Commonwealth Scholarship – It is one of the most renowned scholarships in the world, and is also known as “Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP)” under which the governments of the Commonwealth countries offer scholarships and fellowships to their citizens. Commonwealth scholarship awards aspirants with exceptional talent and potential in various fields.
Indian students can avail this scholarship to pursue studies in three countries: United Kingdom, New Zealand and Singapore. The CSFP is an annual scheme made available to all the Commonwealth countries by the Commonwealth Scholarships Commission. In India, this is jointly managed by:
- Commonwealth Scholarships Commission
- British Council
- Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU)
- Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India
In this article, we will cover all the details about the Commonwealth scholarship including its eligibility, awards, application procedure, key dates, and much more.
Commonwealth Scholarship – List of Disbursing Countries
53 countries are members of the Commonwealth which span from Africa, Asia, America, Europe and the Pacific and are diverse. They are amongst the world’s largest, smallest, richest and poorest countries. The applicants from these countries are eligible to apply for Commonwealth scholarships. India is one of them and it’s a great opportunity for Indian students to apply for these scholarships to pursue Masters or PhD studies in one of the three countries listed in the table below:
Commonwealth Scholarship – Countries where students can pursue Master’s and Ph.D. studies under CSF plan
|1.||Commonwealth Scholarship||United Kingdom|
|2.||Commonwealth Scholarship||New Zealand|
Commonwealth Scholarship – U.K.
The students who are ambitious for studying in the UK with commonwealth scholarships have the following questions in mind: How to apply for the scholarship? What are the eligibility conditions? What are the documents required? How to compose study plan and research plan? What are the benefits? How to apply for study VISA in the UK? What are the key dates? and other related questions. This section will answer all of these questions in detail.
The Commonwealth Scholarship in UK offered by the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC) are:
- Commonwealth Master’s Scholarships
- Commonwealth PhD Scholarships
Commonwealth Master’s & PhD scholarships are for candidates from low and middle-income Commonwealth countries, for full-time Masters or Doctoral studies at a UK university. It is funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID). These scholarships enable talented and motivated individuals to gain the knowledge and skills required for sustainable development, 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
The Commonwealth scholarship in the U.K. comprise of the following programs:
- Scholarships for Master’s and PhD study at a UK university
- Split-site Scholarships for split-site PhD study at a UK university
- Shared Scholarships for Master’s study at selected UK universities
- Distance Learning Scholarships to study UK Master’s degree courses in your home country
- Academic Fellowships for early career academics to spend time at a UK university
- Professional Fellowships for mid-career professionals to spend time at a UK host organization
- Medical Fellowships for doctors and dentists to spend time at a UK hospital.
For the 2018-19 session, there were 65 nominations out of which 26 were for PhD studies. The eligibility conditions, application process, and key dates are mentioned in detail in the table given below.
Commonwealth Scholarship – U.K.- Eligibility, Application, Key dates
|1.||Commonwealth Scholarship – U.K.
||The applicants are required to apply through two portals:
|2.||Commonwealth Scholarship – U.K.
||The applicants are required to apply through two portals:
Commonwealth Scholarship – U.K. – Detailed Application Procedure
There are two levels of courses – Masters and PhD. For Master’s, the program shall be for 1 year and 3-4 years for PhD. The candidates who are in employment and wish to return after their studies in the UK must get assurance from the organization that they will be granted sufficient leaves to complete the studies. The nominated candidates will be informed through email and public notice on the Ministry website.
In this section, you will get to know the steps that need to be followed for applying to a Commonwealth scholarship at UK universities.
Step 1: There are 90+ universities in the U.K. which students can opt for applying for Commonwealth scholarships (for the full list of universities check out the DFID, UK government website). These universities currently have part funding agreements with the CSC for Commonwealth Scholarships for candidates from low and middle-income countries and we have listed 40+ in the table below:
Commonwealth Scholarship – List of UK Universities
|4.||Bath Spa University|
|5.||Birbeck, University of London|
|6.||Birmingham City University|
|7.||Brunei University London|
|9.||City, University of London|
|13.||Glasgow Caledonian University|
|14.||Goldsmiths, University of London|
|15.||Harper Adams University|
|17.||Imperial College London|
|19.||King’s College London|
|22.||Leeds Beckett University|
|23.||Liverpool Hope University|
|24.||Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine|
|25.||London School of Economics and Political Science|
|26.||London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine|
|27.||London South Bank University|
|29.||Manchester Metropolitan University|
|32.||University of York|
|33.||University of Worchester|
|34.||University of Wolverhampton|
|35.||University of West London|
|36.||University of Westminster|
|37.||University of Warwick|
|38.||The University of the West of England|
|39.||University of Sussex|
|40.||University of Surrey|
|41.||University of Oxford|
Step 2: The CSC do not accept direct applications for these scholarships and hence the students have to apply through one of the following nominating bodies:
- National nominating agencies – Check out the link here for the list of nominating agencies in Commonwealth nations. Indian students will need to apply through Ministry of Human Resource Development, Department of Higher Education, Government of India.
- Selected University or University bodies which can nominate their own academic staff.
- Selected non-governmental organization and charitable bodies.
