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National Competitive Scholarships

Review the list of national competitive scholarships and see which scholarships you may qualify for.

Prepare to apply

The UCSD National Competitive Scholarship Committee holds student meetings twice a year to review available scholarships and help students become more competitive. Students who meet the criteria for the National Competitive Scholarships will be contacted by e-mail informing them of the meeting dates.

Come and learn how to:

  • Better understand the criteria and requirements for specific scholarships
  • Develop helpful faculty relationships
  • Include personal experiences on your application
  • Prepare for interviews
  • Refine your essays, based on individual consultations with these institutional advisors:
    • Dr. David Artis, Academic Enrichment Programs, (858) 534-1774, advises on the Goldwater, British Marshall, Beinecke, Mitchell, Schwarzman and Strauss Scholarships.
    • Kim Burton, EAP Office,  (858) 534-1123, advises on the Boren, Gilman, and Critical Language Scholarships. 
    • Dr. Ross Frank, Professor in the department of Ethnic Studies, (858) 534-6646, advises on the Rhodes, Truman, and Udall (Native American) scholarships.
    • Roark Miller, International Faculty and Scholars Office, (858) 822-5541, advises on the Study Abroad Mentorship Program.
    • Michelle Monroy, Graduate Division, (858) 822-2938, advises on the Fulbright Scholarship, NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program, Ford Foundation Fellowship.
    • Weg Ongkeko, Assistant Adjunct Professor in the department of Surgery, (858) 552-8585 ext. 7165, will advise students on the Winston Churchill scholarship.

Application deadline notice:

If you apply for a scholarship that requires a faculty advisor's assistance or an endorsement from UCSD, submit your first-draft application, essay, and other materials at least 1 month before the UCSD deadline. This will allow you time to make revisions and to consult with the faculty advisor.

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International Experiences

Alfa Fellowship

  • UCSD nomination or endorsement? No
  • Agency deadline: December 1. See website.
  • Award: Monthly language training with monthly stipend and housing. Limited health insurance and travel expenses. Professional assignment in Russia
  • Number of awards: 18
  • Requirements include:
    • U.S., U.K., or German citizen
    • Age 25-35 by application deadline
    • Russian proficiency is preferred; qualified candidates with fluency in another second language may be considered
    • Graduate degree and/or professional experience
    • At least 2 years of relevant work experience
  • Details: See website.

Boren Scholarships for International Study

  • UCSD nomination or endorsement? Yes
  • Faculty Advisor: Kim Burton
  • UCSD Deadline: Mid-January, 2017
  • Agency deadline: February 2017, 5pm EST. See website.
  • Award: $8,000 Summer / Up to $10,000 Semester / Up to $20,000 Year. Federal government program to facilitate study abroad in non-western locations (i.e. outside of Western Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand). Based on academic merit and career goals. Carries a government service requirement.
  • Number of awards: Variable
  • Requirements include:
    • U.S. citizen
    • Matriculated in an undergraduate degree program located within the United States accredited by an accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
    • Boren Scholars must remain matriculated in their undergraduate programs for the duration of the scholarship and may not graduate until the scholarship is complete.
    • Applying to a study abroad program that meets home institution standards in a country outside of Western Europe, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand.
    • Boren Scholarships are not for study in the United States.
  • Details: See website.

Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships

  • UCSD nomination or endorsement? Yes
  • Faculty Advisor:Kim Burton
  • Agency deadline:
    • Spring - October 4, 2016 by 11:59pm Central Time.
    • Summer - October 4, 2016 by 11:59pm Central Time for early application, early March for regular application
    • Fall/Academic Year - March 7, 2017 by 11:59pm Central Time. See website
  • Award: Up to $5,000 Program; potential for and additional $3,000 for study of a critical language. The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program offers grants for U.S. citizen undergraduate students of limited financial means to pursue academic studies or credit-bearing, career-oriented internships abroad. Such international exchange is intended to better prepare U.S. students to assume significant roles in an increasingly global economy and interdependent world.
  • Number of awards: Variable
  • Requirements include:
    • Must be a Pell Grant recipient at the time of application.
  • Details: See website.

