Commonwealth PhD Fellowship is provided by Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC) to students who would like to pursue research in Britain. The CSC would like to provide a total of 22 PhD scholarships to students who are highly motivated and talented who are likely to cause a significant positive impact on the country of their origin. Applicants who are citizens or who are currently taking asylum in any of the Commonwealth countries are invited to apply for the Commonwealth PhD Fellowship to pursue their research in Britain. The fellowship will cover the tuition fees, travel (including international travel in economy class), maintenance fees and other expenses required by the student to pursue his research. The scholarship will be provided for a tenure of 1 year for MPhil candidates and for a period of 3 years who are pursuing a PhD degree. The fellowship is jointly managed by Commonwealth Scholarship Commission, the British Council, Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India and Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU). The candidates must be pursuing in any one of these themes to apply for the scholarship:
- Improvement in health care systems and access.
- Global Prosperity improvement.
- Improvement in the impact and functioning of global governance.
- Improvement in crisis response and aid.
- Role of science and technology in development.
- Improvement in access and opportunities.
To be eligible to apply for the Commonwealth PhD Fellowship for Indian students, the interested candidates must match the following criteria:
- The student should be an Indian citizen, should have been granted asylum in India or must be a British protected citizen.
- Should have been accepted in one of the British universities with the course starting from the British academic year of September or October 2019.
- Should not have been given admission in one of the universities in your home country or your country of your origin.
- Should not be able to afford to pursue a degree in the UK with their own financial means.
- Must hold a Master’s degree with a minimum of a second class grade. Or a bachelor’s degree with a first-class grade.
- The candidate should not be older than 40 years of age.
- Should have secured a minimum of 60% if the student is pursuing research in Humanities and social sciences and should at least should have a minimum of 65% if the candidate wishes to pursue research in Science, Engineering, Medicine or agriculture.
- The candidate should have been a resident of India for at least 2 years prior to the application of the scholarship.
- The candidates who have spent more than 6 months pursuing an internship or any other specialization outside of the country are also eligible to apply.
- The candidates applying for this fellowship must have a recommendation letter from any of their potential future supervisors. The candidates are recommended to start looking and contacting for one while applying.
- The candidate must apply only to the UK universities/colleges that are a part of the CSC funding agreement.
- Any candidate who is a citizen of any of the commonwealth country can also participate in this scholarship.
How to Apply for Commonwealth PhD Fellowship
The Commonwealth Scholarship Commission doesn’t accept applications for Commonwealth PhD Fellowship directly from the candidates. The willing candidates must choose either of the three routes to successfully apply for the scholarships. For each route the process is laid out below:
Through National nominating agencies,
This is the most popular route and most of the applications for Commonwealth PhD Fellowship that are given to CSC come through this route. For this applications, the applicants are advised to take the following steps:
- Visit the website provided in the link.
- Fill up all the details in the required fields. You can save progress to provide the remainder of the details later if the applicant so wishes to.
- Click on the submit button after completing the application process.
- Upload all the soft copy of the applications in the required format.
- Take a printout of the application which should be shown to the nomination office with all the other required documents. All the necessary documents list is provided in the section below.
For India, the Ministry of Human Resource Department (MHRD), Government of India acts as a nominating body. The applicants must contact the following address with all the required documents to successfully apply for the scholarship. The applicants are also advised to keep in contact with the nominating body in case of any announcements or any other information that would help out the student. The application which is provided by any other organisation or agency outside of the nominating body will not be considered. The applicants can approach the following address regarding application through this route:
Ministry of Human Resource Development
Department of Higher Education
External Scholarships Division
West Block-1, 2nd Floor, Wing-6
R K Puram New Delhi 110066
Tel: +91 11 261 72492
Fax: +91 11 2338 1355
Through the universities/ organisations which has ties with Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC), the applicants wishing to apply through this route must be a staff of one of the universities or the university bodies to be eligible. The list of the universities is provided here. To know the process of application, the willing candidates are advised to approach their respective institutions.
The Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) or charitable bodies who have ties with Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC) are also eligible to nominate candidate scholars via this fellowship. The list of NGOs is given here. The candidates willing to apply via this route are advised to contact the respective NGOs or charitable bodies.
To successfully apply for the fellowship the candidates are required to provide the following documents in soft copy while applying online and a hard copy of the same while approaching the nominating office. The documents are absolutely necessary for the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC) to consider the application for Commonwealth Fellowship:
- Citizenship or refugee status proof. The soft copies of the documents are to be submitted online.
- Transcripts with all the required details of previous education of the candidates. If the candidate hasn’t studied in English medium, a translated copy of the same is required to be provided. The soft copies of the documents are to be submitted online.
- The references from two qualified referees. The references should be directly provided in online applications by referees. The references are absolutely necessary for the application to be considered. The referees will automatically be sent an email in case the referees need to be contacted.
