Rhodes Scholarship for U.S. Citizens


Please consult the program website to confirm details, including applicable deadlines.

Program Purpose: 
The Rhodes Scholarships were established after the death of Cecil Rhodes, who hoped that his plan of bringing able students from throughout the English-speaking world and beyond to study at Oxford University would aid in the promotion of international understanding and peace. The scholarships provide transformative opportunities for outstanding all-round students and exceptional individuals, encouraging them to "fight the world's fight" throughout their lives.
Program Description: 
Each year, 32 U. S. citizens are among more than 80 Rhodes Scholars worldwide who take up degree courses at Oxford University. A Rhodes Scholarship makes possible two or three years of study in any field at Oxford, the oldest university in the English-speaking world. Rhodes Scholars join just over 20,000 students from more than 140 countries currently studying at the University, and are enriched by the stimulating and rigorous education and the vibrant cultural and community life. __________________________________________________________________________________________________ Scholars may study for any degree taught at the University of Oxford. Rhodes Scholarships are normally held for two years, the duration of most masters' degrees and second bachelors' degrees. Scholars may also study for two one-year "taught" master's degrees. For those pursuing a doctorate, the scholarship may be renewed for a third year. In the fourth and last year of a doctorate, university fees only may be available.
Program Benefits: 
The value of a Rhodes Scholarship consists of a direct payment to the Scholar's college of all tuition fees (such as matriculation, tuition, and certain other set charges), plus a maintenance stipend (except for doctoral candidates who, in the fourth year, receive fees only) paid directly to the Scholar in installments during the term of the Scholarship. This sum should be sufficient to enable a Scholar to meet necessary expenses for term time and vacations, but those who can afford to supplement it to a modest extent from their own resources are advised to do so. For those receiving fourth-year fees for doctorates, Oxford living expenses are often available through University teaching positions. The Trust will assist Rhodes Scholars with their traveling expenses to and from Oxford. __________________________________________________________________________________________________ Married applicants may apply. It would be very difficult, however, for a married couple to live on the Rhodes Scholarship stipend alone. Supplemental private funds are virtually essential. Spouses may obtain permits to work legally in Britain.
Application Process: 
In selecting a district in which to apply, students may apply from either their home state, or the state in which they are conducting their undergraduate or master's level studies. States are grouped into sixteen districts for the purpose of making these appointments. Each District Committee selects not more than two candidates who will represent the state or states within each District as Rhodes Scholars at Oxford. ________________________________________________________________________________________________ The applicant must be prepared to attend a reception and personal interview, and remain for possible reinterviews and the election announcement, in the city serving the respective district region, on the Friday and Saturday preceding the Thanksgiving holiday. _________________________________________________________________________________________________ Please Note: Applicants must pay their own expenses to the finalist interview, which takes place in the district in which they have applied. ________________________________________________________________________________________________ Graduating seniors will seek an endorsement from their undergraduate institution. Graduate students who apply for a Rhodes in the first year of graduate study should also seek an endorsement from their undergraduate institution. Graduate students in the second year or later year of graduate study should seek endorsement from their graduate institution. Rhodes recommends that undergraduate applicants should begin preparing their essays and other aspects of their applications by Spring of the junior year.
Applicant Profile: 
Proven intellectual and academic achievement of a high standard is the first quality required of applicants, but applicants will also be required to show integrity of character, interest in and respect for their fellow beings, the ability to lead, and the energy to use their talents to the full.
Applicant must have at least a bachelor's degree by October 1 of the year of application, and must be at that time at least 18 but not yet 24 years of age (i.e., applicant must still be 23 on October 1 in the year of application). _______________________________________________________________________________________________ Applicant must be eligible to apply through one of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, or one of the US territories: either in the state or territory where the applicant was legally resident on April 15 in the year of application, or where the applicant will have received at least two years of college training and a bachelor’s degree before October 1 in the year following election.
Selection Criteria: 
The Rhodes Will contains four criteria by which prospective Rhodes Scholars are to be selected: (1) literary and scholastic attainments; (2) energy to use one's talents to the full; (3) truth, courage, devotion to duty, sympathy for and protection of the weak, kindliness, unselfishness and fellowship; (4) moral force of character and instincts to lead, and to take an interest in one's fellow beings. ______________________________________________________________________________________________ Intellectual distinction is the most important criterion, but it cannot be measured by grades or college academic honors alone. Letter of reference and, for those who become finalists, candidate interviews are extremely important as well. There is no minimum GPA to be considered for a Rhodes, although 3.7 is the usual minimum, and some Oxford departments establish GPA requirements for certain degrees (usually 3.8). Another useful measure might be admission to U. S. graduate schools: if it is unlikely that you would be admitted to one of the very most selective US graduate programs in your primary field, it is unlikely that you will win a Rhodes Scholarship.
Must be a citizen of the US or a lawful permanent resident of the US on April 15 in the year of application.
Program Deadline: 
The national deadline, circa October 5, does not directly apply to students, who must apply for nomination through the University by the campus deadline.
University Deadline: 
Completed applications must be submitted to SF State's fellowship advisor, Grad Stop Reception, ADM 250, by Noon on August 1 annually.
More information: 
To apply, the applicant must produce:
  • proof of citizenship or lawful permanent resident status.
  • a certified transcript (or transcripts).
  • a list of principal activities.
  • a clear, printable head and shoulders photograph (preferably high resolution).
  • the endorsement of the applicant's college or university.
  • five, but not more than eight, letters of recommendation.  At least four of these letters must be persons from whom the applicant has received undergraduate or graduate instruction, and at least one letter (the fifth) must speak to the applicant's character.
  • a personal statement not exceeding 1000 words which the applicant must attest as wholly truthful and his or her own work. The statement should describe the applicant's academic and other interests, and describe the specific areas of proposed study and the reasons for wishing to study at Oxford. The statement should be written in as simple and direct a manner as possible and set in a typeface no smaller than 10 points. Selection committees will place special emphasis on the personal statement and it may be forwarded to Oxford colleges to which Rhodes Scholars-elect apply for admission. Committees may, in their discretion, reject any personal statement which fails to meet these requirements.

Resources for Selecting a Course of Study at Oxford:

Applicants should study the University of Oxford's academic system in order to determine if their plan of study is feasible at Oxford. Comprehensive information on study at Oxford can be found on its Graduate Admissions website.  

The Oxford website is your resource for information on courses and faculty in the department in which you plan to study. Keep in mind, when proposing a course of study unrelated to your undergraduate degree, any prerequisites for the Oxford program. To clarify whether you have the necessary prerequisites, contact the relevant department at Oxford. 

Applicants planning to do a research degree at Oxford rather than a "degree by coursework" (a D.Phil. Or a "master's degree by research"), should contact the appropriate faculty person in the relevant department at Oxford to determine if the planned project could be supported by the department.

How To Apply: 
This program requires institutional nomination. Students may not apply directly to the foundation or program. Instead, applicants must apply through the University by the campus deadline. Please note that University nomination is not guaranteed. ___________________________________________________________________________________________ Applicants are encouraged to work with the fellowship advisor well in advance of the internal deadline to perfect their application essays and other materials.