Commonwealth PhD Scholarships

Deadline:  28 August 2019
Open to: citizens/refugee status by an eligible Commonwealth country
Benefits: fully funded


Commonwealth 2019 PhD Scholarships are for candidates from high income Commonwealth countries, for full-time doctoral study at a UK university for awards commencing  between January to March 2020. These scholarships are funded by the UK Department for Education in conjunction with UK universities to support world class research and to contribute to UK higher education and research to help sustain international recognition of the UK higher education system and for the benefit of wider society. The CSC does not offer scholarships to candidates from high income Commonwealth countries who have already started their PhD study in the UK.


  • Be a citizen of or have been granted refugee status by an eligible Commonwealth country
  • Show evidence that you are permanently resident in an eligible Commonwealth country. You must have lived in an eligible Commonwealth country for a period of 5 years for a continuous period within the last 10 years. If the CSC are unable to interpret this from your application, you will be contacted to provide further evidence.
  • Be available to start your academic studies in the UK between January to March 2020 (to be agreed by the CSC)
  • Hold a first degree of at least upper second class (2:1) honours standard, or a second class degree and a relevant postgraduate qualification (usually a Master’s degree) by the time of submitting your scholarship application
  • Not be registered for a PhD, or an MPhil leading to a PhD, at a UK university before January 2020
  • Not have commenced and be currently registered for a PhD, or an MPhil leading to a PhD, in your home country or elsewhere
  • Hold an unconditional offer from your chosen university/universities listed on your CSC online application, at the point of being notified that you have been provisionally selected for an award by the CSC*
  • References from at least two individuals
  • A supporting statement from a proposed supervisor at one or more of the UK universities

*When applying for this scholarship you should ensure that you have contacted your chosen university/universities to confirm you are able to secure admission between January-March 2020; please be aware that some universities may not offer January-March 2020 admission for some of their courses.

Full eligibility criteria is included in the Commonwealth PhD Scholarships (for high income countries) 2019 terms and conditions.


Awards are tenable at any approved UK university or higher education institution for a specific programme of research. Awards are to obtain one degree; funding will not be extended to enable candidates to complete a qualification in addition to or higher than that for which the selection was made. Awards are made in respect of fulltime study only and no other course of study may be undertaken at the same time.

Your award will be tenable only at a UK university with which the CSC is able to make a joint funding agreement. Under a joint funding agreement, the CSC will fund two years of a three-year PhD and the host university will fund one year. Joint funding agreements will be negotiated individually for selected candidates.

Each scholarship provides:

  • Approved airfare from your home country to the UK and return at the end of your award (the CSC will not reimburse the cost of fares for dependents, nor usually the cost of journeys made before your award is finally confirmed)
  • Approved tuition fees
  • Stipend (living allowance) at the rate of £1,110 per month, or £1,362 per month for those at universities in the London metropolitan area
  • Thesis grant towards the cost of preparing a thesis or dissertation, where applicable
  • 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 (usually the cost of one economy class return airfare to your fieldwork location), where approved
  • Paid mid-term visit (airfare) to your home country (unless you have claimed (or intend to claim) spouse and/or
  • child allowances during your scholarship, or have received a return airfare to your home country for fieldwork)
  • Family allowances

Full tenure, placement and value of the scholarship is described in the Commonwealth PhD Scholarships (for high income countries) 2019 terms and conditions.

How to apply?

You must make your application directly to the CSC using the CSC’s online application system. The CSC will not accept any applications that are not submitted via the online application system. You are not required to apply via a nominating body for these scholarships.

Only one application per applicant for these scholarships will be accepted.

You are advised to 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.

In order to apply and read more information about the program and application process, please visit the official website.