British Marshall Scholarship (UK)

  • UCSD nomination or endorsement? Yes
  • Faculty advisor: Dr. David Artis (Email his assistant for an appointment: Charity Kunold).
  • UCSD deadline: September 23, 2016.
  • Agency deadline: October 3, 2016. Application materials expected to be available in late Spring.
  • Award: Tuition and living / travel expenses at a British university
  • Number of awards: up to 40; There is no fixed limit on the number of applicant endorsements a UC San Diego can make, but these nominees must exhibit the qualities of a Marshall Scholar -- academic merit, leadership potential, and ambassadorial potential.
  • Requirements include:
    • U.S. citizen
    • Will have graduated from a university with a bachelor's degree after April 2014 and before September 2017 
    • 3.7 undergraduate GPA (3.9+ preferred) 
    • Strong evidence of leadership qualities, academic merit, and ambassadorial potential (equally weighted)
  • Apply: With the UCSD faculty advisor's help
  • Details: See website.

Critical Language Scholarship Program

  • UCSD nomination or endorsement? No
  • Faculty Advisor: Kim Burton
  • Agency deadline: November (see website for exact date). Applications open in September.
  • Award: Fully funded participation in a 8-10 week summer language program
  • Number of awards: Varies
  • Requirements include:
    • US Citizen
    • Currently matriculated at a US university
    • Open to students of all academic disciplines
    • Undergraduates must have completed at least one year of university coursework
  • Apply: With the UCSD faculty advisor's help
  • Details: See website.

Fulbright Grant

  • UCSD nomination or endorsement? Yes
  • Institutional advisor: Michelle Monroy, Graduate Fellowship Advisor
  • UCSD deadline: September 7, 2016. Application materials expected to be available in early May.
  • Agency deadline: October 11, 2016 by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time
  • Award: Tuition, travel expenses, books, and more in a foreign country. Students must show desire to promote mutual understanding among nations
  • Requirements include:
    • U.S. citizen
    • B.A. or B.S. at time of award
    • Academic excellence
    • Desire to promote mutual understanding among nations
    • Language proficiency in host country
    • 3 letters of reference
    • Candidates must work with the Fulbright Program Adviser to ensure that the application is officially submitted and that all supporting documents are attached by the final deadline
  • Details: See the website. 

Gates Cambridge Scholarship (University of Cambridge, UK)

  • UCSD nomination or endorsement? No. You must apply to the University of Cambridge at the same time as this scholarship, and be accepted in order to be awarded.
  • Agency deadline: Round 1 - October 12, 2016 (if you normally live in the US); Round 2 - December 7, 2016 (if you normally live outside the US)
  • Award: Full cost of studying at Cambridge, maintenance cost of €14,600 for 12 months and airfare to and from Cambridge for a PhD (three year), or a one- or two-year Masters' program. Additional discretionary funds may be requested for special circumstances.
  • Number of awards: 40
  • Requirements include:
    • Resident of any country other than the United Kingdom
    • B.A. with honors and additional post-graduate study
    • 3 references (2 academic, 1 personal)
    • Academic Excellence
    • Leadership Potential
    • Commitment to improving the lives of others
    • Good academic fit with Cambridge
  • Details: See the website.

