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Commonwealth 2021 PhD Scholarships for Full-Time Study in UK

Commonwealth PhD Scholarships are for candidates from least developed countries and fragile states in the Commonwealth, to undertake full-time doctoral study at a UK university.

Funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), 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.

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About Common wealth Scholarships

The Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the UK (CSC) provides the main UK government scholarship scheme led by international development objectives. The CSC is an executive non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Department for International Development (DFID). The CSC operates within the framework of the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP) and is a vivid demonstration of the UK�s enduring commitment to the Commonwealth. By supporting innovators and leaders of the future from across the Commonwealth, and by attracting outstanding talent to Britain�s universi... read more


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CSC PhD Scholarship


Aim and Benefits of CSC PhD Scholarship

Each scholarship provides:

  1. 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)
  2. Approved tuition fees
  3. Stipend (living allowance) at the rate of £1,116 per month, or £1,369 per month for those at universities in the London metropolitan area (rates quoted at 2020-2021 levels)
  4. Warm clothing allowance, where applicable
  5. Study travel grant towards the cost of study-related travel within the UK or overseas
  6. Provision towards the cost of fieldwork undertaken overseas (the cost of one economy class return airfare to your fieldwork location), where approved
  7. 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 2020-2021 levels)
  8. Family allowances, as follows (rates quoted at 2020-2021 levels): -
    1. If you are accompanied by your spouse but no children: spouse allowance of £240 per month for a maximum period of nine months,
    2. 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 £240 per month and child allowance of £240 per month for the first child, and £118 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) –
    3. If you are accompanied by your children but no spouse: child allowance of £480 per month for the first child, and £118 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
  9. If you declare a disability, a full assessment of your needs and eligibility for additional financial support will be offered by the CSC.

Requirements for CSC PhD Scholarship Qualification

To apply for these scholarships, you must:

  1. Be a citizen of or have been granted refugee status by an eligible Commonwealth country, or be a British Protected Person
  2. Be permanently resident in an eligible Commonwealth country
  3. Be available to start your academic studies in the UK by the start of the UK academic year in September/October 2021
  4. By September 2021, 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)
  5. NOT be registered for a PhD, or an MPhil leading to a PhD, at a UK university before September 2021
  6. NOT have commenced and be currently registered for a PhD, or an MPhil leading to a PhD, in your home country or elsewhere
  7. Have the support of a potential supervisor from at least one UK university listed in your application form
  8. Have provided all supporting documentation in the required format
  9. Be unable to afford to study in the UK without this scholarship

The CSC aims to identify talented individuals who have the potential to make change. We are committed to a policy of equal opportunity and non-discrimination, and encourage applications from a diverse range of candidates. For further information on the support available to candidates with a disability, see the CSC disability support statement.


Checkout: How To Write A Scholarship Essay - Scholarship Essay Examples

Documents Required for Application

Your application must include the following supporting documentation:

  1. Proof that you are a citizen or have refugee status of an eligible Commonwealth country: a copy of your valid passport (or national ID card) showing your photograph, date of birth, and country of citizenship – uploaded to the online application system
  2. 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
  3. References from at least two individuals – submitted directly by the referees to the online application system (referees will be sent an email request to submit their reference online)
  4. 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 to submit their statement online).

If any of this documentation is not provided by the dates specified above, your application will be considered ineligible. 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.

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.



Application Deadline

January 18, 2021


How to Apply

You should apply to study at a UK university which has a part funding agreement with the CSC. Part funding agreements are at the discretion of individual universities.For a list of universities that have agreed to part fund Commonwealth Scholarships, visit the CSC website on UK universities.

The CSC does not accept direct applications for these scholarships. You must apply to one of the following nominating bodies in the first instance:

  1. National nominating agencies – this is the main route of application. For a full list including contact details, the CSC website on National nominating agencies.
  2. Selected universities/university bodies, which can nominate their own academic staff. For a full list, visit the CSC website on National nominating agencies.
  3. Selected non-governmental organisations and charitable bodies. For a full list, visit the CSC website on NGOs and charitable bodies.

All applications must be made through one of the listed 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, and for 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. Information on how to use the online application system is on the CSC website.



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