Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP) – New Zealand

The competition for the 2020 academic year will not take place.

Competition: Closed

Who Applies: Canadian students and researchers

Description: The Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan – New Zealand offers scholarships to Canadians for study or research at the PhD level that lead to a degree at a university in New Zealand.


Under the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP), a number of scholarships are offered by the New Zealand CSFP Committee, administered by Universities New Zealand - Te Pōkai Tara. These scholarships are available at the PhD level in all disciplines. The scholarships are tenable at the following New Zealand universities:

Scholarship Value

A scholarship under this initiative is for a scholar to undertake a doctoral program at a specific New Zealand university. The value of the scholarship is determined by each university and may vary from one university to another. It is the responsibility of the applicant to contact the relevant university to confirm the financial elements and allowances of an award. The host university reserves the right to make changes to the type or value of any elements of the award and / or allowance.

Each university's scholarship committee is responsible for the final selection, academic matters, and payments to scholarship recipients as well as for arranging travel, reception and other services.

The application process for acceptance to a doctoral program at one of the New Zealand universities and the application process for a scholarship under the New Zealand CSFP are separate processes. The offer of a placement to a doctoral program does not guarantee or imply the offer of a scholarship.

The scholarship generally includes:

  • airfare to New Zealand, for the scholarship recipient only, by the most direct and economical route and return airfare upon completion of the scholarship. The cost of any travel made before receipt of a scholarship is normally not reimbursed;
  • approved tuition and compulsory fees;
  • medical and travel insurance; and
  • an annual grant.

Scholarship Duration

Scholarships are tenable for one academic year, which must start at or near the beginning of the 2019 academic year (February 2019). Applicants must not already be registered for a PhD at any New Zealand university.

The scholarship is awarded for a maximum period of three years. The yearly renewal of the scholarship is subject to:

  • the availability of funding;
  • a good academic standing during the previous academic year; and
  • receipt of a satisfactory annual progress report from the recipient and their supervisor.


Applicants must:

  • be Canadian citizens; and
  • have completed an undergraduate degree with a minimum (A-) average or equivalent.

Applicants are responsible to seek their own admission to the universities or educational institutions of their choice and ensure the necessary admission requirements are met.

In addition, applicants:

Terms and Conditions

Scholarship recipients:

  • may be required to submit a medical report before the scholarship can be confirmed;
  • are required to satisfy the requirements of Immigration New Zealand for entry to and study in New Zealand. It is the scholarship recipient’s responsibility to apply for and be granted the necessary visa. All scholarship offers are conditional on meeting these requirements;
  • must make travel arrangements to New Zealand in accordance with any rules and limitations of the university’s funding policy. Any additional costs must be covered by the recipient;
  • who bring their spouse and/or family to New Zealand will be responsible for obtaining the necessary permissions and visas and for supporting them financially during the tenure of the scholarship;
  • cannot concurrently hold other scholarships or awards;
  • are required to sign an undertaking to return to Canada as soon as their scholarship comes to an end. Recipients who seek or apply for New Zealand permanent residency while in New Zealand will automatically have their scholarship terminated;
  • are required to follow a full-time course of study and abide by the rules of the host university. The regulations of the scholarship recipient’s host university will apply;
  • may be required to enroll in a preliminary course of study by way of a bridging program. The time spent on such courses is part of the total period of the scholarship term;
  • are expected to reside in New Zealand throughout their scholarship, and to seek approval from the scholarship committee at the host university for any proposed visits abroad. Research outside of New Zealand is normally not permitted;
  • cannot seek an offer of employment or make other arrangements to stay in New Zealand either during or immediately after the scholarship term;
  • can only work in New Zealand, during the tenure of the scholarship, if allowed by the terms of their visa and of the regulations of their host university;
  • are expected to complete the requirements of the PhD within three years. Extensions to the scholarship, either in time or funds, are not guaranteed;
  • may have their scholarship terminated at any time due to a recipient’s unsatisfactory progress, conduct or due to the breach of any of the scholarship’s conditions; and
  • are responsible to determine with the Inland Revenue Department in New Zealand their tax status as scholarship recipients and as international students.

