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The Association of Commonwealth Universities


Please note that the closing date was 25 October 1997. Next year's timetable is likely to be similar.

Awards tenable Overseas

Competition for United Kingdom candidates for the postgraduate awards offered by the Governments of Australia and New Zealand and of Brunei, Canada, India, Jamaica, Sri Lanka, Trinidad, and Uganda.

The Plan

The Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan was created to enable Commonwealth students of high intellectual promise to pursue studies in Commonwealth countries other than their own so that on their return home they could make a distinctive contribution to life there, and to mutual understanding within the Commonwealth.

The Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the United Kingdom is the British Agency under the Plan. The Association of Commonwealth Universities provides the secretariat for the Commission.

The Awards made available to the United Kingdom residents are offered by the countries named above, for from one to five years according to the course and the country of tenure. They are intended for study leading to a postgraduate qualification of a university in the awarding country, but may occasionally be held for research for a British degree supervised at a university in the awarding country. The Commonwealth Universities Yearbook, produced by the Association of Commonwealth Universities and available for consultation at British universities and many large libraries will help candidates to discover whether and where study facilities are likely to be available in their subject.


To be eligible to apply through the Commission, a candidate must be both:
(a) a United Kingdom citizen or a citizen of another Commonwealth country or a British protected person,


(b) permanently resident in the United Kingdom.

Any Commonwealth/British citizen whose permanent home is not in the U.K. but who is currently in the U.K. (e.g., as a student) cannot apply to be nominated by the United Kingdom, but may be able to apply through the Commonwealth Scholarship agency in his/her home country, whose address can be found in appendix II of the Commonwealth Universities Yearbook.

Candidates who are not United Kingdom citizens or who have dual nationality will not normally be nominated for awards in the country of their (other) citizenship.

Candidates should normally have, or expect to have, a first degree with at least upper second class honours at the time of taking up an award. The referees of candidates taking the final examinations in the year of the award will be expected to comment on the class of degree a candidate is likely to obtain.

Candidates with any other qualifications will be considered only if they can give reasons or send relevant documents when submitting their application to satisfy the Commission that the qualifications they hold should be considered equivalent to those mentioned above.

The competition

The competition is held in two parts. The United Kingdom nominees for the awards will be chosen after short-listed candidates are interviewed in London in late November/early December. Between one-third and one-half of those interviewed will be nominated for awards.

Interviews are held only in London, and during the period indicated. Given the current level of competition, candidates who cannot attend an interview cannot expect to be nominated. If you are aware of dates on which you would be unable to attend for interview, it is extremely helpful to let us know. It is usually impossible to change interview dates and times after they have been allocated.

Candidates will be told by the end of December whether they are to be nominated. The papers of the nominees will then be forwarded to the awarding countries where they will be considered together (and usually in competition) with those sent by other Commonwealth countries.

The Commission is not involved in the final selection in the awarding country and cannot, at this stage, give any timetable for the second half of the competition. About 50 per cent. of those nominated candidates should eventually be successful, but there may be a long wait for the results.


The Government of Brunei only offers awards for Masters courses in Public Policy; Economics (by research); Geography (by research); History (by research); English Language and Applied Linguistics (by research and taught course); Petroleum Geoscience (taught course).

Candidates wishing to study in Canada must clearly state whether they wish to study for a Masters or a Ph.D. Degree. Scholars will not be permitted to extend their award to cover a Ph.D. if they have only applied for an award for a Masters course.

Jamaican awards may only be held at the University of West Indies. Applications to any other institution in Jamaica cannot be considered.

The Government of Trinidad and Tobago only offer awards for study in the area of Economics.


When writing about your application, please write your name clearly at the head of the letter and specify the country to which you are applying. All correspondence should be sent to the Executive Secretary (Outward Competition), Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the United Kingdom, John Foster House, 36 Gordon Square, London, WC1H 0PF.

Application forms are usually issued from 1 June. The closing date for the competition is usually late October.

Please note: it is your responsibility to ensure that all relevant documentation including six application forms, six outline plans of study, references from three referees, and university transcripts have reached the ACU by the closing date; the ACU cannot pursue outstanding documentation on your behalf.

For any other information, including prospectuses about the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan for individual countries, and application forms contact 0171 387 8572.

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Reporter Special No 7: Awards, Funds, Studentships, and Prizes - 12th November 1997
Copyright © 1997 The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Cambridge.