- Northeastern: 08/17/2023
- Fellowship: 10/04/2023
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.
Needs Institutional Endorsement
US Citizenship Not Required
- You must be a citizen of the United States OR you must have been admitted to the United States as a lawful permanent resident, and must have maintained, and be expected to maintain, such legal status. If you have been granted deferred action under the government’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program AND your status is currently active, then you are also eligible to apply if you meet all other criteria below.
- On 1 October 2023, you must be at least 18 and have not reached your 24th birthday (i.e. you must have been born after 1 October 1999 and on or before 1 October 2005).OR (for older candidates who completed their first undergraduate degree later than usual)On 1 October 2023, you must not have reached your 27th birthday (i.e. have been born after 1 October 1996) AND you have met or will meet the academic requirements for completing your first undergraduate degree on or after 1 October 2022*.
* A university’s policy determines the date of completion of academic requirement for a degree and this may be different from when a degree is considered awarded by the university or the date of a graduation ceremony. In ambiguous cases, the decision of the National Secretary is final.
- A GPA of 3.70 or higher on a 4.00 scale, with no rounding. You are not eligible to apply with a lower GPA unless a special exception has been requested by the university on your behalf and granted by the American Secretary. Contact URF@Northeastern.edu with questions.
- Bachelor’s Degree prior to studying at Oxford.
- Northeastern University Endorsement
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.
- 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.
- A personal essay not exceeding 750 words and certified as the applicant’s own work.
- An academic statement of 350 words.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 750-word “personal statement”. This statement should respond to the following questions:
- Which Rhodes Scholar quality do you display most strongly, and how are other contexts and people helping you to develop the others?
- What would you like to learn from the Rhodes and wider community in Oxford?
- From your place in the world, what is humanity’s greatest need?
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.