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Commonwealth Shared Scholarship for students from African Commonwealth countries

Deadline: 30 January 2015

The Shared Scholarship Scheme is a joint initiative between the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission with funding from UK Department of International Development (DFID), and UK universities, to support scholarships for students from developing Commonwealth countries who would not otherwise be able to study in the United Kingdom. 

At SOAS, there are four Commonwealth Shared Scholarships available.  The Commission funds the cost of tuition fees (at overseas rate), return airfares and other allowances and SOAS supports the student stipend for the award holders.

Two of the 4 scholarships are shared with International Student House (ISH), which provides free accommodation at ISH together with a small contribution in food vouchers to be spent in the ISH restaurant.  In addition, the School provides a small maintenance grant.  The ISH provision and the School’s contribution constitute the student stipend of the DFID Shared Scholarship Scheme.    

Eligible Programme
  • Full-time MSc Development Studies
  • Full-time LLM in Law, Development and Governance
  • Full-time MSc Development Economics
  • Full-time MA Social Anthropology of Development
  • Full-time MA Music in Development
  • Part-time programmes are not eligible.
Candidate Criteria

In order to be eligible, applicants should: 

  • Be nationals of (and permanently domiciled in) an African Commonwealth country, and not currently be living or studying in a developed country
  • Hold a first degree at either first or upper second class level
  • Hold an offer of admission to pursue one of the eligible programmes by the time selection at SOAS takes place.  Priority may be given to applicants with unconditional offers.  It is expected that selection will take place shortly after the scholarship deadline.
  • Meet the English language condition of your offer of admission to study at SOAS as soon as possible but no later than 2 June 2015.  Please arrange your English test and ensure you meet the English requirements as soon as possible.
  • Have not previously studied for one year or more in a developed country
  • Be able to confirm in writing that neither they nor their families would otherwise be able to pay for the proposed course of study
  • Be willing to confirm that they will return to their home country as soon as their period of study is complete 
Candidate Assessment
  • Candidates will be assessed on academic merit by a Selection Panel consisting of three academic members.
  • The assessment of your application will be based on the information in the application submitted via the CSC’s Electronic Application System (EAS) and in your on-line application for admission to study at SOAS.  Selectors will be looking at the degree results, and also at academic references, statement and other relevant information.
Scholarship Application Deadline
  • Applications must be submitted via the CSC's Electronic Application System (EAS) no later than 17:00 (UK local time) on 30 January 2015.   
  • Applicants applying for scholarships must ALSO submit an application for admission well in advance of the scholarship application deadline. Please note that complete applications for admission can take up to 4 weeks to be considered by the Department, although this duration can vary depending on the time of year. You should be prepared to wait up to 6 weeks in busy periods. 
  • Late or incomplete applications will not be considered.
Number of Applications normally received

25 applications

Notification of Results

If SOAS decides to nominate you for a scholarship, the Scholarships Office at SOAS will contact you by email during the first week of April. Please note that final offer of a Commonwealth Shared Scholarship is subject to confirmation by the Commission.

Scholarship Application Procedures

You must follow two steps:

Applicants applying for scholarships must also submit an application for admission well in advance  of the scholarship deadline. 

A complete application for admission includes transcripts, an explanation of the grading system for any degree obtained outside the UK, two references, CV and a personal statement.  The panel will be considering your EAS application TOGETHER with your online application for admission. 


If SOAS decides to nominate you for a scholarship, you will be required to submit the hardcopy of the references early April as we are required to check your references.  If your references submitted to Admissions have not come from an official/institution email account, we will need to verify them. Please ensure you keep a hardcopy of the references (i.e. the reference should be on headed paper in a sealed, signed envelope supplied directly by the referee or the applicant), should SOAS decide to nominate you for a scholarship. 

For enquiries, please contact: 

Scholarships Officer
SOAS, University of London
Thornhaugh Street
Russell Square
United Kingdom

Email: scholarships@soas.ac.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7074 5094/5091