Rhodes Scholarships

The Rhodes Scholarships were established after the death of Cecil Rhodes, who believed that bringing students from other places to study at Oxford University would aid in the promotion of international understanding and peace. Each year, thirty-two US citizens are among more than eighty Rhodes Scholars worldwide who take up degree courses at Oxford University. The first American Rhodes Scholars entered Oxford in 1904.

Rhodes Scholarships are given for a one, two, or three-year period of study at Oxford University. The scholarship pays all tuition and fees, and provides the scholar with a personal allowance. Thirty-two scholarships are given each year to US citizens, distributed according to a system of geographical districts.


  • Candidates must be US citizens.
  • Candidates must be between 18 and 23 on October 1 of the year in which they apply.
  • Candidates must complete a bachelor’s degree before beginning study as a Rhodes Scholar.


Rhodes Scholars are chosen with the following criteria in mind:

  • 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.

Applications are submitted online and include:

  • A 1000-word personal statement, regarding intellectual interests and aspirations, and a proposed course of study at Oxford
  • List of activities and honors
  • 5-8 letters of recommendation (Four letters must be academic)
  • Institutional endorsement
  • Certified transcripts
  • CV
  • Photograph
  • Proof of citizenship

The Rhodes Trust selects scholars through a regional competition. Applicants may apply through their home state or through New Jersey. In general, students are better served by applying through their home region.


Applications require an institutional endorsement; materials are due to the Office of Distinguished Fellowship by September 10, 2018. All application materials are due to Rhodes online by October 3, 2018. Applications are available online in early July of each year.  Finalists will be invited to interviews, held the third weekend in November. Rhodes Scholars are informed of their status at the end of the final interview.


Arthur D. Casciato, Ph.D.
Director, Office of Distinguished Fellowships
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey