Commonwealth PHD Scholarship 2022: Overview, Eligibility & Process

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  • This blog contains information about the Commonwealth Scholarship for PhD, including who can apply and the application process
  • In addition to this, the blog also includes details on the benefits of the grant and other related topics

Commonwealth Scholarship For PhD is intended to provide financial aid to deserving candidates who have the potential to make a global impact and those who can take up the roles of influential leaders, scholars or researchers. This Scholarship is awarded to candidates from the least developed countries. The fund helps them study for a full-time doctoral course in a UK based university. The main purpose of this Scholarship Program is to contribute to the development of the Commonwealth nations. However, it also expects to create a larger effect on the nation’s development by supporting research scholars and improving their teaching and research ability.

Overview of Commonwealth Scholarship For PhD

Particulars Details
Launched By UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO)
Main Objective To help finance PhD candidates from the Commonwealth Nations to study in the UK
Intended For Graduates with an excellent Academic background
Benefits Offered • Tuition fees
• Stipend
• Travel Grant
• Family Allowances
Mode Of Application Online
Scholarship Amount Variable

Eligibility Criteria for Scholarship

Candidates who want to apply for this Scholarship program must fulfil the criteria mentioned by the hosting committee.

  • Scholars must have a citizenship of a Commonwealth country or have a refugee status granted by any of those countries. British protected persons are also allowed to apply for this grant
  • Individuals also need to prove whether they are Permanent Residents in any Commonwealth country
  • Candidates must be available in the UK to start their research by the beginning of the Academic year in September
  • Applicants should have a relevant Master’s degree
  • Scholars need to get their first degree by September, and it must be an upper second class or a second class degree
  • Students cannot get registered for a PhD or even an M.Phil, leading to the doctoral degree. This applies to both your home universities as well as universities in the UK
  • Scholars must entail the basic requirement of not being able to fund their courses without this Scholarship program

Eligible Countries for Commonwealth Scholarship For PhD

This Scholarship Program only allows candidates belonging to specific countries to apply. Therefore, candidates only from the mentioned countries can avail Commonwealth Scholarship for PhD program.

  • Bangladesh
  • Kenya
  • Kiribati
  • Cameroon
  • Lesotho
  • Mozambique
  • Nigeria
  • Malawi
  • Pakistan
  • Sierra Leone
  • Tanzania
  • Solomon Islands
  • Rwanda
  • The Gambia
  • Uganda
  • Vanuatu
  • Tuvalu
  • Zambia

Application Process for Commonwealth Scholarship

To apply for the Commonwealth Scholarship For PhD, you need to follow a certain set of rules. Here’s a guide to understanding the application procedure.  

  • Applicants cannot apply directly through the website. Instead, they are required to first apply to any of the three nominating agencies. 
  1. Selected Universities can nominate their own academic members.
  2. National Nominating Agencies are considered the most common and main ways to apply. 
  3. Selected Non-Governmental organisations and charitable bodies
  • However, before applying to these nominating bodies, you must check for any specific requirements put forward by these agencies.
  • This Scholarship program can only accept online applications in addition to the one required by those nominating agencies.
  • Applicants must submit their applications as soon as possible since the website can crash if several users use it at the same time. 

Documents Required to Apply for Commonwealth Scholarships

Candidates need to show certain documents to support their application during the procedure. Therefore, it is always better to prepare them in advance.

Below is the list of those documents you need to upload at the time of the application.

  • A copy of your passport to prove you are a citizen of a Commonwealth nation. Or validate your refugee status granted by any eligible Commonwealth country
  • Your National ID card, which has your image, date of birth and country of origin
  • Transcripts to highlight all your education qualifications. In addition to your previous transcripts, you can also add your most recent one (only if you are currently studying for any degree)
  • References from credible sources. You can request your mentors for a referral letter. The referees will get an email to which they have to revert back with your reference
  • You will also need to get a supporting statement from a supervisor in the UK. This statement needs to be submitted by your proposed supervisor directly to the online application system

Selection Process of Commonwealth Scholarship

Every year thousands of candidates apply for Commonwealth Scholarships For PhD, while only a handful gets selected. The process of selection is very thorough and extensive.

The Commonwealth Scholarship program asks the above-mentioned nominating bodies to submit a certain number of nominations.

Then the applicants are judged on the basis of the following criteria:

  • The Academic excellence of the candidate
  • Quality of their study or research
  • The ability of the candidate to create an impact on the development process of their own country

Benefits of Availing Commonwealth Scholarship

Those who get selected for this Scholarship receive numerous benefits. They include:

  • Airfare for the applicant to fly from their home country to the UK. Upon the end of the award tenure, they get the same to return home.
  • Complete tuition fees grant for the academic session
  • Stipend of 1,133 GBP or 1,390 GBP per month
  • Travel grants are given only when required for study or research purposes within the UK or overseas.
  • Airfare grant for overseas fieldwork
  • Flight fare for a mid-term visit to your home country
  • Warm clothing allowance
  • Family allowances
  • Every month you will get an allowance for your spouse of 244 GBP for nine months. This is only valid if your spouse lives with you at the same address. 
  • If both spouse and children accompany you, then you get two allowances. For your spouse and firstborn child, you get 244 GBP every month for each of them and 120 GBP for the second or third child.
  • And if you declare a disability, the Scholarship board will assess all your needs and then decide on the fund. 

Commonwealth Scholarship For PhD is awarded to highly skilled and meritorious applicants who have the potential to work for the people. Scholars coming from humble backgrounds can apply for this Scholarship Program so that they can continue to pursue their aspirations.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is IELTS necessary for Commonwealth Scholarship For PhD?

Ans. No, IELTS is not required while applying for a Commonwealth Scholarship. However, you might need to appear for the English language proficiency test anyway. This is because it is one of the compulsory attributes for university admission in the UK.

2. What are the other requirements for the Commonwealth PhD Scholarship?

Ans. Applicants need to submit a health and disability form before receiving the grant confirmation. They also must submit an undertaking declaring they will only return to their home country after the end of the award period. The candidates must reside in the UK throughout their tenure and need to ask for permission before any overseas travel.

3. Is India eligible for a Commonwealth PhD Scholarship?

Ans. An individual with prior experience studying abroad with or without a Scholarship for at least 6 months or above is eligible to apply for the Commonwealth PhD Scholarship. Further, the applicants must have completed their previous qualifications, returned home, and have been residing in India for at least 2 years or above as of the date of application.

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An International Higher Ed professional with 7+ years of experience studying, working, and living across three geographies, currently on a mission to share his journey as an International Student.