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Commonwealth Scholarships in UK for International Students



The Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP) is one of the largest and most prestigious scholarship schemes for international study in the world. Since it was established in 1959, around 34,000 individuals have benefited – 26,000 of them have held awards funded by the UK government, managed by the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the United Kingdom (CSC). The CSC’s Secretariat is provided by the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU), which is responsible for all matters concerning selection, academic studies, and evaluation.

This document outlines the terms and conditions of Commonwealth Split-site (PhD) Scholarships offered by the CSC for citizens of developing Commonwealth countries in 2017. These scholarships are funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), with the aim of contributing to the UK’s international development aims and wider overseas interests, supporting excellence in UK higher education, and sustaining the principles of the Commonwealth.

For information about the other scholarships and fellowships offered by the CSC, visit www.dfid.gov.uk/cscuk. For information about Commonwealth Scholarships offered by other Commonwealth countries, visit www.csfp-online.org


Up to 12 months’ support for study at an eligible UK university as part of a PhD being undertaken in your home country, under the joint supervision of home country and UK academics.

Purpose: To widen access to UK equipment and expertise for quality doctoral candidates from Commonwealth countries, and to contribute to UK and Commonwealth higher education and research through collaboration and partnerships.

Intended beneficiaries: High-quality graduates who have the potential to become influential leaders, teachers, or researchers in their home countries, and whose proposed research has a developmental and leadership focus.

Your final qualification will be awarded by your home country university (not the UK university). The scholarship does not support your period of study at your home country university.


To apply for these scholarships, you must:

Be a Commonwealth citizen, refugee, or British protected person

Be permanently resident in a developing Commonwealth country. For a full list of eligible countries, visit http://bit.ly/cscuk-developing-cw-countries

Be registered for a PhD at a university in your home country by the time your award is confirmed

Ensure that an institutional or departmental link exists between your home university and your proposed UK university (see ‘Tenure and placement’ on page 3 for further details)

Be available to start your academic studies in the UK by the start of the UK academic year in September/ October 2017

By October 2017, hold a first degree of at least upper second class (2:1) honours standard, or a second class degree and a relevant postgraduate qualification (usually a Master’s degree)

The CSC promotes equal opportunity, gender equity, and cultural exchange. Applications are encouraged from a diverse range of candidates.


You should apply to study at a UK university with which the CSC has a part funding agreement. Part funding agreements are at the discretion of individual universities. For a list of universities that have already agreed to part fund Commonwealth Scholarships, visit http://bit.ly/cscuk-uk-universities

All subject areas are eligible – although you should note that the CSC’s selection criteria give priority to applications that demonstrate the strongest relevance to development.

You must make your application directly to the CSC using the CSC’s Electronic Application System (EAS) – information on how to use the EAS, including detailed guides, is available at http://bit.ly/cscuk-scholarships-developing-cw

All applications must be submitted by 15 November 2016 at the latest.

You are advised to complete and submit your application as soon as possible, as the EAS will be very busy in the days leading up to the application deadline. We recommend that you complete your application by 31 October 2016.

You must provide the following supporting documentation to be received by the CSC by 6 January 2017 in order for your application to be eligible for consideration:

Supporting statement from your UK supervisor

Supporting statement from your home supervisor Reference from at least one other individual


You are not required to apply via a nominating body for these scholarships.


Once received by the CSC, each candidate’s application is first considered by a member of the CSC’s panel of advisers with expertise in the subject area concerned, and then by the CSC’s selection committee in competition with other candidates.

Applications are considered according to the following selection criteria:

Academic merit of the candidate Quality of the plan of study

Potential impact of the work on the development of the candidate’s home country


Awards are tenable at any approved UK university or higher education institution with which the CSC has a part funding agreement (as mentioned previously) for a specific programme of research. Awards are not restricted to any particular subject areas. Awards are to obtain one degree; funding will not be extended to enable candidates to complete a qualification in addition to or higher than that for which the selection was made. Awards are made in respect of full-time study only and no other course of study may be undertaken at the same time.

