A scholarship for two years’ study at Oxford, with the possibility of a third year. This scholarship is funded by a foundation established by Cecil Rhodes.
Who is Eligible
Undergraduates aged 18 to 24 who are U.S. citizens OR permanent residents attending college in the U.S. or U.S. territories (who have been permanent residents for the 5 years prior to and including the final deadline of application). Candidates should have outstanding records in academics, leadership, service, and athletics.
Please note that external scholarship agencies will consider all of your credit-bearing coursework from any college or institution as part of the review process (including CSU, community colleges, private colleges or other UC campuses/Extension programs, and including units earned while in high school). Grades from other colleges will be included in calculation of your overall GPA for eligibility purposes.
Recent winners have had exceptional academic achievement with a 3.9+ GPA. Applicants with a GPA below 3.9 must be able to demonstrate professional competence and dedication to the field of study through leadership or mentoring roles in academic or service organizations, publications or performances, and/or significant work experience/internships related to the major.
Begin the process during the spring before your final year on campus by submitting a Pre-Application. See SELECTION PROCEDURE section of page for more information. If you win the scholarship, you will travel shortly after having graduated. (Rhodes states winners must have graduated from a college or university in the U.S. at the time they take up residence at Oxford. However, you do NOT need to have earned a bachelor’s degree by the time you apply.) Seniors and recent UCI alumni may also apply.
Citizens of Australia, Bermuda, Canada, China, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Jamaica & the Commonwealth Caribbean, Kenya, New Zealand, Pakistan, Southern Africa, United Arab Emirates, Zambia and Zimbabwe are eligible to apply in their own constituencies. If time permits, SOP staff will consider advising enrolled UCI undergraduates for international Rhodes Scholarships.
The first step in applying is to complete a Pre-Application, accessible each year throughout March. In April and May, SOP staff review Pre-Applications and meet with students to discuss their candidacy and subsequent steps. For detailed information about each stage of the application process — including the roles of campus endorsement and evaluation — please view the Application Process Overview.
After completing the Pre-App and meeting with SOP staff to discuss your candidacy, you will work on the formal application. Your supporting documents, including five to eight faculty letters of recommendation, will be due this summer.
Candidates whose final applications have earned UCI endorsement — find out more about this process by completing the Pre-Application and meeting with SOP staff — will have their apps forwarded to Rhodes for regional-level consideration.
Rhodes-selected finalists participate in a two-day selection process at the regional level. Finalists attend a cocktail reception the evening before being interviewed by a panel for 30-40 minutes. Rhodes announces its winners at the conclusion of the second day, once all regional finalists have completed their interviews.
The official selection criteria are “(1) literary and scholastic attainments; (2) fondness for and success in sports; (3) truth, courage, devotion to duty, sympathy for and protection of the weak, kindliness, unselfishness and fellowship; (4) moral force of character and instincts to lead, and to take an interest in one’s fellow beings.”
Winners typically have outstanding academic and extracurricular records, are leaders in their university and (possibly) larger communities, show an inclination to serve others, and display “physical vigor” or a taste for sports.
One Rhodes official describes successful candidates as having the potential “to make things happen, to become public leaders 20 years from now.” They should be “a little scrappy,” with “some evidence of selflessness.” They may or may not have brilliant academic records but will certainly have solid ones, enough to suggest that they “could do the work at Oxford without needing to slave over it,” with “time left over for the playing field, where valuable connections are made at Oxford.” Otherwise well-qualified students need not be college-level athletes, though they should have a record of participation in games and sports, if only at the intramural or high-school level.
In 2014, Rhodes Scholars produced a video about the Rhodes application essay to help potential applicants. Click here to see their advice.
In 2010, Megan Braun became UC Irvine’s first Rhodes Scholarship winner. Megan Braun, who earned a bachelor’s degree in history and minored in philosophy from UC Irvine, studied international relations at Oxford University.
Includes all university tuition and lab fees, travel to and from Oxford, and a maintenance allowance of at least £735 per month. This should be sufficient to cover room and board, books, laundry, and some additional travel.
The Rhodes Scholarship is a highly competitive and highly prestigious award. It is generally regarded along with the Marshall Scholarship as one of the two most prestigious post-baccalaureate scholarships an American university student can receive. Famous Rhodes Scholars include former Pres. Bill Clinton and Bill Bradley.
World Wide Web
Further information and applications are available at the Rhodes website.
Access the Big 10 Pre-Application between March 3 – April 3, 2017 at 12 NOON to begin the Rhodes application process.
For applications and more information, contact the Scholarship Opportunities Program at 824-0189. We are located within the Center for Excellence in Writing & Communication, on the first floor of Ayala Science Library (Building 520).
SOP is able to advise competitive undergraduate candidates at UC Irvine only.