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Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholarships 2020 – university application guidance notes
Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholarships 2020 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 UK Department for International Development (DFID).
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 want 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.
Full information on how to apply is available in the Commonwealth Distance Learning Terms and Conditions document.
UK universities are invited to apply for up to 15 Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholarships to be offered in the 2020 academic year. Applications must be submitted via the online application system by 12:00 PM (GMT) on Monday 04 November 2019.
The CSC is not always able to offer the maximum number of scholarships for which a university applies, and reserves the right to limit the number of scholarships for programmes that are new to the scheme. It is normal practice for the CSC to offer a maximum of five awards to universities that are new to the scheme or have not participated in the scheme in the last three years.
These scholarships support distance learning Master’s degree courses offered in partnership with local providers in eligible countries, as well as courses delivered directly by UK universities. Universities may submit an application for a single course, or for a cluster programme containing multiple courses, as long as these courses are within the same department or share similar objectives. Please note that the CSC will accept individual applications from different courses at the same university.
Applications should be made through the application system which will be available from 12:00 PM (GMT) on Monday 30 September 2019. Please note that you will require a key code to enter the application system. If you have received a letter or email from the CSC inviting you to apply for these scholarships a key code will be contained within this correspondence. If you require a key code please email email@example.com with your name, job title and your university.
You can access the online application system now.
This key code is for UK Universities only. Candidate applications will open in early 2020.
Development themes and impact
Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholarships enable talented and motivated individuals to gain the knowledge and skills required for sustainable development, and are aimed at those unable to study in the UK for financial and other reasons. These scholarships are offered under six themes:
1. Science and technology for development
The scholarship, which may be in any area of science or technology (including, for example, agriculture, veterinary science, or forestry), will develop knowledge and/or skills that are directly related to the specific needs of a low or middle income country. Where possible, applications should cite expressed national or local priorities.
2. Strengthening health systems and capacity
The scholarship will develop knowledge and/or skills that will improve health provision or outcomes for disadvantaged groups in low and middle income countries. A range of approaches could be adopted, such as training staff to fill critical shortage areas; establishing better systems, processes, or management; health promotion and improving understanding of non-take up; or developing new treatments.
3. Promoting global prosperity
The scholarship will support economic prosperity in low and middle income countries. The knowledge and/or skills gained could lead to, for example, enhanced trade capacity; improved economic understanding or decision- making by business or government; new products and services; or long-term capacity building, through the development of entrepreneurial skills, for instance.
4. Strengthening global peace, security and governance
The scholarship will develop knowledge and/or skills that will strengthen peace and security at national, regional, or international levels. Multiple approaches could be used, such as strengthening open and transparent governance; improving mutual understanding within and between societies; or building systems that reduce the potential for conflict or encourage its resolution.
5. Strengthening resilience and response to crises
The scholarship will develop knowledge and/or skills which will help low and middle countries adapt to changing contexts, withstand sudden shocks, or increase capacity to preserve the continuity of operations following such events. This could apply to a broad range of threats, including natural and physical disasters; long-term threats such as climate change; interruptions to the supply of key resources; or sudden economic or technological disruption.
6. Access, inclusion and opportunity
The scholarship will develop knowledge and/or skills that will promote opportunity amongst historically disadvantaged groups in low and middle income countries. This could be through, for example, expanding educational opportunities; conducting community outreach; enhancing access to decision-making; or increasing understanding of the barriers faced. A range of disadvantage can be addressed – including social, economic, gender, ethnic, regional, or political – provided that the need is clearly stated.
Subjects of study must be developmental in nature, and must be aligned with one of these six themes. As part of its application, the university will be asked to provide a statement explaining the direct relevance of the course to one of the above themes, including a brief outline of how the course will benefit individuals and their home countries. The developmental value of the course will be assessed and allocations of awards will be made based on the strength of the statements provided. Generic course descriptions will not be considered.
Any application that is incomplete or does not include a supporting statement from the Vice-Chancellor (or Acting Vice-Chancellor) of the relevant institution will be deemed ineligible.
The CSC does not fund MBA programmes.
Type and duration of study for Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholarships 2020
Awards are for full-time or part-time study of a taught course at postgraduate level by distance learning. These scholarships do not support research degrees or undergraduate study.
Funding is available for up to five academic years from the start of an approved programme. Awards cannot be extended or renewed.
Financial commitment and branding of awards
The 2020 intake of Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholarships are financed by the CSC for a maximum of five years and are expected to commence at the start of the academic year.