About Knight-Hennessy
Eligibility Requirements
Evaluation Criteria
Campus Endorsement
Application Timeline

Upcoming Info Session 

Attend an on-campus presentation and meet the program’s dean of admission.
Session will cover information about Stanford University, the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program, and the admission process.
Seating is limited. Register today!

Monday, April 9, 2018
Grace Ford Salvatori Hall (GFS) 101

Choose a session below to access the registration form:
Session 1 | 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM 
Session 2 | 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Questions? Email

About Knight-Hennessy

Per the Knight-Hennessy Scholars website: The Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program is designed to build a multidisciplinary community of Stanford graduate students dedicated to finding creative solutions to the world’s greatest challenges. Each year the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program will identify a group of 100 high-achieving students from around the world with demonstrated leadership and civic commitment to receive full funding to pursue a wide-ranging graduate education at Stanford, with the goal of developing a new generation of global leaders. The Knight-Hennessy Scholars is the largest fully endowed scholars program in the world.

For additional information, visit the Knight-Hennessy website here.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Open to citizens of all countries.
  • You are applying to enroll in a full-time graduate degree program at Stanford (e.g., JD, MA, MBA, MD, MS, or PhD) or plan on pursuing one of Stanford’s many joint- and dual- graduate degree options (e.g., MD+PhD, JD+MA, MBA+MS).
  • You have received your first Bachelor’s degree in 2014 or later; You plan to enroll in a Stanford graduate program in 2019 or later.
  • You are eligible for the Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program as long as you meet the requirements of the Stanford graduate program(s) that you wish to pursue. You must complete the entire application process for your department – including any standardized test that your discipline requires (GMAT, GRE, LSAT, MCAT, etc.) and, if needed, an English proficiency test.

More eligibility information can be found here.

Evaluation Criteria

To be selected as a Knight-Hennessy Scholar, you must apply separately to the Stanford graduate degree program you wish to pursue in addition to the Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program. We can’t select you as a Knight-Hennessy Scholar if the department doesn’t admit you (though the department may admit you even if you’re not selected as a Knight-Hennessy Scholar).

Knight-Hennessy Scholars primarily looks at three areas:

1. Independence of Thought

  • First-step mental sharpness
  • Seeks out knowledge and new experiences
  • Full of original ideas
  • Makes sense of ambiguous situations
  • Can hold a contrarian or dissenting point of view

2. Purposeful Leadership

  • Ambitious, in the best sense of the word
  • Driven to improve self
  • Willing to take risks
  • Self-aware
  • Persists and bounces back from adversity

3. Civic Mindset

  • Personally humble and kind
  • Inclusive
  • Respects differences
  • Concerned for and helpful to others
  • Low ego

Where the selection committee find evidence of these criteria is throughout your application materials and, if you are selected as a finalist, at Immersion Weekend.

Campus Endorsement

Due to the highly competitive nature of the Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program and the anticipated high volume of applicants, the AHF office will only be able to support a limited number of candidates through the internal campus endorsement process. Endorsed candidates will receive an institutional assessment from the AHF office as one of the required letters of recommendation for the Knight-Hennessy application.

Current undergraduate students are eligible for the campus endorsement process.

To be competitive for campus endorsement, you must submit the following materials through the Campus Endorsement Application:

  1. Two (2) strong, in-depth letter of recommendations. Letters are requested through the USC Campus Endorsement application portal. 
    • The first letter should be from a faculty mentor who can speak to your academic capabilities and addresses your competitiveness and readiness for your proposed graduate program at Stanford. This can be the exact same letter you intend to include in your graduate school application. We are asking for a faculty letter because our office does not review your official graduate school application, so this helps to assess your candidacy for the graduate program itself.
    • The second letter should be from a supervisor, mentor, or faculty that speaks to your character and leadership as it aligns with the Knight-Hennessy values This recommendation letter is required specifically by the Knight-Hennessy application, on top of the institutional assessment letter that our office will provide should you be considered as an endorsed candidate.
  2. Demonstrated eligibility for proposed program(s) of graduate study (including GPA & test scores)
  3. Two personal essays and video submission, as required by the Knight-Hennessy application.

Click here to access the USC Knight-Hennessy Campus Endorsement Application. 

To be considered for endorsement, applicants must meet the campus deadlines below. Please note that meeting campus deadlines does not guarantee a USC endorsement. Non-endorsed candidates are still eligible to apply directly through the Knight-Hennessy website but will need to secure another letter of recommendation outside of AHF to serve as the institutional assessment (e.g. departmental head, faculty mentor).

Application Timeline

(USC-specific campus endorsement deadlines are highlighted in red) 

May 1, 2018: Knight-Hennessy Scholars application opens. Your department application likely will not be available at that point, unless you’re considering the MD Program.

May 4, 2018: USC Campus Endorsement Application opens.

Summer 2018:  The Stanford MBA Program and MD Program applications are open. No other graduate degree program applications will open until September.

July 13, 2018: Deadline to submit Campus Endorsement Application.

July 27, 2018: Endorsed candidates are announced and provided a feedback session with AHF staff.

September 12, 2018: Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program application due. All Stanford department applications will open by this point, as well.

November 1, 2018: Deadline to apply to your Stanford home graduate program.  Graduate application deadlines vary, but to be considered for the Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program, you will need to have all application materials complete by this date.  MD and MBA programs will likely have an earlier deadline. Please check with your home graduate department for more information.

December 2018: Approximately 150 finalists will be selected and invited to attend Immersion Weekend.

January 11-12, 2019: Finalists attend Immersion Weekend to learn more about their department and about Stanford.

February 2019: Knight-Hennessy will select and notify the second class of Scholars. Departments will also notify applicants selected as Knight-Hennessy Scholars of admission to the departments.

Summer 2019: Second cohort orientation.

Autumn 2019: Begin at Stanford in home graduate program.

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