UW-Madison deadline: November 25, 2024
Foundation deadline: January 31, 2025 (5:00 p.m. CT)

*Candidates must be nominated by UW–Madison and may not apply directly. Students interested in applying should contact the Undergraduate Academic Awards Office for more information about the application process. Contact: 608-265-2428,


Established by Congress in 1986 to honor the career of Senator Barry Goldwater, the scholarships recognize promising undergraduates who plan to pursue a PhD or MD/PhD followed by a research career in engineering, mathematics or the natural sciences. Up to 450 scholarships are awarded annually.


The scholarships provide $7,500/year toward undergraduate expenses junior and/or senior year, including tuition, required books and living expenses. Junior level recipients may receive a maximum of two years of support. Senior level recipients will receive a maximum of one year of support.


  • Full-time sophomore or junior during academic year of application (defined as two years or one year of undergraduate study remaining after application year)
  • Planning to pursue a PhD and research career in mathematics, natural sciences or engineering research (MD alone does not qualify, but MD/PhD does)
  • Outstanding undergraduate academic record (GPA >3.8)
  • Engaged in undergraduate research
  • U.S. citizen, national or permanent resident


  • Academic achievement (grades, level of courses, awards, scholarships)
  • Progress toward research goals (research activities, career goals, course work)
  • Research essay (technical content, bibliography, organization/grammar)
  • Letters of recommendation (commitment to research, intellectual curiosity, potential for research contributions)Equal weight is given to the four evaluation criteria.


To be considered for nomination, students must submit a completed application by the campus deadline (see section below). In November/December, the UW–Madison campus nominating committee reviews applications and endorses up to four nominees. Nominees will have the opportunity to revise their applications based on feedback from the campus committee. The Foundation deadline is late January. In March the Goldwater Scholars and alternates are selected; in April nominees are notified of their final status in the competition.


Please submit the following materials electronically by 11:59 p.m. on the campus deadline to the Undergraduate Academic Awards Office,

  1. Student Profile and Pre-Application form. After reviewing your Goldwater pre-application, the UAA Office will provide you with access to the Goldwater online application. Please complete and submit the full application on the Goldwater website by the campus deadline.
  2. Letters of recommendation from three professors who have supervised your undergraduate research and/or your undergraduate coursework in the sciences, engineering or mathematics. Please ask your recommenders to send an electronic copy to It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that all letters of recommendation are received by the campus deadline. We cannot guarantee that the committee will review late letters.
  3. Transcripts from all colleges attended.  For campus purposes, an unofficial transcript or a copy of your UW-Madison student record is fine, as are photocopies of transcripts from other institutions.  Submit via email attachment to or in hard copy.
  4. Research Essay, typed, three pages, font size no smaller than 12 point, uploaded to the ‘backpack’ on your online application. Please include your name and your academic institution at the top of each page.  Sample research essays available for viewing in the UAA Office.  Please make an appointment.


For official information on the Goldwater Scholarship (which supersedes any information provided here), please see


Application Essay Tips
Letters of Recommendation Tips
Previous Goldwater Scholars