living allowance) at the rate of £1,236 per month, or £1,516 per month for those at universities in the London metropolitan area (rates quoted at current 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 current levels):
- If you are accompanied by your spouse but no children: spouse allowance of £266 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 £266 per month and child allowance of £266 per month for the first child, and £131 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 £529 per month for the first child, and £131 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
Commonwealth PhD Scholarships Selection Criteria
Applications will be considered according to the following selection criteria:
- Academic merit of the candidate
- Quality of the plan of study
- Potential impact on the development of the candidate’s home country
How to Apply for Commonwealth PhD Scholarships
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
- Selected universities/ university bodies, which can nominate their own academic staff
- Selected non-governmental organisations and charitable bodies
Candidates must upload the following documents with the application:
- Proof that the applicant is a citizen or has refugee status in an eligible Commonwealth country: a copy of a valid passport (or national ID card) showing a photograph, date of birth, and country of citizenship
- Full transcripts detailing all higher education qualifications, including to-date transcripts for any courses currently being studied, with certified translations if not in English
- References from at least two individuals on institutional letterhead
- Supporting statement on institutional letterhead from a proposed supervisor in the UK from at least one of the institutions named on the application form