Things You Should Know About Commonwealth Scholarships

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

  • Commonwealth Scholarships Commission
  • British Council
  • Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU)
  • Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India

Commonwealth Scholarship List of Disbursing Countries

53 countries are members of the Commonwealth which span from Africa, Asia, America, Europe and the Pacific and are diverse. They are amongst the worlds largest, smallest, richest and poorest countries.The applicants from these countries are eligible to apply for Commonwealth scholarships. India is one of them and its a great opportunity for Indian students to apply for these scholarships to pursue Masters or PhD studies in one of the three countries listed in the table below:

LATEST UPDATE – Commonwealth Scholarship 2020 Scheme

Master’s aspirants must apply to one of the following nominating bodies in the first instance. No direct applications can be made. Commonwealth Masters Scholarships are for candidates from low and middle income Commonwealth countries, to undertake full-time taught Masters study at a UK university. Apply via the following:

  • National nominating agencies this is the main route of application
  • Selected non-governmental organisations and charitable bodies

The CSC will not accept any applications that are not submitted via the online application system. Upload following document to online application system:

  • Proof of citizenship or refugee status
  • Full transcripts detailing all your higher education qualifications
  • References from at least two individuals

Commonwealth Scholarship U.K.

The students who are ambitious for studying in the UK with commonwealth scholarships have the following questions in mind: How to apply for the scholarship? What are the eligibility conditions? What are the documents required? How to compose study plan and research plan? What are the benefits? How to apply for study VISA in the UK? What are the key dates? and other related questions. This section will answer all of these questions in detail.

The Commonwealth Scholarship in UK offered by the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC) are:

  • Commonwealth Masters Scholarships
  • Commonwealth PhD Scholarships

Commonwealth Masters & PhD scholarships are for candidates from low and middle-income Commonwealth countries, for full-time Masters or Doctoral studies at a UK university. It is funded by theUK Department for International Development (DFID). These scholarships enable talented and motivated individuals to gain the knowledge and skills required for sustainable development, who could not otherwise afford to study in the UK. These scholarships are offered under six themes:

  • Science and technology for development
  • Strengthening health systems and capacity
  • Promoting global prosperity
  • Strengthening global peace, security, and governance
  • Strengthening resilience and response to crises
  • Access, inclusion, and opportunity

The Commonwealth scholarship in the U.K. comprise of the following programs:

  • Scholarships for Masters and PhD study at a UK university
  • Split-site Scholarships for split-site PhD study at a UK university
  • Shared Scholarships for Masters study at selected UK universities
  • Distance Learning Scholarships to study UK Masters degree courses in your home country
  • Academic Fellowships for early career academics to spend time at a UK university
  • Professional Fellowships for mid-career professionals to spend time at a UK host organization
  • Medical Fellowships for doctors and dentists to spend time at a UK hospital.

For the 2018-19 session, there were 65 nominations out of which 26 were for PhD studies. The eligibility conditions, application process, and key dates are mentioned in detail in the table given below.

Commonwealth Scholarship U.K. Detailed Application Procedure

There are two levels of courses – Masters and PhD. For Masters, the program shall be for 1 year and 3-4 years for PhD. The candidates who are in employment and wish to return after their studies in the UK must get assurance from the organization that they will be granted sufficient leaves to complete the studies. The nominated candidates will be informed through email and public notice on the Ministry website.

In this section, you will get to know the steps that need to be followed for applying to a Commonwealth scholarship at UK universities.

Step 1:There are 90+ universities in the U.K. which students can opt for applying for Commonwealth scholarships (for the full list of universities check out the DFID, UK government website). These universities currently have part funding agreements with the CSC for Commonwealth Scholarships for candidates from low and middle-income countries and we have listed 40+ in the table below:

Step 2: The CSC do not accept direct applications for these scholarships and hence the students have to apply through one of the following nominating bodies:

  • National nominating agencies Check out the link here for the list of nominating agencies in Commonwealth nations. Indian students will need to apply through Ministry of Human Resource Development, Department of Higher Education, Government of India.
  • Selected University or University bodies which can nominate their own academic staff.
  • Selected non-governmental organization and charitable bodies.

Step 3: The students have to visit the MHRDwebsite to apply for the cut-off of the commonwealth scholarship U.K. before moving to apply on ECAS portal. It is compulsory for the applicant to apply on both the portals before the cut-off dates. Generally, the applicants have to apply for MHRD cut-off in January and in December for ECAS cut-off.


Step 4:The students will need to visit the ECAS portal and create a new account on it. Fill in all the required details, upload documents and submit the application. The application deadline is in December every year. The students can upload the documents by January (following year).

Commonwealth Scholarship – VISA Information

If you require a Tier-4 visa to come to the UK to study, you must meet all relevant immigration requirements set by UK Visas and Immigration. All UK immigration regulations are set by UK Visas and Immigration and are subject to change. The CSC has no control over these regulations.

Briefly, follow the steps below to apply for tier-4 VISA:

  • The students have to apply via the UK immigration services to apply for a tier-4 visa
  • Prior to application, check the eligibility, fees, and the required documents.
  • Once you are ready with documents and other information, then browse the immigration service portal and confirm visa type as a tier-4 visa.
  • Choose “country” and a list of appointment centers will be provided. Select whether you can attend the visa interview at any one of them.
  • Proceed further with filling the online application, uploading documents, and paying the visa fee and submitting the application.
  • Applicant’s biometric will be taken at the VISA application center and you will need to collect biometric residence permit within 10 days of the date when you have said you would arrive at the UK.

Note: The applicants can visit thecommonwealth scholarship government website of UK to check out for the VISA fees for different nationalities.

We hope this article gives you a detailed view of the commonwealth scholarship and should be a great guide for you to apply for the next round of commonwealth scholarship application in 2020.