Churchill Scholarship


About the Churchill Scholarship
Eligibility & Criteria
Recommended Timeline
Application Deadlines
Applicant Resources
Previous USC Recipients

About the Churchill Scholarship

The Winston Churchill Foundation of the United States awards up to 15 Churchill Scholarships each year, depending on its funding levels, for either the Master of Philosophy (MPhil) or the Master of Advanced Study (MASt) at the University of Cambridge in science, mathematics, and engineering. The Churchill Scholarship is worth between $50,000 and $60,000, depending on the exchange rate. It covers all University and College fees (currently about $25,000). In addition, Churchill Scholars receive a living allowance, which in 2015-16 is £11,000 if enrolled in a nine-month program, £12,000 if enrolled in a ten- or eleven-month program, and £13,000 if enrolled in a full-year program. They receive an allowance of up to $1,500 for travel to and from the United Kingdom, as well as reimbursement of applications fees for a UK visa and health surcharge (currently over $500).

Desired qualities are outstanding achievement in academic work as indicated by course grades, a capacity for original, creative work as shown by special recognitions or letters of references, and intellectual leadership, character and adaptability.

All applicants must apply separately for admission to the University of Cambridge by mid-October. The Churchill Scholarship is only for study for a Master’s degree. Note that applicants for the Churchill Scholarship must indicate Churchill College as their first choice of college. The Churchill Scholarship is not tenable at any other Cambridge college.

USC is a Participating Institution and may nominate up to two candidates each year for the Churchill Scholarship.

For additional information, visit the Churchill Scholarship website here.


An applicant for the Churchill Scholarship:

  • must be a citizen of the United States, either native born or naturalized
  • must be a senior who is enrolled in one of the institutions participating in the Scholarship Program or a student who has graduated from one of those institutions within the past 12 months (at the time of application)
  • upon taking up the Churchill Scholarship, a Churchill Scholar must hold a bachelor’s degree or an equivalent, and may not have attained a doctorate


  • Outstanding academic achievement, especially in the major, as indicated by course grades and recommendation letters. Churchill Scholarship recipients usually have a GPA of 3.9 or above.
  • Proven talent in research and a capacity to contribute to the advancement of knowledge in the sciences, engineering, or mathematics by pursuing original, creative work at an advanced level as demonstrated by awards, prizes, research, and letters of recommendation. Applicants in the sciences and engineering will demonstrate extensive laboratory experience, internships, or other related work, while applicants in mathematics will show substantial independent work or other projects.  Scholars normally have a number of independent research experiences, such as the NSF REU, at the time of application.
  • Outstanding personal qualities. Successful applicants display talents in activities outside of academic pursuits, especially in music, athletics, and social service.

Recommended Applicant Timeline

Churchill requires that applicants to apply to the University of Cambridge AND complete a separate Churchill Scholarship application.  In order to compete in the Churchill Scholarship national competition, you must be nominated by USC.

March-June (of academic year preceding the application)

  • Learn about the Churchill Scholarship
  • MPhil candidates begin to identify potential research labs at Cambridge
  • Begin thinking about who four recommenders will be
  • Meet with Churchill Campus Representative Katie Capra to discuss eligibility and criteria


  • Identify four recommenders
  • Draft application essays and application content
  • Send application draft to AHF staff for review
  • Confirm mentor and lab (if applicable) at University of Cambridge


  • Prepare online application for University of Cambridge (usually opens in September) and Churchill
  • Gather documents such as official transcripts and email exchange from mentor
  • Apply for admission to the University of Cambridge by October 11, 2017.  (The same deadline as the Gates Cambridge Scholarship.) Note that applicants for the Churchill Scholarship must indicate Churchill College as their first choice of college.
  • Meet campus deadline of October 11, 2017  to be considered for university nomination

Campus Deadline

October 11, 2017 by 9:00am

To be considered for university nomination, email the following documents to by the campus deadline:

  • Copy of online application (including Research/employment experience, Proposed program of study essay and Personal Statement)
  • A copy of any correspondence (email is acceptable) with the laboratory supervisor at Cambridge indicating a willingness to accept you into his or her laboratory, pending a successful application. (Note this is  not necessary for applicants to the MASt in Mathematics or Astrophysics, or for some taught MPhil courses were a supervisor is selected later.)
  • Four academic recommendations from teachers, laboratory directors, and others with whom you have pursued your research and studies and who know your work well.  Letters should be submitted on institutional letterhead. Letters must be in the disciplines related to the application and written by individuals with first-hard experience of the applicant’s work. No more than one or two of these should be from classroom professors. The rest of the letters should be about research experiences.
  • Official transcript(s) from all schools attended.  If you transferred to USC, include official transcript from previous institution.

National Deadline (for nominees only)

November 7, 2017

Resources for Applicants:

Other Tips:

  • The Committee tends to be most impressed by what you have actually done in the lab and in the classroom.
  • Use the Personal Statement to explain what you actually did in the lab environment (or equivalent for mathematicians, etc.). That will give the Committee the information they need to make their evaluations.
  • Remember, this is not an essay contest. This is a highly competitive STEM award. The application should be oriented toward explaining academic and research achievements, and it is appropriate to use the essay for this.

Previous Churchill Scholarship Recipient:

Daniel (DJ) Strouse – 2011-2012
Majors: Mathematics & Physics
Cambridge Department: Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics

First USC Student to Receive Churchill Scholarship

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