Commonwealth PhD Scholarships (for high-income countries)

This Commonwealth PhD Scholarships 2020 are for candidates from high income Commonwealth countries, for full-time doctoral study at a UK university commencing in January 2021


These scholarships are funded by the UK Department for Education in conjunction with UK universities to support world class research and to contribute to UK higher education and research to help sustain international recognition of the UK higher education system and for the benefit of wider society. The CSC does not offer scholarships to candidates from high income Commonwealth countries who have already started their PhD study in the UK.

Visit our homepage for information on other scholarships offered by the CSC

Terms and conditions
How to apply
Selection process


To apply for these fellowships, you must:

  • Be a citizen of or have been granted refugee status by an eligible Commonwealth country
  • Show evidence that you are permanently resident in an eligible Commonwealth country. You must have lived in an eligible Commonwealth country for a continuous period of five years within the last ten years. If the CSC is unable to determine this from your application, you will be contacted to provide further evidence.
  • Be available to start your academic studies in the UK between January/February 2021 (to be agreed by the CSC)
  • Hold a first degree of at least upper second class (2:1) honours standard, or a second-class degree and a relevant postgraduate qualification (usually a Master’s degree) by the time of submitting your scholarship application
  • Not be registered for a PhD, or an MPhil leading to a PhD, at a UK university before January 2021
  • Not have commenced and be currently registered for a PhD, or an MPhil leading to a PhD, in your home country or elsewhere
  • Hold an unconditional offer from your chosen university/universities listed on your CSC online application, at the point of being notified that you have been provisionally selected for an award by the CSC*
  • References from at least 2 individuals
  • A supporting statement from a proposed supervisor at one or more of the UK universities
  • Provided all supporting documentation in the required format

*When applying for this scholarship you should ensure that you have contacted your chosen university/universities to confirm you are able to secure admission between January 2021; please be aware that some universities may not offer January 2021 admission for some of their courses.

Eligible Commonwealth countries

British Virgin Islands
Brunei Darussalam
Cayman Islands
Falkland Islands
New Zealand
St Kitts and Nevis
Trinidad and Tobago
Turks and Caicos Islands

Terms and conditions
Full eligibility criteria and general conditions of award is included in the Commonwealth PhD Scholarships (for high income countries) 2020 terms and conditions.

Please read all sections of the terms and conditions before applying.

How to apply

You must make your application directly to the CSC using the CSC’s online application system. The CSC will not accept any applications that are not submitted via the online application system. You are not required to apply via a nominating body for these scholarships.

Only one application per applicant for these scholarships will be accepted.

Application deadline: Your application must be submitted by 17:00 (BST) on 20 July 2020 at the latest.

You are advised to complete and submit your application as soon as possible, as the online application system will be very busy in the days leading up to the application deadline.

Supporting documentation: Your application must include the following supporting documentation by 17:00 (BST) on 10 August 2020

  • Proof that you are a citizen of an eligible Commonwealth country: a copy of your valid passport (or national ID card) showing your photograph, date of birth, and country of citizenship – uploaded to the online application system
  • Full transcripts detailing all your higher education qualifications listed on your online application form (with certified translations if not in English). All transcripts must be up to date at the time of submitting your application, including any transcripts to date for qualifications for which you are currently reading – uploaded to the online application system
  • References from at least two individuals – submitted directly by the referee to the online application system (referees will be sent an email request).
  • A supporting statement from a proposed supervisor at one or more of the UK universities named on your application form – submitted directly by your supervisor to the online application system (supervisors will be sent an email request).

The CSC will not accept supporting documentation submitted outside the online application system.

You can view a read-only paper of the application form before you access the online application form below.

Apply now

The CSC aims to identify talented individuals who have the potential to make change. We are committed to a policy of equal opportunity and non-discrimination, and encourage applications from a diverse range of candidates. For further information on the support available to candidates with a disability, see the CSC disability support statement.

Please note that the CSC does not charge candidates to apply for any of its scholarships or fellowships through its online application system.

Selection process

Eligible applications will be will undergo a first sifting process based on academic merit, from this sift a shortlist will be created and only those who have made the shortlist will be considered; firstly by an academic adviser with expertise in the subject area concerned, and then by the CSC selection committee in competition with other candidates.

Applications will be considered according to the following selection criteria:

  • Academic merit of the candidate
  • Quality of the research proposal
  • Potential of the candidate to lead in the pursuit of global excellence in research and knowledge

For further details, see the Commonwealth PhD Scholarships (for high income countries) 2020 selection criteria.

Anti-fraud policy

The CSC is committed to administering and managing its scholarships and fellowships in a fair and transparent manner. For further information, see the CSC anti-fraud policy and the DFID guidance on reporting fraud


The online application system includes the Equalweb accessibility software and is connected through a special accessibility server. The software complies with the WCAG 2.1 international standard at AA+ level. The software is subject to the manufacturer’s Terms of Use. The website owners and/or agents bear the responsibility for the usage and implementation on the website, including the content displayed on the website under the Terms of Use of the Software.


If you have any queries about applying for a Commonwealth PhD Scholarship (for high income countries), you can Contact us. We will not use your email address for any purposes other than responding to your enquiry.

For more information on other scholarships offered by the CSC, visit the CSC Apply page.


Visit the official link


Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the UK

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