- UK Commonwealth Ph.D. Scholarships Coverage
- UK Commonwealth Ph.D. Scholarships Subject Categories
- Eligibility for UK Commonwealth Ph.D. Scholarships & List of Eligible Countries
- How to apply for a UK Commonwealth Ph.D. Scholarship?
- UK Commonwealth Ph.D. Scholarship application document requirement
- UK Commonwealth Ph.D. Scholarships Result Announcement
- Commonwealth Ph.D. Scholarships duration & placements
UK Commonwealth Ph.D. Scholarship 2020-2021 – Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC)
The Commonwealth Ph.D. Scholarships 2020 (for low and middle-income countries) are now open for admissions for the academic year 2020 – 2021. The deadline for the UK Commonwealth scholarship application submission is the 19th of December 2019 at 16:00 GMT. The Commonwealth scholarship for master degree courses is also open.
The UK government has set up the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC) in the UK to administer all Commonwealth scholarships. The Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC) on its part has to function within the structure laid down by the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP) which is an international program for member commonwealth countries.
The Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC) hopes to create future thinkers, innovators, and leaders by encouraging talented individuals from all Commonwealth countries to study in the UK. The Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC) has put in place systems and procedures in implementing the various scholarship schemes that ensure equality, inclusiveness, merit-based rewards, and extensive reach, particularly when it comes to aspirants from underprivileged backgrounds.
The Commonwealth Ph.D. Scholarships (for low and middle-income countries) is one such commonwealth scholarship administered by the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC). As its name suggests, this scholarship is meant for deserving aspirants from commonwealth countries belonging to the low income and middle-income bracket.
The scholarship is available to aspirants wishing to pursue a full-time doctorate course at a UK university. The scholarship aims to reach those gifted and motivated individuals who are economically backward and otherwise would not be able to envision studying in the UK and give them an opportunity to attain the knowledge and learning that they would need for their continued development.
UK Commonwealth Ph.D. Scholarships Coverage
The UK Commonwealth Ph.D. Scholarships (for low and middle-income countries) are fully funded UK scholarships and covers the following:
- Airfare: The airfare from the awardee’s home country to the UK and the return fare at the end of the scholarship term. However, the airfare for dependents or for journeys to the UK before the scholarship is confirmed will not be borne by the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC).
- The tuition fees: Free education to study in the UK is sponsored by UK commonwealth scholarship
- Stipend: A monthly stipend or living allowance at differing rates for scholarship beneficiaries at universities in the London metropolitan area and for those studying in non-metropolitan areas will be provided.
- An allowance for warm clothing, wherever applicable will be provided.
- A study travel grant would be payable to students who needed to travel within the UK or abroad as a part of their research or course of study.
- A provision toward any approved fieldwork that a scholarship beneficiary would need to undertake abroad. This would usually amount to the cost of one return air ticket in economy class to the fieldwork site and back.
- Family allowance: If a scholarship beneficiary is accompanied by his/her spouse and/or children who live with him/her at the same address in the UK, he/she will be entitled to receive a monthly allowance at varying rates for the spouse and each child below 16 years of age, unless the spouse is also in receipt of a scholarship.
- Airfare for a pre-approved mid-term trip to the home country and back provided the scholarship beneficiary has neither claimed nor intends to claim spouse allowances and/or child allowances during the tenure of the scholarship and has not received any sum toward return airfare to his/her home country as a part of his/her fieldwork.
UK Commonwealth Ph.D. Scholarships Subject Categories
Under the Commonwealth Ph.D. Scholarships (for low and middle-income countries) an aspirant is given a choice of 6 subjects listed below.
- Science and technology for development
- Strengthening global peace, security, and governance
- Access, inclusion, and opportunity
- Promoting global prosperity
- Strengthening health systems and capacity
- Strengthening resilience and response to crises
Eligibility for UK Commonwealth Ph.D. Scholarships & List of Eligible Countries
The Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC) on its part would look for Commonwealth scholarship aspirants who it believes would possess the ability and talent to bring about change. Further, the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC) also provides coverage under commonwealth scholarship to aspirants with disabilities.
In order to apply for any one of the Commonwealth Ph.D. Scholarships (for low and middle-income countries), an aspirant has to fulfill certain eligibility criteria for the commonwealth scholarship program:
- He/she should be a citizen of an eligible commonwealth nation or should be a refugee within an eligible commonwealth nation. A British Protected Person in an eligible commonwealth nation is also eligible to apply for this scholarship.
- He/she should permanently reside in an eligible commonwealth nation.
- He/she should be willing to begin attending academic classes in the UK at the start of the academic year in September – October this year.
- He/she has to possess not less than a second class honors upper division (2:1) degree or a second class degree and an applicable postgraduate degree which generally tends to be a Master’s degree, by the month of October this year.
- He/she has not been admitted to any UK university for D. or MPhil studies before September or October this year.
- He/she has neither begun nor is currently admitted to a D. course or an MPhil course leading to a Ph.D., either in the home country or in any other country.
- He/she should be incapable financially to pursue a course of study in the UK.
Below is a list of the countries from where aspirants will be eligible to apply for the UK Commonwealth Ph.D. Scholarships (for low and middle-income countries).
- Antigua and Barbuda
- St Lucia
- The Gambia
- Solomon Islands
- Sierra Leone
- South Africa
- St Vincent and the Grenadines
- Papua New Guinea
- Sri Lanka
- St Helena
How to apply for a UK Commonwealth Ph.D. Scholarship?
An aspirant to the UK Commonwealth Ph.D. Scholarship (for low and middle-income countries) should apply for his/her course of study at a UK university that has entered into a partial funding accord with the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC).
