Apply for Commonwealth PhD Scholarship 2023/2024

Commonwealth PhD Scholarship programme is for people from the Commonwealth least developed countries and fragile states who want to study for their PhD full-time at a university in the UK.

The Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC) in the UK runs a scholarship program for the UK government that is based on goals for international development. It is part of the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP) which shows how committed the UK is to the Commonwealth for the long term. The CSC’s work combines sustainable development with the UK’s national interest and creates opportunities for international partnerships and collaboration. It does this by bringing in people from all walks of life who have outstanding talent and clear potential and helping them become leaders and innovators when they return home.

The UK Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO) pays for Commonwealth PhD scholarships. These scholarships help Commonwealth countries meet their development needs by funding research that will have a positive effect on development. They also improve an individual’s ability to teach and do research, which leads to an increase in institutional capacity in academic and other sectors in Commonwealth countries. They will help UK higher education and research by bringing in high-quality international candidates and promoting links and collaboration. They are for people who wouldn’t be able to afford to study in the UK otherwise.

Commonwealth PhD scholarships are for high-quality graduates who have the potential to do world-class research on development and become influential leaders, teachers, or researchers in their home countries.


Commonwealth PhD Scholarship 2023

Scholarship Name Commonwealth PhD Scholarship
Scholarship offered  Under the six CSC Development themes.
Scholarship Year 2023-2024
Deadline Tuesday 18th October, 2023 at 16:00 GMT.
Nomination of candidates to the CSC December 2023
Target Countries Least developed Commonwealth countries
Target Level PhD
Host Country United Kingdom
Scholarship Type Fully Funded
Application Portal
Commonwealth Scholarship Official Website Click here

Eligibility Requirements for Commonwealth PhD scholarship

To qualify for the Commonwealth Scholarships for PhD degree, candidate 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 academic studies in the UK by the start of the UK academic year in September 2024
  • By September 2024, 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 2024
  • Be unable to afford to study in the UK without this scholarship
  • Have provided all supporting documents in the required format

Supporting Document

Candidates must upload the following documents with the application form:

  • Proof that the applicant is a citizen of or a refugee in a Commonwealth country that is eligible: a copy of a valid passport or national ID card with a photo, date of birth, and country of citizenship
  • Full transcripts of all higher education qualifications, including up-to-date transcripts for any courses currently being taken, with certified translations if not in English.
  • References from at least two people on letterhead from an institution
  • Statement of support from a proposed supervisor in the UK on letterhead from at least one of the institutions listed on the application form

NOTE: The CSC won’t accept any supporting documents from nominating agencies or from anywhere else outside of the online application system.

What Does Commonwealth PhD Scholarship Cover?

  • Approved flights from your home country to the UK and back when your award is over (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 an agreement between the CSC and the UK university, and scholars do not have to pay any part of the tuition fee.
  • Living allowance of £1,236 per month or £1,516 per month for students at universities in the Greater London area (rates quoted at current levels)
  • Depending on the case, a warm clothing allowance
  • Grant to help pay for study-related travel within the UK or outside of it
  • Provision toward the cost of overseas fieldwork (the price of a round-trip ticket in economy class to your fieldwork site), if approved.
  • Paid mid-term visit (airfare) to your home country, unless you have claimed or plan to claim spouse and/or child allowances during your scholarship or have received a return airfare to your home country for fieldwork.
  • Here are some examples of family allowances, with current rates:
    • If you come to the UK with your spouse but don’t have any children, you can get a spouse allowance of £266 per month for up to nine months if you and your spouse live at the same address (unless your spouse is also in receipt of a scholarship; other conditions also apply)
    • If your spouse and children are living with you at the same address in the UK, the spouse allowance is £266 per month and the child allowance is £266 per month for the first child and £131 per month for the second and third children under the age of 16. (unless your spouse is also in receipt of a scholarship; other conditions also apply)
    • If you have your children with you but no spouse, you can get a child allowance of £529 per month for the first child and £131 per month for the second and third children under 16 if they live with you in the UK.

If you tell the CSC that you have a disability, they will do a full evaluation of your needs and see if you are eligible for more money.

The family allowances from the CSC are meant to be a small part of what it costs to keep your family in the UK. The real costs are likely to be much higher, and you must be able to add to these allowances if you bring family members with you to the UK.

How to apply for Commonwealth PhD Scholarship 2023/2024

The CSC online application system is the only way to apply.

Candidates must apply to both the CSC and one of the organizations listed below. Then, agencies that put forward candidates will send them to the CSC. These scholarships cannot be applied for directly through the CSC.

Each organization that makes nominations is in charge of its own selection process and may have other eligibility requirements. Candidates must check with the nominating agency to find out their specific application tips and rules, as well as their own criteria for being eligible. Nominating agencies can set their own dates for when applications must be turned in.

Candidates must fill out an application through the CSC online application system, as well as any other application that the nominating agency wants them to fill out. The CSC can’t accept any applications that aren’t sent through their online system.

Candidates should fill out and send in their applications as soon as possible, because the online application system will be very busy in the days before the deadline.

Completing your CSC Online Application Form

After you have provided all the required documents as outline above, you should follow the guideline below to complete the application process.

In the first part, you should explain how your proposed scholarship is related to:

a) Problems with development on a global, national, and local scale

b) Development issues related to your chosen CSC development theme and the wider sector

In the second part, you should talk about how you plan to use the skills you’ve learned when your scholarship is over.

In the third part, you should describe what you think will change in terms of development after you get the scholarship.

a) the results you want to reach

b) When they will be put into place

c) Who will receive the money

In the fourth section, you need to:

  1. Write about the best way to measure the impact of your work.
  2. Make sure you know what your award goals are and how the Scholarship program will help you reach each one.
  3. Tell us what you want to do with your career in the five years after you get the scholarship.
  4. Verify your long-term plans for your job
  5. Write a personal statement that explains how your background has made you want to make a difference in your home country. You should say what you’ve already done, like how you’ve overcome any personal or community obstacles to your chosen career.
  6. Give a brief summary of the volunteer work you have done and the opportunities you have had to show leadership (up to 500 words)
  7. Send a picture of your passport or national ID card

Selection Process

The following selection criteria will be used to consider the applications:

  • Academic merit of the candidate
  • Quality of the plan of study
  • Potential impact on the development of the candidate’s home country

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