Your application must be made in the context of a departmental/institutional link with a UK university already in operation or currently under negotiation. It is very important that your home country supervisor and your proposed UK supervisor provide supporting statements that highlight current institutional collaboration. Applications without both statements will be considered ineligible.

The CSC will not change the university of a provisionally selected candidate after the point of selection, unless exceptional information becomes available that could not have been foreseen at the time of application. The CSC will make the final decision on institution of study, and reserves the right to overrule any preferences indicated by the candidate. The CSC will consider the suitability of the course and its value for money when deciding on any overrule. Tuition fees for at least the current academic year are available on university websites.

The 12-month period of study in the UK supported by the scholarship can be taken at any stage during your PhD study, providing this is justified in your study plan. It can be divided into two or more periods, with no more than 12 months elapsing between each award term. If you have not already started your PhD at the time of your application, you will be eligible to spend a maximum of six months in the UK in your first year of study.


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 usually the cost of journeys made before your award is finally confirmed)

Approved tuition and examination fees

Stipend (living allowance) at the rate of £1,043 per month, or £1,279 per month for those at universities in the London metropolitan area (rates quoted at 2016-2017 levels)

Thesis grant towards the cost of preparing a thesis or dissertation, where applicable Warm clothing allowance, where applicable

Study travel grant towards the costs of study-related travel within the UK or overseas

If you are widowed, divorced, or a single parent, child allowance of £448 per month for the first child, and £110 per month for the second and third child under the age of 16, if you are accompanied by your children and solely legally responsible for them

For more information, see the Handbook for Commonwealth Scholars and Fellows, available at http://bit.ly/cscuk-handbook-forms


A Commonwealth Split-site (PhD) Scholarship covers fees, approved fares, and personal maintenance. Other scholarships, awards, or bursaries that cover the same costs may not be held concurrently.

If your application is successful, the CSC will notify you that you have been provisionally selected (selected for an award subject to the CSC agreeing your terms of admission to the university)

The CSC reserves the right to publish the names of provisionally selected candidates on the CSC website. By applying for an award, you are giving your consent for your details to be published in this way if your application is successful.

When terms of admission to the university have been agreed, the CSC will send you a Notification of Award (formal offer of a scholarship).

When all conditions of the Notification of Award have been met, the CSC will send you a formal Confirmation of Award.

You will be required to submit a medical report before your Confirmation of Award can be issued.

You will be required to sign an undertaking to return to your home country as soon as possible after the end of your award.

You are expected to start your award on the date stated in your Notification of Award.

If you require a visa to come to the UK to study, you must meet all relevant immigration requirements set by UK Visas and Immigration. You should check the GOV.UK website at www.gov.uk/tier-4-general-visa for updated information.


All UK immigration regulations are set by UK Visas and Immigration and are subject to change. The CSC has no control over these regulations.

You are expected to reside in the UK throughout your award, and to seek approval from the CSC in advance for any overseas travel.

You will be selected for an award on the basis of the plan of study outlined on your application form, which is not expected to change significantly during your award. Any such changes must be agreed by the CSC.

You must not undertake paid employment during your award without approval from the CSC in advance.

The CSC cannot provide a letter of support for you to remain in the UK after your award to work or undertake postdoctoral study.

Your award may be terminated at any time for reasons of unsatisfactory conduct, progress, or attendance, or if your registration is suspended or terminated by your university for any reason.

In line with the UK Bribery Act 2010, any applicant convicted of bribery will be banned from reapplying for a Commonwealth Scholarship or Fellowship for a period of up to five years.

The CSC is committed to administering and managing its scholarships and fellowships in a fair and transparent manner. For more information, see the CSC anti-fraud policy and procedure at http://bit.ly/cscuk-anti-fraud-policy

All terms and conditions of award are subject to UK local law and practices, and are subject to change by the CSC.

For more information, see the Handbook for Commonwealth Scholars and Fellows, available at http://bit.ly/cscuk-handbook-forms


The CSC does not require any candidates to take an IELTS (English language) test. You should note, however, that, as a further condition of award, you may be required by your university to provide evidence of a particular level of English language proficiency.