What is the Rhodes Scholarship?

The Rhodes Scholarship is for graduate study at Oxford University in the United Kingdom (UK) and is widely considered the most prestigious fellowship in the world. The Rhodes Scholarship for citizens and permanent residents of the US is awarded to 32 candidates each year and institutional endorsement is required. There are also Rhodes Scholarships for citizens other countries (even if they completed their education in the US), which may or may not require endorsement, and there is now a Global Rhodes Scholarship for those who are not eligible through an existing constituency.

The mission of the Rhodes Scholarship is to support outstanding young college graduates who show promise of contributing significantly to the world around them.

Who can apply?

  • People between 18 and 24 years of age by October 1st of the year of application and who will have completed a B.A. by the time they would begin the scholarship.
  • Although the Rhodes Trust does not list a minimum GPA, Oxford programs have minimum GPA expectations for candidates and the ability to be admitted to Oxford is essential for all Rhodes Scholarship recipients. Therefore, Carleton will not consider endorsing any candidate with a GPA below 3.8. 
  • U.S. Citizens and DACA recipients may apply to the U.S. Rhodes competition; international students in eligible countries apply through the Rhodes authority in that country (even if they are endorsed by a U.S. college or university).

Why apply for the Rhodes Scholarship?

  • The Rhodes Scholarship provides full funding (including living and travel expenses) for a graduate education at Oxford, one of the world’s finest universities.
  • Rhodes Scholars enjoy substantial additional experiences and opportunities that introduce them to British culture and society, and to networks of powerful and influential people in the UK.
  • The prestige of the Rhodes Scholarship is recognized globally, and being a Rhodes Scholar opens many doors to other opportunities.
  • Rhodes Scholars are able to use their renown and influence in the service of important goals and are expected to contribute to the greater good.

What are the Selection Criteria?

These are drawn directly from the will of Cecil Rhodes, who established the trust, and include:

  • Proven intellectual and academic achievement of a high standard
  • integrity of character
  • courage
  • selflessness, interest in and respect for their fellow beings,
  • the ability to lead
  • the energy to use one’s talents to the fullest (athletic participation used to be a requirement, but today the criterion is understood as “evidence of a physical vigor that would enable the candidate to contribute effectively to public service.”)

Where can I learn more?

  • Visit the official website of the Rhodes Scholarship to learn more about the award.
  • The Graduate Admissions site at Oxford is a great resource for learning more about the wide variety of graduate programs you can pursue (graduate degree programs at UK universities are called ‘courses’).
  • Make an appointment with Director of Student Fellowships Marynel Ryan Van Zee to discuss your interests and get your questions answered.


12:00 noon (12 p.m.) on Friday, June 18, 2021: Pre-Application form due.

Additional deadlines that fall over the summer and during early Fall Term will be explained on the 2021 Rhodes Applicant Resources page that will be made available to those who complete the pre-application.

When submitting materials, use the address fellowships@carleton.edu with “Rhodes” in the subject line.


Contact Marynel Ryan Van Zee, Director of Student Fellowships at x4300, Laird 131

Official Website

Rhodes Scholarships for the United States