New Zealand Commonwealth Scholarships for Masters and PhD Students from Commonwealth Countries

Course(s) Offered: Priority fields
Course Level: Graduate (masters, PhD)
Provider: New Zealand Government
Country to Study in: New Zealand

Scholarship Description
As part of the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP) programme, New Zealand offers the New Zealand Commonwealth Scholarships for postgraduate study (Masters and PhD) in New Zealand universities to candidates from developing Commonwealth countries on a contestable basis.

The CSFP, established since 1959, is an international programme under which member governments offer scholarships and fellowships to citizens of other Commonwealth countries. The New Zealand Commonwealth Scholarships are highly competitive and for top level graduates.

Candidates must meet all the scholarship eligibility criteria including:

  • Be a minimum of 18 years of age at the time of commencing your scholarship.
  • Be a citizen of the country from which you are applying for a scholarship and have resided in that country for at least the last two years.
  • Agree to return to your home country for a minimum of two years on completion of the scholarship.

Eligible groups
Eligible Countries include:

  • Africa: Botswana, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia
  • Caribbeans: Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Asia: Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, Maldives, Pakistan, Sri Lanka
  • Pacific: Cook Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu


  • Preference will be given to candidates who demonstrate strong academic ability, leadership qualities, and a commitment to the development of their home country.
  • Preference is also given to candidates who are 39 years of age or younger at the time of commencing their scholarship.
  • Preference will be given to candidates who apply to study in academic disciplines relating to priority sectors.

Participating Institutions
Commonwealth Scholarships awardees can only study at one of these eight New Zealand universities:

  1. Auckland University of Technology
  2. Lincoln University
  3. Massey University
  4. University of Auckland
  5. University of Canterbury
  6. University of Otago
  7. Victoria University of Wellington
  8. University of Waikato

Fields of study
For Africa:

  • Agricultural Development. For a list of relevant qualifications, please click here [PDF].
  • Renewable Energy. For a list of relevant qualifications, please click here [PDF].

For the other regions, please see the official website (link to it is below) for a comprehensive list of priority sectors.

Sponsorship duration
The NZCS are available for the following postgraduate qualifications: Masters Degree (1 – 2 years) AND PhD (up to 3.5 years)

Method of Application
If you would like to apply for a New Zealand Commonwealth Scholarship please note the following: You may only apply using the New Zealand Commonwealth Scholarship Application form as a hard copy. Please note that applicants are unable to apply online. You must submit your application to your local Nominating Agency.

The following steps can only be completed once the online application portal opens on 1 February 2016.

  1. Step One: Confirm your eligibility: Before you start your application, check your eligibility against the requirements.
  2. Step Two: Decide the type of institution and qualification: If you are eligible, decide the type of institution and qualification that is right for you. For more information, please see on the Frequently Asked Questions. For information about studying in New Zealand visit (external link).
  3. Step Three: Apply for an Offer of Place: Once you have selected your institution and qualification, you will need to seek an offer of place at one of our New Zealand institutions. Please refer to the list of New Zealand institutions for further information here.
  4. Step Four: Apply for a New Zealand Commonwealth Scholarship: Please submit your completed application to the Nominating Agency in your home country, including your offer of place. Failure to do so will result in your application being deemed ineligible. It is important to note that applications sent directly to MFAT or Universities New Zealand will be deemed ineligible.

The Nominating Agency in your country will then nominate the two strongest applications to be forwarded to Universities New Zealand to be assessed against all other nominated New Zealand Commonwealth applications from across the Commonwealth.

When submitting your New Zealand Commonwealth Scholarship application to your local Nominating Agency you must attach the following official documentation:

  1. One of the following:
    • Verified copy of passport
    • Verified copy of birth certificate
    • Verified copy of other official government issued ID
  2. Copy of Offer of Place from New Zealand institution
  3. Verified copies of relevant academic transcripts
  4. Verified copies of relevant completion certificates
  5. Contact details of most recent employer and two most relevant other employers
  6. A non-verified copy of an IELTS Test Report Form (TRF) which will be verified by MFAT online using the TRF Verification Service OR An original copy of a TOEFL test result form. Whichever is provided it must have been completed in the last 24 months.

To fill out the Application Form, please Download the Application Form.

Although the online application portal opens on 1 February 2016, the closing date for New Zealand Commonwealth Scholarships is determined by each country’s Nominating Agency. Please contact your local Nominating Agency for specific dates.

Applications for tertiary study in New Zealand and the Pacific will close for all countries in April 2016. The deadlines for application and the application process varies between countries/regions. Please check the webpage for your country to confirm the deadline for your country/region.

The Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP) was established at the first Commonwealth education conference in 1959 and is reviewed by education ministers at their triennial meetings – the only scholarship scheme in the world to receive such high-level recognition.

Each Commonwealth government has designated a national agency for the operation of Commonwealth Scholarships. Please contact the national agency in your home country for more information about applying for a Commonwealth Scholarship in another Commonwealth country.

The New Zealand Commonwealth Scholarships is funded by the New Zealand Aid Programme and managed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT). The selection process in New Zealand is managed by Universities New Zealand.

Application Deadline: Varies(see your country nominating agency)
Open to International students: Yes

More Scholarship Information and Application

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