Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholarships

Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholarships are for candidates from least developed, low, and lower-middle-income Commonwealth countries for part-time master’s study by distance learning on selected courses offered by UK universities. These scholarships are funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.

Purpose: To contribute to the development needs of Commonwealth countries by providing training for skilled and qualified professionals in key development areas.

Intended beneficiaries: High-quality postgraduate students who wish to access training not available in their home countries, who wish or need to remain in their home country while they study, and who have the potential to enhance the development of their home countries with the knowledge and leadership skills they acquire.

These scholarships are offered under six CSC Development themes.

Commonwealth Education Pack


How to apply

You must apply to study an eligible master’s course at a UK university that is participating in the Distance Learning scheme. Click here for a list of participating universities and eligible courses.

You must also apply and secure admission to your university course in addition to applying for a Distance Learning Scholarship. You must check with your chosen university for their specific advice on when to apply, admission requirements, and rules for applying.

You must make your application using the CSC’s online application system and any other application you are required to complete by your chosen university. The CSC will not accept applications not submitted via the online application system.

You can apply for more than one course and to more than one university, but you may only accept one offer of a Distance Learning Scholarship.

More Scholarships Information

Applications for 2023/2024 Chevening Scholarships open on 2 August 2022.

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  • Applications are now closed. Candidates can expect to hear the outcome of their application by July.
  • Applications must include the following supporting documentation to be eligible for consideration:
  • At least one reference– submitted directly by the referee to the online application system (referees will be sent an email request)
  • An offer letter to start the chosen course of study in the 2022-2023 academic year – is 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
  • 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 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.

Applicants are responsible for seeking permission from their referees before submitting their application; to ensure that their referees are available to complete the reference by the deadline and have received the reference request email from the online application system.

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Selection Process

Each participating UK University will conduct its recruitment process to select a specified number of candidates for Distance Learning Scholarships. Universities must submit their selected candidates to the CSC by 9 May 2022. The CSC will then confirm that these candidates meet the eligibility criteria for this scheme, and universities will inform candidates of their results in July 2022.

Selection criteria include:

Academic merit of the candidate

The potential impact of the work on the development of the candidate’s home country

Scholar Eligibility

To be eligible for a Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholarship, candidates should:

  • 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 a developing Commonwealth country
  • Hold a first degree of at least upper second class (2:1) standard. A lower qualification and sufficient relevant experience may be considered in certain cases.
  • Be unable to afford to study the programme 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 candidates with a disability, see the CSC disability support statement.

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Eligible countries

Please note that only candidates from the 25 eligible countries listed below can apply for Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholarships in 2022.

Papua New Guinea
Sierra Leone
Solomon Islands
Sri Lanka
The Gambia

General Conditions

A Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholarship covers tuition fees and study grants where required. 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, 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 being transparent about the information we collect about you and what we do with it. To find out more, see our privacy notice.

If your application is successful, you will be notified by your selected university via email.

The CSC does not require any candidates to take an IELTS (English language) test. You should note, however, that, as a further condition of your scholarship, 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 contradicts the terms and conditions of another scholarship that you have previously held.

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When terms of admission to the university have been agreed upon, the university will send you a Notification of Award (formal offer of a scholarship)

Your award may be terminated for unsatisfactory conduct, progress, or attendance or if your university’s registration is suspended or terminated for any reason.

Scholars must abide by the Commission’s Code of Conduct for Award-Holders and Disciplinary Policy and Procedure. Your award may be terminated for unsatisfactory conduct, progress, or attendance or if your university’s registration is suspended or terminated 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 up to five years.

Applicants are expected to adhere to the CSC’s Code of Conduct for award-holders which states:

“As a Commonwealth Scholar or Fellow, you are an ambassador for both the CSC and your home country, and your actions and remarks will impact the reputation of both. You are therefore expected to adhere to high standards of conduct and behaviour and to show respect to others and your surroundings at all times.

“The CSC aims to enable a free exchange of ideas during all its activities to achieve maximum potential impact for all participants. Recognising the diversity of backgrounds among our award holders – in terms of race, religion, gender, sexuality and cultural values – you are always reminded to be respectful to others.

“The CSC is committed to proactively safeguarding and promoting the welfare of Commonwealth Scholars and Fellows and protecting 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 consistent with safeguarding requirements. See the CSC safeguarding policy.

“Any complaints received will be taken very seriously, and the CSC will address any behaviour that does not adhere to the above values and expectations.

The CSC is committed to administering and managing its scholarships and fellowships fairly and transparently. For more information, see the CSC anti-fraud policy and procedure and the FCDO guidance on reporting fraud.”

All conditions of the award are subject to UK local law and practices and are subject to change by the CSC.