Each UK university can use its discretion on whether to enter into such a funding agreement with the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC) or not. A list of such UK universities can be downloaded at and checked as per your research interest.
- An applicant to the UK Commonwealth doctoral program scholarship should first apply to any one of the nominating organizations given below as direct applications to the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC) for this scholarship are disallowed.
- National nominating organizations: This is the foremost application route that an aspirant should choose. A complete list of national nominating organizations for commonwealth scholarship and their contact details can be downloaded and reviewed for application submission.
- Particular universities or university bodies: These can forward nominations of their own academic personnel. A complete list of the UK universities or bodies offering Commonwealth scholarships in the UK provides help to find your preferred degree courses to study in the UK.
- Particular non-government organizations and charitable institutions also are the nominating agencies for Commonwealth Scholarship programs.
- An aspirant should use any one of the listed organizations for forwarding his/her application to the scholarship. Each organization has its own process of selection and may even cite its own eligibility criteria. An aspirant should check with the relevant organization to find out about all its rules and regulations regarding the scholarship as well as its own deadline for receiving applications.
- An applicant will also have to apply for the scholarship through the Commonwealth Scholarship online application system besides applying to his/her main nominating organization. Applications to the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC) not made through the online system will not be accepted.
- The Commonwealth Scholarship UK deadline for receiving all online applications will be 19th of December 2019 at 16:00 GMT
- Aspirants should complete the application process at the earliest as the online system is likely to be extremely busy just before the deadline.
- Commonwealth Scholarship Application submission website is now accepting applications.
- A point to be noted is that there are no charges for applying to the
- Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC) scholarships/fellowships via the online system nor does the CSC charge any of the nominating organizations for nominating candidates.
UK Commonwealth Ph.D. Scholarship application document requirement
An application for the UK Commonwealth Ph.D. Scholarships (for low and middle-income countries) has to include certain documentation as well.
A time limit has also been placed by the Commonwealth Scholarship on the submission of documents for an application to be considered eligible and that date is the 4th of January 2019 at 16:00 GMT. The documents required for application to the UK Commonwealth Ph.D. Scholarship (for low and middle-income countries) are as under;
- Evidence of citizenship/refugee status – This has to be uploaded to the online application system
- A complete set of higher education academic records and qualifications – Certified translations of the same in English have to be provided if they are in some other language. These documents to have to be uploaded to the online application system
- At least two Letters of Reference – The Letters of References have to be submitted by the referees themselves to the online application system after they receive an email request to do the same.
- A supporting letter from an aspirant’s proposed supervisor from any one of the universities/institutions in the UK that the aspirant mentions on his/her application – This letter should be submitted by the proposed supervisor directly onto the online system for which the supervisor will receive a request by email.
Documentations for the online application cannot be submitted by nominating organizations or through any other means except through the online application system. File size for each document to be uploaded should not exceed 5MB while the acceptable formats are PDF, .docx, .doc, .jpg, .odt, .jpeg. Any other formats will not be accepted.
UK Commonwealth Ph.D. Scholarships Result Announcement
Every year a few chosen nominating organizations are requested to submit nominations for the UK Commonwealth Ph.D. Scholarships (for low and middle-income countries). Each organization can only submit a specified number of such nominations. The cut-off date for nominating organizations to submit their nominations will be on the 25th of January 2020.
An aspirant to this scholarship should bear in mind that the nominations requested by the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC) from the nominating bodies are three times greater than the actual number of scholarships available. Hence, a nominated aspirant cannot be assured of being granted a scholarship.
Besides, individual commonwealth nations are not allotted any quotas by the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC). Hence all nominated aspirants from all Commonwealth nations compete with each other for the scholarship. Besides, nominations received national nominating organizations and other nominating organizations stand on equal footing and the same standards would be applicable to all.
Primarily, commonwealth scholarship applications are considered on the following basis;
- The academic meritoriousness of the applicant
- The merit and quality of the study plan submitted by the applicant
- The likely impact that the applicant’s research would have on his/her home country
Commonwealth Ph.D. Scholarships duration & placements
A scholarship that is awarded can be claimed at any of the UK universities/educational institutions that have been approved for the same and which have entered into an agreement for part-funding with the Commonwealth Scholarship for a specified research program.
An awarded commonwealth scholarship can only be used by a candidate to secure one degree and an extension of funding under the scholarship cannot be done to assist a candidate in pursuing a course of study additional to or higher than the one applied for. This scholarship is awarded for full-time study courses only. Hence a candidate cannot take up any other course of study at the same time.
An applicant should clearly state the qualification that he/she wishes to attain by pursuing a course of study under this scholarship. This will aid the Commonwealth Scholarship in properly categorizing applications received. Applicants who fail to do so may be invalidated.
A commonwealth scholarship applicant has to list out 3 universities and 3 supervisors that he/she considers the most suitable for his/her course of study in order of preference along with reasons for the choices in the commonwealth scholarship application form. This step is important because an applicant will not be allowed to nor will the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC) entertain any pleas to make any changes to this list except under exceptional circumstances.
Proposals to study a four-year Ph.D. at a particular university have to be justified when compared to a three-year Ph.D. As the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC) will only provide funding for a limited number of four-year PhDs, applicants choosing this course are also advised to propose at least one three-year Ph.D. course.
A candidate’s institution of study will be decided by the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC) and it retains the right to override any preferences that the candidate indicated in his/her application form. The CSC’s decision will be based on the appropriateness of the course and the value for money that it provides.
Before applying for the scholarship, aspirants should secure admissions to their preferred universities/institutions as many courses have very stringent admission rules and cut-off dates.
An applicant should provide supporting letters from supervisors at universities/institutions that are their first preference as otherwise, the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC) could choose to place them at the other universities from which supporting letters have been received.