Rhodes Scholarship


Campus Deadline: First week in September.

State Deadline: Applications must be postmarked by October 3.


The Rhodes Scholarships, the oldest international educational fellowships, were initiated after the death of Cecil Rhodes in 1902 and bring outstanding students from many countries around the world to the University of Oxford. The first American scholars entered Oxford in 1904.

American Rhodes Scholars are selected through a decentralized process by which regional selection committees choose thirty-two scholars each year representing the fifty states. Applicants from more than 300 American colleges and universities have been selected as Rhodes Scholars. In most years, even after a century of competition, a Rhodes Scholar is selected from an institution which has not formerly supplied a successful applicant.

Extraordinary intellectual distinction is a necessary, but not a sufficient, condition for election to a Rhodes Scholarship. Selection committees are charged to seek excellence in qualities of mind and in qualities of person which, in combination, offer the promise of effective service to the world in the decades ahead. The Rhodes Scholarships, in short, are investments in individuals rather than in project proposals. Accordingly, applications are sought from talented students without restriction as to their field of academic specialization or career plans, although the proposed course of study must be available at Oxford, and the applicant’s undergraduate program must provide a sufficient basis for study in the proposed field. Through the years, Rhodes Scholars have pursued studies in all of the varied fields available at the University of Oxford.

Election to the scholarship is normally for two or three years, depending upon the degree program pursued by the scholar. A scholarship, including required university and college fees and a stipend for living expenses, may be renewed, at the complete discretion of the Rhodes Trustees, for a third year for those pursuing a doctoral degree and whose progress is deemed satisfactory. For those for whom the university requires fees in a fourth year for the completion of a doctorate, and when no other external funding is offered, again at the discretion of the trustees, those fees will be paid, although not an additional stipend. (College and university jobs are often available to those remaining in Oxford in such fourth years.) The trustees will not pay fourth-year fees in either the Division of the Mathematical, Physical, and Life Sciences or the Division of Medical Sciences, as scholars may enter directly to work for a doctorate in these divisions in three years. Scholars applying for a master’s degree in one of these two science divisions should not, therefore, expect to be able to use the scholarship to go on to a doctorate.

Rhodes Scholars may not apply for the MBA or the Master in Financial Economics in their first year, but may pursue either of these one-year degrees in their second year, following the completion of a different one-year master’s degree. All educational costs, such as matriculation, tuition, laboratory, and certain other fees, are paid on the scholar’s behalf by the Rhodes Trustees. Each scholar receives, in addition, a maintenance allowance adequate to meet necessary expenses for term-time and vacations. The Rhodes Trustees cover the necessary costs of travel to and from Oxford.


  • Mr. Rhodes’ will contains four criteria by which prospective Rhodes Scholars are to be selected:
    1. literary and scholastic attainments
    2. energy to use one’s talents to the full, as exemplified by fondness for and success in sports;
    3. truth, courage, devotion to duty, sympathy for and protection of the weak, kindliness, unselfishness, and fellowship;
    4. moral force of character and instincts to lead and to take an interest in one’s fellow beings.
  • In the United States, applicants for Rhodes Scholarships must be United States citizens, aged eighteen or over but not yet twenty-four on October 1 in the year of application. They must also have academic standing sufficient to assure completion of a bachelor’s degree before entering Oxford the following October in the event of election to a scholarship. No allowance is made for the expenses of a married applicant’s spouse.
  • Committees of Selection have available to them a substantial body of materials pertaining to the strengths of each of the applicants, including academic transcripts, a brief essay prepared by the applicant, and letters from persons suggested by the applicant. To identify those best qualified from a group of able competitors, the mandatory personal interview plays a decisive role.

Apply To

Dr. Janet Goebel, IUP Rhodes Advisor
Robert E. Cook Honors College
136 Whitmyre Hall

The Rhodes Scholarship Trust
Wesleyan University
Middletown, CT 06457

More information about the Rhodes Scholarship 

The Application Process:

The Rhodes application is concerned with ascertaining the following under- or unstated selection agenda:

  1. Do you have the potential, confidence, and personal drive to become one of the leaders (in government, business, education, etc.) of your country?
  2. Are you an idealist who believes passionately in at least one cause or idea, and can you show evidence of a commitment to that cause/idea in your life prior to this application?
  3. Are you very, very smart and articulate so that your idealism can be transformed into real results? (For starters, can you show a GPA of at least a 3.75?)
  4. Do you really want to study at Oxford, or do you just want to have the Rhodes on your resume?
  5. Can you convince your readers of all of this in a two- to three-page essay? This is obviously a very difficult two to three pages to write, and you will need to rewrite it many, many times to make it work. IUP has never had a successful Rhodes applicant, but success from other comparable state universities in the U.S. is usually the product of a student working with a Rhodes advisor from the sophomore year on.

The Rhodes requires several letters of recommendation. It is always best to have very specific, well-written letters from faculty members who know you very well and can honestly point out both your strengths and weaknesses. Because the Rhodes is so very competitive, choosing recommenders carefully and giving them plenty of material on which to base a letter will be even more important.

Rhodes applications have the best chance of success if the student is nominated and recommended by IUP. If you seek her out, the IUP Rhodes advisor, Dr. Janet Goebel, will meet with you to review your application in advance of the local campus deadline and suggest changes. She will organize a committee of faculty members to provide you with a "mock" interview at IUP, and will submit her additional recommendation as Rhodes advisor. The local deadline for submissions of the completed application is as of now unknown. Your materials will then be forwarded to a state-level screening committee. They may be sent to the state of your legal residence or to the state in which you study.

You may choose to bypass the IUP Rhodes screening and submit your materials directly to your state Rhodes committee.

If you are selected to be interviewed by the state Rhodes screening committee, IUP will help cover your expenses for the trip to Philadelphia (or the location of the interview for other states). If you are selected at the state level, you will go on to district interviews.