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Commonwealth Shared Scholarships

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.

The outcome of our bid has now been announced and SOAS has been offered 3 awards for 2018-19.

The Commision 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 Programme

(Unfortunately, the following programmes have not been approved: Full-time MSc Globalisation and Development, Full-time MA Music in Development and the full-time MA Social Anthropology of Development)

Candidate Criteria

In order to be eligible, applicants should:

  • Be nationals of (and permanently domiciled in) India and eligible Commonwealth countries in Africa, 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 1 June 2018.  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
  • SOAS positively encourages women to apply for these Shared Scholarships, particularly the award from India, in-line with the Commonwealth Scholarships Commission’s equality strategy.

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, are you the first in your family to go to university?

– 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


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

  • STEP 1: You must apply for this scholarship via the CSC’s Electronic Application System (EAS) by 22 March 2018 (extended from 5 March).  The EAS system will open on the 23 February 2018.
  • STEP 2: In addition to the EAS application form, applicants must ALSO submit a COMPLETE on-line application for admission to study one of the eligible programmes at SOAS by 23 February 2018 (extended from 22 January 2018).

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. In order to be considered for this scholarship, please remember to provide a statement of financial need with your appplication for admissions.  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. 


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

For enquiries, please contact:

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

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