Rhodes Scholarships
Updated on Oct 31, 2014 - 4 p.m. IST by Bedasree Das
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Named after British businessman Cecil Rhodes, the Rhodes scholarship was established in 1903, and is the oldest and one of the most respected international graduate scholarship programs in the world.

The Rhodes scholarship is funded by the Rhodes Trust with support from John McCall MacBain, founder of the McCall MacBain Foundation, and other generous benefactors. The scholarship is only applicable for students studying in the University of Oxford.

Around 83 aspirants are selected annually as Rhodes scholars from 14 countries.

What does the Rhodes Scholarships cover?

As mentioned, the Rhodes Scholarships is open to around 14 countries across the world. They are:

  • Australia,
  • Bermuda,
  • Canada,
  • Germany,
  • Hong Kong,
  • India,
  • Jamaica & the Commonwealth Caribbean,
  • Kenya,
  • New Zealand,
  • Pakistan,
  • Southern Africa (including South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia and Swaziland),
  • United States,
  • Zambia and
  • Zimbabwe.

All the 83 Rhodes scholars are given residence at Rhodes house in Oxford. The scholars can choose to pursue a wide variety of courses at Oxford. Rhodes scholars may only undertake the Master of Business Administration or the Master of Financial Economics in the second year of the scholarship. 

Nearly 200 Indians have been awarded the Rhodes scholarship since 1947, and every year there are five Rhodes scholarships available for the country’s aspirants.

Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Girish Karnad and Mahesh Rangarajan are some of the few famous personalities from India who have previously been Rhodes scholars.

Eligibility criteria for Rhodes Scholarship:

There are three general eligibility criteria which are applicable to students from all mentioned countries. They are:

  • Citizenship: The aspirants should be citizens of the only country the Rhodes scholarship is open for. They should also be residents of the Rhodes constituency they are applying from.
  • Age limit: Applicants should be a minimum of 18 years old and maximum 28 years old at the time of application. However for India, candidates must be of such an age that they will have passed their 19th and not have passed their 25th birthday at the time of application.
  • Education: Candidates should have a minimum Bachelor’s degree in a relevant subject in order to be eligible to apply.

Th criteria for Indian Students are:

  • Candidates must have at least a first class degree in Humanities, Sciences, Law, Engineering, Agriculture or Medicine from an Indian university. Candidates who are in the final year of a degree course and have exceptionally bright academic record may also apply.
  • Candidates for medical studies should consult the Secretary, as well as the Medical School Offices at Oxford, before submitting an application.


What does the scholarship cover?

  • The scholarship covers university and college fee of the scholars;
  • A personal stipend of around £13,000 fixed by the trustees
  • The application fee of the University of Oxford.
  • One economy class airfare to Oxford at the start of the scholarship and one economy flight back to the student's home country at the conclusion of the scholarship.

When and How to apply?

Applications for Rhodes scholarships open during the spring and summer of the year preceding the year of admission.  The applications usually open in April and the aspirants should submit their completed forms by end of July.

Following steps can guide you in the application process:

First step: You can apply for the scholarship online. Make sure you have the application package ready by the time you are submitting the application.

Your application package should include:

  • Attested copies of school leaving certificate or an extract from a University Register signed by the Registrar, as evidence of age
  • Evidence of courses taken and degrees, honours and other academic distinctions obtained.
  •  A signed soft copy essay by the aspirant detailing the proposed course of study at Oxford, his/her general interests and activities, including sports and future aims of the candidate. The essay should not exceed 1000 words.
  • The names and addresses of six persons well acquainted with the aspirant, under at least three of whom he/she must have studied. At least, three of the six referees should also write about the aspirant’s academic ability achievements.
  • A photograph, digital and hard copy (passport-size, unmounted) will be requested from shortlisted candidates.
  • Successful candidates will be asked to provide a voluntary medical statement.

Second step: Wait for the selection committee to review your application.

The selection criteria are as follows:

  • Literary and scholastic attainments;
  • energy to use one’s talents to the full;
  • truth, courage, devotion to duty;
  • sympathy for and protection of the weak, kindliness, unselfishness and fellowship;
  • moral force of character and instincts to lead

Third Step: After the application packages are reviewed, aspirants are short-listed for a preliminary, personal interview, held at four regional centres, including Mumbai (Pune), Bangalore, Kolkata and Delhi.

Candidates selected from these regional interviews are then called for the final interview in December. Rhodes Trust pays the traveling expenses of candidates invited for the final interview.

What after selection?

Once selected, a scholar will be given information to make an application to the University of Oxford. Those applying for postgraduate courses should apply to Oxford in early January. The courses for the scholarship programmes, generally, start in October.


Also Read:

What are the suitable scholarships to study abroad?

Scholarships for engineering students to study abroad

Major scholarships for management courses abroad

Major scholarships offered by top universities

State-funded scholarships

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