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National Competitive Scholarships

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

  • A Strauss scholar in action
  • Strauss Scholarship benefiting children in Sierra Leone
  • Strauss Scholarship activity
  • A water beneficiary in Sierra Leone due to a Strauss project.
  • Team of volunteers for a Strauss project

Prepare to apply

The UC San Diego 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) 534-1774Skype call, advises on the Goldwater, British Marshall, Beinecke, Knight-Hennessey, Mitchell, Schwarzman and Strauss Scholarships. Contact his assistant to schedule a meeting.
    • Kim Burton, EAP Office,  (858) 534-1123Skype call, advises on the Boren, Gilman, Freeman-Asia, and Critical Language Scholarships. 
    • Dr. Ross Frank, Professor in the department of Ethnic Studies, (858) 534-6646Skype call, advises on the Rhodes, Truman, and Udall (Native American) scholarships.
    • Roark Miller, International Faculty and Scholars Office, (858) 822-5541Skype call, advises on the Study Abroad Mentorship Program.
    • Michelle Monroy, Graduate Division, (858) 822-2938Skype call, 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. 7165Skype call, 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 UC San Diego, submit your first-draft application, essay, and other materials at least 1 month before the UC San Diego deadline. This will allow you time to make revisions and to consult with the faculty advisor.

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International Experiences

Alfa Fellowship

  • UC San Diego 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 the 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

  • UC San Diego nomination or endorsement? Yes
  • Faculty Advisor: Kim Burton
  • UC San Diego Deadline: Mid-January
  • Agency deadline: February 7, 2019, 5 PM EST. See website.
  • Award: $8,000 Summer / Up to $10,000 Semester / Up to $20,000 Year. A 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

  • UC San Diego nomination or endorsement? Yes
  • Faculty Advisor: Kim Burton
  • Agency deadline: Application materials available in August.
    • Spring - early October by 11:59 PM Central Time.
    • Summer - early October by 11:59 PM Central Time for early application, March 5, 2019 for regular application
    • Fall/Academic Year - early March by 11:59 PM 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)

  • UC San Diego nomination or endorsement? Yes
  • Faculty advisor: Dr. David Artis (Email his assistant for an appointment).
  • UC San Diego deadline: September 16, 2019.
  • Agency deadline: September 30, 2019, 5 PM PDT (your time zone). Application materials expected to be available in late Spring.
  • Award: Tuition and living/travel expenses at a British university
  • Number of awards: up to 50 (most of these are two-year awards); 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. Candidates are invited to indicate two preferred universities, although the Marshall Commission reserves the right to decide on final placement.
  • 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 UC San Diego faculty advisor's help
  • Details: See website.

Critical Language Scholarship Program

  • UC San Diego nomination or endorsement? No
  • Faculty Advisor: Kim Burton
  • Agency deadline: mid-November. Applications open in September.
  • Award: Fully funded participation in an 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 UC San Diego faculty advisor's help
  • Details: See website.

Fulbright Grant

  • UC San Diego nomination or endorsement? Yes
  • Institutional advisor: Michelle Monroy, Graduate Fellowship Advisor
  • UC San Diego deadline: early September. Application materials are available in early May.
  • Agency deadline: October 8, 2019, by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time
  • Award: Tuition, travel expenses, books, and more in a foreign country. Students must show a desire to promote mutual understanding among nations
  • Requirements include:
    • U.S. citizen
    • B.A. or B.S. at time of the award
    • Academic excellence
    • Desire to promote mutual understanding among nations
    • Language proficiency in the 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)

  • UC San Diego 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 - early-October (if you normally live in the US); Round 2 - Early December (if you normally live outside the US)
  • Award: Full cost of studying at Cambridge, maintenance cost of £17,500 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: 90-110 (~40% from US each year)
  • 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)

  • UC San Diego nomination or endorsement? Yes (required)
  • Institutional advisor: Dr. David Artis (Email his assistant for an appointment).
  • UC San Diego deadline: September 13, 2019
  • Agency deadline: September 27, 2019, 5 PM EST
  • Award: Tuition, housing, and additional stipend, travel to Ireland for a one-year post-graduate study program. 
  • 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. Applicants can select up to 3 ranked universities when applying and the committee will decide on final placement. 
  • Requirements include:
    • US Citizenship 
    • Graduating senior or recent graduate
    • 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 an undergraduate at the time of application, an institutional letter of endorsement is required. 
    • If selected, must participate in a recorded video interview.
  • Details: See the website.

