Commonwealth Scholarship 2021: Know the Complete Process
A commonwealth scholarship is considered to be one of the top scholarship schemes which offers full coverage of a candidate’s overall expenses for studying abroad. The governments of several different countries participate in facilitating Commonwealth scholarships and fellowships to students coming from other member countries in the federation. This article aims to give you a general idea of the various aspects of a typical commonwealth scholarship.
The Commonwealth scholarship and Fellowship program is an international programme under which the participating member countries offer scholarships and fellowships to citizens coming from other Commonwealth countries. The Commonwealth of nations is basically a group of 53 different countries, a majority of which were former territories of the British empire. This group is a huge conglomerate of nations like India, Africa, Sri Lanka, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, New Zealand, UK, etc. Some of the prominent nations which offer scholarships under the Commonwealth Scholarship programme are the UK, New Zealand and Singapore. This article will be shedding light on the specifics of these scholarship programmes.
Students from India are eligible to apply for a commonwealth scholarship offered by the following countries:
- New Zealand
Since UK is one of the most popular destinations for higher education all over the world, let us take a look at the details of the UK commonwealth scholarships.
UK Government Commonwealth Scholarship 2021
In the UK, commonwealth scholarships are mainly sponsored by the Department for International Development, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Department for Education (DFE), in conjunction with UK universities. The Commonwealth scholarship community also nominates UK citizens for scholarships offered by other commonwealth countries.
The main aim of the UK commonwealth scholarships is to provide unique opportunities to high performing students from diverse backgrounds to contribute to their country’s progress after having studied in any of the educational institutions in the UK for a year. This source of funding is provided by the Commonwealth Scholarships Commission (CSC). Students who have taken admission into one year taught Masters courses are eligible to apply for a commonwealth scholarship to study in the UK. The Commonwealth Scholarships and Fellowships Programme is made available to citizens of member countries of the Commonwealth association. In India, these scholarships are jointly managed by:
- Commonwealth Scholarships Commission
- The British Council, India
- Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU)
- Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India.
UK Commonwealth Scholarship Details
Level of Courses Covered by Commonwealth Scholarships offered by UK government
There are two major levels of higher studies which are covered under the commonwealth scholarships awarded by the UK government.
- The Commonwealth Masters Scholarships
- The Commonwealth PhD Scholarships
The Commonwealth Masters Scholarships: This particular variant of the Commonwealth scholarships is granted to citizens of least developed countries and fragile states which are part of the Commonwealth of Nations.
The Commonwealth PhD Scholarships: The Commonwealth PhD scholarships are awarded to students coming from Low and middle income countries which are part of the Commonwealth of nations.
Students pursuing their Masters or a PhD in any of the following fields are eligible to apply for a commonwealth scholarship to study in the UK.
- 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
Eligibility Criteria for UK Commonwealth Scholarships ( Masters & PhD Courses)
|Eligible Scholarship Program||Eligibility Criteria|
|UK Commonwealth Scholarship for Masters Courses||
|UK Commonwealth Scholarships For PhD Courses||Candidate’s age must not exceed 40 years as on date specified in the public notice
One should hold or expect to hold the certificate of Master’s Degree by October 2016 in the concerned subject fields securing 60% or above marks in Humanities and Social Science group and 65% or above marks in the relevant subjects in Engineering and Technology, Science and Agriculture groups.
A Ph.D. applicant is required to obtain offer of acceptance from a potential supervisor of his/her chosen University. However, the offer of acceptance from supervisor is not required at the time of applying online but it is mandatory to submit at the time of interview which is conducted by the Ministry of Human Resource Development.
Benefits offered by the UK Commonwealth Scholarships For International Students
The UK commonwealth scholarships offer numerous benefits to students who are awarded the same. Some of the notable ones are as mentioned below.
- Approved airfare to the United Kingdom and return at the end of the award (the CSC will neither reimburse the cost of fares for dependents, nor usually the cost of journeys made before the award is finally confirmed).
- Approved tuition and examination fees.
- Stipend (living allowance) at the rate of £ 1,043 per month, or £ 1,279 per month for those at universities in the London metropolitan area (rates quoted at 2016-2017 levels) Thesis grant towards the cost of preparing a thesis or dissertation, wherever applicable. Warm clothing allowance, wherever applicable.
- Study travel grant towards the cost of study-related travel within the United Kingdom or overseas.
- For PhD Scholars, fieldwork grant towards the cost of fieldwork undertaken overseas (usually the cost of one economy class return airfare to scholar fieldwork location). For PhD Scholars, paid mid-term visit (airfare) to their home country (unless they have claimed (or intend to claim) spouse and/or child allowances during their scholarship, or have received a return airfare to their home country for fieldwork).
- If scholarship is at least 18 months long, the following family allowances:
- Spouse allowance of £224 per month if the scholar and his/her spouse are living together at the same address in the UK (unless his/her spouse is also in receipt of a scholarship; other conditions also apply)
- Child allowance of £224 per month for the first child, and £110 per month for the second and third child under the age of 16, if scholar is accompanied by his/her spouse and children and they are living with him/her at the same address in the UK.
- If scholar is widowed, divorced, or a single parent (irrespective of the length of her scholarship), child allowance of £448 per month for the first child, and £110 per month for the second and third child under the age of 16, if scholar is accompanied by his/her children and they are living with him/her at the same address in the UK.
