Not that long ago, Britain ran an empire. IT spanned all sides of the globe, to the point that the saying “the sun never sets on the British Empire” was coined. Since then, this has morphed into a much flatter structure called the Commonwealth of Nations. It is made up of 54 states, most of which are former territories of the British Empire. Together, the Commonwealth helps one another out and supports international cooperation in advancing economics, social development and human rights. But, on top of that, the UK also runs a commonwealth scholarship. Here is everything you need to know about the scholarship.
Which countries are Commonwealth countries?
The following countries are all part of the Commonwealth of Nations:
- United Kingdom
- New Zealand
- South Africa
- Sri Lanka
- Sierra Leone
- Trinidad and Tobago
- The Gambia
- The Bahamas
- Papa New Guinea
- Solomon Islands
- Saint Lucia
- Saint Vincent
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Saint Kitts and Nevis
What is the commonwealth scholarship?
The Commonwealth Scholarship is given to talented students who have the potential to make a positive impact on the world. The UK has committed around 800 places each year at UK universities for those eligible for the scholarship to undertake postgraduate degrees.
The scheme is aimed at those who would not otherwise be able to afford to study in the UK. By funding their study, the scheme helps to support and inspire future innovators and leaders. It is the UK’s primary scholarship scheme focused on supporting international development goals and it hopes to attract outstanding talent from overseas.
Who can apply?
If you are a citizen or permanent resident of any Commonwealth country, you can apply for this scheme. You could also be eligible if you are a refugee or a British protected person.
On top of that, you will need an undergraduate honours degree of at least a 2:1 (upper second class) and if you are looking to study for a PhD, you will need the appropriate master’s degree too.
The last criteria is that you must be unable to afford to study in the UK without the scholarship’s support.
The exact criteria for each type of scholarship do vary slightly, so check out the information available on the Commonwealth Scholarships website.
What scholarships are there?
If you fit the criteria, you can apply for any of these scholarships:
- Commonwealth PhD Scholarships
- Commonwealth Split-site Scholarships
- Commonwealth Master’s Scholarships
- Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholarships
- Commonwealth Medical Fellowships
- Commonwealth Professional Fellowships
These are all offered under 6 different ‘development themes’. This means that whilst there is no restriction on what you can study, the commission will give priority to students whose studies are most relevant to the development 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
Is there any financial support?
Most scholarships offered are fully funded. This means that as well as covering your tuition, you will receive your airfare to and from the UK and a living allowance to support you whilst you’re in the country.
How do you apply?
Depending on the scholarship, you either need to apply through the National Nominating Agency, a university or an NGO. To find out exactly which, check out the commission applicants page.
What do I need to apply?
To begin an online application, you will need to have a scanned copy of your passport, an academic transcript, your degree certificate, two references and your admission letter.
When is the deadline to apply?
The deadlines each year are usually around December time, but your scholarship will have more specific information on their page each year.