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Commonwealth Ph.D. Scholarships (for low and middle income countries)

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Commonwealth Ph.D. Scholarships: The Commonwealth Ph.D. scholarships are aimed at low-income and middle-income Commonwealth applicants for full-time doctoral programs at a UK university.

Funded by the UK Department of International Development (DFID), Commonwealth Scholarships provide scholarships to talented and motivated individuals with the knowledge and skills needed for sustainable development and are aimed at those who do not have the opportunity to pursue their studies in the United Kingdom. These scholarships are offered under six topics:


  • 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 Ph.D. Scholarships (for low and middle income countries)

Commonwealth Ph.D. Scholarships 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 2019
  • By October 2019, hold a first degree of at least upper second class (2:1) honors standard, or a second class degree and a relevant postgraduate qualification (usually a Master’s degree)
  • NOT be registered for a Ph.D., or an MPhil leading to a Ph.D., at a UK university before September/October 2019
  • NOT have commenced and been currently registered for a Ph.D., or an MPhil leading to a Ph.D., in your home country or elsewhere
  • Be unable to afford to study in the UK without this scholarship

The goal of the CSC is to identify talented people who can make changes. We promote a policy of equal opportunities and non-discrimination and encourage applications from different candidates. For more information on assisting applicants with disabilities, see CSC disability support statement.

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CSC is committed to managing and managing its scholarships in a fair and transparent manner. For more information, see CSC anti-fraud policy and the DFID guidance on reporting fraud.

Eligible Commonwealth countries

Antigua and Barbuda
The Gambia
Papua New Guinea
Sierra Leone
Solomon Islands
South Africa
Sri Lanka
St Helena
St Lucia
St Vincent and the Grenadines

Terms and conditions

For full terms and conditions – including further details of the scholarship themes, tenure and placement, the value of the scholarship, and general conditions – see the Commonwealth Ph.D. Scholarships 2019 terms and conditions

Selection process 

Each year, the CSC invites selected nomination bodies to submit a certain number of nominations. The deadline for submission of nominations by the nomination offices of the CSC is 25 January 2019.

The CSC invites about three times more applications than scholarships. Therefore, there is no guarantee that the candidates will receive a scholarship. There are no scholarship rates for each country. Nominees nominated by the National Nomination Agencies will compete with nominees nominated by other nomination bodies and the same standards will be applied to nominations submitted by either channel.

Applications will be considered according to the following selection criteria:

  • Academic merit of the candidate
  • Quality of the plan of study
  • The potential impact of the work on the development of the candidate’s home country
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For further details, see the Commonwealth Ph.D. Scholarships 2019 selection criteria

How to apply

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

  • National nominating agencies – this is the main route of applications



All applications must be submitted via one of these applications. Each nominating body is responsible for its own selection process and may have additional eligibility criteria. You will need to check with your selection board about their specific recommendations, application rules, eligibility criteria, and application deadlines.

You must complete your application using the CSC online application system and any other application you must complete from your nominating office. CSC will not accept applications that are not submitted via the online application system.

All applications must be submitted not later than December 19, 2018, and not later than 4:00 pm (GMT).

We recommend that you complete and submit your application as soon as possible, as the online application system will be very busy in the days leading up to the application deadline.

Your application must include the following documents no later than January 4, 2019, at 16:00 (GMT) for your application to be considered.

  • Proof of citizenship or refugee status – uploaded to the online application system
  • Full transcripts detailing all your higher education qualifications (with certified translations if not in English) – uploaded to the online application system
  • References from at least two individuals – submitted directly by the referees to the online application system (referees will be sent an email request)
  • Supporting statement from a proposed supervisor in the UK from at least one of the institutions named on your application form – submitted directly by your proposed supervisor to the online application system (supervisors will be sent an email request).
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The CSC will not accept supporting documentation submitted by nominating agencies or outside the online application system.

Supporting documentation uploaded to the online application system must be uploaded as files which are no more than 5 MB in size and must be in one of the following formats: PDF, .doc, .docx, .odt, .jpg, .jpeg. Files submitted in any other format (including Zip files and PDF Portfolios) will NOT be accepted.

Apply here

Please note that the CSC does not charge candidates to apply for any of its scholarships or fellowships through its online application system and it does not charge organizations to nominate candidates.

Any questions?

All inquiries about these scholarships should be directed to your nominating body.

If you have a technical query regarding the online application system please contact: [email protected]

General inquiries about applying for Commonwealth Scholarships or Fellowships sent to this email address will not be answered; please use the Contact us form instead.


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