Application Deadline: 17 October 2023.
Applications for Commonwealth PhD scholarships for the 2023/24 academic year are now open. The scholarships are for study in the UK beginning in September/October 2024.
Commonwealth PhD Scholarships are for applicants from least developed countries and fragile States, as classified by the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC), in the Commonwealth, for full-time doctoral study at a UK university.
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.
Purpose: Funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), Commonwealth PhD scholarships contribute to the development needs of Commonwealth countries by supporting research that will have a developmental impact. They also enhance individual teaching and research capacity leading to increase institutional capacity in academic and other sectors in Commonwealth countries, and will contribute to UK higher education and research by attracting high-calibre international applicants and encouraging links and collaboration, and are aimed at those who could not otherwise afford to study in the UK.
Intended beneficiaries: Commonwealth PhD scholarships are for high-quality graduates who have the potential to undertake world-class research of a developmental nature and to become influential leaders, teachers, or researchers in their home countries.
To apply for this scholarship, applicants 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 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)*.
- Not be registered for a PhD, or an MPhil leading to a PhD, at a UK university or in their home country before September/October 2024.
- Be unable to afford to study in the UK without this scholarship.
- Have provided all supporting documentation in the required format.
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.
- Provision towards the cost of fieldwork undertaken overseas (the cost of one economy class return airfare to the fieldwork location), where approved.
- Paid mid-term visit (airfare) to the Scholar’s home country, unless they have claimed or intend to claim spouse and/or child allowances during their scholarship or have received a return airfare to their home country for fieldwork.
- Family allowances, as follows (rates quoted at current levels):
- If a Scholar is accompanied by their spouse but no children: spouse allowance of £290 per month for a maximum period of nine months, if they and their spouse are living together at the same address in the UK (unless the spouse is also in receipt of a scholarship; other conditions also apply).
- If a Scholar is accompanied by their spouse and children: spouse allowance of £290 per month and child allowance of £290 per month for the first child, and £143 per month for the second and third child under the age of 16, if their spouse and children are living with them at the same address in the UK (unless their spouse is also in receipt of a scholarship; other conditions also apply).
- If a Scholar is accompanied by their children but no spouse: 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.
There are three types of nominating agency for PhD Scholarships:
- National nominating agencies – this is the main route of application
- Selected universities/university bodies – which can nominate their own academic staff
- 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.
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