Commonwealth PhD Scholarships (low income countries)

About the award

Level: PhD
Course: All PhD that fit into one of the six key themes of the CSC.
Country: Antigua and Barbuda, Bangladesh, Belize, Botswana, Cameroon, Dominica, Fiji, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Kiribati, Lesotho, Malawi, Malaysia, Mauritius, Montserrat, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Pitcairn Islands, Rwanda, Samoa, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Sri Lanka, St Helena, St Lucia, Eswatini, Tanzania, Tonga, Tuvalu, Uganda, Vanuatu, Zambia
Value: Full tuition fee and living stipend.
No. of awards: Variable
Deadline: 30th October 2019 for September 2020 entry

More information

Commonwealth scholarships logo

Queen Mary is proud to have hosted Commonwealth scholars for many years. Commonwealth PhD Scholarships are for candidates from low and middle income Commonwealth countries, for full-time doctoral study at a UK university.

Co-funded by Queen Mary and 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:

  1. Science and technology for development
  2. Strengthening health systems and capacity
  3. Promoting global prosperity
  4. Strengthening global peace, security and governance
  5. Strengthening resilience and response to crises
  6. Access, inclusion and opportunity


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 October 2020, 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)
  • 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
  • Be unable to afford to study in the UK without this scholarship

How to apply

ou 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 and may have additional eligibility criteria. 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.

You must make your application using the CSC’s online application system, in addition to any other application that you are required to complete by your nominating body. The CSC will not accept any applications that are not submitted via the online application system.

All applications must be submitted by 16:00 (GMT) on 30 October 2019 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.

Your application must include the following supporting documentation, by 16:00 (GMT) on 20 November 2019 in order for your application to be eligible for consideration:

  • Proof of citizenship or refugee status – uploaded to the online application system
  • Full transcripts detailing all your higher education qualifications (with certified translations if not in English) – uploaded to the online application system
  • References from at least two individuals – submitted directly by the referees to the online application system (referees will be sent an email request)
  • Supporting statement from a proposed supervisor in the UK from at least one of the institutions named on your application form – submitted directly by your proposed supervisor to the online application system (supervisors will be sent an email request).

Please visit this CSC page for full guidance notes and the application link 

Applying to QMUL

You must also apply to Queen Mary for admission to the PhD programme. Applicants are not required to hold an offer letter at the time of the application, but it may strengthen your application.You should try to apply to QMUL at least 4 weeks before you apply for the scholarship to maximise your chances of having an offer letter in time. 

Meet our scholars

Ahmed Khalid Aziz 
Commonwealth Scholar 
PhD Electronic Engineering QMUL 

I was a lecturer at a university in Pakistan when I decided to pursue a PhD and applied for the commonwealth scholarship. Given that my area of expertise within Electronic Engineering is antenna design, Queen Mary University of London was an obvious choice given its strengths in the field. The experience of living in London was another attractive feature.

I've been a doctoral candidate at QMUL for almost two years now and it’s been a truly rewarding experience. The research facilities available to me are on par with anywhere in Europe and the faculty is strong and research intensive. Staff are cooperative and the university really handles as much as it can so students can focus on their work. Living in London is its own prize, given the vibrant multicultural community that inhabits this city. The area around QMUL's Mile End campus in particular is quite interesting, fusing the east and the west. One can experience a spectrum of cultures, languages and cuisines on the walk between Stepney Green and Aldgate East.

CSCUK has been extremely helpful during my time here, and I've never had a reason to complain. They have made systems easy to understand so that students can keep the commission updated about their progress while not feeling like there's too many administrative distractions to concentrate on work.
I hope to continue working as an academic after the end of my doctoral work, and my experiences at QMUL and in London will teach me much to benefit from for the rest of my life.


Global Engagement Office 
Postgraduate Recruitment and Sponsor Relations Manager
+44(0)207882 6484