George Mitchell Scholarship (Ireland and Northern Ireland)

  • UCSD nomination or endorsement? Yes (required)
  • Institutional advisor: Dr. David Artis (Email his assistant for an appointment: Charity Kunold).
  • UCSD deadline: September 16, 2016
  • Agency deadline: September 30, 2016, 5pm EST
  • Award: Tuition, housing, and additional stipend, travel to Ireland for a one-year post-graduate study program. Student must show a record of scholarship, leadership, and commitment to community and public service.
  • Number of awards: up to 12; There is no fixed limit on the number of applicant endorsements a UC San Diego can make, but these nominees must exhibit the qualities of a Mitchell Scholar -- academic excellence, and significant accomplishment in leadership and community service.
  • Requirements include:
    • Graduating senior
    • Superior academic excellence
    • Leadership and public service
    • Age 18-30
    • Four letters of recommendation, at least two of which are from persons with whom you have done academic work.
    • If selected, must participate in a recorded video interview.
  • Details: See the website.

Rhodes Scholarship (Oxford University, UK)

  • UCSD nomination or endorsement? Yes
  • Institutional advisor: Dr. Ross Frank
  • UCSD deadline: September 5, 2016
  • Agency deadline: 11:59 PM EDT on October 5, 2016
  • Award: Tuition and living/ travel expenses at Oxford University
  • Number of awards: 32; There is no fixed limit on the number of applicant endorsements a UC San Diego can make, but these nominees must exhibit the qualities of a Rhodes Scholar -- literary and scholarstic achievements; 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; and moral force of character and instincts to lead, and to take an interest in one's fellow beings.
  • Requirements include:
    • U.S. citizen or permanent resident for at least 5 years
    • Literary and scholastic achievement
    • Between 18 and 24 years of age (must be 23 years old on Oct 1 in year of application)
    • At least 5, but not more than 8 letters of recommendation. At least 4 must be from faculty you've received instruction from, and at least 1 must speak to your character.
  • Apply: With the UCSD faculty advisor's help
  • Details: See the website.

Robert Bosch Foundation Scholarship (Germany)

  • UCSD nomination or endorsement? No
  • Agency deadline: November 1
  • Award: €3,000 monthly stipend (September to May) and executive-level internship in Germany, and insurance.
  • Number of awards: 15
  • Requirements include:
    • U.S. citizen
    • Age 40 or younger at time of application
    • Min 5 years work experience in field of interest
    • Evidence of outstanding professional performance
    • Graduate degree preferred
    • Sincere commitment to furthering the transatlantic relationship
  • Details: See the website.

Schwarzman Scholars (China)

  • UCSD nomination or endorsement? No, however an institutional letter of recommendation is required if applying as a currently enrolled student.
  • Institutional advisor: Dr. David Artis in Academic Enrichment Programs (Email his assistant for an appointment: Charity Kunold)
  • Agency deadlines: September 15, 2016
  • Award: Tuition, fees, room and board, travel to and from Beijing at the beginning and end of the academic year, an in-country study tour, required course books and supplies, Lenovo laptop and smartphone, health insurance, and a personal stipend.
  • Number of awards: 125, with 45% coming from the United States. 
  • Requirements include:
    • Undergraduate Degree or completion of degree before August 1, 2017
    • English Language Proficiency
    • Must be at least 18 but not yet 29 as of August 1, 2017
    • If an undergraduate while applying, one of the four letters should be an institutional letter of endorsement from the institutional advisor.
    • Four letters of recommendation. At least one letter must come from someone that is able to comment on leadership qualities based on direct knowledge.
  • Details: See the website.

Winston Churchill Scholarship (University of Cambridge, UK)

  • UCSD nomination or endorsement? Yes
  • Institutional advisor: Weg Ongkeko
  • UCSD deadline: October 3, 2016
  • Agency deadline: November 10, 2016
  • Award: Approximately $50,000 – $60,000 for graduate studies in engineering, mathematics, and the sciences at the University of Cambridge. The stipend includes University and College fees, travel and visa expenses, a living allowance of £11,000 - £13,000 (depending on the program), and the possibility of a $2,000 special research grant
  • Number of awards: at least 14, maximum of 2 nominees per institution each year
  • Requirements include:
    • U.S. citizen between the ages of 19 and 26
    • B.A. and GRE general test (not subject test)
    • Outstanding academic record (preference to 3.9+ GPA), independent research experience, strong recommendation letter, leadership, plans to pursue a Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D. after completion of the Churchill program
    • 4 letters of recommendation plus an endorsement letter from the institutional advisor
  • Apply: With the UCSD advisor's help
  • Details: See the website.

