Funded by the UK Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), Commonwealth Split-site 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.
Purpose: To widen access to UK equipment and expertise for high-quality doctoral candidates from low- and middle-income Commonwealth countries, and to contribute to UK and Commonwealth higher education and research through collaboration and partnerships.
Intended beneficiaries: High-quality graduates whose proposed research has a developmental focus and who have the potential to become influential teachers or researchers in their home countries.
Commonwealth Split-site Scholarships are offered under six CSC Development themes.
To apply for these scholarships, prospective Scholars 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 registered for a PhD at a university in an eligible Commonwealth country by the time your scholarship starts (November/December 2021)
• Ensure that an institutional or departmental link exists between your home university and your proposed UK university.
This link must be greater than simply a collaboration between individuals – see the section on ‘Tenure and placement’ for further details.
Both supervisors must provide a supporting statement that provides further details of the link to ensure your application is eligible.
• Be available to start your academic studies in the UK in January 2022
• By December 2021, hold a first degree of at least upper second class (2:1) honours standard, or a second-class degree and relevant postgraduate qualification (usually a Master’s degree)
• Be unable to afford to study in the UK without this scholarship
The CSC aims to identify talented individuals who have the potential to make a change. We are committed to a policy of equal opportunity and non-discrimination and encourage applications from a diverse range of candidates. For further information on the support available to fellows with a disability, see the CSC disability support statement.
- Papua New Guinea
- St Helena
- St Lucia
- St Vincent and the Grenadines
- Sierra Leone
- Solomon Islands
- South Africa
- Sri Lanka
- The Gambia
Tenure and Placement
Awards are tenable for a 12-month period of study at any approved UK university or higher education institution with which the CSC has a part funding agreement (as mentioned previously) for a specific programme of research.
• Your final qualification will be awarded by your home country university (not your proposed UK university). This scholarship will not support your period of study at your home country university.
Funding will not be extended to enable candidates to complete a qualification in addition to or higher than that for which the selection was made nor for study towards a PhD at a UK institution.
Awards are made in respect of full-time study only and no other course of study may be undertaken at the same time.
• Your application must be made in the context of an institutional or departmental link between your home university and your proposed UK university already in operation or currently under negotiation. This link must be greater than simply a collaboration between individuals.
Both your supervisor in your home country and your proposed supervisor in the UK must provide supporting statements that highlight current institutional links and collaboration. Applications without both statements will be considered ineligible.
• The 12-month period of study in the UK supported by the scholarship can be divided into a maximum of two periods of study.
If divided into two periods, a maximum of 12 months between periods in the UK is permitted. Usually, you would be expected to spend a period of at least 6 months in your home country between visits to the UK.
If less than 6 months is required between visits, further justification as to why this would be beneficial will be required in your study plan.
• The CSC would not normally fund a Split-Site Scholarship during the first 6 months of PhD registration, to ensure that the direction of the PhD has already been established in conjunction with your home supervisor.
If you choose to apply for a scholarship within the first 6 months of your PhD registration, you will need to justify why this would be beneficial in your study plan.
Otherwise, the 12-month period of study in the UK can be taken at any stage during your PhD study, providing this is justified in your study plan.
• If you have not already started your PhD at the time of your application, you will only be eligible to spend a maximum of six months in the UK in your first year of study.
• Split-site scholarships are intended to provide access to specific expertise or equipment that would not otherwise be available in your home country.
Applications clearly demonstrating the specific value of studying in the UK to your research will be looked upon favourably, as well as how your work will support ongoing research links.
Applications that include a significant proportion of activity such as literature reviews or desk research are unlikely to be supported.
• The CSC will make the final decision on the institution of study and reserves the right to overrule any preferences indicated by the candidate.
The CSC will consider the suitability of the course and its value for money when deciding on any overrule.
The CSC will not change the university of a provisionally selected candidate after the point of selection unless exceptional information becomes available that could not have been foreseen at the time of application.
Each scholarship provides:
• Approved airfare from your home country to the UK and return at the end of your award (the CSC will not reimburse the cost of fares for dependants, nor the cost of journeys made before your award is confirmed)
• Approved tuition fees
• Stipend (living allowance) at the rate of £1,116 per month, or £1,369 per month for those at universities in the London metropolitan area (rates quoted at 2020-2021 levels)
• Warm clothing allowance, where applicable
• Study travel grant towards the cost of study-related travel within the UK or overseas
• If you are widowed, divorced, or a single parent, child allowance of £478 per month for the first child, and £118 per month for the second and third child under the age of 16, if you are accompanied by your children and they are living with you at the same address in the UK
The CSC’s family allowances are intended to be only a contribution towards the cost of maintaining your family in the UK. The true costs are likely to be considerably higher, and you must be able to supplement these allowances to support any family members who come to the UK with you.
For more information, see the Handbook for Commonwealth Scholars and Fellows
A Commonwealth Scholarship covers fees, approved fares, and personal maintenance. Other scholarships, awards, or bursaries that cover the same costs may not be held concurrently.
• For the CSC to administer your application effectively and efficiently after you have submitted, it will be necessary to create a record in your name.
If you are nominated for an award to the CSC, your details will be kept on file. Basic anonymised demographic data for all applicants will be kept for analytical research.
The CSC is committed to protecting your personal information and to being transparent about the information we are collecting about you and what we do with it. To find out more, see our privacy notice.
• If your application is successful, the CSC will notify you that you have been provisionally selected (selected for an award subject to the CSC agreeing to your terms of admission to the university)
• The CSC does not require any candidates to take an IELTS (English language) test. You should note, however, that, as a further condition of award, you may be required by your university to provide evidence of a particular level of English language proficiency.
• The CSC will not be able to offer you a scholarship if it would contravene the terms and conditions of another scholarship that you have previously held.