- A statement of support to be provided by a supervisor arranged by the applicant from at least one of the three institutions selected by the candidate and mentioned in the application form. The statement has to be directly provided by the supervisor.
The soft copy of the documents uploaded by candidates in the online application form should not be more than 5 MB in size. The soft copies of the documents must be in one of the following formats: .doc, PDF, .docx, .jpg, .jpeg, .odt. Files provided in the compressed formats, such as zip or PDF portfolios, or any other formats not mentioned above will be rejected for the fellowship. Any applicant who didn’t fill out the online application system will not be considered for the fellowship.
Selection Procedure of Commonwealth PhD Fellowship
The number of nominations invited by CSC for the Commonwealth PhD Fellowship is almost thrice the number of scholarships offered. That is 22 scholarships. So the scholarships are not guaranteed for all the applicants. The scholarships provided are not confined to Indian students alone and those belonging to other Commonwealth countries are also contending for the scholarships. The candidates selected for the Commonwealth PhD Fellowship will be based upon:
- The academic achievement of the scholar.
- The quality of the research work proposed by the applicant.
- How deeply the research is going to impact the country of the candidate’s origin.
In addition to the above selection criteria, the candidates have to go through the selection process of their own nominating bodies. Each nominating bodies have their own selection criteria and the candidates are advised to approach their respective bodies to know more about it. Those who are willing to avail the Commonwealth PhD Fellowship through other two routes, University body or NGO route, are advised to approach their respective organisations/institutions to know about the selection criteria/procedure.
Fellowship Amount and other benefits
Once selected the successful applicants are expected to receive the following income along with other benefits:
The cost of airfare from your home country to the United Kingdom and the cost of return journey at the end of the candidate’s tenure period. (This amount is exclusive of the cost of travel for the people travelling with the scholar and the cost of travel made by the scholar before receiving the award.)
The cost of tuition fees of the scholar during the tenure period. The tuition fees have to be approved by CSC before receiving the amount.
Will receive a monthly stipend at the rate of £1,084 and for those pursuing research in the London Metropolitan area, the stipend received per month will be equivalent to £1,330.
Allowance for warm clothing, whenever and wherever applicable.
Travel cost for research and case studies. The coast will be accountable under study travel grant.
Overseas travel cost if the fieldwork requires foreign travel and stay during the tenure period (this cost will be equivalent to economic travel to the location of the fieldwork). This requires prior approval.
Midterm visits to the scholars respective home country. The scholars would be paid with the regular tenure amount during the visits. This is inclusive of the air travel required during the visits.
Additional family allowance. If the scholar has any dependent family members. The rates provided are as follows:
If the scholar has a spouse but doesn’t have any children: the spouse will be paid with an additional monthly income of £233 for nine months at most provided they live under the same address during the tenure period.
If the scholar has child/children with them in addition to a spouse: In this condition also the spouse will be given a monthly income of £233 for nine months at most, with an additional income of £233 for the child. In case of any additional second or third children under the age of 16, the family will be given an additional income of £114 per month. Provided the family is residing under the same address in UK.
In the scenario of the scholar accompanied by children but no spouse: The child will be allowed an additional income per month of £465 and £114 will be provided for any additional children under the age of 16. Provided the children are residing with the scholar under the same address in the UK.
The CSC’s understands that the true cost of expenses for the family residing in the UK is considerably higher than the grants provided. The scholar must find a compensatory source of income to support their family members who wish to reside in United Kingdom.
Terms and Conditions
- The candidate must be a citizen or seeking asylum in one of the Commonwealth countries to be eligible to apply for the scholarship.
- The candidates are expected to provide all the necessary information while applying online. An incorrect or incomplete application will be summarily rejected.
- Candidates should clearly mention which theme they are applying for. Vague description will be considered as an incomplete application and will be summarily dismissed.
- Only those scholars who are applying for a full-time research are eligible to apply for the fellowship.
- Fellows pursuing any other academic pursuit or employment during the tenure will be immediately disqualified.
- The CSC has the final say in the institute the candidate is going to pursue his research The candidate is expected to agree with the decision to continue receiving funding.
- The university or institute of research once selected by the candidate are not allowed to change their decision after receiving the funding.
- The candidates are requested to get admission into the university of their choice before applying for the scholarship. Failure to do so will lead to the cancellation of the fellowship.
- Applicants are expected to up with a supporting statement from any potential supervisor from one of their preferred institutes at the time of applying.
- The candidates holding the fellowship are not allowed to avail any other scholarship concurrently. In such as scenario, the fellowship will be summarily withdrawn.
- Taking the IELTS test for the scholarship is not a necessity.
- A medical report must be provided before the scholarship is offered to the applicant.
- The CSC has no say over the regulations and delivery of the UK VISA and all the work must be carried out by the student and/or their respective agencies.
- The selected candidates are expected to reside in UK throughout their tenure period.