The British Marshall Scholarship
UCI (Big 10 Pre-Application) Advising Deadline:
April 6, 2020 at 12:00 noon Pacific Time (U.S. & all other countries of citizenship) for Fall 2021 admissions
Access the Big 10 Pre-Application between late February – early April annually to begin the optional advising process.
For Reference Only: 2019 Application Process Overview
Founded in 1953, the Marshall Scholarship was conceived as a way to say thank you to the United States for the tremendous foreign aid it gifted to the United Kingdom through the Economic Recovery Program, known as the Marshall Plan, in the wake of World War II. Founders envisioned a UK scholarship program for American students that would affirm the long-term value of Anglo-American relations and strengthen its close association with the US.
Students can apply to study at a British university for a One Year Marshall Scholarship, which cannot be extended beyond one academic year, or a Two year Marshall Scholarship, which is tenable for two academic years but may be extended through the end of a third academic year.
You must determine your first and second choice graduate programs for each year of the Marshall funding. Undertake thorough research to familiarize yourself with the top programs in your field in the U.K.
Only U.S. citizens with a minimum G.P.A. of 3.7 are eligible to apply. Begin the process during the spring before your final year on campus by submitting a Pre-Application. Current seniors or recent UCI alumni may also apply. You must finish your bachelor’s degree before enrollment. However, you do NOT need to have earned a bachelor’s degree by the time you apply.
Applicants should 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.
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.
UCI graduate students: contact the Graduate Resource Center for advising.
The Marshall Scholarship funds study at any British university in any discipline at the graduate level, leading to the award of a British university degree. However, there are caveats and restrictions. The Marshall Scholarship does not fund second bachelor’s degrees, MBAs, or degrees “leading to professional qualifications in medicine, dentistry, veterinary science and law.” For a more detailed breakdown of courses ineligible for Marshall funding, click here.
Working with SOP advisors is mandatory, as campus nomination is required. To begin the SOP advising process, juniors, graduating seniors, and alumni within 1 year of graduation complete a Big 10 Pre-Application. In April and May, SOP staff review Pre-Applications and meet with potential applicants 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 drafts of your application and receive strategic coaching from SOP staff. As time permits, SOP staff may also offer advising to your recommendation letter writers. For detailed information about each stage of the application process, please view the Application Process Overview
Next, you will begin work on the formal application. Your supporting documents will include application forms, to be drafted within the application system, in addition to four essays and one short answer. These written responses include: a 1000-word personal statement describing your intellectual development and interests; a 500-word essay describing your proposed academic program and rationale for your choice of program and university; a 500-sord essay describing a situation in which you recognized and responded to a need for leadership; a 500-word essay regarding your ambassadorial potential and describing what the “USA-UK special relationship means”; and a 300-word short answer describing your post-scholarship plans.
Supporting documents for your application will also letters of recommendation, which will be due during the summer. Marshall requires four letters of recommendation, three of which must be written by U.S. faculty. The fourth letter of recommendation should comment on your leadership experience and potential. In addition, you must secure letters of affiliation for your first-choice graduate program(s) in order to obtain campus endorsement; letters for second-choice program(s) are recommended.
The UCI Marshall committee will interview candidates to determine whether their applications have earned campus endorsement (nomination). The University will endorse candidates whom the Committee feels have the potential to be Marshall Scholars and will offer feedback for refining the application before submission for funding consideration. The SOP will write comprehensive nomination letters for each endorsed candidate, to be included in your final application materials.
The U.S. is divided into eight regions; candidates apply in either the region in which they are legally a resident or the one in which they attend school. UC Irvine is in the Los Angeles region. Promising applicants are interviewed in early November by their Regional board and winners are announced soon afterward.
Recent Recipients and Selection Procedures
A Marshall scholarship applicant must demonstrate academic merit, leadership potential, and ambassadorial potential.
The ‘Rules for Candidates’ say that Marshall Scholars should possess “distinction of intellect and character as evidenced both by their scholastic attainment and by their other activities and achievements.” They should combine “high academic ability with the capacity to play an active part in the life of the United Kingdom university to which they go, and [the potential] to make a significant contribution to their own society.”
Winners typically have outstanding academic and extracurricular records, are active in community life, and have a breadth of interests and talents. One past interviewer says they look for “evidence of intellectual or artistic distinction apart from high grades; originality, quality of mind, as well as something distinctive experientially.”
Winners present a compelling personal statement of interests and pursuits and a statement of a definite and sensible program of study at a particular British university. Expressions of interest in studying at universities other than Oxford and Cambridge are particularly welcomed. Most winners intend academic, business, or public service careers. Detailed descriptions of past winners are available in the Scholarship Opportunities Program Office.
For the 2014-2015 academic year, Felipe Hernandez, who earned bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and Music Performance, won the scholarship, making him UC Irvine’s second winner in its history.
In 2014, Kenneth Lai from UC Irvine, who majored in English and Classics, was selected as a Finalist.
During the 2012-13 academic year, 34 students across the country were selected to receive the award.
In 1995, UC Irvine garnered its first winner in the history of the campus. Kelly Maglia, who earned bachelor’s degrees in drama and music from UC Irvine, studied theater arts and English at the University of London’s Goldsmiths College.
Each scholarship covers tuition costs, books, travel and living expenses.
The Marshall Scholarship is a highly competitive and highly prestigious award. It is generally regarded along with the Rhodes Scholarship as one of the most prestigious scholarships an American university student can receive.
World Wide Web
Further information and applications are available at the Marshall website.
Access the Big 10 Pre-Application between late February – early April annually to begin the application process.
SOP is able to advise competitive undergraduate candidates at UC Irvine only.