The Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the UK (CSC) might be less popular than other scholarships given to international students from Asia such as Chevening Scholarship since they targeted only on Commonwealth citizens. However, this program is quite prestigious as they award over 800 scholarships and fellowships for postgraduate students and professionals annually.
CSC aims to strengthen the UK’s international development objectives and widen overseas interests, support UK higher education excellence, and at the same time, sustain the Commonwealth principles. This scholarship has been able to attract the brightest talents to study in UK universities and give them access to a world-class university education.
CSC is funded by the Department for Education (for developed Commonwealth countries) and the Department for International Development (for developing Commonwealth countries), along with some UK universities.
Types of CSC Awards
There are two types of award available in Commonwealth Scholarship scheme.
- Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholarships
This scholarship is aimed for candidates from least developed, low, and middle-income countries, member of the Commonwealth, who want to take a part-time distance learning Master’s study on selected courses which are offered by the UK universities.
- Commonwealth Shared Scholarships
This scholarship is for candidates from least developed, low, and lower-middle-income countries, member of the Commonwealth, who want to take a full-time Master’s study in UK universities. The awardee will be given a maximum of £22,500 tuition fees, return flights to the home countries, and a study grant.
Both applicants for Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholarships and Commonwealth Shared Scholarships are only able to select courses under 6 themes, they are:
- 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
Apart from the above schemes, you may also apply for Commonwealth Scholarships in Low and Middle-Income Countries in which you may take courses in universities in low and middle-income countries which are the member of the Commonwealth.
The Commonwealth Scholarship Commission Guides
- CSC is open for the citizen of a Commonwealth country, which consists of fifty-two countries from Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe and the Pacific. Those countries are world’s largest, smallest, richest and poorest countries.
- Applicants must finish their bachelor degree if they wish to apply for a Master program.
- Candidates are selected based on their academic achievement.
- CSC scholarships are fully-funded. They offer full tuition fees, arrival allowance and living allowance, and a return economy flight to the recipient countries.
- Only Master courses are available and the scholarships cannot be applied for distance learning courses.
- You must apply through CSC’s Electronic Application System (EAS). The online application form must be filled thoroughly, including a detailed plan of study which must be written in 300 words for Master students. However, you are able to log in and save the data that you have filled and return to the page once you have time to finish the application.
- Certified copies of certificates and transcripts of undergraduate and postgraduate university degrees must be uploaded to the system. Make sure to list your educational background in chronological order on the online application form.
- Upload the language proficiency (i.e., IELTS result) that meets the university requirement.
Tips for Commonwealth Scholarship Applicants
- The CSC’s scholarship and fellowship schemes are very competitive. On average, only 1.5% of the candidates are successful. Only people with outstanding academic performance and professional experience are likely to be successful.
- Follow the instructions. The selection committee assesses all the applications using three criteria; they are academic merit, study/research plan, and impact of the work on development. They also consider all of the information that has been provided by the applicant on the online application form.
There is no quota scheme based on the countries of origin, ethnicities, or genders. In addition, the selection committee will make a decision wholly by assessing the information provided by the applicants. Thus, you need to read all the instructions on the online application form carefully before starting the application, then complete all of the questions fully.
- For Ph.D. Scholarships or Academic Fellowships, it is best if you have recorded on attending an international conference, a good list of publications and conference papers which are published by internationally-respected academic journals. Ph.D. candidates must also provide information about the precise methodology of their research and any sampling strategy to be used.
- Find referees who will provide a detailed reference for you. The reference must also contain sufficient information to be evaluated.
- Explain in detail to why you apply to the courses and institutions listed on your application form.
- Give detailed and original information about your previous work and how your proposed work, once you return home, will have an impact on the development of your home country. There is 500-words space available, but try to make your line as efficient and effective as possible. Avoid impenetrable and vague sentences, as well as importing text from any websites or from applications.