The George J. Mitchell Scholarship Program is a nationally competitive award for U.S. citizens sponsored by the US-Ireland Alliance. Named in honor of the former U.S. Senator’s pivotal contribution to the Northern Ireland peace process, the Mitchell Scholarship is designed to introduce and connect future American leaders to the island of Ireland, while recognizing and fostering academic excellence, leadership, and a commitment to public service.
Starting with the program’s inaugural Class of 2001, each Scholar has exemplified the characteristics of scholarship, leadership, and commitment to community and public service that are hallmarks of Senator Mitchell’s own selfless dedication and legacy.
As important as the relationship between the US and Ireland are the relationships between and among Mitchell Scholars. Following the Mitchell year, Scholars are expected to participate as active alums of the program. Becoming a Mitchell Scholar means joining a community of Scholars who are committed to a continuing relationship with the Mitchell community, the US-Ireland Alliance, and the island of Ireland.
Fields of Study
The Mitchell Scholarship places no limitations on your undergraduate major or field of study.
A Mitchell Scholar may study any academic discipline offered in a degree or certificate program at an institution of higher learning in Ireland or Northern Ireland. The wide range of academic interests among Scholars — from computer science to biotechnology to international relations to economics to theater — illustrates the vast opportunities for post-graduate study available on the island.
Mitchell Scholars may study or conduct research at the graduate level at eleven institutions of higher learning on the island of Ireland. This includes the seven universities in the Republic of Ireland, two institutes in Dublin, and two universities in Northern Ireland (Queen’s University Belfast and the Ulster University). Since the Mitchell Scholarship Program provides funding for one year, Scholars normally enroll in one-year master’s degree (or similar) programs.
Each applicant is responsible for doing the research necessary to identify university preferences. Applicants should examine university websites and may want to consult with department chairs, faculty, or registrars at the universities in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Faculty and fellowship offices at an applicant’s current college or university may also provide guidance. An applicant must have the requisite undergraduate background for the proposed program. Applicants should carefully research prospective programs to determine the required period of residence; some master’s programs require two years of study, and the Mitchell Scholarship Program provides only one year of support.
Review the detailed information on the Mitchell website under Institutions in Ireland to learn more about the Irish university system and available options.
To be eligible for SOP advising services on a Mitchell 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 undergraduate degree recipient from UCI within the past 12 months*;
- be a citizen of the United States;
- be at least 18 years of age but not yet 30 on the national application deadline in late September/early October of each year;
- 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).
The Mitchell Scholarship Program provides:
- full tuition for 9 to 12 months of study;
- housing (on-campus, when available);
- a monthly living stipend (currently $1250 USD) for up to 12 months of post-graduate academic study on the island;
- One round-trip airline ticket between the United States and Ireland is also provided and booked directly by the US-Ireland Alliance.
Each Mitchell Scholar is responsible for securing and financing his or her own health insurance while abroad.
Three events are mandatory for each Mitchell Scholar: a September orientation (usually held in Dublin), a mid-year retreat (usually held in Northern Ireland), and commencement in May (somewhere on the island — it changes each year). The Mitchell Scholarship covers hotel expenses for these obligatory events, but the Scholars are expected to use the stipend to cover their travel and any incidentals. There are also optional but highly recommended gatherings, such as Thanksgiving dinner in Dublin and a trip to Glenstal Abbey.
Recent Recipients and Finalists
Brittany Schick, UCI’s first Mitchell Scholar, received bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and International Studies in 2005. As a Mitchell Scholar, she pursued a master’s degree in international security and conflict studies at Dublin City University.
Highly competitive, the Mitchell Scholarship receives over 300 applications per year in the national competition for 12 scholarships.
Endorsed (nominated) applications from campuses are submitted to the U.S.-Ireland Alliance for national-level consideration, and candidates complete a brief video interview after the national deadline. Semi-finalists are typically invited to Washington, D.C. for an in-person interview in November before the final selection committee.
Prospective scholars must have demonstrated a record of intellectual distinction, leadership, and extracurricular activity, as well as personal characteristics of honesty, integrity, fairness, and unselfish service to others that indicates a potential future for leadership and contribution to society. It is envisaged that the Mitchell Scholars will not only explore the island of Ireland, but also develop an understanding of the relationship between Ireland and Britain as well as Ireland’s relationship with Europe.
SOP recommends earning at least a 3.7+ G.P.A. and curating a record of original and significant accomplishment in your discipline (such as presentations, publications, exhibits, or performances), as well as a record of significant leadership achievement in campus or off-campus organizations, before applying to the Mitchell Scholarship. Most recent recipients of similarly competitive awards, such as Marshall, participated in the Campuswide Honors Collegium and/or the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program and were also competitive for invitation to School-based Honors Programs.