Commonwealth Scholarships and Fellowships

Call for 2017 Applications Now Open

Applications for Commonwealth Scholarships 2017 are now open. Scholarships are for Masters and Doctoral study for developing Commonwealth country citizens.  The deadline for 2017 application submissions is the 18th of November 2016. Details of scholarships, subjects, eligibility and the application process can be found at the Universities South Africa (USA) website.

Level of courses:

  • One Year taught Masters Courses or Equivalent Degree (excluding MBA).
  • Doctoral Degree of up to three years duration (UK institution).

Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan

The CSFP is an annual scheme made available to all the Commonwealth countries by the Commonwealth Scholarships Commission. In South Africa, this is jointly managed by:

  • The British Council.
  • Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU).
  • Universities South Africa (USA)

What are Commonwealth Scholarships and Fellowships?

The Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP) is an international programme under which member governments offer scholarships and fellowships to citizens of other Commonwealth countries. The CSFP was established at the first Commonwealth education conference in 1959, and over 26,000 individuals have benefited.

The Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the United Kingdom (CSC) is responsible for managing Britain’s contribution to the CSFP.

The CSC supports around 700 awards annually. Awards are funded by the Department for International Development, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Scottish Government, in conjunction with UK universities. The CSC also nominates UK citizens for scholarships to study in other Commonwealth countries under the CSFP.

The CSC makes available seven types of award:

  • Scholarships for PhD research
  • Scholarships for Master’s study
  • Shared Scholarships with UK universities in support of Master’s programmes
  • Academic Fellowships for staff serving in developing country universities
  • Split-site Scholarships for PhD students to spend up to one year in the UK
  • Professional Fellowships for mid-career professionals in developing countries
  • Distance Learning Scholarships for developing country students to study UK Master’s degree courses while living in their own countries

What financial support does the plan offer?

The scholarships and fellowships cover most costs associated with your study/time in the UK. This can include, where appropriate, return airfares, tuition fees, maintenance costs, study and other allowances. The terms and conditions of each type of scholarship and fellowship vary. More information is available on the CSC website.

What courses does the plan cover?

Commonwealth Scholarships for Master’s and PhD study are available for postgraduate study at any UK university which has a funding agreement with the CSC. Commonwealth Split-site Scholarships support candidates who are undertaking PhD study at a university in their home country to spend up to one year at a UK university as part of their academic work. Awards are not limited to specific courses, but candidates must be able to demonstrate that their proposed study will develop leadership potential (for candidates from developed Commonwealth countries) or have a development impact on their home countries (for candidates from developing Commonwealth countries).

Commonwealth Shared Scholarships are offered to developing country students who would not otherwise be able to study in the UK, for specific Master’s degree courses.

Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholarships allow developing country students to study UK Master’s degree courses while living in their own countries. The scholarships are available for specific courses selected by the CSC on the basis of their quality and relevance to development.

Commonwealth Scholarships are also available for undergraduate study for citizens of the Falkland Islands, the Maldives, St Helena and the Seychelles only.

Commonwealth Academic Fellowships provide mid-career staff in developing country universities with the opportunity to network and update knowledge and skills related to their academic subject and responsibilities.

Commonwealth Professional Fellowships offer mid-career professionals from developing Commonwealth countries the opportunity to spend a period (typically three months) with a UK host organisation working in a relevant field.

What happens if your application is successful?

To help you prepare for your study abroad, we can provide information on the UK, and help you with specially-created information packs and pre-departure briefings before you leave for your studies.

If your scholarship or fellowship is awarded for study in the UK, you will be funded to live in the UK for the period of your study. During this time, you will be able to work part-time (no more than twenty hours per week), or full-time during the academic holidays. For more information on working while you study in the UK, please visit the Education UK website.

You will not be able to work permanently in the UK once your course is finished. You are expected to return to your country, where you can put your new skills and experience into practice.

Alumni Membership

If you are a former Commonwealth Scholar or Fellow and have not registered as an alumni member, please contact Auspicious.Ndlovu@britishcouncil.org so we can send you the forms. We will then update your details in our database.

More information

For more information on Commonwealth Scholarships and Fellowships in the UK, please visit the CSC website, and for countries other than the UK, please visit the CSFP website.