Commonwealth Scholarships: Eligibility Requirements, Benefits, and How to Apply

Around 26,000 students from all over the world have benefited from Commonwealth Scholarships and its Fellowships. Each year, about 800 students are granted the chance to pursue postgraduate degrees at UK institutions as part of the UK's continuous commitment to the Commonwealth.

Princewill Princewill
Posted Princewill Princewill October 20, 2022
Updated 2022/10/20 at 4:38 PM
12 Min Read
Commonwealth Scholarships
Commonwealth Scholarships

Commonwealth Scholarships are funded by the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC) and are aimed at sponsoring students from Commonwealth countries who cannot afford to study in the UK.

Commonwealth Scholarships provide a platform for talented and motivated students to enhance their knowledge and make a meaningful contribution in their given sector. 

In today’s era of intense inflation, pursuing higher qualifications can be extremely costly. The ridiculous fee structure of undergraduate programs makes it difficult for an aspiring student to pursue his dreams.

It leaves no room to even think about postgraduate studies, especially if you’re single-handedly providing the funds. 

Now one may ask, “What can be done concerning the brilliant-minded students who can make a difference in the world if given the opportunity?” 

Well, there are organizations who are committed to seeking out these young talents and giving them a chance by awarding them scholarships. 

Each year, about 800 students are granted the chance to pursue postgraduate degrees at UK institutions as part of the UK’s continuous commitment to the Commonwealth.

If you are from a Commonwealth country and feel you have what it takes to make a difference in the world, but you are unable to support your UK studies on your own, you may be a perfect candidate.

However, it is important to know what the scholarship entails and how to apply, which I will be looking at in the course of this article.

Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC)

The Commonwealth Scholarships program is an initiative created by the British Government to provide fully-funded scholarships to talented students who reside in Commonwealth countries. 

It financially supports students who qualify for postgraduate studies, but don’t have the funds to see them through. 

This is achieved by launching a list of varied scholarship programs which students can choose from for both their Masters’ and Ph.D. Levels. 

This list includes;

  • Commonwealth Professional Fellowships
  • Commonwealth PhD Scholarships (for least developed countries and fragile states)
  • Commonwealth Split-site Scholarships (for low and middle income countries)
  • Commonwealth Master’s Scholarships
  • Commonwealth Shared Scholarships
  • Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholarships
  • Commonwealth Rutherford Fellowships
  • Commonwealth Medical Fellowships 

Since its founding in 1959, the program has annually granted scholarships and fellowships to approximately 35,000 people.

The scholarship covers tuition, housing, visa and travel costs, a meal stipend, and other expenses. With scholarships, this is as good as it gets.

Eligibility Requirements

You’ve come to the wrong spot if you’re seeking a comprehensive list of all the eligibility requirements. The requirements for the Commonwealth scholarships are rather minimal. 

To be eligible, you must be a citizen or permanent resident of a Commonwealth country. 

Applicants must have an undergraduate honors degree of at least second class upper. Seems easy, right? However, this means the competition will be fierce as you will be competing with a lot of first-class candidates. 

So it’s important that you build a strong CGPA before you graduate. 

For applicants who are interested in getting a PhD, possession of a Master’s Degree is mandatory.

Things to Note

The goal of the scholarship is to sponsor talented individuals who can have a positive effect in their home countries. One important thing they also look out for is the applicant’s course of study.

How relevant is the course you wish to study to fix modern-day difficulties, and what answers, if any, can they offer? This is why the scholarship is mostly aimed at people from underdeveloped nations. 

This quality must be reflected in the course you are applying to study.

A person from a predominantly agricultural country applying to study agricultural engineering in order to improve his country’s agricultural sector is more likely to be awarded the scholarship than a person from the same country who applies to study computer science for the sake of studying computer science.

The scholarship’s guiding principle is, “If we help you, how can you serve your country?”

Scholarship Benefits 

As I previously mentioned earlier, the Commonwealth Scholarships are fully funded by the Government of the United Kingdom. 

This indicates that the British government will pay for all the expenses of the students who are awarded the scholarships.

These expenses will include;

  • Transportation cost waiver
  • Tuition fees
  • Textbook allowance
  • Accommodation and living expenses
  • Allowance for personal expenses
  • Travel expense and a visa
  • Medical expenses

How to Apply 

The Commonwealth Commission opens in November every year to receive applications. It is important to stay updated with related news and deadlines from their original website. 

Applicants who are interested can apply by logging in to the CSC online portal. Select your country’s name and explore the eligibility criteria for your region. 