Graduate and Professional School

Beinecke Scholarship

  • UCSD nomination or endorsement? Yes (required)
  • Institutional advisor: Dr. David Artis (Email his assistant for an appointment: Charity Kunold).
  • UCSD deadline: February 3, 2017
  • Agency deadline: February 17, 2017
  • Award: Up to $34,000. Student must have plans for advanced degree in the arts, humanities, or social sciences (graduate study in neuroscience does not qualify)
  • Requirements include:
    • U.S. citizen
    • Graduating with bachelor's degree between December 2017 and August 2018 ("junior" standing or non-graduating senior)
    • Financial need as verified by UCSD's Financial Aid Office
    • 3.6 GPA
    • Plans for advanced degree in the arts, humanities, or social sciences (graduate study in neuroscience does not qualify)
  • Apply: With the UCSD advisor's help
  • Details: See the website.

British Marshall Scholarship

see above in International Experiences


Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowships

  • UCSD nomination or endorsement? No
  • Contact: Michelle Monroy, Graduate Fellowship Advisor
  • Agency deadline: 2017 Predoctoral application deadline is November 17, 2016 at 5:00pm EST, 2016, 2016 Dissertation and Postdoctoral application deadline is November 10, 2016 at 5:00pm EST, Supplementary Materials receipt deadline is January 10, 2017 at 5:00pm EST. See the website.
  • Award: $24,000 stipend/year for 3 years, plus travel to attend one Ford conference
  • Number of awards: 60
  • Requirements:
    • Citizen, national, or permanent resident of the US; or granted DACA status
    • Enrolled or planning to enroll in research-based PhD or ScD program in the US
    • At least 3 more years to complete doctoral degree, and at least 1 full year of doctoral coursework remaining
  • Details: See the website.
  • Note: The Ford Foundation also offers Dissertation Fellowships and Postdoctoral Fellowships for later in your graduate career.

Fulbright Grant

see above in International Experiences


Gates Cambridge Scholarship

see above in International Experiences


George Mitchell Scholarship

see above in International Experiences


Hertz Foundation Scholarship

  • UCSD nomination or endorsement? No
  • Agency deadline: October 28, 2016 (See Hertz Scholarship website)
  • Award: $32,000 / 9-months (Five year program) & $37,000 / 9-months (Two year program). College senior or grad student pursuing Ph.D. in applied physics, mathematics, chemistry, modern biology, or all areas of engineering
  • Requirements include:
    • U.S. citizen or permanent resident
    • College senior or grad student pursuing Ph.D in applied physics, mathematics, chemistry, modern biology, or all areas of engineering
  • Details: See the website.

Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Graduate Arts Award

see above in International Experiences


NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program

  • UCSD nomination or endorsement? No. The advisor can look over your proposal and give advice on applying. 
  • Institutional Advisor: Michelle Monroy, Graduate Fellowship Advisor
  • Agency deadline: Varies, but usually the last week of October.
  • Award: Up to $34,000 stipend and up to $12,000 tuition for graduate study and research in science and engineering
  • Number of awards: 2,000
  • Requirements include:
    • U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or national
    • Graduating college senior or grad student
    • Intellectual and scientific ability
  • Apply: With the UCSD faculty advisor's help
  • Details: See the website.

Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans

  • UCSD nomination or endorsement? No
  • Contact: Sophia Tsai or Veronica Bejar
  • Agency deadline: November 1, 11:59 pm EST. See the website.
  • Award: Up to $25,000 maintenance fee and $20,000 in graduate tuition for a total of as much as $90,000
  • Number of awards: 30
  • Requirements include:
    • Naturalized citizen, green-card holder, or child of 2 parents who are naturalized citizens
    • College senior or have Bachelors degree
  • Details: See the website.