• When terms of admission to the university have been agreed upon, the CSC will send you a Notification of Award (formal offer of a scholarship).
• When all conditions of the Notification of Award have been met, the CSC will send you a formal Confirmation of the Award.
• You will be required to submit a Health and Disability form before your Confirmation of Award can be issued.
• You will be required to sign an undertaking to return to your home country as soon as possible after the end of your award.
• You are expected to start your award on the date stated in your Notification of Award.
• If you require a Student visa to come to the UK to study, you must meet all relevant immigration requirements set by UK Visas and Immigration. You should check the GOV.UK website for updated information.
• All UK immigration regulations are set by UK Visas and Immigration and are subject to change. The CSC has no control over these regulations.
• You will be selected for an award based on the plan of study outlined on your application form, which is not expected to change significantly during your award. Any such changes must be agreed upon by the CSC.
• You are expected to reside in the UK throughout your award and to seek approval from the CSC in advance for any overseas travel.
• You must not undertake paid employment during your award without approval from the CSC in advance.
• Collaboration is a feature of doctoral research. The CSC expects that participants in collaborative projects will develop a collaborative agreement to clarify the contributions and rights of each partner.
The CSC will not get involved in negotiating an exploitation agreement but will need to be assured that an arrangement acceptable to all parties exists. Arrangements should be made to identify, protect and value any arising intellectual property and to secure a suitable return to the institution and the investigators through exploitation.
The CSC considers the intellectual property ownership to lie initially with the student; however, many universities have their own locally applicable policy.
In many cases, it is in the best interest of a student for ownership to be vested with the university, which will have greater negotiating powers and will be likely to be able to seek the best returns in any exploitation agreement. Award holders are expected to notify the CSC when CSC-funded intellectual property is exploited.
• The CSC cannot provide a letter of support or permission for you to remain in the UK after your award to enable you to work, complete your PhD or undertake the postdoctoral study.
• Your award may be terminated at any time for reasons of unsatisfactory conduct, progress, or attendance, or if your registration is suspended or terminated by your university for any reason.
In line with the UK Bribery Act 2010, any applicant convicted of bribery will be banned from reapplying for a Commonwealth Scholarship or Fellowship for a period of up to five years.
Applicants are expected to adhere to the CSC’s Code of Conduct for award holders.
The CSC is committed to proactively safeguarding and promoting the welfare of Commonwealth Scholars and Fellows and to protect all those with whom the CSC comes into contact. The CSC requires Commissioners, Secretariat staff, and Scholars and Fellows to fulfil their roles and responsibilities in a manner consistent with requirements for safeguarding.
See the CSC safeguarding policy for more information.
Any complaints received will be taken very seriously and any behaviour that does not adhere to the above values and expectations will be addressed by the CSC.
- In line with the UK Bribery Act 2010, any applicant convicted of bribery will be banned from reapplying for a Commonwealth Scholarship or Fellowship for a period of up to five
- The CSC is committed to administering and managing its scholarships and fellowships in a fair and transparent For more information, see the CSC anti-fraud policy and procedure and the FCDO guidance on reporting fraud.
- All terms and conditions of award are subject to UK local law and practices and are subject to change by the
For more information, see the Handbook for Commonwealth Scholars and Fellows. Please note that the conditions outlined in the Handbook are subject to change.
How to Apply
You should apply to study at a UK university that has a part funding agreement with the CSC. Part funding agreements are at the discretion of individual universities. For a list of universities that have agreed to part-fund Commonwealth Scholarships, visit the UK universities with part funding agreements page on the CSC website.
You must make your application directly to the CSC using the CSC’s online application system. The CSC will not accept any applications that are not submitted via the CSC’s online application system.
All applications must be submitted by 17:00 (GMT) on 13 August 2021 at the latest.
You are advised to complete and submit your application as soon as possible, as the online application system will be busy in the days leading up to the application deadline.
For your application to be eligible for consideration, your application must include the following supporting documentation by 17:00 (GMT) on 03 September 2021:
• Copy of your valid passport (or national ID card) showing your photograph, date of birth, and country 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
• Supporting statement from your supervisor at your home country university, which must include details of the institutional link between the university where you are/will be registered for your PhD and your proposed UK university – submitted directly by your supervisor to the online application system (supervisors will be sent an email request).
• Supporting statement from your proposed supervisor at a UK university, which must include details of the institutional link between the university where you are/will be registered for your PhD and your proposed UK university – submitted directly by your supervisor to the online application system (supervisors will be sent an email request).
• Reference from at least one other individual – submitted directly by the referee to the online application system (referees will be sent an email request)
The CSC will not accept supporting documentation submitted outside the online application system.
Supporting documentation uploaded to the online application system must be uploaded as files that are no more than 5 MB in size and must be in one of the following formats: PDF, .doc, .docx, .odt, .jpg, .jpeg. Files submitted in any other format (including Zip files and PDF Portfolios) will NOT be accepted.
Only one application per applicant for these scholarships will be accepted. Only the application with the latest submission date, including submission of references and supporting statements, will be accepted. Any modifications to an application will count as later submission date.
You are not required to apply via a nominating body for these scholarships.
Ready to apply?
Visit the CSC’s online application form to complete and submit your application.
Eligible applications will be considered in line with the CSC’s CSC Selection Criteria 2021, including by the CSC selection committee in competition with other candidates.
Applications will be considered according to the following selection criteria:
• Academic merit of the candidate
• Quality of the research proposal
• Potential impact on the development of the candidate’s home country
If you have any queries about applying for a Commonwealth Split-site Scholarship, you can contact us. We will not use your email address for any purpose other than responding to your enquiry.
For more information on other scholarships offered by the CSC, visit the CSC Apply page.