Step 3: The students have to visit the MHRD website to apply for the cut-off of the commonwealth scholarship – U.K. before moving to apply on ECAS portal. It is compulsory for the applicant to apply on both the portals before the cut-off dates. Generally, the applicants have to apply for MHRD cut-off in January and in December for ECAS cut-off.
Step 4: The students will need to visit the ECAS portal and create a new account on it. Fill in all the required details, upload documents and submit the application. The application deadline is in December every year. The students can upload the documents by January (following year).
Commonwealth Scholarship – U.K. – Benefits
Commonwealth Scholarship – List of benefits for Master’s and Ph.D. students
|1.||Commonwealth Scholarship – U.K. Master’s Course||
|2.||Commonwealth Scholarship – U.K. PhD degree||
Commonwealth Scholarship – U.K. – Documents Required
For Ph.D. and Master’s applicants, the following documents shall be uploaded to the online application system.
- Proof of Citizenship or refugee status
- Full transcripts detailing all higher education qualification
- References from two individuals – submitted by the referee to the online application system (referees will receive an email request upon completion of the application).
- Supporting statement from a proposed supervisor in the UK from at least one institution named on the application form and it has to be directly submitted by the supervisor.
- The documents uploaded on the online application system must be no more than 5 MB in size and in one of the following formats: PDF, doc, docx, or jpg.
Commonwealth Scholarship – U.K. – Selection Process
- The CSC invites each nominating body to submit a specific number of nominations. They invite three times more nominations than the number of scholarships available.
- There are no quotas for any individual country and the candidates can face fierce competition to avail such scholarships.
- The candidate’s application will first be considered by an academic advisor with expertise in the subject area concerned and then by the CSC selection committee.
- The academic merit, quality of the research proposal and potential impact of the work on the development of the candidate’s home country are also considered for the selection process.
Commonwealth Scholarship – Singapore
The Commonwealth scholarship in Singapore is awarded to outstanding graduate students from Commonwealth countries for research leading to a higher degree at the University. This scholarship is for new, incoming students who are not Singapore citizens or permanent residents. The scholarship consists of a monthly stipend plus a tuition fee subsidy. The Commonwealth scholarship application process is common for UK, Singapore or New Zealand.
Commonwealth Scholarship – Singapore – Eligibility
- The applicants can belong to any Commonwealth countries except Singapore Citizens and Singapore Permanent Residents.
- The applicants must have obtained an undergraduate degree with at least second class honors (upper division/honors (distinction).
- They must be offered admission to a full-time graduate research program at the National University of Singapore.
- They must be eligible to Ministry of Education (MOE) subsidy.
Commonwealth Scholarship – Singapore- Benefits
- For Masters students – A monthly stipend of SGD 1500 will be paid
- For PhD students – A monthly stipend of SGD 2000 will be paid
- Tuition fees will also be provided by the university.
- The PhD scholars may be eligible for an additional stipend of SGD 500 per month upon passing the PhD qualifying examination (QE). This is held within 12-18 months after PhD registration.
Note: The scholarship is tenable for 1 year in the first instance subject to scholars satisfactory progress. The maximum period of the scholarship is 2 years for Masters and 4 years for PhD candidates as determined by the relevant faculty or school.
Commonwealth Scholarship – New Zealand
Universities in New Zealand invites CSC to nominate candidates for Commonwealth scholarships for doctoral studies in New Zealand. There were 8 candidates nominated for the scholarships for 2019 Ph.D. programs in the following universities.
1.Auckland University of Technology
4.University of Auckland
5.University of Otago
6.University of Waikato
7.Victoria University of Wellington
Commonwealth Scholarship – New Zealand- Important Points
- The Commonwealth scholarship will be awarded for Ph.D. programs
- In some case, the scholars enroll in a preliminary course of study by way of bridging programme. This can help the scholar to obtain necessary skills for further study before pursuing the Ph.D. program.
- The students cannot seek an offer of employment or make other arrangements to stay in New Zealand either during or immediately after the course of study.
- The scholarships are funded by the host university and each university committee determines the value of the award.
Commonwealth Scholarship – VISA Information
If you require a Tier-4 visa to come to the UK to study, you must meet all relevant immigration requirements set by UK Visas and Immigration. All UK immigration regulations are set by UK Visas and Immigration and are subject to change. The CSC has no control over these regulations.
Briefly, follow the steps below to apply for tier-4 VISA:
- The students have to apply via the UK immigration services to apply for a tier-4 visa
- Prior to application, check the eligibility, fees, and the required documents.
- Once you are ready with documents and other information, then browse the immigration service portal and confirm visa type as a tier-4 visa.
- Choose “country” and a list of appointment centers will be provided. Select whether you can attend the visa interview at any one of them.
- Proceed further with filling the online application, uploading documents, and paying the visa fee and submitting the application.
- Applicant’s biometric will be taken at the VISA application center and you will need to collect biometric residence permit within 10 days of the date when you have said you would arrive at the UK.
Note: The applicants can visit the commonwealth scholarship government website of UK to check out for the VISA fees for different nationalities.
We hope this article gives you a detailed view of the commonwealth scholarship and should be a great guide for you to apply for the next round of commonwealth scholarship application in 2020. For any query, visit buddy4study scholarship portal – India’s Largest Scholarship Portal to know more about such international scholarships