Any questions?

Please direct all inquiries regarding the eligibility requirements to: or 613-237-4820.


The deadline for the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) online application form is 11:59 p.m. EDT, July 10, 2018.

Applications received late or incomplete by the scholarship administrator, the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) will not be considered.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that any documents sent by mail are received by the deadline. Supporting documents, other than the ones requested, will not be accepted.

An acknowledgement of receipt will not be provided.  It is strongly recommended that the applicant collect all the required supporting documents in sealed envelopes and send them to CBIE in one package by a method that provides confirmation of its delivery, such as a courier service or registered mail.


Applicants will be contacted by CBIE by September 7, 2018 regarding the status of their application.

Applicants must also ensure that a permanent email address is included in their application.

Final Selection

The final selection of scholarship recipients is made by the participating universities in New Zealand. The scholarships manager of Universities New Zealand – Te Pōkai Tara will notify all candidates of their decisions by mid-November 2018.

Application Process

To be considered for a scholarship under the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan, an applicant must complete and submit the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) online application form available on this site and provide the supporting documents as requested.

Applicants are recommended to list up to two universities, in order of priority, where they would like their scholarship application to be considered. The New Zealand universities will be involved in the final assessment process in the order in which they are listed on the online application form.

Late or incomplete submissions will not be considered.

All inquiries regarding this scholarship should be directed to:


Applicants are encouraged to carefully read the instructions below before beginning the online form. If applicants experience difficulty filling out or submitting the form, they should send an email to

Applicants must:

  • Complete the online form;
    • Individuals who do not have an account will first need to Register an account.
    • Under “For Canadians” section, applicants will need to go to the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan-New Zealand and click on Apply Now.
  • Enter data in the fields marked mandatory, following instructions for each item;
  • Upload all required supporting documents;
  • Upon completion, verify the data prior to submission;
  • Print the form for their records using the print function in the browser; and
  • Click SUBMIT to provide their form electronically to DFATD. The candidate will receive a confirmation message and reference number once their form is submitted.

NOTE: Applicants will have the ability to save their application and complete it at a later time. Both saved and submitted applications will appear on the applicant’s profile homepage.

Supporting documentation

All supporting documentation may be submitted in English or in French, but pre-selected applicants with documents in French will be required to provide English translations.

The following documents must be uploaded and attached to the online application form in one of the following formats: .pdf, .jpg, .doc, .docx, .txt or .gif. Each document must be smaller than 5 Mb in order for the application to upload successfully:

  • Certificate of admission: certificate of admission from the host institution or copy of correspondence testifying that the applicant has requested admission and / or will have the support from a potential doctoral supervisor.
  • Proof of Canadian citizenship: copy of a birth certificate, citizenship card, or passport; a baptism certificate is not accepted as proof of Canadian citizenship.
  • Official transcripts: a transcript of all post-secondary studies to date (complete academic records including colleges and CÉGEPs) with the cumulative grade point average for each degree or certificate.
  • Study or research proposal: An essay describing your study or research plan. Applicants are expected to have researched the program, the research and supervisory capabilities of their preferred New Zealand universities (maximum two pages).
  • Copy of the diploma: for the highest degree obtained.
  • Proof of registration for studies in progress: including courses being taken (if applicable).

Additional documents to submit by email or mail:

