Fellowship FYI

Intellectual distinction is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for election to a Rhodes Scholarship. Selection committees are charged to seek excellence in qualities of mind and in qualities of person which, in combination, offer the promise of effective service to the world in the decades ahead.

Rhodes Scholarships 


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U.S. citizens who wish to study at the University of Oxford. Successful applicants tend to have at least a 3.8 GPA, although GPA is far from the most important aspect of a candidacy. Candidates are selected according to the criteria outlined in the will of Cecil B. Rhodes. In no particular order, these include: academic achievement, significant commitment to service and the welfare of others, demonstrated leadership skills, and athletic achievements. This last emphasis on athleticism has lessened in recent years.

Eligibility Limitations:
To apply for a US Rhodes Scholarship, you must be a U.S. citizen, the recipient of a B.A. or B.S. no later than October 1, 2020, and be at least 18 and no older than 24 years of age by October 1, 2019. To apply for a non-US Rhodes Scholarship, review the jurisdictional criteria here and then contact Meredith Monaghan (monaghan@brandeis.edu) to set up an appointment to discuss the application process. 

Rhodes House, Oxford University.

Two year award.

Application Requirements:
The Intent-to-Apply deadline for Brandeis students is July 29, 2019; email the Director of Fellowships Meredith Monaghan (monaghan@brandeis.edu) for more details about this step. The Brandeis deadline is August 21, by which date a complete draft of the application must be submitted to Meredith Monaghan in the Office of Academic Services in Usdan 130; letters of recommendation (5-8) may be emailed directly to monaghan@brandeis.edu.

Typical Essay Question:
A signed short personal statement describing the applicant's academic and other interests. This statement should describe the specific area of proposed study and the applicant's reasons for wishing to study at Oxford and it must conclude with the following signed statement: “I attest that this essay is my own work and is wholly truthful. Neither it nor any earlier draft has been edited by anyone other than me, nor has anyone else reviewed it to provide me with suggestions to improve it. I understand that any such editing or review would disqualify my application.” This personal essay must not exceed 1,000 words in length and should be written in as simple and direct a manner as possible. While fellowship advisors are happy to meet with you and talk about your plans, we may not provide feedback on your essays; we still encourage you to meet with us several times throughout the summer as you work on your application.

Campus Deadline: August 21, 2019

Phase 1: If you are seriously considering applying for the Rhodes, we strongly urge you to make an appointment with the Director of Fellowships, Meredith Monaghan (monaghan@brandeis.edu), to discuss the application process. You must also submit an Intent-to-Apply form by July 15, 2019.

Phase 2: No later than the campus deadline (August 21, 2019), you should submit one copy of the draft of your Rhodes application, including supporting materials to Meredith Monaghan (monaghan@brandeis.edu). You must also submit an original Brandeis transcript, as well as a copy of any non-Brandeis transcripts (i.e. summer school, study abroad). You will still be able (or likely encouraged) to make changes to your application, even after the campus deadline, although the Rhodes endorsement committee may or may not see these edits. 

Campus Interviews:
Early September 2019

Final Deadline:
October 2, 2019

Finalists will be invited to regional interviews in mid November.

Who applies nationwide?

Approximately 1,000 applicants from the 50 different states compete for the 32 scholarships for US citizens. In states like Massachusetts or New York, there may be close to 100 applications whereas states like Wyoming or Alabama have significantly lower volume. The regional competition is adjusted for state demographics, however, so it is not necessarily the case that being from one state is an advantage or a disadvantage. Approximately 12-16 students will be interviewed in each of 16 districts.


Recent Brandeis University Winners and Finalists:
Zachary Kasdin '18 was regional finalist (selected for an interview) in the fall of 2017, as were Elizabeth Stoker '13 in the fall of 2013, Jacob Olidort '07 in the fall of 2008, and Mark Samburg '07 in the fall of 2006. Tobias Harris '05, a Chicago native, was selected for an interview in his home state of Illinois in 2004. Congratulations also to Tova Neugut '01, Elizabeth Pederson '01, and Esti Schabelman '01, each selected for an interview by their respective states (Massachusetts, Nevada, Louisiana). Tennessee native Laura Nell Hodo '96 is our most recent Rhodes scholar.