The Rhodes Scholarship

The Rhodes Scholarship: Established through the Will of Cecil John Rhodes in 1902, the Rhodes Scholarship was a truly visionary project for its time.  Over a hundred years later, the Rhodes Scholarships are the oldest and perhaps most prestigious international scholarship program in the world, enabling outstanding young people from around the world to undertake full-time postgraduate study at the University of Oxford, (ranked first internationally in the Times Higher Education rankings for 2017 and 2018).

One of the founding aims of the Scholarship was to identify young leaders from around the world who, through the pursuit of education together at Oxford, would forge bonds of mutual understanding and fellowship for the betterment of mankind. Although the language is old-fashioned, this remains one of the founding aims of the Scholarship: to select outstanding young people, with the potential to lead, who will make an impact for good in the world in later life.

A Scholarship with A Difference

The Scholarship is not just a financial bursary, it is a life-changing opportunity for exceptional young people with the potential to make a difference for good in the world. Rhodes Scholars are people who have a vision of how the world could be better and the energy to make a difference – whatever their sphere of interest. Rhodes alumni have distinguished themselves in every field.

As Selection Committees select on the basis not only of intellect, but also of character, leadership and commitment to service, the Scholar Program in Oxford aims to build on these Rhodes Scholar qualities, with the first and second-year retreats, workshops and conferences, in addition to social and discussion events, hosted at Rhodes House.

The fellowship of Rhodes Scholars, worldwide and across generations, is active and over 4,500 strong. Rhodes Scholars therefore enter a life-long fellowship with ongoing opportunities to connect with current and Senior Scholars and, beyond that, a warm and engaging community within Scholars typically develop enduring friendships. The Rhodes Scholarship opens up opportunities for Scholars before, after and during their time in Oxford.

Could You be A Rhodes Scholar?

Rhodes Selection Committees are looking for young people of outstanding intellect, character, leadership, and commitment to service.

The four criteria which governed the selection of Rhodes Scholars in 1902 are still the guiding criteria for the selection of Rhodes Scholars:

  • literary and scholastic attainments (academic excellence)
  • energy to use one’s talents to the full (as demonstrated by mastery in areas such as sports, music, debate, dance, theatre, and artistic pursuits, particularly where teamwork is involved)
  • truth, courage, devotion to duty, sympathy for and protection of the weak, kindliness, unselfishness and fellowship
  • moral force of character and instincts to lead, and to take an interest in one’s fellow beings.

Costs Covered by The Rhodes Scholarship

The Rhodes Scholarship is for two years in the first instance. The Rhodes Scholarship covers Oxford University (and College) fees as well as providing an annual stipend. For the 2021/22 academic year, the stipend will be £17,310 per annum (£1,442.50 per month) from which Scholars pay all living expenses, including accommodation. Please note – this is not sufficient to cover partners or dependents.

The detailed Conditions of Tenure document outlines permitted combinations of degrees, and how many years of study are covered by the Scholarship, as the latter depends on course choice – for example up to three years of fees and stipend is available to Scholars who choose to undertake a DPhil (PhD) at Oxford.

Following selection for the Scholarship, the Rhodes Trust will cover the fee required to apply to study at the University of Oxford. The Trust will cover the fee for a Tier 4 study visa and the associated International Health Surcharge (IHS), which enables international students to access the UK’s National Health Service. The Rhodes Trust will cover two economy class flights – to and from the UK – for the beginning and end of studies in Oxford.

On arrival in Oxford, Scholars receive a settling in allowance (£250 in 2020-21). For those Scholars who transition to a second course of study in Oxford, they will again receive assistance to cover the fee for visa renewal and further application for IHS.

A number of research grants are also available to Rhodes Scholars, on application, which enables Scholars to, for example, attend international conferences or conduct additional fieldwork.

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