University of Wisconsin–Madison



UW-Madison deadline: July 15, 2019 
Foundation deadline:
October 2, 2019 (11:59 p.m. ET)

*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,


Initiated after the death of Cecil Rhodes in 1902, the Rhodes Scholarships bring outstanding students from countries around the world to the University of Oxford. Mr. Rhodes intended the scholarships to “improve the world through the diffusion of leaders motivated to serve their contemporaries trained in the contemplative life of the mind, and broadened by their acquaintance with one another and by their exposure to cultures different from their own.” Up to 32 scholarships are awarded each year to American students.


The scholarship covers tuition and fees, airfare, living expenses, and related expenses such as books, for two years of graduate or undergraduate study leading to a degree at Oxford University. At the discretion of the Rhodes Trustees, a scholarship may be renewed for a third year.


  • U.S. citizen
  • At least 18 but not yet 24 years old on October 1st of the year of application
  • Will have earned a bachelor’s degree before scholarship begins
  • GPA ≥ 3.8
  • Extensive service and leadership experiences recommended.
  • Citizens of citizen of Australia, Bermuda, Canada, China, Commonwealth Caribbean, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Jamaica, Kenya, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Zambia, or Zimbabwe are eligible to apply from their home country. See Rhodes Countries for additional information and country-specific deadlines.


(as Cecil Rhodes set forth in his will)

  • Proven intellectual and academic achievement
  • Integrity of character
  • Interest in and respect for their fellow beings
  • Ability to lead
  • Energy to use one’s talents to the full, as exemplified by fondness for and success in sports. (Involvement in athletics is not required. Applicants may demonstrate the required “energy” in other ways.)


  • To be considered for nomination, submit a complete campus application to the UAA Office by the campus deadline (see section below).
  • The campus committee reviews applications and endorses top candidates.
  • Endorsed candidates may revise their application materials before submitting to the district level of competition in October, using the official Rhodes online application. (Please note that UW–Madison representatives have no way of accessing the online application, so we cannot use it for our campus nomination process.)
  • The district committees interview finalists and select scholars in late November.


Please submit the following materials by 11:59 p.m. on the campus deadline.  Items 2-5 below will be submitted via the online campus application form (link below).  Letters of recommendation are to be submitted separately via email to the Undergraduate Academic Awards Office,

  1. Campus Application Form
    You won’t be able to save your work to the online campus application, so plan to fill it out and submit at one sitting. Use a PDF of 2019 campus application as a guide to plan your answers.
  2. Personal Statement (no more than 1,000 words) describing your academic and other interests.  Help the reader understand who you are and how your academic passions and future goals have evolved.  Reflect on and analyze some of the significant activities/experiences that have shaped you. Please see the Requirements for the Personal Statement from the Rhodes Trust.
  3. Proposed Academic Program Essay(s) For each scholarship you check on the application form, write an essay (no more than 250 words each) giving reasons for your first choice academic program and university. How is the academic program a good fit for you? How will the program (as opposed to a top-ranked program in the U.S.) add value to your education and further your educational and career goals? If you want to pursue a research degree (as opposed to a taught master’s), outline the research you wish to undertake and list the name and title of the faculty member who has agreed to work with you if you receive the scholarship.  See Researching British Universities.
  4. A “Résumé” or List of principal activities (two pages, no smaller than 11 pt font) Organize to showcase your strengths.  You may want to include sections on education (universities attended, majors, degrees earned); research and publications; academic honors, awards and scholarships; service/volunteerism; employment and internships; other activities/interests.  For each activity you list, be sure to include your title/role, the name of the organization, dates active, and a brief explanation of your involvement/responsibilities.  Emphasize your leadership experiences. Don’t assume the reader will be familiar with UW-Madison or the surrounding community.
  5. 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).
  6. Letters of recommendation (5-8 total) primarily academic. If you are applying for the Rhodes, you must submit at least five letters (four must be from professors who have supervised your coursework or research).  For the Marshall and Mitchell you must submit at least four letters.  If you are applying for nomination to more than one scholarship, your recommenders do not need to submit a separate letter for each scholarship.  For the campus competition, they can submit one “combined” letter, recommending you for all the scholarships for which you are applying. They can address the letter to “Members of the UW-Madison Nominating Committee” and email an electronic copy to, or mail to the address below.   Should you receive university nomination, your recommenders will need to submit a separate letter to each of the scholarship foundations.  Please read over and give your recommenders a copy of Effective Recommendation Letters for UK-Ireland Scholarships.


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


Researching British Universities
Effective Recommendation Letters
Previous Rhodes Scholars