Fellowships & Scholarships
Rhodes Scholarship (U.S. Competition)
  • Northeastern: 08/15/2024
  • Fellowship: 10/02/2024

If you meet the eligibility criteria and are interested in applying for this fellowship, please fill out a preliminary questionnaire. You may contact the office with any questions.

Award Details

Award Website

The Rhodes Scholarship, the oldest of the international fellowships, was initiated after the death of Cecil Rhodes, an industrialist and imperialist, in 1902. Rhodes “dreamed of improving the world” by bringing together scholars from around the globe at Oxford to study. Improved by their education and exposure to one another, these scholars would return to their communities, ready to "fight the good fight."

Each year, 32 U. S. citizens win the Rhodes, taking up degree courses at Oxford. The four criteria by which prospective Rhodes Scholars are selected are character, initiative, civic-mindedness and ability to make a significant difference in the world.

Past winners of the Rhodes Scholarship include former President William Jefferson Clinton, doctor and journalist Atul Gawande, journalist Rachel Maddow, and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice.

Many students who apply for a Rhodes Scholarship will also end up applying for other post-graduate fellowships in the UK.

Abroad Award
Needs Institutional Endorsement
US Citizenship Not Required

  • Be a U.S. citizen or in the process of becoming one at the time of application.  
  • Hold a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent by the beginning date of the grant 
  • Be between 18 to 23 years of age on October 1 of the year of application, or be under the age of 27 on 1st October 2024 (i.e. have been born after 1 October 1997) AND you must also have completed your first undergraduate degree on or after 1 October 2023 
  • Have your application endorsed by the Northeastern internal committee. 
  • Maintained over a 3.7 GPA. Exceptions can be made – contact URF for more information. 

The Rhodes trust seeks candidates who demonstrate:

  • Literary and scholastic attainment.
  • Energy to use one’s talents to the full, as exemplified by fondness for and success in sports.
  • Truth, courage, devotion to duty, sympathy for and protection of the weak, kindliness, unselfishness and fellowship.
  • Moral force of character and instincts to lead, and to take an interest in one’s fellow beings.

In contemporary translation, this means that scholars are selected because of their character, initiative, civic-mindedness and ability to make a significant difference in the world.

A strong record of scholastic achievement is imperative, but it is more important that applicants make significant cases for themselves as “change-makers.” While there used to be an “athletic” component, the committee has expanded the criterion to include such activities as “hiking.” The selection committees are seeking candidates who are truly outstanding, in mind and person, and promise to be effective, long-term world leaders. The Rhodes Scholarships, in short, are investments in individuals rather than in project proposals.

Rhodes Scholars are elected for two years of study at the University of Oxford, with the possibility of renewal for a third year. All educational costs, such as matriculation, tuition, laboratory and certain other fees, are paid on the Scholar’s behalf by the Rhodes Trustees. Each Scholar receives in addition a maintenance allowance adequate to meet necessary expenses for term-time and vacations. The Rhodes Trustees cover the necessary costs of travel to and from Oxford, and upon application, may approve additional grants for research purposes or study-related travel.

Interested students should contact Undergraduate Research and Fellowships to request an Applying for the Rhodes booklet.

To apply to the Rhodes Scholarship, you will need to submit the following documents by the internal deadline. All of these materials, excluding the letters of recommendation, should be submitted electronically through the Northeastern application portal in time for the internal deadline. Please be sure to include the YOUR NAME and THE FELLOWSHIP YOU ARE APPLYING TO in the subject line of any e-mails.

  1. A complete application form (which will include your personal statement and activities list).  The application becomes available when you register on the Rhodes site. DO NOT submit your application through the Rhodes site electronically for the internal deadline. Once your application is complete, but before it has been submitted electronically, save it as a PDF and submit it.
  2. A personal essay not exceeding 1000 words and certified as the applicant’s own work.
  3. An academic statement of 350 words.
  4. A two-page activities list, that details your academic achievements and honors as well as any community service, research, hobbies, athletic participation (*Not Required), and employment.
  5. Five, but not more than eight, letters of recommendation.  Four of these must be from individuals who are qualified to advise selection committees about the applicant’s academic ability and standing, i.e., university faculty; one will serve as your primary recommender. Contact Undergraduate Research and Fellowships for a Request for Reference form to send your recommenders. It is important that applicants DO NOT register recommenders online.  Once you register your referees on the online application, you will not be able to change your recommenders nor will your referees be able to make any changes to their letters for the national deadlines.
  6. An official Northeastern University Transcript and any transcripts from other institutions you have attended.  Northeastern transcripts can be ordered through the Office of the Registrar or through the myNEU Web Portal.

The most important part of the written application is the 1000-word “personal statement”. This statement asks you to address all of the following prompts by weaving them into the narrative of your statement (the word allocation across the three is up to you): 

1. Tell us how you overcame a challenge in your life. Which Rhodes Scholar character qualities did you draw from? What did you learn from the experience?

2. What would you like to learn from and contribute to the Rhodes community in Oxford?

3. From your place in the world, how will you use your energy and talents to address humanity’s pressing challenges?”

This will be complemented with a 350-word academic statement where you’ll elaborate on your reasons for wishing to study at Oxford and in your proposed area of study. Think of this as the narration of how you came to understand a problem or challenge in one essay, followed by a course of study to prepare you to lead in addressing this problem or challenge.

Rhodes offers detailed guidance on the personal and academic statements on their website (see https://www.rhodeshouse.ox.ac.uk/media/46372/information-for-candidates-usa.pdf). It is critical that you refer to this guidance throughout the process of preparing your statements.

Candidate applications are reviewed by a campus committee. Northeastern approved candidates then apply to a State Selection Committee in either their state of legal residency or the state in which they have attended college. The State Committee then invites for interviews such candidates as it deems fit. Candidates nominated by the state committee are invited to interview with one of eight district selection committees, each of which selects four Rhodes Scholars.


Interested? Have Questions?

If you meet the eligibility criteria and are interested in a fellowship or opportunity, please fill out a preliminary questionnaire. Contact the office with any questions: