The University has a number of awards for UK/EU and overseas candidates starting a one-year Masters programme, some of which are region- and country-specific scholarships. Interested candidates are strongly urged to apply. See the Postgraduate Prospectus - scholarships page.

To award outstanding achievement and to attract students of the highest calibre from around the world, the University of Birmingham is pleased to offer a number of international scholarships. Scholarships for international students.

Mo Ibrahim Foundation MSc in Governance and State-building

The International Development Department, University of Birmingham, is pleased to offer one scholarship for our MSc in International Development (Governance and State-building), for the academic year starting in September 2020. 

Find out more about the scholarship and apply

Joint Japan/World Bank Graduate Scholarship Program

The Joint Japan/World Bank Graduate Scholarship Program (JJ/WBGSP) is open to citizens of certain developing countries with relevant professional experience and a history of supporting their countries’ development efforts. At the University of Birmingham, scholarships are offered for those who wish to apply to the MSc Conflict, Statebuilding and Development programme.

The 2021 Application Period will open on 22 March 2021 and close on 21 May 2021 for developing country nationals. 

Commonwealth Shared Scholarships

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

The University of Birmingham is offering two Commonwealth Shared Scholarship for the 2021/22 academic year.

Commonwealth Scholarships 2021, by Distance Learning

The University of Birmingham has been awarded ten Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholarships by the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the United Kingdom (CSCUK) for students from low or middle income Commonwealth countries joining the distance-learning MSc International Development (Conflict, Security and Development), commencing their studies in September 2021.  

Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholarships are offered for citizens of certain developing Commonwealth countries. These scholarships are funded by the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), with the aim of contributing to the UK’s international development aims and wider overseas interests, supporting excellence in UK higher education, and sustaining the principles of the Commonwealth.

Please note: due to the high demand for these scholarships candidates will only be considered if they have a strong academic record at undergraduate level and clear evidence of a commitment to the strengthening global peace, security and governance theme scholarship theme, demonstrated through their ‘Development Impact’ and ‘Career Plans’ statements on the scholarship application form.


Scholarships are available to applicants who meet all of the following criteria:

  • Be a citizen of or have been granted refugee status by an eligible developing Commonwealth country (list of countries available under the eligibility information heading), or be a British Protected Person.
  • Be permanently resident in an eligible Commonwealth country.
  • Hold a first degree of at least upper second class (2:1) standard. A lower qualification and sufficient relevant experience may be considered in certain cases.
  • Be unable to afford to study the programme without this scholarship.

The degree programme

The programme is undertaken on a part-time basis, is two years in length, flexible, highly interactive, and well-supported. Students will find that they are part of a lively international learning community. 

How to apply

Scholarship applicants must apply both to the University of Birmingham and to the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission. 

Applying to the University of Birmingham

Details of how to apply to the university. The deadline for submission to the University of Birmingham to be considered for nomination for a Commonwealth Scholarship is 5 April 2021.

In addition to the university’s requirements:

  • The applicant’s personal statement should explain how they might contribute to the theme of strengthening global peace, security and governance, and how the scholarship will benefit them and their country of residence.

Offer letters will only be made to applications that have supplied full supporting documentation by the deadline of 5 April 2021.

Applicants maybe invited to attend a Skype interview.

Applying to the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission

Full instructions for the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission’s Electronic Application System (EAS) are contained on the Scholarship Commission’s website.

Applications to the Commonwealth EAS must be submitted by 17:00 (BST) on 26 April 2020. Supporting documentation, including an offer letter from the University of Birmingham,must be submitted to the CSCUK by 17:00 (BST) on 10 May 2020.

Shortlisted applicants 

The decision as to which students are offered a scholarship will be made by CSCUK, based on the University’s recommendations, and we anticipate that successful applicants will be notified during July 2021.

Bursaries for IDD on-campus taught MSc in Poverty Inequality and Development programme for 2021/22

In 2021-22, IDD will award up to two bursaries to UK/EU applicants to cover up to 50% of the successful applicants' tuition fees for the MSc Poverty Inequality and Development programme, please apply for the programme via this link 

Selection will be based on academic merit. If you wish to be considered for a bursary for the above programme, please complete the programme and application form and please also submit by email:

  • A covering letter outlining why you are applying and why you should be selected as a bursary recipient (please include your application ID number if you have already applied for the programme)
  • Your CV
  • Two references (at least one of the referees should be able to comment on academic performance). Please note that if you already have an offer of a place on the MSc Poverty Inequality and Development programme, you do not need to re-send these references.
  • A short essay, maximum 1500 words, on a topic related to poverty reduction, and development 

Deadline for applications is Monday 14th June 2021.

Applications to be sent to Debra Beard, Postgraduate Administrator via email at

Bursaries for IDD degrees by research

The University has a number of awards for UK/EU and overseas candidates starting a one-year Masters programme for PhD study, some of which are region- and country-specific scholarships. Interested candidates are strongly urged to apply. More information on the Scholarships and grants page.

Other scholarships and bursaries at IDD

In-Country scholarships and government awards

The large majority of study fellows are funded by their own organisation, the British Council or an associated funding source.

Opportunities vary from country to country and the British Council is best placed to advise on potential funding opportunities for you. Contact details of all British Council offices can be found on the British Council website

Grant-making bodies

Many grant-making bodies have funds available for international students to undertake postgraduate study in the UK. Awards vary greatly according to the subject area and to the country of the applicant.

The Directory of Social Change provides a comprehensive guide to funding possibilities.

Donor agencies

Many bi-lateral and multi-lateral donor agencies offer awards for students to undertake postgraduate study in the UK. These include the World Bank, UN agencies such as UNICEF, UNESCO or UNDP, and the European Commission.

Many of these agencies have local offices and you are advised to address them first to ask about funding opportunities for students from your country.

Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)

IDD is recognised by the British Economic and Social Research Council as a centre of excellence for postgraduate research and for training in research methods.

Eligible applicants may apply to the ESRC for funding to undertake research (+3) and should contact the ESRC directly for information.

(Please note that in order to be considered for an ESRC scholarship, you will need to be nominated by the School of Government and Society.)

Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholarships

'Ambassadorial Scholarships, the Rotary Foundation's oldest and best-known program, is the world's largest privately funded international scholarships program. 

'The purpose of the Ambassadorial Scholarships program is to further international understanding and friendly relations among people of different countries and geographical areas. While abroad, scholars serve as goodwill ambassadors to the host country and give presentations about their homelands to Rotary clubs and other groups. Upon returning home, scholars share with Rotarians and others the experiences that led to a greater understanding of their host country.'

Rotary Foundation's Ambassadorial Scholarships