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.
Funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), 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. These scholarships are offered under six themes:
- Science and technology for development
- Strengthening health systems and capacity
- Promoting global prosperity
- Strengthening global peace, security and governance
- Strengthening resilience and response to crises
- Access, inclusion and opportunity
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 2020
- By September 2020, 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 (a Master’s degree)
- NOT be registered for a PhD, or an MPhil leading to a PhD, at a UK university before September/October 2020
- NOT have commenced and be currently registered for a PhD, or an MPhil leading to a PhD, in your home country or elsewhere
- Have the support of a potential supervisor from at least one UK university listed in your application form
- Have provided all supporting documentation in the required format
- Be unable to afford to study in the UK without this scholarship
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 £1,110 per month, or £1,362 per month for those at universities in the London metropolitan area (rates quoted at 2019-2020 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 (usually 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 2019-2020 levels):
- If you are accompanied by your spouse but no children: spouse allowance of £239 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 £239 per month and child allowance of £239 per month for the first child, and £117 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 £476 per month for the first child, and £117 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
Eligible Commonwealth countries
- The Gambia
- Sierra Leone
- Solomon Islands
How to Apply
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
All applications must be made through one of these nominating bodies. Each nominating body is responsible for its own selection process and may have additional eligibility criteria. 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.
You must make your application using the CSC’s online application system, in addition to any other application that you are required to complete by your nominating body. The CSC will not accept any applications that are not submitted via the online application system.
All applications must be submitted by 16:00 (GMT) on 30 October 2019 at the latest.
You are advised to complete and submit your application as soon as possible, as the online application system will be very busy in the days leading up to the application deadline.
Your application must include the following supporting documentation, by 16:00 (GMT) on 20 November 2019 in order for your application to be eligible for consideration:
- Proof of citizenship or refugee status – uploaded to the online application system
- Full transcripts detailing all your higher education qualifications including to-date transcripts for any qualifications you are currently studying (with certified translations if not in English) – uploaded to the online application system
- References from at least two individuals – submitted directly by the referees to the online application system(referees will be sent an email request)
- Supporting statement from a proposed supervisor in the UK from at least one of the institutions named on your application form -– submitted directly by your proposed supervisor to the online application system(supervisors will be sent an email request).
It is your responsibility to ensure that your referees and proposed supervisor(s) are able to complete the references and supporting statements by the deadline and that they receive the reference and statement requests.
The CSC will not accept supporting documentation submitted by nominating agencies or outside the online application system.
You can access the online application system now
Supporting documentation uploaded to the online application system must be uploaded as files which are no more than 5 MB in size and must be in one of the following formats: PDF, .doc, .docx, .odt, .jpg, .jpeg . Files submitted in any other format (including Zip files and PDF Portfolios) will NOT be accepted.
Please note that the CSC does not charge candidates to apply for any of its scholarships or fellowships through its online application system and it does not charge organisations to nominate candidates.
Choosing a university/course
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
- 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.
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