Carnegie Mellon University

Rhodes Scholarship

The Rhodes Scholarship funds two years of study at the University of Oxford. All educational costs are paid on the Scholar's behalf by the Rhodes Trustees including: travel, tuition, laboratory and certain other fees.  The Rhodes Trustees cover the necessary costs of travel to and from Oxford, and upon application, may approve additional grants for research purposes or study-related travel.

In order to apply, you must be endorsed by your university. Applicants must be:

  • Seniors or graduate students
  • U.S. Citizens or permanent residents*
  • At least 18 years old, but under the age of 24
  • Minimum GPA of 3.7 (new requirement as of 2018 application cycle)

*International students from select countries may apply through their home countries (see complete Rhodes country list).

Strong candidates have:

  • An outstanding academic record (typically, a 3.8 or higher GPA)
  • An exceptional track record of service and leadership (domestically and/or internationally)
  • Significant accomplishments in athletics, research, or other activities
  • A strong vision for how their career will have a positive impact on the world
  • A strong rationale for pursuing a specific graduate program at the University of Oxford

Additionally, the Rhodes Trust selects Scholars based on the following criteria:

  1. Literary and scholastic attainments;
  2. Energy to use one's talents to the full, as exemplified by fondness for and success in sports or intellectual pursuits and rigor;
  3. Truth, courage, devotion to duty, sympathy for and protection of the weak, kindliness, unselfishness and fellowship;
  4. Moral force of character and instincts to lead, and to take an interest in one's fellow beings.
Also review: Should I Apply? A Q&A with the American Secretary of the Rhodes Trust


Students must apply through OURSD by the required campus deadline (August 24, 2023) in order to be considered for endorsement.

  • Interested students must contact OURSD as early as possible in spring semester (and no later than June 15, 2023) to discuss their possible candidacy.
    • Book an appointment with an OURSD team member. (Once in Handshake, go to "Specialized Appointments," then "Undergraduate Research and Fellowships/Scholarship Appointments.")
    • If you are away from campus, we will arrange a virtual meeting.
  • Per Rhodes policy, applicants may NOT receive any assistance on their personal statement from anyone.  If you are planning to apply for multiple scholarships, it is especially important that you meet with OURSD very early in the process to avoid potential conflicts with Rhodes policy on personal statements.


The pre-application process allows us to begin working early with applicants for the Rhodes and other UK awards.  After submitting your pre-application, you will receive targeted feedback from OURSD that will allow you to begin crafting a competitive full application for the campus endorsement process. In some cases, we may recommend that you consider other opportunities that are a better fit.

Required materials:

  • Pre-Application form 
  • Current résumé
  • Unofficial Carnegie Mellon transcript
  • Four recommendation letters emailed to OURSD. Be sure to give each recommender the document “Instructions for Recommenders – UK Awards”
  • A personal statement of 1,000 words that outlines your intellectual and professional interests and achievements, future goals, and reasons for pursuing study in the UK.


Required Materials:

  • A signed Scholarship Waiver 
  • A complete Rhodes Scholarship application printed from the online application portal and including the 1,000-word personal statement, a 750-word academic statement of study,  and list of activities and honors
  • Transcripts for all colleges or universities attended, including study abroad (unofficial CMU transcripts are okay at this stage)
  • Eight recommendation letters specifically tailored for the Rhodes Scholarship.  At least four of these must be from academic references with whom you have worked at the university level.  Letters should be written to the “Committee of Selection.” Recommenders must email their letters directly to OURSD.  Do NOT register them online at this stage.

After the campus deadline, the campus Rhodes Endorsement Committee will review all applications.  Applicants may be asked to interview with the committee as part of the endorsement process.  Endorsed applicants will then be notified and guided through the final steps of the application process.

By this date, endorsed applicants must upload all revised documents to the online Rhodes application portal and submit the application to the appropriate Rhodes District.  Additional required materials include a copy of your birth certificate or passport, a passport-size photo, and official transcripts for CMU and all other colleges and universities attended.  Recommenders must be registered online, and all letters uploaded by them, by this date.  Please send a .pdf of your submitted application to FSO.

By this date, FSO will submit a University Endorsement Letter to your Rhodes District panel.  Interview notifications are sent out by the districts in November.  FSO assists finalists with interview preparation, including organizing mock interviews.