Rhodes Scholarship

see above in International Experiences


Truman Scholarship

  • UCSD nomination or endorsement? Yes
  • Institutional advisor: Dr. Ross Frank
  • UCSD Deadline: January 10, 2017
  • Deadlines: February 7, 2017. See the website.
  • Award: $30,000 ($15,000 each for first and last years of grad school). Interest in public service, leadership, and public policy
  • Number of awards: 65 (up to 4 nominees from each university)
  • Requirements include:
    • U.S. citizen
    • University junior, 3.5 GPA
    • Interest in public service, leadership, and public policy
  • Apply: With the UCSD faculty advisor's help
  • Details: See the website.

Winston Churchill Scholarship

see above in International Experiences

Public Service

Donald Strauss Scholarship

  • UCSD nomination or endorsement? Yes
  • Institutional advisor: Dr. David Artis (Email his assistant for an appointment: Charity Kunold).
  • UCSD deadline: February 22, 2017 by 4:30 pm Pacific Standard Time
  • Agency deadline: Usually early March; please check Donald Strauss website
  • Award: $10,000 for public service project & tuition, fees, books, room & board.
  • Number of awards: 10-15
  • Requirements include:
    • Full-time rising junior or senior, 3.5 GPA
    • Future career, or volunteer, in public service
    • Submit community service project to be completed before April of following year
  • Details: See the website.

George Mitchell Scholarship

see above in International Experiences


James Madison Scholarship

  • UCSD nomination or endorsement? No
  • Agency deadline: March 1 at 5:00 p.m. Central Time. See the website.
  • Award: Up to $12,000 per academic year for a maximum of $24,000. Plan to become a teacher of American history, American government, or social studies at the secondary school level
  • Number of awards: One per state
  • Requirements include:
    • U.S. citizen or national
    • Plan to become a teacher of American history, American government, or social studies at the secondary school level
  • Details: See the website.

Truman Scholarship

see above in Graduate and Professional School

Field of Study

Beinecke Scholarship

see above in Graduate & Professional School


Goldwater Scholarship

  • UCSD nomination or endorsement? Yes
  • Institutional advisor: Dr. David Artis (Email his assistant for an appointment: Charity Kunold).
  • UCSD deadline: January 13, 2017
  • Agency deadline (online nomination): last Friday in January 2017, 5:00pm Central Time. See the website.
  • Award: up to $7,500 first prize. Engineering, natural sciences, or mathematics major.
  • Number of awards: less than 300 (up to 4 nominees from each university)
  • Requirements include:
    • Sophomore or junior, 3.85 GPA
    • Engineering, natural sciences, or mathematics major
    • Research experience
    • Three Faculty/PI recommendation letters
  • Apply: With the UCSD faculty advisor's help
  • Details: See the website.

Hertz Foundation Scholarship

see above in Graduate & Professional School


Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Graduate Arts Award

see above in International Experiences


James Madison Scholarship

see above in Public Service


NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program

see above in Graduate & Professional School


Udall Scholarship

  • UCSD nomination or endorsement? Yes
  • Institutional advisor: Dr. Ross Frank
  • UCSD Deadline: early February 2017
  • Deadlines: March 15, 2017 at 11:59pm MST See Udall Scholarship website
  • Award: $5,000 to 80 candidates and up to $350 for 50 honorable mentions. Environmental field of interest or Native American or Alaska Native studying health care or tribal public policy.
  • Number of awards: 130
  • Requirements include:
    • Sophomore or junior
    • Environmental field of interest or Native American or Alaska Native studying health care or tribal public policy
    • Essay based on one of Morris Udall's papers or speeches
    • Attend Udall Scholars Weekend in Tucson, Arizona (paid for by the Udall Foundation)
  • Apply: With the UCSD faculty advisor's help
  • Details: See the website.

Winston Churchill Scholarship

see above in International Experiences

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