The Beinecke Scholars program seeks to encourage and enable highly motivated students to pursue opportunities available to them and to be courageous in the selection of a graduate course of study in the arts, humanities and social sciences. Since 1975 the program has selected more than 500 college juniors from more than 100 different undergraduate institutions for support during graduate study at any accredited university. There are no geographic restrictions on the use of the scholarship, and scholars are encouraged to begin graduate study as soon as possible following receipt of their undergraduate degree. Scholars must utilize all of their award within five years.

Program Information

Students who...

  • Are current juniors with an exemplary academic record
  • Have demonstrated outstanding intellectual prowess through research or creative works
  • Intend to continue graduate studies in the social sciences, arts and humanities

...should strongly consider applying for a Beinecke Scholarship.

Award Amount

Twenty scholarships are awarded nationwide each year. Beinecke Scholars receive $4,000 immediately prior to entering graduate school and an additional $30,000 while attending graduate school. There are no geographic restrictions on the use of the scholarship, and recipients are allowed to supplement the award with other scholarships, assistantships and research grants.


To be eligible for a Beinecke Scholarship, a student must:

  • Have demonstrated superior standards of intellectual ability, scholastic achievement and personal promise during his or her undergraduate career.
  • Be a college junior pursuing a bachelor's degree during the year of application. Students graduating one or two semesters after the semester of application are considered juniors.
  • Plan to enter a master's or doctoral program in the arts, humanities or social sciences. Students in the social sciences who plan to pursue graduate study in neuroscience should not apply for a Beinecke Scholarship.
  • Be a United States citizen or a United States national from American Samoa or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
  • Have a documented history of receiving need-based financial aid during his or her undergraduate years. Primary evidence of meeting this criterion is a student's history of receiving need-based institutional, state or federal grants-in-aid. A UVM financial aid officer will be required to complete a Financial Data Sheet certifying that the student meets this criterion.

Application Procedure

Each year the University of Vermont is allowed to nominate one student for the Beinecke Scholarship. Students interested in applying for the Beinecke should contact the Office of Fellowships, Opportunities, and Undergraduate Research in the fall for an informational meeting on the Beinecke Scholarship and nomination process. Students wishing to be considered for a nomination must turn in the following materials by 5pm the day of the internal deadline:

  • A completed copy of the Beinecke application form.
  • A completed copy of the Beinecke Financial Aid form, signed by a representative in UVM's Student Financial Services.
  • A current resume.
  • A personal statement of 1,000 words or less describing your background, interests, plans for graduate study and career aspirations. The statement should include a discussion of some experiences and ideas that have shaped those interests, plans and aspirations. The essay should be 12-point font, double-spaced, have a 1" margin on all sides, and should have the applicant's name at the top of each page.
  • Three letters of recommendation that come from faculty members who can assess the nominee's intellectual curiosity, character and potential for advanced graduate study. (See more information on asking for letters of recommendation as well as tips for letter writers in the Beineke Scholarship competition). For the internal deadline, letters of recommendation may be e-mailed to the Office of Fellowships, Opportunities, and Undergraduate Research (though the endorsed candidate will need to secure sealed letters).
  • One unofficial UVM transcript, and an official transcript for all university-level courses not taken at UVM.

UVM's Fellowships Committee will review applications and nominate one applicant for the Beinecke Scholarship. The nominee will then have times to finalize their materials before resubmitting their final application to UVM's FOUR before the national deadline.

Tips for Letter of Recommendation Writers

The Beinecke Scholarship seeks to find and support students in the humanities, social sciences, and arts who have demonstrated outstanding academic prowess and who wish to attend graduate school. The Beinecke is a $30,000 graduate school fellowship with an additional $4,000 cash award that students apply for in their junior year of college. Twenty Beinecke Scholarships are awarded nationally each year, and the University of Vermont may nominate one student each year to compete for this award.

Once nominated, approximately 100 students from all over the country compete for Beinecke Scholarships. When determining which applicants to award, Beinecke representatives are looking for four things: 1) Academic excellence, 2) Strong intellectual experience (e.g., opportunities for independent research, publications, conference presentations, etc.) 3) Demonstrated financial need (i.e., the candidate must be receiving some sort of financial aid), and 4) Validation of academic prowess and potential from letter of recommendation writers. As you're writing your letter, we'd like to encourage you to keep the following points in mind:

Make the Case for Excellence: The Beinecke truly seeks to reward excellence; in past years Beinecke Scholars have had an outstanding academic record that has enabled them to go directly to top graduate programs right after finishing their bachelor's degree. Be specific in terms of what has impressed you in your interactions with the student, and bring the student to life in your letter. There are a couple effective ways to do this; you can bring in specific examples or anecdotes from your experience with the student in the classroom or in individual meetings. To that end, avoid being vague, and avoid statements such as, "X Student turned in assignments on time" or "X Student had perfect attendance in my class" (True, these are important qualities, but when articulating excellence these should go without saying).

Confirm and Validate the Student's Academic and Career Goals: Be sure to comment on the student's sincere commitment as well as ability to continue going forward in their field in a top-tier graduate school, and be sure to address the student's potential to make a significant and compelling impact in their field. It's helpful if you can genuinely and favorably compare the student to other outstanding undergraduate (or graduate) students you've worked with.

Speak to Your Audience: The letter you write for a student applying for a Beinecke Scholarship should be similar to the kind of letter you would write for a student going to graduate school. Readers will be looking to you to add depth and perspective to the student regarding their academic achievement, intellectual ability, and potential to succeed in graduate school. Finally, keep in mind that letters that are too short or too long may hurt the applicant. Generally speaking, a one-and-a-half to two page single-spaced letter suffices for this competition.

Finally, some administrative details:

  1. All letters need to be submitted as a hard copy, signed on letterhead, and in a sealed envelope.
  2. Letters can be addressed to: Beinecke Scholarship Selection Committee.
  3. Students may need their references before the UVM deadline to complete their applications. Touch base with the student if you're confused about any deadlines.

For More Information ...

Office of Fellowships, Opportunities, and Undergraduate Research (FOUR)
50 University Heights North, Suite 017
Burlington, VT 05405
Phone: (802) 656-4658