SOAS University of London


Commonwealth Shared Scholarships

Deadline: 9 April 2021

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. 

SOAS has been offered 2 awards for 2021-22.   Please see below the eligible programmes and application procedure. 

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.

Eligible Programmes
Candidate Criteria

In order to be eligible, applicants should: 

  • Be permanently resident in Bangladesh and eligible Commonwealth countries in Africa, and not currently be living or studying in a developed country.  The scholarship for applicants from Bangladesh is for women.
  • 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.
  • Have an unconditional offer (without pre-sessional Engish language) of admission to pursue one of the eligible programmes at SOAS as soon as possible but no later than 1 June 2020. If your offer is conditional, please ensure you meet the conditions and receive an unconditional offer by the deadline. If your offer is unconditional with a pre-sessional English, please ensure you retake your English test and receive an unconditional offer (without pre-sessional English language) by the scholarship deadline.
  • Not have studied or worked for one (academic) year or more in a high income country
  • Be unable to afford to study in the UK without this scholarship
  • 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 
Statement of Financial Need

In addition to the above criteria, applicants must provide a statement of financial need with your on-line admission application. The short supporting statement should include the following information:

- details of family and financial background: your financial situation growing up, your current approximate annual family income, are you the first in your family to go to university?

- Your parents’ occupations and their highest educational qualifications

- how did you fund your past education - through scholarships, awards, parental assistance/self-funding?

- how does your situation now prevent you from funding an education in the UK - do you have family dependents or outstanding debts (student loans for example)?

- past employment - have your previous salaries put you in a position to be able to afford an education in the UK?

- further clarity as to how you will use your education at SOAS to help your future goals

- any additional information you think will help your application - extenuating financial circumstances, other financial burdens

Scholarship Application Procedures

Applicants must follow two steps in order to be considered for these scholarships:

  • STEP 1: Apply for your programme & provide a statement of financial need

Applicants must submit a COMPLETE on-line application for admission to study one of the eligible programmes at SOAS as soon as possible. You will be required to have an offer of admissions by the time selection takes place.  Selection will start on April 9th, 2021

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.  IMPORTANT: In order to be considered for this scholarship, please remember to provide a statement of financial need with your application for admissions. Applications without the statement of financial need will not be considered. The panel will be considering your scholarship application TOGETHER with your online application for admission. 

  • STEP 2: Apply for the scholarship by April 9th, 2021

The scholarship application system is open - please apply on the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the UK website.


If SOAS decides to nominate you for a scholarship, you will be required to submit the hardcopy of the references mid-February 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: 

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7074 5094/5091