Commonwealth PhD Scholarships (for least developed countries and fragile states)

Commonwealth Scholarship Commission

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Next deadline: Oct 30, 2020 9:00am PDT (Pre proposal)

Later deadlines: Nov 20, 2020 8:00am PST (Full proposal)

Grant amount: Approximately £60,000

Fields of work: All fields of work

Applicant type: PhD Student

Funding uses: Scholarship

Location of project: United Kingdom

Location of residency: Bangladesh; Cameroon; Gambia; Kenya; Kiribati Show all

Location of citizenship: Bangladesh; Cameroon; Gambia; Kenya; Kiribati Show all

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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 the deadline above. 

You must apply to one of the following nominating bodies in the first instance – the CSC does not accept direct applications for these scholarships:

All applications must be made through one of these nominating bodies. Each nominating body is responsible for its own selection process. 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. 

Commonwealth PhD Scholarships are for candidates from low and middle income Commonwealth countries, for full-time doctoral study at a UK university.

Funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), 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 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

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • You should apply to study at a UK university which has a part funding agreement with the CSC.
  • You may propose to study at one university for a four-year PhD, but this must be based in a recognised Doctoral Training Centre.
    • You must research this option thoroughly (further details can be found on the websites of the individual UK research councils) and justify its added value compared with a three-year PhD.
    • As the CSC will fund only a limited number of four-year PhDs, if you do choose this option, you are strongly advised to also propose at least one three-year PhD choice.
  • 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/October 2020
    • By September 2020, 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 (a Master’s degree)
    • NOT be registered for a PhD, or an MPhil leading to a PhD, at a UK university before September/October 2020
    • NOT have commenced and be currently registered for a PhD, or an MPhil leading to a PhD, in your home country or elsewhere
    • Have the support of a potential supervisor from at least one UK university listed in your application form
    • Have provided all supporting documentation in the required format
    • Be unable to afford to study in the UK without this scholarship
  • Eligible Commonwealth countries
    • Bangladesh
    • Cameroon
    • The Gambia
    • Kenya
    • Kiribati
    • Lesotho
    • Malawi
    • Mozambique
    • Nigeria
    • Pakistan
    • Rwanda
    • Sierra Leone
    • Solomon Islands
    • Tanzania
    • Tuvalu
    • Uganda
    • Vanuatu
    • Zambia


  • The CSC’s selection criteria give priority to applications that demonstrate the strongest relevance to development.


  • Funding will not be extended to enable candidates to complete a qualification in addition to or higher than that for which the selection was made. 

This page was last reviewed August 28, 2019 and last updated August 28, 2019