FOR US APPLICANTS, THE INTERNAL PENN DEADLINE FOR RECEIVING ALL REQUIRED APPLICATION MATERIALS (INCLUDING ALL RECOMMENDATION LETTERS) IS 4:00PM ON WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 26 (THE FIRST DAY OF FALL CLASSES).
CANDIDATES APPLYING THROUGH ONE OF THE OTHER RHODES-ELIGIBLE COUNTRIES LISTED BELOW SHOULD CONTACT CURF TO DISCUSS THE DEADLINE BY WHICH THEY SHOULD SUBMIT MATERIALS TO CURF.
CANDIDATES MUST INDICATE THEIR INTENT TO APPLY FOR ENDORSEMENT FOR THE SCHOLARSHIP NO LATER THAN MARCH 31, 2015. CANDIDATES APPLYING AFTER THIS DATE MUST CONTACT CURF TO PETITION TO BE CONSIDERED FOR ENDORSEMENT.
Penn's Faculty Review Committee will review applications and select candidates to interview for consideration for Penn endorsement. Candidates selected for endorsement must also apply directly through the Rhodes website of the country through which they are applying. Rhodes-eligible countries are listed below.
RECOMMENDATIONS AND FINALIZED APPLICATION SUBMITTED ONLINE TO THE RHODES TRUST: For US applicants the deadline is typically the first Wednesday in October 2015; deadlines for other country competitions are set by individual countries.
Rhodes Scholarships are given for a one, two or three-year period of study at Oxford University. There are 32 scholarships given each year to US citizens, and these are distributed according to a system of geographical districts.
The Rhodes Scholarship competition is also open to citizens of the following countries: Canada, South Africa, Australia, India, Germany, Zambia, Zimbabwe, New Zealand, Commonwealth Caribbean and Jamaica, Kenya, Bermuda, Singapore, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Uganda, and Hong Kong. Beginning in Fall 2015 all of these countries’ Rhodes committees are willing to accept applicants who attend a university outside of their country. Application deadlines vary by country and can be found by following the country-specific links at http://www.rhodeshouse.ox.ac.uk/about/rhodes-countries.
The scholarship pays all tuition and fees, in addition to a personal allowance. Information about courses of study at Oxford is available at
Eligibility and Qualifications
- The candidate should demonstrate wide-ranging academic excellence. This excellence should be reflected in his or her overall academic record and in other ways. The candidate should show qualities of moral leadership and social purpose and should exhibit outstanding and attractive potential outside the classroom as well as within it.
- The candidate should have the physical vigor that enables Rhodes Scholars to make an effective contribution to the world around them. Rhodes desired that his Scholars be intellectually, morally, and physically capable of leadership in any field. Traditionally this was defined as participation in varsity sports, but this is no longer the case.
The US Rhodes web site includes a section of frequently-asked questions including “Should I Apply” which is very helpful, particularly in removing potential applicants’ misconceptions. In short, applicants who are eligible by age and citizenship who have done well as undergraduates, have significant reasons for studying in a specific program at Oxford, and who have the respect of sufficient potential recommenders should apply.
The most successful candidates have also demonstrated initiative and commitment to larger issues such as service, research, and engagement in efforts to serve humanity both on and beyond their campus.
Application Procedures and Selection Criteria
Candidates need to be endorsed by the Penn Rhodes Committee. The formal application is entirely electronic and requires:
- A personal statement, not exceeding 1000 words, of general activities and intellectual interests and a proposed course of study at Oxford.
- For US applicants, no fewer than five and no more than eight letters of reference. These letters should cover the applicant’s various strengths from various angles. At least four of these letters must be from individuals who supervised the candidate's academic work (i.e., course instructors and/or research supervisors).
- Transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended
- A factual list of principal activities and honors while in college
- Proof of age and citizenship
The US Rhodes competition is a regional competition. US applicants from Penn may apply through their home state or through Pennsylvania (by virtue of living here to attend school.) Most are better served by applying through their home region. Candidates make the final decision of which region to apply through, but candidates should consult with Dr. Wallace Genser before making this decision.
CANDIDATE LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION:
As soon as candidates have arranged for letters of recommendation, they should fill out the Recommendation Request Form for each recommender, and for each program to which they are applying (e.g., Rhodes, Marshall, Mitchell, etc.).
INFORMATION FOR RECOMMENDERS:
In order to compose the most effective recommendation possible, fellowship recommenders are urged to review the information and suggestions CURF has developed. In addition, your letter should describe what you have observed of the candidate that illustrates the traits and abilities that will lead to academic, personal, and professional success. Specific examples of work the candidate has performed and behaviors that you have observed are crucial to successful letters.
Recommenders are required to upload a separate letter for each fellowship for which the candidate is applying. While it is not generally necessary to tailor a letter specifically for each fellowship, it is extremely important to refer to the correct fellowship, degree program, and school in each letter (e.g., “I write to recommend [STUDENT NAME] for the Rhodes Scholarship to obtain an M.Sc. in Global Health Science at Oxford”).
Candidates must participate in Penn’s endorsement process in order to apply. This involves requesting endorsement no later than March 31, 2015, prior to your application, and submitting a complete application to CURF no later than August 26, 2015 (before the Rhodes Trust's deadline).
Candidates should submit the Internal Penn Rhodes Application form, including a single pdf with application materials in the following order:
- A personal statement, not exceeding 1000 words, of general activities and intellectual interests and a proposed course of study at Oxford
- Curriculum Vitae / Resume or list of principal activities (no more than two pages)
- An electronic version of your Penn transcript created from Penn In Touch: Academic Records —> Transcript & GPA. Print your transcript as a .pdf
- Any other post-secondary transcripts from all institutions attended
Applicants are responsible for assuring that their final applications, including transcripts, are submitted to Regional Committees by the Rhodes Trust deadline in early October.
Finalists will be invited to Rhodes interviews in the Fall. US interviews are typically held in mid-November. CURF will hold practice interviews for those who are invited to final interviews. The Rhodes Scholars are informed of their status at the end of the final interview. Rhodes House then takes responsibility for completing the Rhodes Scholars’ acceptance at the appropriate faculty in Oxford. Therefore no separate Oxford application is required — except for applicants applying for other fellowships.