List of Documents Required For UK Government Commonwealth Scholarships
Having a thorough knowledge of the list of documents which are to be submitted by students in order to avail a scholarship under the UK Commonwealth Scholarships Scheme is important in the long run. The basic list of documents required from students is as given below.
- Proof of citizenship. If the applicant is a refugee, documents showing refugee status is required as well.
- Full transcripts detailing all higher education qualifications.
- References from two individuals is to be submitted by the referee in the online application system.
- Supporting statement from a proposed supervisor in the UK from at least one institution listed in the application form and it has to be directly submitted by the supervisor.
- The documents uploaded on the online application system must not exceed 5 MB in size and must be in any of the following formats: PDF, Doc, Docx, JPG.
Tentative Dates of Announcement of Commonwealth Scholarship Applications
- Announcement of name of the candidates shortlisted for interview: First week of November
- Interview of the shortlisted candidates: Between 20th November and 15th December
Now that we have shortlisted some of the basic details of the Commonwealth Scholarships granted by the UK government, let us move on to understand the Commonwealth scholarships provided by New Zealand and Singapore.
New Zealand Commonwealth Scholarships
This particular commonwealth scholarship to study in New Zealand covers the complete expenses of students who have been enrolled in Master’s or Post Doctoral level courses in the field of Agriculture Development or Renewable energy in institutions across New Zealand. The total number of slots available for this scholarship is two.
Total Duration of New Zealand Scholarships
- New Zealand Scholarships For Masters Courses: Students who have been accepted for Masters courses of upto two years duration are eligible for Commonwealth Scholarships from the government of New Zealand.
- New Zealand Scholarships For Ph.D Courses: Students who have been accepted for Ph.D courses of upto three years duration are eligible for Commonwealth Scholarships from the government of New Zealand.
Benefits Covered by New Zealand Commonwealth Scholarships
Some of the major benefits of this scholarship facilitated by the Indian government is as listed below:
- The full cost of tuition
- A fortnightly living allowance
- an establishment allowance medical and travel insurance travel to and from candidates’ home country at the start and end of scholarship
- home leave or reunion travel for some scholars assistance with research and thesis costs for many postgraduate research students.
Eligibility Criteria for a New Zealand Commonwealth Scholarship
Students who wish to apply for New Zealand Commonwealth scholarships are required to meet the following eligibility criteria in order to be deemed eligible for the same.
- Applicants should have completed Bachelor’s Degree or Master’s Degree in the subject or allied fields with minimum 65% marks for Master’s or Ph.D. respectively.
- Candidates who have already been abroad for studies/training/ specialization either on scholarships or on their own, for a period exceeding six months are eligible to apply if they have been in India for at least two consecutive years after returning from abroad as on date specified in the public notice.
- Application of candidate who are already abroad is not considered.
- Applicants are required to produce a letter of offer from a New Zealand university at the time of interview. However, it is not required at the time of making an application. The list of participating universities is provided in the public notice.
Also, the applicant must:
- not hold another scholarship during the period of the New Zealand Commonwealth Scholarship.
- give an undertaking that after completion of their study they will return to India in order to contribute to country’s social/economic development for a minimum period of two years
- not currently working in the military
- produce the certificate of English proficiency viz. IELTS or TOFEL. If he/she has no such certificate then an official statement from the education provider that English is the language of instruction in his/her tertiary education.
- Please note, each institution sets their own English language requirements. Please check with your preferred institution about their requirements for admission to their institution as they may require additional documentation.
Tentative date of announcement inviting applications for a New Zealand Commonwealth Scholarship
- Announcement of name of the candidates shortlisted for interview: In the month of May
- Interview of the shortlisted candidates: in the month of June.
Singapore Government Commonwealth Scholarships
The Commonwealth Scholarship (“Scholarship”) is awarded to outstanding graduate students from Commonwealth countries for research leading to a higher degree at the University. This Scholarship is for new, incoming students who are not Singapore citizens or permanent residents. The Scholarship consists of a monthly stipend plus a tuition fee subsidy. A number of students are selected each semester by the University for the award.
The Scholarship is open to candidates who meet the following criteria:
- Nationals from any Commonwealth countries except for Singapore Citizens and Singapore Permanent Residents;
- Those who have graduated with an undergraduate degree with at least Second Class Honours (Upper Division)/Honours (Distinction) or equivalent;
- at the time of award of the Scholarship, must have been offered admission to a full-time graduate research programme at NUS; and
- must be eligible for MOE Subsidy1
- A monthly stipend as follows:
|FOR PHD CANDIDATES:||FOR MASTER’S CANDIDATES:|
- Tuition fees at the University.
- Scholars in a PhD programme may be eligible for an additional stipend of up to $500 per month upon passing the PhD Qualifying Examination (QE), which is normally held 12 to 18 months after registration of candidature. The additional stipend is renewable each semester subject to Scholar’s good performance. The quantum and duration of the additional stipend may vary between Faculties and Schools.
The Scholarship is tenable for one (1) year in the first instance and thereafter may, subject to the Scholar’s satisfactory progress, be renewed each semester at the University’s discretion. The maximum period of the Scholarship is two (2) years for Master’s candidates and four (4) years for PhD candidates, as determined by the relevant faculty or school in each case.
Incoming graduate students should indicate their interest in the Scholarship in their application for admission.
Notification of Award
Successful applicants will be informed of the outcome of their applications sometime in May (for admission in August) or October (for admission in January). Successful applicants are required to sign a letter of undertaking agreeing to observe the terms and conditions for the award of the Scholarship.
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