Rhodes Scholarship (Oxford University, UK)

  • UC San Diego nomination or endorsement? Yes
  • Institutional advisor: Dr. Ross Frank
  • UC San Diego deadline: early September
  • Agency deadline: 11:59 PM EDT on the first Wednesday of October
  • 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 scholastic 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, permanent resident for at least 5 years, or U.S. resident with DACA status. 
    • 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 UC San Diego faculty advisor's help
  • Details: See the website.

Robert Bosch Foundation Scholarship (Germany)

  • UC San Diego 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)

  • UC San Diego nomination or endorsement? No, however an institutional letter of recommendation from the campus representative is strongly suggested if applying as a currently enrolled student.
  • Campus representative: Dr. David Artis in Academic Enrichment Programs (Email his assistant for an appointment)
  • Institutional deadline: September 12, 2019
  • Agency deadlines: September 26, 2019, 11:59 PM Eastern Time; May 31, 2019 (for China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan applicants)
  • 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, health insurance, and a $4,000 personal stipend.
  • Number of awards: up to 200, with 40% coming from the United States. 
  • Requirements include:
    • Undergraduate Degree or completion of degree before August 1, 2020 (applicants from all majors welcome)
    • English Language Proficiency
    • Must be at least 18 but not yet 29 as of August 1, 2020
    • Three letters of recommendation. At least one letter must come from someone that is able to comment on leadership qualities based on direct knowledge.
    • Note: no citizenship or nationality requirements since awardees are chosen from all over the world. 
  • Details: See the website.

Winston Churchill Scholarship (University of Cambridge, UK)

  • UC San Diego nomination or endorsement? Yes
  • Institutional advisor: Weg Ongkeko
  • UC San Diego deadline: late September
  • Agency deadline: October 31, 2019, 5pm Eastern Time
  • Award: Approximately $50,000 – $60,000 for a year of Master’s study in engineering, mathematics, and the sciences at the University of Cambridge, based at Churchill College. The stipend includes University and College fees, travel and visa expenses, a living allowance of £11,000 - £14,700 (depending on the length of the program), and the possibility of a $2,000 special research grant
  • Number of awards: at least 15, maximum of 2 nominees per institution each year
  • Requirements include:
    • US citizen, either native born or naturalized
    • Graduating senior or student who graduated within the past 12 months before applying
    • 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 UC San Diego advisor's help
  • Details: See the website.

Graduate and Professional School

Beinecke Scholarship

  • UC San Diego nomination or endorsement? Yes (required)
  • Institutional advisor: Dr. David Artis (Email his assistant for an appointment).
  • UC San Diego deadline: January 31, 2020
  • Agency deadline: Second Wednesday in February 
  • Award: Up to $34,000. The student must have plans for a research-focused master's or doctoral degree in the arts, humanities, or social sciences (graduate study in neuroscience does not qualify)
  • Number of awards: up to 20
  • Requirements include:
    • US citizen or US National from American Samoa or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
    • Graduating with a bachelor's degree between December 2020 and August 2021 ("junior" standing or non-graduating senior)
    • Financial need as verified by UC San Diego's Financial Aid Office
    • 3.6 GPA
    • Plans for an advanced degree in the arts, humanities, or social sciences (graduate study in neuroscience does not qualify)
  • Apply: With the UC San Diego advisor's help. You can find the application here.
  • Details: See the website.

British Marshall Scholarship

see above in International Experiences


 

Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowships

  • UC San Diego nomination or endorsement? No
  • Contact: Michelle Monroy, Graduate Fellowship Advisor
  • Agency deadline: Applications open in early September. The Predoctoral application deadline is December 17, 2019, at 5:00 PM EST. The Dissertation and Postdoctoral application deadline is December 10, 2019, at 5:00 PM EST. Supplementary Materials receipt deadline is January 7, 2020, at 5:00 PM EST. See the website.
  • Award: $24,000 stipend/year for 3 years, plus travel to attend one Ford conference
  • Number of awards: 70
  • Requirements:
    • Citizen, national, or permanent resident of the US; or granted DACA status
    • Enrolled or planning to enroll in research-based Ph.D. or Sc.D. program in the US
    • At least 3 more years to complete a 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

  • UC San Diego nomination or endorsement? No
  • Agency deadline: late-October (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.

