APPLY: New Zealand Commonwealth Scholarships (Fully-funded MSc and PhD Scholarships)

New Zealand Commonwealth Scholarships

APPLY: New Zealand Commonwealth Scholarships (Fully-funded MSc and PhD Scholarships)

Deadline: March 30, 2017



The purpose of the scholarships is set out in the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (external link), with the following key principles to:


  1. promote mutual cooperation and share educational experience among all Commonwealth countries
  2. be available across the Commonwealth
  3. recognise and promote the highest level of intellectual achievement.


Eligible countries

The following Commonwealth countries are eligible to apply:



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



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Priority Sectors and Preferences

We are guided by both the Priority Sectors (above) and Selection Preferences when shortlisting candidates.

Priority Sectors

If you can show that your study is connected to any of these sectors, you are more likely to be selected. These are the priority sectors:


·         Agriculture development

  • Agri-business management: agricultural economics, agricultural systems and management, rural development, logistics, supply chain and distribution management, value chain development, agriculture marketing, international agribusiness
  • Agriculture production: animal science, veterinary nursing, plant science, horticultural science, soil science
  • Agriculture trade and technology: Phytosanitary, bio-security, biotechnology, agricultural trade
  • Post-harvest: food production, food sciences/technology, post-harvest processing, food storage and packaging, food safety


·         Renewable energy

  • Geothermal, solar, hydro-electric and wind energy, energy engineering, renewable energy distribution systems, energy sector management/reform, including energy economics and financials



When we consider applications, we’re also looking for scholars that most closely match our preferences. These include:

  • strong academic ability, leadership qualities, and a commitment to the development of their home country,
  • candidates who are 39 years of age or younger at the time of commencing their scholarship,
  • candidates who apply to study in areas relating to one or more of their country’s priority sectors.

Gender balance will also be a consideration in our selection decisions.



New Zealand Commonwealth Scholarships are available for the following postgraduate qualifications:

  • Master’s Degree (1 – 2 years)
  • PhD (up to 3.5 years)


How to apply

Applications for a New Zealand Commonwealth Scholarship

The application process for a New Zealand Commonwealth Scholarship is different to other New Zealand Scholarships. Applicants must submit their paper applications to their country’s ‘Nominating Agency’ first. The Nominating Agency then ‘nominates’ two applicants from the submitted applications to send to the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Read the below information carefully before you submit an application.


Note: Applications are open, and will close on 30 March. Applications must arrive at your country’s Commonwealth Nominating Agency by 30 March 2017.

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Step 1: Prepare to apply


Eligibility criteria checklist

  • Applicants from all eligible countries must meet the following conditions to be eligible for a New Zealand Scholarship:
Ø  I will be at least 18 years old at the time I start the scholarship.
Ø  I am a citizen of a participating country (as listed above) and I am residing in and applying for a scholarship from my country of citizenship.
Ø  I confirm that I am not also a citizen or permanent resident of any the following countries: New Zealand, Australia, Israel, South Korea, Japan, USA, any European Union country, Qatar, United Kingdom, Canada, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. (Note: This criteria does not apply to people from Niue, Cook Islands and Tokelau who are New Zealand citizens, and it also does not apply to NZ-Samoan dual citizens.)
Ø  On 31 December 2017, my country will have been my main country of residence for the last two years or more (unless you are a member of the diplomatic corps or a dependent of a member of the diplomatic corps).
Ø  I confirm that I am not currently serving in the military.
Ø  I expect to meet immigration requirements for a student visa to New Zealand or the Pacific Island country I will study in (i.e. medical checks, etc.).  Check the following websites for further information:

Ø  I expect to meet the academic entry requirements (including English language ability) for my preferred programme of study and institution. Refer to the website of your preferred institution to confirm entry requirements.
Ø  I confirm that I have not previously had a New Zealand Scholarship terminated because of poor academic performance (within the past 5 years) or breach of scholarship contract.
Ø  I intend to return to my country for two years or more at the end of my scholarship to contribute to my country’s development.
Ø  I have at least one year full-time (two year’s part-time) work experience relevant to my career and/or preferred qualification unless I am applying straight from secondary school or during my first year of tertiary study (for countries offered undergraduate study).


