The Churchill Scholarship provides funding to 15 American students for a year of Master’s study in science, mathematics and engineering at the University of Cambridge, based at Churchill College. The program was set up at the request of Sir Winston Churchill in order to fulfil his vision of US–UK scientific exchange with the goal of advancing science and technology on both sides of the Atlantic, helping to ensure our future prosperity and security.
Many Churchill Scholars describe their year in Cambridge as the best year of their lives since it allows scholars to form friendships with their future colleagues from around the world, to attend the only college at Cambridge that is focused on STEM subjects, and have an opportunity for independent research (often leading to publications) that Churchill Scholars will not find again until well into their PhD programs.
Fields of Study
Eligibility by UCI School: Biological Sciences, Engineering, Information & Computer Science, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Physical Sciences, and Public Health (Science only).
Applicants must intend to enroll in a research-based master’s degree program in an eligible STEM Field of Study at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom. Please see Programs of Study on the Churchill website for the current list of eligible master’s programs. The Scholarship is only for a 1-year Master’s degree, so your application must be for an MPhil or MASt, or in rare cases an MRes.
To be eligible for SOP advising services on a Churchill application, an undergraduate student (or recent undergraduate alumni) must:
- be a junior (intending to graduate next academic year), a graduating senior (intending to graduate in the current academic year) or a recent graduate who earned an undergraduate (B.S.) degree from UCI within the past 12 months;
- be a U.S. citizen, national, or permanent resident;
- intend to begin enrollment in a graduate program exactly two Fall terms in the future (not in the upcoming Fall term of the calendar year of application);
- have never previously enrolled in, nor earned, a doctoral degree in any field.
The Churchill Scholarship is worth around $60,000, depending on the exchange rate, including:
- all University and College fees (currently about $40,000);
- a living allowance, which in 2018-19 is £11,083 if enrolled in a nine-month program, £13,447 if enrolled in an eleven-month program, and £14,777 if enrolled in a full-year program;
- an allowance of up to $1,500 for travel to and from the United Kingdom, as well as reimbursement of applications fees for a UK visa and health surcharge (currently over $500);
- and the possibility of a Special Research Grant of up to $2,000. This grant may cover travel for presentations at international conferences, short stays at another university or institute for special research, and other activities.
The UCI Churchill committee will interview candidates to determine whether their applications have earned campus endorsement (nomination). UCI may endorse up to two candidates whom the Committee feels have the potential to be Churchill Scholars.
Endorsed applications for the Churchill Scholarship are submitted to the Winston Churchill Foundation of the United States and reviewed by a Selection Committee comprised of at least eight former Churchill Scholars from a variety of STEM disciplines. In 2020, the committee reviewed 120 nominated applications for the 15 scholarships.
The three official selection criteria are:
Outstanding academic achievement. There is no minimum GPA, though most applicants have a very high average. The Committee looks at achievement in STEM courses, especially in the major, as indicated by course grades and recommendation letters.
Proven talent in research. Applicants in the sciences and engineering will demonstrate extensive laboratory experience, internships, or other related work, while applicants in mathematics will show substantial independent work or other projects. The Committee looks for originality and creativity.
Outstanding personal qualities. Understanding the time commitment required by research, the Churchill Foundation does not seek so-called “well-rounded” applicants; instead, it seeks applicants with what we call interesting “jagged edges.” The Committee takes into account interests and achievements outside of research, but it does not favor any particular kind of activity.
Nearly all Churchill Scholars in recent years have previously received the Goldwater Scholarship for Excellence in Research (please see U.S. Awards page). Moreover, recent recipients have had a 3.9+ GPA, two or more years of research experience, and demonstrated professional competence and dedication to the field of study through peer-reviewed journal publications, regional or national conference presentations, leadership or mentoring roles in academic or science-related organizations, and/or significant work experience or internships related to the major.