Knight-Hennessey Scholars at Stanford University

  • UC San Diego nomination or endorsement? Not required, but recommended.
  • Institutional Advisor/Endorser: Dr. David Artis (Email his assistant for an appointment).
  • UC San Diego deadline: September 25, 2019. 
  • Agency deadline: October 9, 2019, 1 PM Pacific Time
  • Award: Financial support for full cost of attendance at Stanford for any full-time graduate or professional program (including dual-degree programs). Possibly additional financial support for special situations.
  • Number of awards: up to 90
  • Requirements include:
    • All citizens of the world are welcome to apply. About 1/3 of the cohort will be from the US, 
    • Graduating college senior or recent grad (within 5 years of BA/BS award).
    • MUST apply to Stanford graduate department/professional school independently of the Knight-Hennessey award and be chosen for both in order to receive the award.
    • Any standardized test scores your graduate/professional program requires for admission.
    • Video supplement (up to 2 minutes), production value not a factor in application.
    • Seeking promising future leaders from all disciplines and geographies.
    • Major considerations: independence of thought, purposeful leadership, civic mindset
  • Apply: online
  • Details: See the website.

NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program

  • UC San Diego 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 UC San Diego faculty advisor's help
  • Details: See the website.

Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans

  • UC San Diego nomination or endorsement? No
  • Agency deadline: November 1, 11:59 pm EST. See the website.
  • Award: Up to $25,000 maintenance fee (not to exceed $40,000) and $20,000 in graduate tuition for one to two years -- a total of as much as $90,000
  • Number of awards: 30
  • Requirements include:
    • A 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

  • UC San Diego nomination or endorsement? Yes
  • Institutional advisor: Dr. Ross Frank
  • UC San Diego Deadline: early January
  • Deadlines: February 5, 2019. 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 UC San Diego institutional advisor's help
  • Details: See the website.

Winston Churchill Scholarship

see above in International Experiences

Public Service

Donald Strauss Scholarship

  • UC San Diego nomination or endorsement? Yes
  • Institutional advisor: Dr. David Artis (Email his assistant for an appointment).
  • UC San Diego deadline: February 15, 2019 by 4:30 pm Pacific Time
  • Agency deadline: Usually early March; please check Donald Strauss website
  • Award: $15,000 for public service project & tuition, fees, books, room & board.
  • Number of awards: 10-15, up to 3 nominees from each university
  • Requirements include:
    • Two letters of recommendation
    • Apply the year before you plan to matriculate
    • Future career, or volunteer, in public service
    • Submit community service project to be completed before April of the following year
  • Apply: With the UC San Diego institutional advisor's help. You can find the application here.
  • Details: See the website.

George Mitchell Scholarship

see above in International Experiences


James Madison Scholarship

  • UC San Diego 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

  • UC San Diego nomination or endorsement? Yes
  • Institutional advisor: Dr. David Artis (Email his assistant for an appointment).
  • UC San Diego deadline: January 16, 2019
  • Agency deadline (online nomination): last Friday in January, 5:00 PM Central Time. See the website.
  • Award: up to $7,500 first prize. Engineering, natural sciences, or mathematics major.
  • Number of awards: ~200 (up to 4 nominees from each university)
  • Requirements include:
    • Sophomore or junior, 3.85 GPA
    • Intend to pursue a research career in natural sciences, mathematics or engineering (as defined by the National Science Foundation)
    • US citizen, US national, or permanent resident with intent to become a US citizen 
    • Three Faculty/PI recommendation letters
  • Apply: With the UC San Diego faculty advisor's help
  • Details: See the website.

Hertz Foundation Scholarship

see above in Graduate & Professional School


James Madison Scholarship

see above in Public Service


NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program

see above in Graduate & Professional School


Udall Scholarship

  • UC San Diego nomination or endorsement? Yes
  • Institutional advisor: Dr. Ross Frank
  • UC San Diego Deadline: early February
  • Deadlines: early March at 11:59 PM MST See Udall Scholarship website
  • Award: $7,000 to 50 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: 100
  • 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 UC San Diego faculty advisor's help
  • Details: See the website.

Winston Churchill Scholarship

see above in International Experiences

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