Rhodes Scholarship

At a Glance

Princeton Application Deadline
August 28, 2020
National Deadline
October 7, 2020
Term of Award
Requires Princeton Nomination
Field of Study
Arts, Education, Humanities, Social Sciences, STEM
Length of Fellowship
Two or more years, Varies
United Kingdom
Citizenship Status
Non-U.S. citizens are eligible, U.S. citizens are eligible


Established in 1903, Rhodes Scholarships bring together outstanding students from around the world for a one-, two-, or three-year period of study at Oxford University. The 32 scholarships are granted each year to U.S. citizens, and approximately 70 scholarships are given to citizens of other former British Commonwealth countries and a growing number of additional countries. 



  • Citizens of any country are eligible, but most awards are allocated to U.S. citizens, some U.S. permanent residents, citizens of certain British Commonwealth countries, and citizens of other “jurisdictional” countries.
  • Between the ages of 18 and 24 by October 1 of the year of application; non-U.S. applicants have various age requirements.
  • Bachelor’s degree before commencing study at Oxford.

Criteria for Selection

The criteria for Rhodes Scholars were established by the will of Cecil Rhodes, the founder of the scholarships, and by the various national Rhodes Trust Committees. They have been revised over the years.

  • Academic excellence: Although there is no GPA requirement, strong U.S. Rhodes applicants generally have at least a 3.7 GPA.
  • Qualities of moral leadership and social purpose: These qualities are not easy to define, though in short, candidates should exhibit outstanding potential outside the classroom as well as in it.
  • Candidates should demonstrate “physical vigor.” This concept originally referred to athletic ability but is now commonly seen as a passion and energy to make an impact on the world. The emphasis put on this final category—as with the definition of what activities are deemed “athletic”—varies somewhat from committee to committee. It should keep no one from applying. 

There is a danger that potentially strong candidates who do not consider themselves the “Rhodes type” will fail to apply for this very attractive scholarship. There is no “Rhodes type,” as the extraordinary variety of Princeton recipients in recent years amply attests.
Note that non-U.S. Rhodes applicants have different deadlines and selection criteria.

Application Procedure

Princeton University must endorse applicants for the Rhodes Scholarship. This endorsement process involves the submission of supporting materials to your Rhodes (U.S.) Global Systems Program (GPS) Application by the Princeton campus deadline:

  • Résumé (two pages maximum)
  • 1,000-word personal statement
  • Eight letters of recommendation
  • Official transcripts

Endorsed applicants will submit a final application through the online Rhodes system by the Rhodes national deadline in early October (for U.S. applicants).

Additional Information

For information about courses of study, refer to the Rhodes website, as well as the resources located in the “Related Links” section on this page. 

Applicants for the Canadian Rhodes Scholarship have the same campus deadline as U.S. Rhodes applicants, and those applicants are reviewed by one campus Rhodes endorsement committee. Canadian applicants submit their applications through GPS, but they submit through a separate link from U.S. applicants since the application requirements differ slightly.

The Rhodes Trust recently launched two Global Rhodes Scholarships, available to candidates from any country that is not an existing Rhodes jurisdiction. Visit the Rhodes website for information about eligibility.

If you are a citizen of a country other than the U.S. or Canada and are eligible for and planning to apply for the Rhodes Scholarship, please consult a Rhodes Scholarship adviser for details particular to your application timeline and requirements.