University of Vermont

The Honors College

Rhodes Scholarship

Thirty-two Rhodes Scholarships are awarded each year to U.S. citizens, for two years of study at Oxford University in England. The scholarship pays all fees and tuition in addition to a personal allowance. Scholars may earn a Master's degree, a second B.A. or, in some cases, a D.Phil. Students who...

  • Have achieved intellectual excellence as well as literary and scholastic attainments,
  • Have the energy to use one's talents to the full,
  • Are dedicated to truth, courage, devotion to duty, sympathy for and protection of the weak, kindliness, unselfishness and fellowship,
  • Have the moral force of character and instincts to lead, and to take an interest in one's fellow beings.

...should consider applying for a Rhodes Scholarship. While the criteria may seem vague, the Rhodes Scholarship simply seeks to support excellence at all levels of academic and intellectual achievement as well as public service.


To be eligible for the American competition, you must be:

  • A U.S. citizen
  • At least 18 but not yet 24 on October 1 of the year of application
  • Recipient of a bachelor's degree before taking up the award.

Please note that Rhodes Scholarships are available to citizens of more than 20 countries besides the United States. Deadlines for the competition in other countries may be much earlier than those in the United States. In addition, in some countries students pursuing undergraduate degrees abroad are not eligible to apply for the Rhodes. See the Rhodes website for more details.

Criteria for Selection

In keeping with the criteria established by Cecil Rhodes's will, selection committees seek candidates who will be "intellectually, morally, and physically capable of leadership," whether that leadership is in traditional public service or not. In addition to an excellent overall academic record, strong applicants will have extracurricular activities that demonstrate qualities of moral leadership and social purpose. Finally, although Rhodes applicants need not be athletes, some activity that attests to "physical vigor" will certainly strengthen their application. In addition, successful applicants should have strong preparation and a convincing rationale for the proposed field of graduate study.

Application Procedure

Consult with UVM's Office of Fellowships Advising for the latest Rhodes nomination procedures.

Internal stage: In this first stage, you submit your application to the Honors College two days prior to the UVM deadline and are interviewed soon after by the Fellowships Committee here on campus. This application includes the following elements:

  • A current, comprehensive resume, including employment, activities and honors. This need not be limited to one page.
  • A "personal statement describing your academic and other interests." This statement "should describe the specific area of proposed study and the applicants' reasons for wishing to study at Oxford. This personal essay must not exceed 1000 words in length and should be written in as simple and direct a manner as possible."
  • At least five, and no more than eight, letters of recommendation, at least four of which should be from professors and at least one of which should be a character reference.
  • An official transcript.

In keeping with the request of the American Rhodes Trust, all Rhodes applicants are expected to adhere to all ethical standards for the competition. Remember that at the end of your essay you must be able to affirm, "I attest that this essay is my own work and is wholly truthful. Neither it nor any earlier draft has been edited by anyone other than me, nor has anyone else reviewed it to provide me with suggestions to improve it. I understand that any such editing or review would disqualify my application." Consult the Rhodes Memorandum of Regulations for more information. All members of the UVM community are expected to adhere to the Rhodes Standard for the personal essay; applicants should neither seek out nor accept help.

On the basis of that application and interview, the Committee will decide your final nomination status. If nominated, the committee will then prepare an official letter of support for your application.

External stage: Consult UVM's Office of Fellowships Advising for final application procedures.

After the Application is Submitted

Each state committee will interview selected candidates in early November. If selected by the state committee, a district committee will then interview you mid November.(Dates vary each year). Results are announced at the end of the district interviews.

For More Information

Visit the official Rhodes Scholarship website.

Last modified December 22 2014 04:05 PM