Commonwealth Scholarships for Studying Abroad


Mrunmayai Bobade
Updated on Jun 08, 2023 01:58 PM IST

Commonwealth scholarships can be summed up as one of the most prestigious and most prominent international scholarship programmes that cover the applicant's entire expenses of studying in UK. This article aims to shed light on the specifics of the Commonwealth scholarship, its eligibility criteria, document requirements, the application process, and more!

Commonwealth Scholarships for Studying Abroad

The Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC), which receives funding from the UK government, collaborates with UK universities to offer Commonwealth Scholarships to international students. The UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office provide funding for nearly all of the CSC's awards intending to advance global prosperity for the United Kingdom.

Under the international Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship programme, the collaborating member nations provide fellowships and scholarships to scholars of Commonwealth nations such as India, Australia, Canada, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and more. It is a merit-based scholarship available to international students with leadership skills and the potential to bring a positive revolutionary shift at a global level. 

Since the inaugural group of 175 scholars arrived in the UK in 1960, more than 27,800 students have applied for Commonwealth Scholarships. As of now, 800 students are offered an opportunity to study postgraduate courses at UK universities every year, who would not otherwise afford higher studies in the country. In this article, we will discuss everything related to Commonwealth Scholarship UK such as its eligibility criteria, document requirements, how to apply, and so on!

Commonwealth Scholarships Award Value and What it Covers!

As discussed, for candidates from low- and middle-income nations who might not ordinarily be able to study in the UK, Commonwealth scholarships are offered, allowing them to take advantage of full-time master-level studies at prominent UK institutions. The following table shows what the scholarship amount covers and the conditions under which it can be used by the awarded candidate:

Expense Type


Award Value

GBP 1,236/ month or GBP 1,516/ month (as of 2023-24)

Award Limitations


Application Fee Waiver

Not Covered

Tuition & Fees

100% tuition fee

Library, Books, etc.




Travel Cost

Flight tickets covered

Health Cover


Spouse/Child Care



If an applicant is having a disability, CSC will assess their needs and eligibility for full financial assistance

Eligibility for Commonwealth Scholarships

International candidates should meet all the eligibility requirements to be considered for the Commonwealth Scholarships. Check out the list of eligibility requirements below: 

  • The candidate should be a permanent resident of a Commonwealth nation that is eligible or approved for this scholarship.

  • They should be a citizen of or have received refugee status from, a Commonwealth nation that qualifies, or be a British Protected Person.

  • The applicants should be in need of a Commonwealth scholarship and not be able to cover the costs of their studies in the UK.

  • Applicant should be able to begin academic courses at UK institutions by the September intake, the commencement of the UK academic year.

  • The candidate should have submitted the necessary supporting documents in the requested format.

  • They should have an undergraduate first degree with at least upper second class (2:1) honours or a second class degree (2:2) and an appropriate postgraduate degree (typically a master's degree) by the end of September (the same year as the admission year).

Want to Apply for Commonwealth Master's Scholarship UK? 

Commonwealth Scholarships Applicable Courses, Universities, and Country

Including India, the Commonwealth of Nations, consists of 53 sovereign nations, the vast majority of which were formerly part of the British Empire. New Zealand, the UK, and Singapore are some well-known countries that provide scholarships through the Commonwealth Scholarship programme. Additionally, this scholarship is available to all incoming international students in the UK attending any university to pursue master's-level courses such as a master's diploma, certificate, or degree. 

Commonwealth Scholarships and Fellowships are available under six development themes to enable brilliant and passionate individuals a chance to advance their expertise and abilities in a particular field and thereby help foster the advancement of sustainable development in their nations of origin.

  • Promoting global prosperity

  • Strengthening security, global peace, and governance

  • Science and technology for development

  • Inclusion, access and opportunity

  • Strengthening Capacity and health systems

  • Strengthening response and resilience to crises

Application Deadline for Commonwealth Scholarships

Students should apply for the UK scholarships a year before the admission intake they are applying for, for instance, applicants planning to apply in September 2024, should apply for a scholarship in 2023. The Commonwealth Scholarship applications open in September and the deadline is around mid-October each year. Applicants can expect to hear the decisions by June of next year.

It should be highlighted that these scholarships are only for pursuing a single degree, so finances will not be provided to applicants applying for any additional degree or diploma. In simple terms, a scholarship will be provided for the degree programme mentioned in the application. Scholarships will not be provided for a different academic programme or subject. Also, the CSC does not sponsor MBA courses; it only finances one-year taught full-time programmes at the master's level.

How to Apply for Commonwealth Scholarships?

