Commonwealth PhD Scholarships (low income countries)

About the award

Level: PhD
Course: All PhD that fits into one of the six key themes of the CSC.
Country: Bangladesh, Cameroon, Gambia, Kenya, Kiribati, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Pakistan, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Tanzania, Tuvalu, Uganda, Vanuatu, Zambia
Value: Full tuition fee and living stipend.
No. of awards: Variable
Deadline: CSC applications will close on 1 November 2021.

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 fellowships, 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 by the start of the UK academic year in September 2022. 
  • By September 2022, hold a first degree of at least upper second class (2:1) honours standard, or a second-class degree (2:20) and a relevant postgraduate qualification (usually a Master’s degree). The CSC would not normally fund a second UK Master’s degree. If you are applying for a second UK Master’s degree, you will need to provide justification as to why you wish to undertake this study
  • Not be registered for a PhD, or an MPhil leading to a PhD, at a UK university or in your home country before September/October 2022.
  • Be unable to afford to study in the UK without this scholarship
  • Have provided all supporting documentation in the required format

Terms and conditions

Full eligibility criteria and general conditions of the award can be found on the CSC website

How to Apply

You must apply to one of the CSC's agreed nominating bodies in the first instance –the CSC does not accept direct applications for these scholarships. Please see their website for more information:     

You must then 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

You do not need to hold an unconditional offer in order to apply, however, you will need to include a supporting statement from your proposed supervisor.

Applications for Commonwealth PhD Scholarships (for least developed countries and fragile states) for the academic year 2022/23 are open now and close on 1 November 2021.


Global Engagement Office
Postgraduate Recruitment and Sponsor Relations Manager
CB110 Queens' Building
+44(0)207882 6484

How to apply

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

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.