Apply for the Commonwealth PhD Scholarships
DEADLINE: 01 November 2021
Commonwealth PhD Scholarships are for candidates from least developed countries and fragile States in the Commonwealth, for full-time doctoral study at a UK university.
Purpose: To contribute to the development needs of Commonwealth countries by supporting research that will have a developmental impact. These awards will 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 candidates and encouraging links and collaboration.
Intended beneficiaries: 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.
Funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), Commonwealth PhD Scholarships enable talented and motivated individuals to gain the knowledge and skills required for sustainable development, and are aimed at those who could not otherwise afford to study in the UK.
These scholarships are offered under six CSC Development themes.
How to apply
You must apply to one of the following nominating bodies in the first instance – the CSC does not accept direct applications for these 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
Each nominating body is responsible for its own selection process and may have additional eligibility criteria. You must check with your nominating body for their specific advice and rules for applying, their own eligibility criteria, and their own closing date for applications.
You must make your application using the CSC’s online application system, in addition to any other application that you are required to complete by your nominating body. The CSC will not accept any applications that are not submitted via the online application system.
Applications for Commonwealth PhD Scholarships (for least developed countries and fragile states) for the academic year 2022/23 are now open, and will close on 1 November 2021.
Applications must be submitted by 16:00 (GMT) on 1 November 2021. References and supporting statements must be submitted by 16:00 (GMT) on 22 November 2021.
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.
You must submit a list of supporting documentations to ensure that your application is eligible. You must have:
- Proof that you are a citizen or have refugee status of an eligible Commonwealth country: a copy of your valid passport
- (or national ID card) showing your photograph, date of birth, and country of citizenship– uploaded to the online application system
- Full transcripts detailing all your higher education qualifications including to-date transcripts for any qualifications you are currently studying (with certified translations if not in English) – uploaded to the online application system
- References from at least two individuals – submitted directly by the referees to the online application system (referees will be sent an email request to submit online)
- Supporting statement from a proposed supervisor in the UK from at least one of the institutions named on your application form -– submitted directly by your proposed supervisor to the online application system (supervisors will be sent an email request to submit online).
If any of the required documentation is not provided by the dates specified above, your application will be considered ineligible.
Please note that the CSC does not charge candidates to apply for any of its scholarships or fellowships through its online application system, and it does not charge organisations to nominate candidates.
Choosing a university/course
You may find the following resources useful when researching your choices of institution and course of study in the UK:
- Study UK – British Council website, with guidance for international students and a course and institution search
- Steps to Postgraduate Study – a guide to asking the right questions about taught postgraduate study in the UK
- Postgrad.com – information for postgraduate students, with a course search
- Prospects – information on postgraduate study in the UK
- Research Excellent Framework 2014 results – results of a system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions
- UCAS Postgraduate – guidance on how to find and apply for a postgraduate course
- Unistats – the official website for comparing UK higher education course data
- UKCISA (UK Council for International Student Affairs) – advice for international students on choosing a course of study
To apply for these scholarships, you 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 your academic studies in the UK by the start of the UK academic year in September 2022
- By September 2022, hold a first degree of at least upper second class (2:1) honours standard, or a second class degree (2:2) and a relevant postgraduate qualification (usually a Master’s degree). The CSC would not normally fund a second UK Master’s degree. If you are applying for a second UK Master’s degree, you will need to provide justification as to why you wish to undertake this study
- NOT be registered for a PhD, or an MPhil leading to a PhD, at a UK university or in your home country before September/October 2022
- Be unable to afford to study in the UK without this scholarship
- Have provided all supporting documentation in the required format
The CSC aims to identify talented individuals who have the potential to make change. We are committed to a policy of equal opportunity and non-discrimination, and encourage applications from a diverse range of candidates. For further information on the support available to candidates with a disability, see the CSC disability support statement.
The CSC is committed to administering and managing its scholarships and fellowships in a fair and transparent manner. For further information, see the CSC anti-fraud policy and the guidance on reporting fraud.
The CSC is committed proactively to safeguard and promote the welfare of our beneficiaries, and to protect its staff, Commissioners, beneficiaries and all those with whom the CSC comes into contact. The CSC requires staff, members of the Commission, applicants for and recipients of CSC awards and suppliers to act consistently with its requirements for safeguarding. Applicants should note the CSC’s Safeguarding Policy which sets out the obligation for staff, members of the Commission, applicants for and recipients of CSC awards and suppliers to act consistently with its requirements for safeguarding. Any safeguarding concerns should be reported to the Commission at: email@example.com
Please note that only candidates from the eligible countries listed below can apply for Commonwealth PhD Scholarships (for least developed countries and fragile states) in 2022.
Completing application form
Applications must be made using the CSC’s online application system.
In the application form, prospective Scholars will be asked to:
- List all undergraduate and postgraduate university qualifications obtained (if applicable)
- List up to 10 publications and prizes (if applicable)
- Provide details of your employment history and explain how each job is relevant to the programme you wish to undertake in the UK (up to 100 words per employment)
- Provide a statement on the relevance of your previous work experience to the proposed Scholarship (up to 300 words)
- List names and positions of three referees who are qualified to comment on both your capacity to benefit from your proposed Scholarship in the UK and your ability to deliver development impact afterwards. One of your referees must be your current employer.
- Provide a Development Impact statement in 4 parts. In the first part you should explain how your proposed Scholarship relates to:
a) getting 40 million more girls in primary and secondary school by 2025 and improving learning levels, so girls can achieve their full potential
b) development issues at the global, national and local level
c) development issues connected to the theme of girl’s education and the wider sector
(up to 200 words)
- In the second part you should explain how you intend to apply your new skills once your Scholarship ends (up to 100 words).
- In the third part you should outline what you expect will change in development terms following your Scholarship, including:
a) the outcomes that you aim to achieve
b) the timeframe for their implementation
c) who the beneficiaries will be
(up to 250 words)
- In the fourth part you should write about how the impact of your work could be best measured (up to 100 words).
- Confirm what your award objectives are and how each of them will be met by the Scholarship programme
- Confirm what your objectives are for the next two years and how each of them will be met by the Scholarship programme
- Confirm what your objectives are in the longer term and how each of them will be met by the Scholarship programme
- Provide a personal statement to summarise the ways in which your personal background has encouraged you to want to make an impact in your home country. You should indicate areas in which you have already contributed, such as having overcome any personal or community barriers to your chosen career (up to 500 words).
- Summarise the ways in which you have engaged in voluntary activities and the opportunities you have had to demonstrate leadership (up to 500 words).
- Provide a scan of your passport or national identity card
Each year, the CSC invites selected nominating bodies to submit a specific number of nominations. The deadline for nominating bodies to submit nominations to the CSC is 22 December 2021.
Applications will be considered according to the following selection criteria:
- Academic merit of the candidate
- Quality of the plan of study
- Potential impact on the development of the candidate’s home country
For further details, see the Commonwealth PhD Scholarships 2022 selection criteria.
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