There is an established application procedure for the Commonwealth Scholarship programme. As there is no direct application accepted for this scholarship, master's applicants must first submit an application to one of the nominating bodies listed below in addition to the CSC. After that, nomination committees will forward the application of successful applicants to the CSC. Apply only using the following two approaches:

  • National nominating agencies

  • Selected non-governmental organisations and charitable bodies

Every nominating body manages its criteria for selection and can have supplementary eligibility requirements. Applicants should consult the nominating agency for details concerning their specific application guidelines and guidance. The deadline for applications may be determined by nominating organisations independently.

Along with any additional submissions that may be requested by the nominating agency, applicants must submit an application using the CSC's online application system. Remember that any applications that lack submission through the online application system will not be accepted by the CSC. 

Note: (i) The main route for applications to Commonwealth Scholarships is through national nominating agencies.

(ii) Nominating agencies put forward the application of selected candidates to the CSC in December each year.

Commonwealth Scholarships Selection Process

Once the CSC has received the shortlisted applications, it will be evaluated as per the selection criteria given below:

  • Applicant’s quality of the plan of study

  • Applicant’s academic merit

  • Positive potential impact on applicant’s home country’s development

Documents Required for Commonwealth Scholarships

To be eligible to apply for Commonwealth scholarships, the applicant must attach all the required supporting documents to the application. Applicants must gather references from referees and upload them on the application portal in PDF format along with other supporting documents (if any). References must be on university letterhead or be attached to an email that clearly identifies the source. The referees will not get an extra email from CSC asking to submit their Letters of Recommendation (LOR) in support of the applicant.

Furthermore, CSC will be unable to consider references in any other manner or once the application deadline has passed. Hence, submitting LORs to the online application system promptly is the responsibility of the applicant. The following documents are required for applicants to upload with their applications:

  • A document proving the candidate's citizenship or refugee status in a Commonwealth nation: a copy of an up-to-date passport (or government-issued ID card) that includes a photo, date of birth (DOB), and nationality.

  • Comprehensive academic transcripts outlining all previous higher education credentials and for any classes still being taken, and certified translations in cases where the transcripts are not in English.

  • Recommendations from no less than two people, on official letterhead or in an email with the sender's information visible.

  • Applicants can additionally upload any letters of college enrollment they may have for the academic programmes they want to pursue.

Note: Nominating agencies and applicants who submit documents outside the online application system will not be accepted by the CSC. The application will be rejected by CSC if any necessary supporting materials are not submitted by the deadline. 

Benefits of Receiving Commonwealth Scholarships

The Commonwealth Scholarship UK provide several advantages to individuals who are granted the same. Below are a few of the noteworthy ones:

  • Certified round-trip airfare from the applicant's home country to the UK and back after their grant (the CSC will not pay for tickets for dependents or trips taken before your award is confirmed).

  • A contract involving the CSC and the UK university covers all tuition fees, and students are not required to pay any fraction of the endorsed amounts.

  • If you are travelling with your kids and they are residing with you in the UK and if you are divorced, widowed, or a single parent, you are entitled to a child reimbursement of GBP 529/month for the first child and GBP 131/month each for the second and third child who are under 16.

  • If you disclose that you have a disability, the CSC will conduct a thorough evaluation of your requirements and determine whether you qualify for further financial assistance.

  • Living allowance of GBP 1,236/month for those at universities in the London metropolitan area, or GBP 1,516/month for those at other universities in different areas of the UK.

  • Study travel grant to help with the expenses of travelling for studies either inside the UK or abroad.

  • Thesis grant to cover costs associated with writing a thesis or dissertation, as appropriate.

  • Warm clothing allowances (as appropriate, if required).

Things to Remember While Applying for Commonwealth Scholarships

Whatever qualification you are striving for must be made explicit in your application. The CSC will then be able to categorise your application appropriately. Applications that do not make this explicit may not be accepted.

Also, you will be asked to rank three colleges and academic programmes that you believe are best for your chosen field of study, along with an explanation of the question 'why'. Without a proper explanation of the reasons behind choosing a certain course or university, the CSC will not be able to make a fair decision and the selection process may get tedious. You may also lose out on getting into your favourite university if your preferences are not explained properly.

Before submitting an application for a Commonwealth scholarship, you need to complete the admissions process of your respective colleges. Thus, you should carefully review the admission criteria before submitting because many programmes have stringent deadlines for applications. Further, it might not be feasible for CSC to move further with your application if you are chosen for this scholarship but fail to apply to your chosen academic programmes.

Although there are no fixed restrictions on the type of academic courses that can be pursued, the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission gives preference to individuals whose coursework is most closely related to the UK's development goals. The majority of Commonwealth scholarships are fully financed, which means that in addition to covering tuition fees, the recipient will also receive round-trip flights to and from the UK and a stipend to help them get by while they are studying in the country. For detailed information about Commonwealth Scholarships, prospective students must visit the official British Council website.

Need more information about various scholarships to study in the UK for Indian students along with their application process? If yes, then write to us at and resolve all your doubts with the help of our experts!

Apply to Commonwealth Master's Scholarship With Expert Help! 

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