Established in 1903 under the will of Cecil John Rhodes, the Rhodes Scholarship is the oldest and perhaps the most prestigious international graduate scholarship programme in the world. A class of 83 Scholars is selected each year from Australia, Bermuda, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Jamaica & the Commonwealth Caribbean, Kenya, New Zealand, Pakistan, Southern Africa (including South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia and Swaziland), United States of America, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Cecil Rhodes's vision in founding the Scholarship was to develop outstanding leaders who would be motivated to fight 'the world's fight' and to 'esteem the performance of public duties as their highest aim', and to promote international understanding and peace.
His will outlines four criteria to be used in the election of Scholars:
- Literary and scholastic attainments.
- Energy to use one's talents to the full.
- Truth, courage, devotion to duty, sympathy for and protection of the weak, kindliness, unselfishness and fellowship.
- Moral force of character and instincts to lead, and to take an interest in one's fellow beings.
In short, the Rhodes Scholarship selection committees will be seeking young men and women of outstanding intellect, character, leadership, and commitment to service. The Rhodes Scholarships support students who demonstrate a strong propensity to emerge as "leaders for the world’s future".
Rhodes House, University of Oxford, is the home of the Rhodes Scholarships and the Rhodes Trust (an educational charity whose principal activity is to administer and fund the Rhodes Scholarships).
Although all scholars become affiliated with a residential college while at the University of Oxford, they also enjoy access to Rhodes House, an early 20th century mansion with numerous public rooms, gardens, a library, study areas, and other facilities.
Fields of Study
Selection in each Rhodes constituency is by committees comprised of Rhodes alumni and distinguished non-scholar members of the community. Though the selection criteria are uniform across all countries, there are some eligibility requirements that vary.
The following eligibility criteria apply to all applicants for the Rhodes Scholarships:
Citizenship & Residency:
Each applicant must fulfil the citizenship and residency requirements of the Rhodes constituency for which they are applying. Please check the detailed information carefully via the country links on the Rhodes Scholarship website.
Age limits vary between constituencies and range from a minimum age limit of 18 to a maximum of 28 by 1 October of the year following selection. In most constituencies, the age limit is 24 or 25. Please check carefully the specific age requirements for your constituency before applying. Successful candidates will arrive in Oxford the October following the selection process. The Scholarship may not normally be deferred.
All applicants must have achieved academic standing sufficiently advanced to assure completion of a UK bachelor's degree (or equivalent) by the month of October following election. Academic standing must be sufficiently high to ensure admission to the University of Oxford, which has very competitive entry requirements, and to give confidence that Rhodes Scholars will perform to a high academic standard in Oxford. Individual constituencies may specify a 1st or equivalent level pass (i.e. distinction). Please check the detailed requirements via the country links on the Rhodes Scholarship website.
Some constituencies require an undergraduate degree to have been taken within the constituency of application.
Value of the Award
A Rhodes Scholarship covers all university and college fees, a personal stipend and one economy class airfare to Oxford at the start of the scholarship, as well as an economy flight back to the student's home country at the conclusion of the scholarship.
Value of the Stipend:
In 2012, the value of a Rhodes Scholarship stipend was £13,000 p.a. which was paid into the scholar’s personal bank account in bi-monthly instalments of at least £2,150. The first instalment is normally paid to the scholar by cheque on arrival in Oxford.
NB: Rhodes Scholars need to pay all accommodation and living costs from the stipend.
In addition to the first stipend, a settling-in allowance (worth £225 in 2012), is be paid to all Rhodes Scholars on arrival.
Available courses of study and conditions of tenure at the University of Oxford:
Subject to limited restrictions, Rhodes Scholars may study for any full-time postgraduate degree (including the BA with senior status over two years) at the University of Oxford. The basic tenure of the scholarship is two years, subject always, and at all times, to satisfactory academic performance and personal conduct. For the full listing of degrees offered by the University of Oxford, visit www.ox.ac.uk.
At the discretion of the Trustees, the scholarship may be extended for a third year for those who take a recognized route to the D. Phil. degree.
NB: The Masters of Business Administration (M.B.A.) and the Masters of Financial Economics (M.F.E.) are only tenable in the second year of the Scholarship.
Applications for Rhodes Scholarships open during the UK spring and summer of the preceding year.
For detailed application requirements for each constituency, please visit the country pages via the country links on the Rhodes Scholarship website.
In broad terms, all constituencies will require the following materials in differing forms:
- Evidence of academic record / transcript (complete or in progress) of undergraduate degree and any postgraduate study.
- Curriculum vitae / résumé or list of principal activities.
- Personal statement or essay (including, crucially, a clear statement of what the applicant wishes to study at Oxford and why).
- Evidence of age / birth certificate / passport.
- English Language proficiency (where English is not your first language).
- Recent photograph.
- List of referees (usually several are required) who can attest in confidential references to the character and intellect of the applicant, including academic, personal, extra-curricular and leadership achievements (and who should never include people to whom you are related).
NB: Examples of curricula vitae and letters of recommendation are available here.