Rhodes Scholarship (Oxford University, United Kingdom)

By | April 22, 2024
Rhodes Scholarship (Oxford University, United Kingdom)

The Rhodes Scholarship is the oldest (first given in 1902) and possibly most renowned international scholarship program, allowing exceptional young people from all over the world to study at the University of Oxford.

Applications to the U.S. or Global Rhodes constituencies need participation in the Trailblazer’s 10 (Spring/Summer) advising process, which is overseen by a SOP Primary Advisor. Campus endorsement is necessary exclusively for candidates to the United States and Global Rhodes constituencies.

Applicants from the following Rhodes constituencies are not eligible for endorsement: Australia, Bermuda, Canada, China, East Africa, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Jamaica and the Commonwealth Caribbean, Kenya, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Southern Africa, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, United Arab Emirates, West Africa, Zambia, or Zimbabwe.


A constituency is a country, collection of countries, territories, or states used to administer scholarships. A list of Rhodes constituencies and the nations they serve (when applicable) may be found here.

One of the Scholarship’s original goals was to find young leaders from throughout the world who, by pursuing education together at Oxford, would form links of mutual understanding and friendship for the benefit of humanity. Although the terminology is archaic, one of the Scholarship’s basic goals remains: to pick excellent young people with leadership potential who will have a positive effect on the world in the future.



The Scholarship is more than simply a cash award; it is a life-changing opportunity for extraordinary young people who have the capacity to make a positive difference in the world. Rhodes Scholars are persons with a vision of how the world could be improved and the drive to make a difference, regardless of their field of interest. Rhodes graduates have excelled in every discipline; visit Scholar Stories for examples of how Scholars are speaking out for the globe.

The Rhodes Scholars Fellowship is active internationally and across generations, with approximately 7,000 members. Rhodes Scholars therefore embark on a lifelong fellowship with continuous chances to meet with current and Senior Scholars, as well as a friendly and engaging environment of Scholars that generally fosters long-lasting friendships. The Rhodes Scholarship provides possibilities for scholars before, after, and during their stay at Oxford.

Every year, 32 young students from the United States are selected as Rhodes Scholars through a decentralized process that includes the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the United States territories.

Fields of Study

The Rhodes Scholarship places no limitations on your undergraduate major or field of study.


Rhodes Scholars may read for any full-time postgraduate degree at the University of Oxford, subject to the few Rhodes requirements outlined below. The Rhodes Scholarship is for not less than two years.

Permitted degrees/degree combinations:

  • A BA with Senior Status (i.e. done over two years, rather than the normal three).
  • A one-year taught Master’s course (MSc, MSt, BCL), followed in the second year by another one-year taught Master’s course.
  • A one-year taught Master’s course (MSc, MSt, BCL).
  • A two-year MPhil or BPhil (or BCL/MPhil).
  • A two-year MSc by research (or MLitt).
  • A three-year DPhil.

Scholars may petition for a third year of scholarship to finish their DPhil in some situations, at the discretion of the Rhodes Trust’s Academic Committee and the Rhodes Trustees. On the Rhodes website, you may find information on who can apply for a third year as well as ineligible programs of study under Conditions of Tenure.


To be eligible for SOP advising services on a Rhodes application, an undergraduate student (or recent undergraduate alumni) must:

  • be a junior (intending to graduate in the following academic year), a graduating senior (intending to graduate in the current academic year), or a recent undergraduate degree recipient from UCI within the last 12 months*;
  • have obtained and continue to maintain, a GPA of at least 3.7.
  • aim to enroll in a graduate program exactly two Fall terms from now.

The Rhodes Scholarship constituencies set age limitations. Undergraduates aged 18 to 23 who are US citizens, permanent residents, or DACA beneficiaries can apply through the U.S. Rhodes constituency. Applicants up to the age of 26 who completed their first undergraduate degree during the most recent academic year may be eligible for an exemption to the age limit. Please study the entire eligibility criteria in the criteria for Candidates booklet.

U.S. applicants must seek endorsement (nomination) from the campus through the Scholarship Opportunities Program.

For eligibility details for other Rhodes constituencies (non-U.S. citizens), please see the Information For Candidates document for your country’s constituency.

Scholarship Benefits

  • Oxford University (and College) fees;
  • an annual stipend (in 2019-20, £15,900 per year/£1,325 per month) from which Scholars cover all living expenses, including housing. Please be aware that this is insufficient to cover partners or dependents.
  • the fee for a Tier 4 study visa and the associated International Health Surcharge (IHS), which enables international students to access the UK’s National Health Service;
  • two economy class flights – to and from the UK – for the beginning and end of studies in Oxford;
  • a settling-in allowance (£225 in 2019-20), upon arrival in Oxford.

Rhodes Scholars can also apply for research scholarships that allow them to attend foreign conferences or do further fieldwork.

Because Selection Committees choose based not only on intellect, but also on character, leadership, and commitment to service, the Scholar Programme in Oxford aims to strengthen these Rhodes Scholar qualities through first and second-year retreats, workshops, and conferences, as well as social and discussion events hosted at Rhodes House.


The Rhodes Scholarship stands as a pinnacle of competitiveness. For instance, in the 2016 U.S. constituency competition alone, a staggering 882 endorsed applications vied for just 32 coveted scholarships.

The Rhodes Selection Committees hold a keen eye for individuals who exhibit exceptional intellect, character, leadership, and a dedication to service.

The foundational criteria set forth in 1902 continue to shape the selection process for Rhodes Scholars today:

  1. Demonstrated excellence in literary and scholastic pursuits, emphasizing academic prowess.
  2. The drive to utilize one’s talents fully, evidenced by mastery in various realms such as sports, music, debate, dance, theatre, and collaborative endeavors.
  3. A commitment to truth, courage, duty, compassion for the vulnerable, kindness, selflessness, and fostering fellowship.
  4. A strong moral compass, coupled with leadership aptitude and a genuine interest in the welfare of others.

In addition to surpassing the requisite 3.7 GPA threshold, candidates are advised to cultivate a portfolio showcasing original and impactful achievements within their field of study, such as presentations, publications, exhibitions, or performances. Furthermore, a track record of notable leadership accomplishments within campus or community organizations is highly encouraged before pursuing the Rhodes Scholarship. Many successful applicants for similar prestigious awards, like the Marshall Scholarship, have engaged in initiatives such as the Campuswide Honors Collegium or the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program. Additionally, they have demonstrated competitiveness for admission to School-based Honors Programs.



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