  • Curriculum vitae: the curriculum vitae must not include photographs or any personal information such as a date of birth (maximum four pages).
  • Three letters of recommendation: must be sent in PDF format, by e-mail, directly by the referees to CBIE at The New Zealand CSFP Committee attaches great importance to letters of recommendation from people who are well acquainted with the applicant’s academic or professional work. Please note that:
    • where an applicant has studied at a New Zealand university, at least one referee should be from this institution; and
    • at least two of the three referees should have taught or supervised the applicant in an area of study relevant to this application. Documents and email subject lines must clearly identify the name of the scholarship program and the last name of the applicant (e.g. Subject: CSFP-NEW-ZEALAND-last name of the applicant).
  • Artwork samples for applicants in fine arts, music and architecture are required as follows: Applicants in the history or theory of art, of music, or of architecture are not required to submit samples.
    • Applicants in the fine arts1 (painting, graphic arts, sculpture and photography) must submit copies or photos of three pieces of their work. Film-makers and video artists must submit at least one recent film, indicating when it was made, how the applicant was involved in its production and the running time. These must be provided on a USB Key, CD or DVD, be dated, and clearly identified with the applicant's name.
    • Applicants in music1 must submit a USB Key, CD or DVD of three original work pieces for a total of no more than 30 minutes. The recordings of singers and instrumentalists must be chosen from three different musical periods, except in the case of Baroque musicians, who must include movements from three different types of pieces. Piano accompaniments may be included.
    • Applicants in architecture1 must submit up to ten reproductions of drawings, provided on a USB Key, CD or DVD.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that these documents are received by the deadline.

The documents above must be sent to CBIE at:

Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE)
Attn: Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan – New Zealand
220 Laurier Avenue West, Suite 1550
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5Z9


Note: Recommendation letters must be written and signed by the referees and cannot be authored by relatives of the applicant. Relatives are defined as: spouse, son or daughter, stepson or stepdaughter, father or mother, stepfather or stepmother, brother or sister, half-brother or half-sister, stepbrother or stepsister, father- or mother-in-law, son- or daughter-in-law, and brother- or sister-in-law.

Review procedures

All applications received by the deadline that meet the eligibility requirements will be evaluated by the Canadian Scholarship Selection Committee.

The Canadian Scholarship Selection Committee:

  • is made up of individuals from the academic community representing all regions of Canada, both official language groups and a wide variety of academic disciplines; and
  • reviews, evaluates and ranks candidates to recommend a list of pre-selected candidates.

Applications will be reviewed by the Canadian Scholarship Selection Committee using the following criteria:

  • the merits and overall credentials of the applicant, including academic and/or professional experience;
  • the quality of the study and research proposal and how well applicants have researched the program and the research and supervisory capabilities of their preferred New Zealand universities;
  • the candidate’s university grade point average (GPA);
  • the level of completeness and detail put into the preparation of the application; and
  • the quality of the recommendation letters which attest to the candidate’s ability to perform and to succeed as a scholarship recipient.

Pre-selected applications will be nominated to the New Zealand CSFP Committee where the final selection of scholarship recipients will be made. The results will be communicated to CBIE by November 2018. Notification will be sent out to all pre-selected candidates by mid-November 2018 by Universities New Zealand - Te Pōkai Tara.


All recommendations of the Canadian Scholarship Selection Committee and decisions made by the New Zealand CSFP Committee are final and are not open to appeal.

The Canadian Scholarship Selection Committee is not able to provide feedback to unsuccessful candidates.

Applications submitted directly to the High Commission of New Zealand will not be considered.

These scholarships are subject to the availability of funding provided by the participating universities in New Zealand.

Apply online

1Only samples as specified above will be presented to the Selection Committee. Samples can be returned following the competition; please indicate the return address. However CBIE, while taking all reasonable care, cannot be held responsible for the loss or damage of artwork samples.


The Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP) was established in 1959, with the first scholars selected in 1960. The Plan was suggested in an influential speech in September 1958 by Sidney Smith, a former President of the University of Toronto and later Canadian Minister of External Affairs. The goal of the Plan is to nurture educational links among Commonwealth countries and to strengthen the ideals upon which the Commonwealth was founded. The Plan aims to make awards available to people of high intellectual promise who are expected to make a significant contribution to life in their own countries on their return from study abroad. Over 27,000 Commonwealth citizens have held awards - many going on to reach the very highest levels within their profession.

In New Zealand, the CSFP is administered by Universities New Zealand - Te Pōkai Tara.

Annually, the New Zealand CSFP Committee offers up to eight scholarships to Canada and the UK combined. All applications from Canada and the UK will be assessed on merit by the New Zealand CSFP Committee.