Commonwealth Masters Scholarship Programme
The Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the UK (CSC) provides the UK government scholarship scheme led by international development objectives. It operates within the framework of the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP) and offers a vivid demonstration of the UK’s enduring commitment to the Commonwealth. By attracting individuals with outstanding talent and identifiable potential from all backgrounds and supporting them to become leaders and innovators on returning to their home countries, the CSC’s work combines sustainable development with the UK national interest and provides opportunities for international partnerships and collaboration.
Commonwealth Masters Scholarship Programme
Purpose: Funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), 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.
How to apply for the Commonwealth Masters Scholarship Programme
Applications for Commonwealth Master’s scholarships for the 2023/24 academic year open on 5 September. The deadline for submitting an application is 16:00 hours BST (15:00 GMT) on 17 October 2023. The scholarships are for study in the UK beginning in September/October 2024.
Applicants are advised to complete and submit applications as early as possible, as the online application system will be very busy in the days leading up to the application deadline.
As well as applying to the CSC, applicants must apply to a nominating agency.
There are two types of nominating agency for Master’s scholarships:
- National nominating agencies – this is the main route of application
- Selected non-governmental organisations and charitable bodies
Nominating agencies put forward scholarship candidates to the CSC for consideration. The CSC does not accept direct applications for these scholarships. Each nominating agency oversees its own selection process and may have additional eligibility criteria. Applicants must check with the nominating agency for their specific advice and rules for applying, and their own eligibility criteria. Nominating agencies may set their own closing dates for applications. Agencies will nominate scholarship candidates to the CSC by December 2023. Applicants can expect to hear the outcome by July 2024.
Applicants must upload the following documents with the application:
- Proof that they are a citizen or have refugee status in an eligible Commonwealth country: a copy of a valid passport (or national ID card) showing a photograph, date of birth, and country of citizenship.
- Full transcripts detailing all higher education qualifications, including to-date transcripts for any courses currently being studied, with certified translations if not in English. Where any transcripts are missing or do not include all pages, the application will be considered ineligible.
- References from at least two individuals, in PDF format, signed and on institutional letterhead or an email clearly showing the sender’s details.
Applications will be considered ineligible if any of the required documentation is not included by the closing date.
The CSC will not accept supporting documentation submitted outside the online application system.
When completing the references, referees should be asked to comment as fully as possible on the applicant, keeping in mind the following points for inclusion, as appropriate:
- How long, and in what capacity, the referee has known the applicant.
- The referee’s views on the applicant’s suitability for the proposed Scholarship and the need for the particular subject of study in the UK.
- Information on how, and to what extent, the applicant has shown ability in terms of capability to grasp concepts and reason analytically; capacity for original thought; and motivation and perseverance in achieving objectives.
- Assessment of the applicant’s particular strengths and weaknesses.
- The applicant’s potential to impact development in their home country.
- Any other general qualities which the referee considers would make the applicant a good recipient of a Scholarship.
Eligibility for the Commonwealth Masters Scholarship Programme
To be considered for these scholarships, applicants must:
- Be a citizen of or have been granted refugee status by an eligible Commonwealth country.
- Be permanently resident in an eligible Commonwealth country.
- Be available to start academic studies in the UK by the start of the UK academic year in September 2024.
- By September 2024, hold a first degree of at least upper second-class (2:1) honours standard, or a lower second-class degree and a relevant postgraduate qualification (usually a Master’s degree)*. The CSC would not normally fund a second Master’s degree. If applying for a second Master’s degree, applicants must provide justification as to why they wish to undertake this study.
- Be unable to afford to study in the UK without this scholarship.
- Have provided all supporting documentation in the required format.
Selection process and criteria for the Commonwealth Masters Scholarship Programme
Applications will be considered according to the following selection criteria:
- Academic merit
- Quality of research proposal
- Potential impact on the development of the candidate’s come country
For further details, see the Commonwealth Scholarships selection criteria.
Applicants should note the criteria carefully and link their answers in the application form to each point listed.
Each scholarship provides:
- Approved airfare from the Scholar’s home country to the UK and return at the end of the award (the CSC will not reimburse the cost of fares for dependants, nor the cost of journeys made before the award is confirmed).
- Approved tuition fees: full fees are covered by agreement between the CSC and the UK university, and Scholars are not liable to pay for any part of the tuition fee.
- Stipend (living allowance) at the rate of £1,347 per month, or £1,652 per month for those at universities in the London metropolitan area (rates quoted at current levels).
- Warm clothing allowance, where applicable.
- Study travel grant towards the cost of study-related travel within the UK or overseas.
- If a Scholar has children and is widowed, divorced, or a single parent, child allowance of child allowance of £576.61 per month for the first child, and £143 per month for the second and third child under the age of 16, if their children are living with them at the same address in the UK.