Commonwealth Master’s Scholarships

The Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP) is one of the largest and most prestigious international scholarship schemes in the world. Since it was established in 1959, 35,000 individuals have held a Commonwealth Scholarship or Fellowship – 27,000 of them were funded by the UK government, through the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the United Kingdom (CSC).

The CSC awards over 800 scholarships and fellowships for postgraduate study and professional development to Commonwealth citizens each year. The CSC’s Secretariat is provided by the Association of Commonwealth Universities, based in London; overseas services are provided by the British Council.

For information about the other scholarships and fellowships offered by the CSC, visit .

For information about Commonwealth Scholarships offered by other Commonwealth countries, visit

COMMONWEALTH MASTER’S SCHOLARSHIPS
Commonwealth Master’s Scholarships are for candidates from low and middle income Commonwealth countries, for full-time Master's study at a UK university.

Funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), Commonwealth Master’s 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.

Purpose: To contribute to development needs of Commonwealth countries by providing training for skilled and qualified professionals and academics, and to contribute to UK higher education and foreign policy aims by encouraging collaboration and links.

Intended beneficiaries: High-quality postgraduate students who have the potential to enhance the development of their home countries with the knowledge and leadership skills they acquire.

Commonwealth Master’s Scholarships are offered under six themes:

    1. Science and technology for development
      The scholarship, which may be in any area of science or technology (including, for example, agriculture, veterinary science, or forestry), will develop knowledge and/or skills that are directly related to the specific needs of a low or middle income country. Where possible, applications should cite expressed national or local priorities.
    2. Strengthening health systems and capacity
      The scholarship will develop knowledge and/or skills that will improve health provision or outcomes for disadvantaged groups in low and middle income countries. A range of approaches could be adopted, such as training staff to fill critical shortage areas; establishing better systems, processes, or management; health promotion and improving understanding of non-take up; or developing new treatments.
    3. Promoting global prosperity
      The scholarship will support economic prosperity in low and middle income countries. The knowledge and/or skills gained could lead to, for example, enhanced trade capacity; improved economic understanding or decision-making by business or government; new products and services; or long-term capacity building, through the development of entrepreneurial skills, for instance.
    4. Strengthening global peace, security and governance
      The scholarship will develop knowledge and/or skills that will strengthen peace and security at national, regional, or international levels. Multiple approaches could be used, such as strengthening open and transparent governance; improving mutual understanding within and between societies; or building systems that reduce the potential for conflict or encourage its resolution.
    5. Strengthening resilience and response to crises
      The scholarship will develop knowledge and/or skills which will help low and middle countries adapt to changing contexts, withstand sudden shocks, or increase capacity to preserve the continuity of operations following such events. This could apply to a broad range of threats, including natural and physical disasters; long-term threats such as climate change; interruptions to the supply of key resources; or sudden economic or technological disruption.
    6. Access, inclusion and opportunity
      The scholarship will develop knowledge and/or skills that will promote opportunity amongst historically disadvantaged groups in low and middle income countries. This could be through, for example, expanding educational opportunities; conducting community outreach; enhancing access to decision-making; or increasing understanding of the barriers faced. A range of disadvantage can be addressed – including social, economic, gender, ethnic, regional, or political – provided that the need is clearly stated

ELIGIBILITY
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 2018
  • By October 2018, 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)
  • 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 at

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 

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

All applications must be made through one of these nominating bodies. Each nominating body is responsible for its own selection process. You must check with your nominating body for their specific advice and rules for applying, and for their own closing date for applications. The CSC does not impose any age limit on applicants, but nominating bodies may do so in line with their own priorities.

You must make your application using the CSC’s Electronic Application System (EAS), in addition to any other application that you are required to complete by your nominating body. Information on how to use the EAS, including detailed guides, is available at

Your application must be submitted to and endorsed by one of the approved nominating bodies listed above. The CSC will not accept any applications that are not submitted via the EAS

All applications, including full transcripts detailing all your higher education qualifications, must be submitted by 23.59 (GMT) on 22 February 2018 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.

You must provide references from at least two individuals, which must be received by the CSC by 23.59 (GMT) on 22 March 2018 in order for your application to be eligible for consideration.

Awards made by the CSC are subject to the ongoing endorsement of the nominating body. The CSC cannot accept nominations for these scholarships from other organisations or applications directly from individuals; such applications will not be acknowledged.

Universities or other organisations that wish to be invited to nominate candidates for these scholarships should write to the Executive Secretary, Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the UK, Woburn House, 20-24 Tavistock Square, London WC1H 9HF, UK.

SELECTION PROCESS
Each year, the CSC invites each nominating body to submit a specific number of nominations. The deadline for nominating bodies to submit nominations to the CSC is 22 March 2018.

The CSC invites around three times more nominations than scholarships available – therefore, nominated candidates are not guaranteed to be awarded a scholarship. There are no quotas for scholarships for any individual country. Candidates nominated by national nominating agencies are in competition with those nominated by other nominating bodies, and the same standards will be applied to applications made through either channel.

Applications will be 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

For further details, see the Commonwealth Master’s Scholarships 2018 selection criteria at

Download the attached Application Guidelines, Terms and Conditions