British Council

My research was on HIV and behaviour change…for me the biggest happiness is when I see people on treatment and living for now over eight years since commencement of treatment.

Peter Byansi, Commonwealth Scholarship recipient from Uganda, 2003


Life cycle



UK, Commonwealth countries


Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), Department for Education (DfE), Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)


The Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC) in the UK provides the main UK government scholarship scheme, which is led by international development objectives. They enable talented individuals from across the Commonwealth to undertake study or research at a UK higher education institution in order to make a significant contribution to their home country. 


The CSC programme enables talented and motivated individuals to gain the knowledge and skills required for sustainable development. The programme is aimed at those who could not otherwise afford to study in the UK. Our extensive links with higher education institutions around the world and our long track record of delivering mobility programmes mean we are ideally placed to support this long-running programme.


CSC programmes seek to promote equity and inclusion, reward merit, and deliver widespread access to higher education, particularly to those from disadvantaged backgrounds. The programme offers ten different types of awards for postgraduate study and professional development. CSC Master’s Scholarships are the most popular, enabling candidates from low and middle-income Commonwealth countries to study a full-time Masters at a UK university. The CSC works with governments and trusted partners across the Commonwealth to recruit and shortlist candidates for Master’s and PhD study, and also to ensure that national priorities are reflected in our awards.


CSC's two most recent profiles from its evaluation programme show the breadth of the socioeconomic and political impact of the programme’s support, from research and advocacy for women’s health in Bangladesh to the development of research links between Canada and the UK on the history of migration and tourism. In 2017 to 2018, over 800 Commonwealth Scholarships were awarded across 95 UK universities. In total, 103 organisations either nominated candidates for or partnered with a UK university on Commonwealth Scholarships and Fellowships. 

Following completion of their PhD, many Scholars sustain collaborative partnerships between countries in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and the UK throughout their academic career, to the mutual benefit of all. 

Mutual benefit

Commonwealth Scholarships were founded on the principle of mutual cooperation. By supporting innovators and leaders of the future from across the Commonwealth, and by attracting outstanding talent to the UK’s universities, we help the CSC’s work to combine sustainable development with the UK national interest.

From the programme, these scholars aim to make a significant contribution to their home country after the completion of a higher education programme in the UK. This contributes to the UK’s international development aims and wider overseas interests, supports excellence in UK higher education, and sustains the principles of the Commonwealth.