  • Follow the steps under ‘Getting Started’ (The selection process is very competitive and your choice of study must align to one of these sectors to go on to be shortlisted.)
  • If you want to pursue a PhD or a Masters by Thesis you should also start contacting and securing a potential supervisor for your PhD. You will need to have a Letter of Support from a supervisor should you go on to be shortlisted.


Step 2: Complete your application form

Download and print the New Zealand Commonwealth Scholarships Application Form for 2017 Selection


Additional copies may also be available at your local nominating agency or at selected New Zealand High Commissions.


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Refer to the Application Guidance page on this website for essential information and helpful tips.

Complete all sections of the application form, and make sure you have attached the additional documents required.


Step 3: Submit your application to your nominating agency

Send your completed Application Form to your country’s nominating agency by 30 March 2017.

For the contact details of Nominating Agencies – see pages 26-30 at the back of the NZCS Application Form [PDF, 711 KB].


Note: any applications received directly from applicants will not be considered. (Do NOT send your application to New Zealand). Alll applications must be sent to your country’s Nominating Agency first. Nominating Agencies play a key role in the application process.


What happens after I apply?

Nominating Agencies will review all applications received and select the two candidates that best meet the eligibility conditions, preference factors and priority sectors for their country. The Nominating Agencies then send their nominated candidates to us.


In May, we will contact you via email if you have been nominated to let you know that we have received your application as one of the two nominated applicants for your country.

We will then shortlist applications to proceed through to the next stages.


All shortlisted candidates will be assessed, interviewed and undergo reference checks through the New Zealand Scholarships office.


A final decision will be made by mid-October, 2017. Preferred candidates will be notified and go through the placement process at their selected institution. Once successfully placed, they will officially become New Zealand Commonwealth Scholars.


You may need to undertake aptitude testing before being shortlisted. You will be notified if this is required.


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If you are successful in reaching the shortlist, you will be required to provide the following documentation:

  1. One of the following:
    • Verified copy of passport
    • Verified copy of birth certificate
    • Verified copy of other official government issued ID
  2. Verified copies of relevant academic transcripts
  3. Verified copies of relevant completion certificates
  4. Contact details of most recent employer and two most relevant other employers (this does not apply to School Leaver applicants)
  5. A non-verified copy of an IELTS Test Report Form (TRF) or an original copy of a TOEFL test result form, completed in the last 24 months. Native English language speakers will have the opportunity to provide alternative evidence of their proficiency.


If you have previously completed tertiary education in English you can provide an official statement from the education provider that English is the language of instruction. Each institution sets their own English language requirements, so check with your preferred institution about their requirements for admission as they may require additional documentation.

Any questions?

Please check our frequently asked questions before making an enquiry.



Should you have any questions about the scholarship and other opportunities featured on this website or should you need assistance at anytime in your application, please, do not hesitate to write to us via this address:


We will get back to you in the shortest possible time. Be assured of our full commitment. We are always glad to assist you make your dream (of developing into an effective, world-class environmental management professional) come true.


Meanwhile, do follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page.



Kunlere Idowu

Kunlere is an environment and sustainable development strategist with years of active experience in environmental compliance monitoring and enforcement. You may follow him on Twitter via @kunlere_idowu



  1. Kasim Gemachu 5 months ago May 19, 2017

    my name kasim Gemachu from Ethiopia. i am graduated from jimma university in Bsc in sport science with 3.82 in 2016. for more information phone number 0941835635

  2. Abubakar Lawal 3 weeks ago September 23, 2017

    Good work sir. Pls am a graduate of plant breeding and seed technology with cgpa of 3.43 in Nigeria. I will be glad if u can help me in securing a scholarship for MSc in biotechnology/plant biotechnology.

    • Kunlere Idowu 3 weeks ago September 27, 2017

      There are various applications that you could apply for. In fact, we are tracking a couple of them right now.


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