The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition

The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition 2016 is now open for entries; submissions can be made until 1st May 2016.

The overarching theme for 2016 is ‘An Inclusive Commonwealth’, which is also the 2016 Commonwealth Year theme, and a topical theme for today’s youth. Both Senior and Junior topics give young people the opportunity to think about aspects of the theme such as: the significance of community; the importance of diversity and difference; the question of belonging; the values of tolerance, respect and understanding; and the sense of shared responsibility that exists within the Commonwealth today. The topics are a chance to develop critical thinking and to express views in a creative manner.

Read the Senior and Junior topics.

For more information about the competition, please visit Terms and Conditions and Frequently Asked Questions.

Information on how to submit an essay can be found here.

Open to all Commonwealth citizens aged 18 and under, our essay competition offers young people from diverse backgrounds the opportunity to make their voices heard on a global platform, to engage with issues important to them and to express their aspirations for the future. Each year, participants demonstrate their ability to stimulate and provoke discussions about important Commonwealth and global issues from a young person’s perspective and to showcase their critical and creative skills.

History of the Essay Competition

The RCS has a rich history of nurturing the creative talents of young people around the Commonwealth. We endeavour to promote literacy, expression and creativity among young people by celebrating excellence and imagination. Run by the RCS since 1883, this international schools’ writing contest – the world’s oldest and largest – is a highly regarded and popular international education project which we run in partnership with Cambridge University Press.

In 2015, the contest was renamed ‘The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition’, in honour of HM Queen Elizabeth II’s role as both Head of the Commonwealth and Patron of the Royal Commonwealth Society.

Read about the 2015 winners.

Commonwealth Scholarships for Master’s and PhD study – developing Commonwealth country citizens

Commonwealth Scholarships for Master’s and PhD study in the UK are offered for citizens of developing Commonwealth countries. These scholarships are funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), 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. For information on other scholarships offered by the CSC, visit our Apply page.

You can apply for a Commonwealth Scholarship for the following levels of study:

  • Master’s (one-year courses only)
  • PhD

All subject areas are eligible, although the CSC’s selection criteria give priority to applications that demonstrate the strongest relevance to development.

You should apply to study at a UK university with which the CSC has a part funding agreement. Click here for a list of UK universities which have part funding agreements with the CSC

Eligibility

To apply for these scholarships, you must:

  • Be a Commonwealth citizen, refugee, or British protected person
  • Be permanently resident in a developing Commonwealth country
  • Be available to start your academic studies in the UK by the start of the UK academic year in September/October 2016
  • By October 2016, hold a first degree of at least upper second class (2:1) honours standard, or a second class degree and a relevant postgraduate qualification (usually a Master’s degree)

The CSC promotes equal opportunity, gender equity, and cultural exchange. Applications are encouraged from a diverse range of candidates. The CSC is committed to administering and managing its scholarships and fellowships in a fair and transparent manner – for more information, see the CSC anti-fraud policy.

Terms and conditions

For full terms and conditions, see the Commonwealth Scholarships 2016 prospectus

Selection process

Each year, the CSC invites selected nominating bodies to submit a specific number of nominations. The deadline for nominating bodies to submit nominations to the CSC is 17 December 2015.

The CSC invites around three times more nominations than scholarships available – therefore, nominated candidates are not guaranteed to be awarded a scholarship. There are no quotas for scholarships for any individual country. Candidates nominated by national nominating agencies are in competition with those nominated by other nominating bodies, and the same standards will be applied to applications made through either channel.

Each nominated candidate’s application is first considered by a member of the CSC’s panel of advisers with expertise in the subject area concerned, and then by the CSC’s selection committee in competition with other candidates.

Applications are considered according to the following selection criteria:

  • Academic merit of the candidate
  • Quality of the proposal
  • Potential impact of the work on the development of the candidate’s home country

For further details, see the Selection criteria for 2016 Commonwealth Scholarships for Master’s and PhD study

You may also find the Feedback for unsuccessful candidates useful.

How to apply

You must apply to one of the following nominating bodies in the first instance – the CSC does not accept direct applications for these scholarships:

All applications must be made through your nominating body in your home country. Each nominating body is responsible for its own selection process. You must check with your nominating body for their specific advice and rules for applying, and for their own closing date for applications. The CSC does not impose any age limit on applicants, but nominating bodies may do so in line with their own priorities.

You must make your application using the CSC’s Electronic Application System (EAS). Click here for full information on how to use the EAS, including detailed guides.

Your application must be submitted to and endorsed by one of the approved nominating bodies listed above. The CSC will not accept any applications that are not submitted via the EAS to a nominating body in your home country.

All applications must be submitted by 23.59 (GMT) on 19 November 2015 at the latest. Please note that this is an earlier deadline than in previous years