The Commonwealth Scholarship is a program that provides opportunities for international students from eligible developing countries to study at the postgraduate level in the United Kingdom. The scholarship is funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and is administered by the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the UK (CSC).
The Commonwealth Scholarship offers full funding for a one-year Master’s degree, or a PhD lasting up to three years. It covers tuition fees, travel costs, and a living allowance, among other expenses. The scholarship also provides support for scholars to attend conferences, conduct fieldwork, and engage in other academic activities.
To be eligible for the Commonwealth Scholarship, candidates must be citizens of a Commonwealth country, hold a first degree at either first or upper second class level, and be unable to afford to study in the UK without financial assistance. In addition, candidates must be available to start their academic studies in the UK by September/October of the year of application.
The selection process for the Commonwealth Scholarship is highly competitive and based on academic merit and potential for contributing to the development of the candidate’s home country. Candidates are required to apply through the CSC’s online application system, and must provide detailed information about their academic achievements, work experience, and future career goals.
Overall, the Commonwealth Scholarship offers a unique opportunity for international students to pursue advanced studies in the UK and contribute to the development of their home countries.
Eligibilities for Commonwealth Scholarship
To be eligible for the Commonwealth Scholarship, you must meet the following criteria:
- Be a citizen of a Commonwealth country: You must be a citizen of a Commonwealth country, which includes countries such as India, Nigeria, Kenya, Pakistan, and many others. You cannot apply if you are a citizen of a country that is not part of the Commonwealth.
- Hold a first degree at either first or upper second class level: You must have completed an undergraduate degree with at least a 2:1 or equivalent. Some countries have different grading systems, so you should check the specific requirements for your country on the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission’s website.
- Be unable to afford to study in the UK without financial assistance: You must be able to demonstrate that you would not be able to study in the UK without financial assistance from the Commonwealth Scholarship. This means that you must not have access to other sources of funding, such as government scholarships or personal savings.
- Be available to start your academic studies in the UK by September/October of the year of application: You must be available to start your studies in the UK in the academic year for which you are applying. This means that you must have completed all the necessary preparations, including obtaining a visa, by the time your course starts.
- Meet the specific eligibility requirements for your chosen course: Each course has specific eligibility requirements, such as a certain level of work experience or proficiency in a particular language. You should check the requirements for your chosen course on the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission’s website.
- Have a clear plan for how your studies will benefit your home country: You must have a clear plan for how your studies in the UK will contribute to the development of your home country. This may involve returning to your home country to work in a specific field or contributing to a specific project or initiative.
Commonwealth Scholarship Application Guidelines
Here are some guidelines for applying for the Commonwealth Scholarship:
- Research your options: Before applying for the scholarship, you should research the different courses and universities that are eligible for the scholarship. You can find a list of eligible courses and universities on the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission’s website.
- Check your eligibility: Make sure that you meet all the eligibility criteria for the scholarship, including being a citizen of a Commonwealth country, holding a first degree at either first or upper second class level, and being unable to afford to study in the UK without financial assistance.
- Prepare your application materials: The application process for the Commonwealth Scholarship is online and requires you to submit various documents, including academic transcripts, a personal statement, and references. You should make sure that you have all the required documents ready before you start your application.
- Complete the online application: Once you have all your application materials ready, you can start your online application through the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission’s website. The application will ask you to provide information about your academic background, work experience, and future career plans.
- Submit your application before the deadline: The deadline for the Commonwealth Scholarship varies depending on the course and university you are applying to, so make sure to check the specific deadline for your chosen course. You should submit your application well before the deadline to avoid any technical issues or delays.
- Prepare for interviews: If your application is successful, you may be invited for an interview. You should prepare for the interview by researching the course and university you applied for, and thinking about how your studies will contribute to the development of your home country.
- Accept the scholarship: If you are offered the scholarship, you will need to accept it within a specified timeframe. You will also need to complete any additional requirements, such as obtaining a visa, before you can start your studies in the UK.
Commonwealth Scholarship Application Date
The application dates for the Commonwealth Scholarship vary depending on the country and the university you are applying to. Generally, applications for the scholarship open in the fall (usually around October) for courses starting the following academic year. The application deadline is usually in December or January, but you should check the specific dates for your chosen course on the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission’s website. It’s important to apply well before the deadline to allow time for your application to be reviewed and to address any technical issues or errors that may arise.
Important Tips to Secure Commonwealth Scholarship
Here are some important tips to help you secure a Commonwealth Scholarship:
- Start early: The application process for the Commonwealth Scholarship can be lengthy and competitive, so it’s important to start early and give yourself enough time to prepare a strong application. Begin researching eligible courses and universities well in advance, and make sure you understand the specific requirements and deadlines for each one.
- Meet the eligibility criteria: Make sure that you meet all the eligibility criteria for the scholarship, including being a citizen of a Commonwealth country, holding a first degree at either first or upper second class level, and being unable to afford to study in the UK without financial assistance. If you do not meet these criteria, your application will not be considered.
- Focus on academic excellence: The Commonwealth Scholarship is awarded based on academic merit and potential for contributing to the development of the candidate’s home country. So, focus on achieving the best grades possible in your undergraduate studies, and consider pursuing research or internships in your field of interest to demonstrate your commitment to academic excellence.
- Develop a strong research proposal: If you are applying for a PhD, you will need to submit a research proposal that outlines your proposed project and its potential impact. Make sure your proposal is well-researched, feasible, and aligned with the priorities and needs of your home country.
- Emphasize your leadership potential: The Commonwealth Scholarship places a strong emphasis on leadership potential and the ability to contribute to the development of your home country. Highlight any leadership experience you have, such as involvement in community organizations or volunteering, and explain how your studies in the UK will enable you to make a meaningful contribution to your home country.
- Get strong letters of recommendation: You will need to provide letters of recommendation from academic or professional references as part of your application. Make sure you choose people who know you well and can speak to your academic ability, research potential, and leadership qualities.
- Practice for the interview: If you are selected for an interview, it’s important to prepare thoroughly and practice your responses to potential questions. Research the course and university you are applying to, and be ready to explain how your studies will contribute to your home country’s development. Dress professionally and make a positive impression to demonstrate your seriousness and commitment to the scholarship.
Queen Elizabeth Commonwealth Scholarships (QECS)
The Queen Elizabeth Commonwealth Scholarships (QECS) offer a unique opportunity to study a two-year Master’s degree in a low or middle income Commonwealth country.
Aimed at students who are committed to creating change in their communities, the scholarships are a life-changing opportunity to experience a new country and culture, to broaden horizons, and to build a global network that will last a lifetime.
Through cultural exchange and academic collaboration, Queen Elizabeth Commonwealth Scholars help bring about positive change and find solutions to the shared challenges we face – both in their home countries and those that host them. As an active part of the Commonwealth network, scholars will help shape its future.
Before submitting an application please review the current available courses, destinations and entry requirements for each university listed below. We strongly advise applicants to read all of the application guidance and FAQs carefully before starting an application.