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.

Program Information

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

Interested candidates should consult UVM's Office of Fellowships, Opportunities, and Undergraduate Research (email link) to discuss the application process and the latest Rhodes nomination procedures.

Internal stage: In this first stage, you submit your application to the Office of Fellowships, Opportunities, and Undergraduate Research and are interviewed soon after by the Fellowships Committee here on campus. The internal application includes the following elements:

  • A current, comprehensive resume, including employment, activities and honors. This need not be limited to one page.
  • Individual responses to the below prompts. Responses should be between 200-500 words long each. (Please note that no personal statement is required for the UVM internal competition.)
    • Why do you want to apply for the Rhodes?  What do you see as your qualifications for the scholarship?
    • What have you specifically done in your undergraduate career to prepare for the Rhodes?
    • Describe in detail the most significant example of your leadership and/or impact.
    • What program would you choose to study in at Oxford, and why?  
    •  What are your aspirations and ambitions for your professional life following graduate school?  How does the Oxford program you'd choose relate to those aspirations?
  • Five to 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. Students who receive the endorsement and go on to apply for the Rhodes scholarship  must be able to affirm the following, in regards to the personal statement, "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."

Endorsed candidates will follow the application requirements on the Rhodes website. 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: Endorsed candidates will work with the Office of Fellowships, Opportunities, and Undergraduate Research through the deadline.

After The Application is Submitted

For the US competition Rhodes will interview a select group of finalists in November on the Friday and Saturday before Thanksgiving. 

Consult the Rhodes website for this year's exact dates. Results are announced at the end of the district interviews.

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