Rhodes Scholarships

Thirty-two Rhodes Scholarships are awarded each year to U.S. citizens, for two years of study at Oxford University in England. The scholarship pays all fees and tuition in addition to a personal allowance. Scholars may earn a Master’s degree, a second B.A. or, in some cases, a D.Phil.


  • Preliminary: Aug. 1, 2023
  • Internal: Sept. 1, 2023
  • External: Oct. 4, 2023

Who is Eligible?

To be eligible for the American competition, you must be:

  • A U.S. citizen.
  • At least 18 but not yet 24 on Oct. 1 of the year of application
  • Recipient of a bachelor's degree before taking up the award.

Please note that Rhodes Scholarships are available to citizens of more than 20 countries besides the United States. Deadlines for the competition in other countries may be much earlier than those in the United States. In addition, in some countries students pursuing undergraduate degrees abroad are not eligible to apply for the Rhodes. See the Rhodes website for more details.

Adviser: Eleanor (Ellie) Stanford, Fellowship Adviser.

Selection Criteria: In keeping with the criteria established by Cecil Rhodes’s will, selection committees seek candidates who will be “intellectually, morally, and physically capable of leadership,” whether that leadership is in traditional public service or not.

In addition to an excellent overall academic record, strong applicants will have extracurricular activities that demonstrate qualities of moral leadership and social purpose.

Finally, although Rhodes applicants need not be athletes, some activity that attests to “physical vigor” will certainly strengthen their application. In addition, successful applicants should have strong preparation and a convincing rationale for the proposed field of graduate study. 

Application Process

Preliminary application: Because competition for this scholarship is so intense, it is important to begin the application process early. The initial application is intended to get you started putting together the materials you will need for later stages. Based on your initial application, you will receive feedback from the Fellowships Adviser regarding whether you have the potential to receive institutional endorsement and if so what steps you should take and what concerns you will have to address to earn that endorsement.

Rhodes Preliminary Application Form

The preliminary application will consist of the following:

  • A current, comprehensive resumé, including employment, activities, honors, skills, and languages. This need not be limited to one page. Please include a description of planned employment or other activities for the upcoming summer and fall.
  • The names of five to eight potential writers of letter of recommendation, at least four of whom should be professors. You are advised to inform these writers of your plans to apply for this fellowship.
  • A personal statement worksheet
  • A list of any other fellowships you are planning to apply for
  • A list of any questions you have about the fellowship or the application process

Official fall internal application: In this stage, you submit your online application internally and are interviewed soon after by the Committee on Fellowships and Prizes here on campus. This internal application includes the following elements:

  • A current, comprehensive resumé, including employment, activities, honors, skills, and languages. This need not be limited to one page.
  • A “personal statement describing your academic and other interests.” This statement “should describe the specific area of proposed study and the applicants’ reasons for wishing to study at Oxford. ... This personal essay must not exceed 1000 words in length and should be written in as simple and direct a manner as possible.”
  • Three letters of recommendation, at least two of which should be from professors. (Please note that you should have an addition two to five people lined up to write recommendations if you are selected for nomination.)

Instructions for writers of letters of recommendation (Please forward to your recommenders)

Link for writers of letters of recommendation (please email to your recommenders)

On the basis of that application and interview, the Committee will decide whether or not to endorse your application.  If you are selected as a nominee, the committee will prepare an official letter of support for your application. You will also receive some feedback on your application and have a short time period in which to revise materials for your final application. The better and more polished your initial application; the likelier you are to have a strong interview, a strong letter of support, and the strongest possible final application. 

External application: You may apply either from your home district or from District IV (Delaware and Pennsylvania). Consult with the Fellowships Adviser about which district to choose. 

Revised application must be submitted to Eleanor (Ellie) Stanford, Fellowship Adviser, at least two days before the official external deadline. If necessary, you should be prepared to make last-minute editorial corrections and must ensure the final application is submitted by the published external deadline. 

External application is now online and includes:

  • Rhodes application, which includes a list of principal activities and honors while in college (including prizes, scholarships, offices held, athletic record, extracurricular interests and activities) with dates
  • Personal statement
  • Transcript for each college or university attended
  • Passport photo
  • Scanned birth certificate, passport, or other proof of age and citizenship

You are responsible for ensuring that your recommenders each upload their Letter of Appraisal. In 2010, for the first time, all letters of recommendation are due by the external deadline. Finally, please submit one copy of your application form, list of activities, and personal statement to the dean’s office, to be included in your permanent file. 

After the application is submitted: Each regional selection committee will interview selected candidates on mid to late November. Results are announced at the end of the district interviews, and students selected as Rhodes Scholars are expected to immediately accept or reject the Scholarship. Scholars-Elect must then apply for admission to Oxford; they will be given more information about that process at the time of their election.