Commonwealth scholarships

Call for 2019 Applications 

Information on the application process for 2019 Scholarships and Fellowships will be available in October 2018. Details of scholarships, subjects, and eligibility can be found at the Department of Higher Education and Training website and the Commonwealth Scholarships 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 Fellowships

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)
  • Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET)

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 the United Kingdom’s contribution to the CSFP. CSC awards over 800 scholarships and fellowships for postgraduate study and professional development to Commonwealth citizens each year. 

Awards in the UK are funded by the Department for International Development, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Department for Education (DFE), 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 the following types of awards:

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 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 Study 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

Over 27,500 Commonwealth Scholars and Fellows have been funded by the UK government through the CSC since 1959. Our alumni include prime ministers and cabinet ministers, Nobel Prize winners, academics, diplomats, writers, and leaders in major NGOs and businesses. 

You are a Commonwealth Scholar for life and we hope that you will stay involved as an active alumnus. Through our alumni network, you will have the opportunity to build contacts with a diverse range of Scholars in your home country and across the Commonwealth, to support your work and your development impact goals. We hope that you will stay involved with the CSC community and keep us informed of your career news and achievements. These support the work of our monitoring and evaluation programme and enable us provide evidence to our funding bodies to ensure the continuation of the scheme by identifying and quantifying the impact of Commonwealth Scholarships and Fellowships. 

 If you are a former Commonwealth Scholar or Fellow and have not registered as an alumni member, please contact Missey.Marowa@britishcouncil.org.za 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.