Commonwealth Scholarship

The Commonwealth Scholarship is an international scholarship program offered by the Commonwealth of Nations and funded by the governments of the member states. It offers the opportunity for students from developing countries to pursue a postgraduate degree at a university in the United Kingdom. The aim of the programme is to provide students with the knowledge, skills, and qualifications needed to help them become leaders in their home countries and contribute to the social and economic development of the Commonwealth. Since its inception in 1959, the programme has helped more than 70,000 students from over 160 countries around the world to further their education.

One of the most prestigious scholarships in India, the commonwealth scholarship by the United Kingdom has benefitted students in not only getting education in the UK but also build a bright and reputed career. Scholarships are not just about maintaining a consistent academic career although that is an important criterion to get a scholarship but there is much more to it than just excelling in academics, a scholarship helps you build a personality and looks at the holistic development of an individual.


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Commonwealth Scholarship

The commonwealth scholarship was established in 1959 at the first Commonwealth education conference. The scholarship is awarded to students belonging to the 53 commonwealth countries who are planning to pursue their master’s or doctorate from the UK. The Scholarship is funded by the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC), a body that works under the government of UK. The CSC funds 800 scholarships every year for students who are planning to pursue their master’s in a field specified by this programme. The scholarship covers the following:

  • Economy return international travel 
  • Tuition fees
  • Basic allowance 

The Commonwealth Scholarship in India is handled by the following governing bodies:

  • The British Council
  • Association of Commonwealth Universities
  • Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India
  • Commonwealth Scholarship Commission

The selection process for this scholarship in India is usually done by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India.  The CSC offers the scholarship to students whose research interest lies in one of these fields:

  • 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

If you are planning to pursue a master’s or a PhD in any of these areas of research then you should definitely apply for this scholarship because it will not only cover your tuition fees and give you a chance to study abroad but also expose you to the abundance of research and career opportunities in these fields. 

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Types of Awards

The Commonwealth Scholarships Commission offers:

  • Commonwealth PhD Scholarships  
  • Commonwealth Split-site Scholarships  
  • Commonwealth Master’s Scholarships 
  • Commonwealth Shared Scholarships 
  • Commonwealth Distance learning Scholarships 
  • Commonwealth PhD Scholarships  
  • Commonwealth Medical Fellowships 
  • Commonwealth Professional Fellowships 

Why Apply for the Commonwealth Scholarship? 

The scholarship is not just about getting free education, the prestige and reputation that this scholarship comes with will help you build a bright future. You can apply to 90+ colleges with this scholarship which includes prestigious institutes like the University of Oxford, London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London etc. the kind of exposure that one gets after studying in these colleges through this scholarship will also help you build connections and create a network that will help you in building a good career in one of these fields. Another important advantage of this scholarship is the amount of research and the quality of research that you will conduct and how it will not only affect your future but the society at large. 

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Eligibility Criteria

To be considered for this scholarship, you need to fulfil some eligibility requirements, without which your application will be deemed invalid. The minimum requirements for application include the following:

  • You need to be a citizen permanently residing in India
  • Your age should not exceed 40 years 
  • You must be available to start your degree in the UK from the beginning of the academic year (generally in september or october of the respective year) of the country
  • You should have either completed or expecting to complete your bachelor’s (for applicants to the master’s program) or master’s (for PhD applicants) degree before the start of the academic year in UK
  • You should secure at least 60% marks in humanities/social sciences or at least 65% marks in science/engineering and technology/agriculture in your bachelor’s/master’s degree
  • You should not be having the means of funding your study in UK without this scholarship
  • If you have already been abroad for study or training previously either on any scholarship or otherwise, for a period exceeding 6 months, you will be eligible to apply for this scholarship only if you have resided in India for at least two years after returning from abroad as on the date of application
  • Your application will not be considered if you are already abroad

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Duration and Benefits

The duration of a commonwealth scholarship is 1 year for master’s programs and 3 years for PhD programs. The scholarships cover the following benefits:

  • Tuition and accommodation fees are covered.
  • Stipend under Commonwealth and fellowship plan is £1,000 (INR 92,000) every month. Furthermore, a thesis grant is also provided.
  • Airfare falls under the gambit of Commonwealth scholarship for Indian students. Moreover, spouse allowance of £225 (INR 20,000) per month. Furthermore, a child allowance of £225 per month for the first child and £110 (INR 10,000) per month for the second child.

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Application Procedure

The application procedure for commonwealth scholarships is entirely online. The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) under the Government of India, issues a public notice every year inviting applicants for the available scholarships. The candidates are required to apply to both the MHRD portal and the Commonwealth Scholarships Commission’s portal through the links mentioned in the notice. It is essential to apply to both the portals within the given deadlines for each portal, otherwise, the application will be considered ineligible. Shortlisted applicants will have to appear for an interview, after which final selections are made by the Commonwealth Scholarships Commission.

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Commonwealth PhD Scholarships

Commonwealth PhD Scholarship is available for students from least developed countries and fragile states that wish to undertake research programs in universities in the UK for full-time courses. These scholarships are funded by the UK Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office. This scholarship is offered in these domains:

  • 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

Commonwealth PhD Scholarship 2022 Deadline

Here are the important deadlines for Commonwealth PhD Scholarship 2022:

Event Deadline
Submitting Applications November
Result February

Eligibility for Commonwealth PhD Scholarship 

To apply for these scholarships, you must:

  • Be a citizen or taken refugee status in one of the eligible commonwealth countries
  • Be a permanent resident in an eligible commonwealth country
  • Start your academic studies by September/ October 2022
  • Hold an Honours degree or Masters degree by September 2022
  • Not be registered in a PhD program in UK before September 2022
  • Have provided all required documentation
  • Unable to afford to study in the UK

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Eligible Countries

Here are the countries that are eligible for the Commonwealth PhD scholarship:

Bangladesh Sierra
Cameroon Leone
Kenya Solomon
Kiribati Islands
Lesotho Tanzania
Malawi India
Mozambique Gambia
Nigeria Tuvalu
Pakistan Uganda
Rwanda Zambia

CSC Development Themes

There are six CSC Development themes under which the scholarship is funded:

  • 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

How to Apply for Commonwealth PhD Scholarship?

In order to apply for commonwealth PhD Scholarships, you need to follow this process:

  • First, check if your desired university offers Commonwealth Scholarships
  • You have to apply through one of the nominating bodies that are available for each country. 
  • Check out the full list of Nominating Agencies here.
  • Every nominating agency has a different procedure that you must  check from your official agency

Financial Support Offered

Most scholarships offered by the Commonwealth are fully-funded. It covers your tuition fees, airfare to and from the UK, and living allowance to help you in the UK.

Universities that Accept Commonwealth PhD Scholarships

In collaboration with these universities, Commonwealth Scholarships are offered to students across several countries. These universities pay 20% of the school fees of the student who is selected. Some of these universities include:

  • Bangor University 
  • Brunel University London
  • Coventry University
  • Kingston University
  • London School of Economics and Political Science
  • Oxford Brookes University
  • Swansea University
  • University College London
  • University of Bristol

Contact Details

The Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU)
John Foster House
36 Gordon Square
London, WC1H OPF
Tel: +44-207-387 8572

Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD)
Department of Higher Education
External Scholarship Division
ES.4 Section, West Block-1
Wing-6, 2nd Floor, R. K. Puram, New Delhi-110066
Tel: and 26172492

Hope this blog was helpful in familiarizing you with the commonwealth scholarships. Want to study in the UK? Our experts at Leverage Edu can not only provide you with guidance on choosing your course and university but also help you with applying to the different scholarship opportunities that are available. Reach out to us today!