Commonwealth PhD Scholarships are for full-time doctoral study at a UK university for candidates from the Commonwealth’s least developed countries and fragile states.

The purpose of this grant is to help Commonwealth countries meet their development needs by funding research that has a developmental impact.

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These awards will also improve individual teaching and research capacity in Commonwealth countries, resulting in increased institutional capacity in academic and other sectors, as well as contribute to UK higher education and research by attracting high-caliber international candidates and encouraging links and collaboration.

High-quality graduates with the ability to conduct world-class developmental research and become important leaders, instructors, or researchers in their home countries are the intended beneficiaries.

Commonwealth PhD Scholarships, funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), enable talented and motivated individuals to gain the knowledge and skills required for sustainable development, and are aimed at those who would not be able to study in the UK otherwise.


To be considered for one of these scholarships, you must:

  • Be a British Protected Person or a citizen of an eligible Commonwealth country who has been given refugee status.
  • Be a permanent resident of a Commonwealth country that qualifies.
  • Be ready to begin your academic studies in the UK by September 2022, the start of the UK academic year.
  • Hold an upper second class (2:1) honours degree or a second class degree (2:2) plus an appropriate postgraduate diploma (typically a Master’s degree) by September 2022.
  • A second Master’s degree in the United Kingdom would not generally be funded by the CSC. If you’re applying for a second Master’s degree in the United Kingdom, you’ll need to explain why you want to do so.
  • Before September/October 2022, do not register for a PhD or an MPhil leading to a PhD at a UK university or in your home country.
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Countries that are eligible

Please note that in 2022, only candidates from the countries indicated below are eligible to apply for Commonwealth PhD Scholarships (for LDCs and fragile states).

  • Bangladesh
  • Cameroon
  • Kenya
  • Kiribati
  • Lesotho
  • Malawi
  • Mozambique
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • Rwanda
  • Sierra Leone is a country in West Africa.
  • Solomon Islands are a group of islands in the Pacific
  • Tanzania
  • Gambia is a country in West Africa.
  • Tuvalu
  • Uganda
  • Vanuatu
  • Zambia

Worth of a Scholarship

Each scholarship includes the following benefits:

  • Approved round-trip airfare from your home country to the United Kingdom and back at the conclusion of your award (the CSC will not reimburse the cost of fares for dependants, nor the cost of journeys made before your award is confirmed)
    Tuition costs that have been approved
  • Stipend (living stipend) of £1,133 per month for students attending institutions in the London metropolitan region, or £1,390 per month for those attending universities outside of London (rates quoted at 2021-2022 levels)
  • Warm clothing allowance, where applicable
  • Study travel grant to help with the costs of study-related travel in the UK or abroad.
    Where allowed, a contribution towards the cost of fieldwork conducted overseas (the cost of one economy class return flight to your fieldwork site).
  • Paid mid-term visit (ticket) to your home country (unless you have claimed (or intend to claim) spouse and/or kid allowances or have received a return airfare to your home country for fieldwork)
  • Allowances for families, as follows (rates based on 2021-2022 levels):
  • If you’re traveling with your spouse but no children, you’ll be eligible for a spouse allowance of £244 a month for a maximum of nine months if you and your spouse live at the same address in the UK (unless your spouse is also in receipt of a scholarship; other conditions also apply)
  • If you are accompanied by your spouse and children, you will receive a spouse allowance of £244 per month and a child allowance of £244 per month for the first child, and £120 per month for the second and third children under the age of 16 if they live with you at the same address in the UK (unless your spouse is also receiving a scholarship; other conditions apply).
  • If you are accompanied by your children but no spouse, you will receive a child allowance of £485 per month for each child under the age
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If you declare a handicap, the CSC will conduct a comprehensive assessment of your needs and determine whether you are eligible for further financial assistance.

Tenure and location

The CSC has a part-funding agreement with any eligible UK university or higher education institution with which the CSC has a part-funding agreement for a specific research program for 36 months of full-time study only (as specified earlier).

The funding will not be extended to allow candidates to finish a qualification that is in addition to or greater than the one for which they were chosen. Only full-time study is eligible for awards, and no other course of study may be pursued at the same time.

How to Get Started

The CSC does not accept direct applications for these scholarships, thus you must first apply to one of the following nominating bodies:

Each nominating organization is in charge of its own selection procedure, which may include extra eligibility requirements. Check with your nominating body for specific application advice and rules, as well as their own eligibility criteria and application deadlines.

In addition to any other applications necessary by your nominating authority, you must submit your application through the CSC’s online application system. Any applications that are not submitted through the CSC’s online application system will be rejected.

For the academic year 2022/23, applications for Commonwealth PhD Scholarships (for least developed countries and fragile states) will open on September 20, 2021, and close on November 1, 2021. The deadline for submitting supporting documents is November 22, 2021. The deadline for nominations is December 22, 2021.

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Because the online application system will be extremely busy in the days leading up to the application deadline, you should complete and submit your application as soon as possible.

For more information, visit this page

Nomination Deadline: 

22 December 2021.

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