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Rhodes Scholarship

university fellowships committee

The Rhodes Scholarship Program was established through a bequest of the late Cecil Rhodes, to give promising young leaders and scholars from seventeen different countries the opportunity to study for two to three years at Oxford University in any academic field. Thirty-two scholarships are awarded each year, four each in eight geographical regions in the United States. They provide all fees and tuition at Oxford plus an annual personal allowance. In addition to the immediate rewards of the Oxford experience, being a Rhodes Scholar carries a distinction that follows the winner throughout life.

Rhodes Scholars may pursue any field of study at Oxford, as long as they are enrolled in a recognized degree program. The criteria that the state and regional selection committees apply in choosing Rhodes Scholars are defined in the will of Cecil Rhodes and may be grouped in three categories. The successful candidate must:

  • demonstrate wide-ranging academic excellence as reflected in his or her overall academic record and in other ways;
  • show qualities of moral leadership and social purpose;
  • show an aptitude or interest in some variety of athletic activity appropriate for the vigor required in public life.

Rhodes Scholars in the past have been selected on the basis of exceptional achievements primarily in one of these categories. Distinction in collegiate athletics is not required, but does add strength to an application.

To be eligible, an applicant must:

  • be a U.S. citizen;
  • have earned a Bachelor's degree before beginning study at Oxford;
  • must be at least 18 years of age but not yet 24 years old.

Students who are not U.S. citizens but are from Germany or a British Commonwealth country may also be eligible for Rhodes competition. The Boston College Campus Coordinator for the Rhodes can provide further information.

Interested applicants should contact the Boston College Campus Coordinator for the Rhodes. The Rhodes is a highly-competitive scholarship, and work on the application should begin during the Spring semester of the Junior year. The completed application consists of:

  • a résumé;
  • a college transcript;
  • a recent photograph;
  • evidence of U.S. citizenship;
  • five to eight letters of recommendation;
  • a 1,000-word personal statement of intellectual interests and proposed program of study at Oxford.

Applications must be submitted for review by the Campus Coordinator and the Rhodes Advisory Committee no later than October 1. Applicants must apply through the Boston College Campus Coordinator and secure Boston College's endorsement; the Rhodes Scholarship program will not accept applications submitted independently by students.

Candidates may submit their applications for consideration by the Rhodes State Selection Committee either in their home state or in Massachusetts. The State Committee reviews all applications and selects several finalists for personal interviews early in December. Winners of the state competitions are determined on the day of the interview in mid-December and are nominated to the Regional Committee, which interviews them again and selects the Rhodes Scholarship winners three days later.

To get additional information about the Rhodes Scholarships and the application process before talking with the Campus Coordinator, consult the Rhodes Scholarship Trust web site.