You may submit your application after you have successfully reviewed and met all the requirements. 

Selection Process

Commonwealth Scholarships are awarded based on merit. The final list released by the CSC consists of the names of those candidates who the panel found best in terms of majorly contributing to the welfare of their developing home countries.

This means that the selection process is highly competitive as candidates will be strictly scrutinized before they make the final list. 

The final decision is made by the Member States embodied in the Commission Grant Committee.

Documents Required

To successfully submit your application, applicants are advised to have the following set of documents before applying:

  • Your research proposal (the innovative idea you have in the near future)
  • Scholarship CV and cover letter
  • Prior work experience (this must be related to the applicant’s course of study)
  • Your study plan (to project yourself as a serious and scheduled student)
  • Motivational Letter (enlist key reasons why you are applying for the scholarship)
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Three Recommendation Letters from your professors
  • Letter of Intent (LOI)

Fully-funded Commonwealth Scholarships

There are several universities that partner with the Commonwealth Commission to offer scholarships in the UK to aspiring students from developing countries.

University of Birmingham Commonwealth Shared Scholarships

The aim is to provide equal opportunities for growth and development for all students,  irrespective of their cultural background or financial ability. 

The university has launched a full scholarship program in partnership with the CSC and the UK Department of International Development.

The scholarship is only available to students pursuing a Master’s Degree in the following fields of study:-

  • Cancer Sciences
  • Economic Development and Regeneration
  • Economics

Benefits

  • Full tuition fee
  • Monthly stipends
  • Visa and Travel cost (which covers excess baggage allowance on return flights)
  • Medical expenses
  • Study grant

University of Warwick Commonwealth Shared Scholarships

If you are a student looking for a school where you can gain relevant skills and knowledge and prove to be an asset to your country, then this scholarship is for you.

The University of Warwick offers a diverse range of degree programs that you can choose from and find out what suits you best.

They offer scholarships only to applicants pursuing a Master’s Degree in these fields of study:

  • Healthcare operational management
  • Food security
  • Biotechnology, Bioprocessing and Business Management
  • Gender and International Development
  • International Political Economy
  • International Development Law and Human Rights
  • Global and Comparative History

Allowances

  • Full tuition fee
  • Monthly stipend
  • Travel costs
  • Clothing allowance

Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholarships

The British government introduced this scholarship scheme in 2002, and I feel like it was initiated for the COVID situation in particular. Lol.

The commonwealth scholarships scheme is a poverty reducing scheme which has been awarded to over 1000 students living in Commonwealth countries.

This scheme is available for master’s degrees only.

It is hosted by several universities in the UK, like:

  • Queen Mary, University of London
  • University of Birmingham
  • University of York
  • Open University
  • University of Liverpool
  • University of Oxford
  • University of Sterling
  • University of Edinburgh
  • Cardiff University

Available fields of study-:

  • International Human Rights Law
  • International Animal Health 
  • Global Challenges
  • Public Financial Management
  • Tropical Forestry
  • Online and Distance Education
  • Trauma Sciences
  • Burn Care
  • Dementia Sciences

Perks and Allowances

  • Full tuition fee
  • Residential cost 
  • Monthly stipends
  • Travel cost and visa
  • Study expenses

Commonwealth Rutherford Fellowships

This scholarship program is funded by the UK Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy. 

The program offers fellowships every year to over 50 international students. It gives the highest quality researchers an opportunity to practice and benefit from world-class facilities.

It is available for scholars who want to spend one or two years practicing in a UK university.

University of Pretoria Commonwealth Doctoral Fellowships

Consider this a fantastic opportunity if you have what it takes to contribute to the research division of one of the best research-intensive institutions in the UK.

You wouldn’t want to pass up the chance to be affiliated with the University of Pretoria for three years, would you?

This scholarship is only available for Ph.D. Students. You can apply for any of the courses offered by the host university.

Perks and Allowances

  • Living expenses
  • Free health care
  • Study expenses
  • Full tuition fee
  • Travel and visa cost

Conclusion

Around 26,000 students from all over the world have benefited from Commonwealth Scholarships and its Fellowships.

Through this scholarship, a lot of gifted students have been given the chance to finish their studies in colleges abroad. It strives to give scholars enough financial assistance.

The selection process takes into account your academic standing, track record, research proposal potential, and the influence of the research in your native country.

After making every effort to create your finest application, please do your best to submit.

Please share your opinions in the comment area. Have you previously been awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship? Share your experiences if you like.

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