HomeEducationCommonwealth Scholarships - All You Need to Know

Commonwealth Scholarships – All You Need to Know

Commonwealth Scholarships are for talented individuals with the potential to make a positive impact on the global stage. 

As part of the UK’s ongoing commitment to the Commonwealth, around 800 students get the chance to undertake postgraduate degrees with UK universities each year.

If you are from a Commonwealth country and believe you could make a difference in the world, but you can’t afford to fund your UK studies on your own, then you could be the ideal candidate for a Commonwealth Scholarship.  

Commonwealth Scholarships – An Overview

The Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the UK (CSC), led by international development objectives provides the UK government scholarship scheme. It
operates within the framework of the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP) and offers a vivid demonstration of the UK’s enduring commitment to the Commonwealth.

This historic award is the UK’s primary scholarship scheme and focuses on supporting British international development goals. It aims to attract outstanding talent to UK universities whilst also supporting sustainable development overseas.

By attracting individuals with outstanding talent and identifiable potential from all backgrounds and supporting them to become leaders and innovators upon returning to their home countries, the CSC’s work combines sustainable development with the UK national interest and provides opportunities for international partnerships and collaboration.

The agency-nominated Master’s programme is one of the three Master’s programmes that the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission offers.

SEE: Ph.D. Scholarships in Canada

Purpose of the Commonwealth Scholarship

Commonwealth Scholarships enable talented and motivated individuals to gain the knowledge and skills required for sustainable development.

The UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) funds the scheme, which aims to help those who could not otherwise afford to study in the UK.

READ: How to Write a Motivation Letter for Scholarships

Intended Beneficiaries

Commonwealth Scholarships are for candidates from eligible low and middle-income Commonwealth countries, to undertake full-time taught Master’s study at a UK university.

These scholarships come under the six CSC development themes.

Types of Commonwealth scholarships available

The Commonwealth Scholarships Commission offers:

Commonwealth Scholarship Commission Development Themes

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), which funds all Commonwealth Scholarships, offers them under six development themes:  

  • 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.

There is no restriction on what you can study but the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission gives priority to applicants whose studies are most relevant to their development criteria.

READ: The FSB Scholarship – All You Need To Know


To apply for a Commonwealth Scholarship, you must be a citizen or permanent resident of a Commonwealth country. You will still be eligible if you are a refugee or a British-protected person.

You also need to have an undergraduate honours degree of at least upper second class (2:1). If you wish to study for a PhD, you will need an appropriate master’s degree too.

Finally, you must be unable to afford to study in the UK without a scholarship.

The eligibility criteria for each type of scholarship and fellowship vary. More information is available on the CSC website.

Required Documents

  • Letter of Admission to the Institution.
  • Current Course Registration Form.
  • Documents that show your citizenship
  • Any other requested documents.

READ: Canadian Scholarships for Nigerian Students

How to Apply for Commonwealth Scholarships in Nigeria

  1. Visit the portal of the Federal Scholarship Board (FSB) of Nigeria with this link.
  2. If you are a registered user, click on the “Existing Applicants Login” button at the top right corner of the FSB page. Enter your registered phone number and email address to log in.
  3. You can also click on the hyperlink for the year you’re applying for. This will direct you to the available scholarship page, where you will find the ongoing scholarship applications.
  4. Read the provided information and instructions regarding the scholarship and then click on the “APPLY NOW” button.
  5. Enter the required details and click on the “REGISTER” button.
  6. Input your email address and password to access your account.
  7. You will find details regarding the ongoing scholarships and other notifications in your dashboard. Note that you will have to complete your profile status for you to apply for the BEA scholarship.
  8. Click on the “Your Profile” hyperlink to open the drop-box menu and select “Bio Data” to open the Biodata online form.
  9. Upload your Passport.
  10. After completing your biodata, proceed and complete your “Parents/Next of Kin” data page.
  11. On the next page, complete the “Current Academic Level” section.
  12. Upload scanned copies of vital documents.
  13. After this, complete the application process and submit by following on-screen instructions as applicable. Download the completed application form.
  14. The Commonwealth and Multilateral Division of the Federal Scholarship Board will process your application.

Other steps

The board will invite you for a nomination interview by the division upon reviewing your application and the attached documents.

After the interview, the division will forward applications of successful candidates to the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC) in the United Kingdom for final selection.

The CSC will assess the forwarded application and deliberate on which candidates are most suitable to be awarded the scholarship. They will then send the list of successful candidates who have won the scholarship to the Commonwealth and Multilateral Division of the Federal Scholarship Board.

The division will inform the candidates who have been awarded the scholarship and send relevant documents to the selected candidates.

Note: Applications for scholarships are within a specified period of time and you should look out for advertisements of scholarships through electronic and print media.

SEE ALSO: Top 10 NGO Scholarships in Nigeria

FAQs About Scholarships

What financial assistance is available?

Most scholarships are fully funded, which means that, as well as covering your tuition fees, you will also receive your airfare to and from the UK, and a living allowance to support you while you are here. 
The preliminary selection is done through a process of shortlisting applications, followed by personal interviews.

Who are those eligible to apply in Nigeria?

Nigerian citizens or legal refugees are eligible to apply.

Are there any fees attached?

No. The application is free.

What types of documents should I upload?

Attach documents that can be used by people, e.g. links

How long is the scholarship valid?

The scholarship is valid for one year.

What is the deadline for applications?

Annual deadlines for applications are usually in December. Check the page of the scholarship you are interested in on the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission website to see the dates when they are announced.

End note

To date, over 27,800 people have won Commonwealth Scholarships since the first group of 175 Scholars arrived in the UK in 1960. Their alumni include Prime Ministers and cabinet ministers, Nobel Prize winners, academics, diplomats, writers, and leaders in major NGOs and businesses.

Membership to the CSC Alumni Network is free and comes with numerous benefits including regular issues of the CSC newsletter, access to online professional networks and opportunities to attend alumni networking events in your home country.

Each alumni association is different, from the types of events they organise to their membership requirements. You can view a list of current alumni associations and contact information.

You are a Commonwealth Scholar for life. Through the alumni network, you will have the opportunity to build contacts with a diverse range of scholars in your home country and across the Commonwealth. This will support your work and development goals, so go ahead and click that apply button. You will not regret it.