Beinecke Scholarship


About the Beinecke Scholarship
Basic Eligibility & Selection Criteria
Campus Endorsement Process
Application Components
Application Timeline
USC Recipients
AHF Advising


University Endorsement Required

About the Beinecke Scholarship

The Beinecke Scholarship was created to encourage and enable highly motivated students to pursue opportunities available to them and to be courageous in the selection of a graduate course of study in the arts, humanities and social sciences (Ph.D. or terminal degree such as MFA) at any accredited university.  Each scholar receives $4,000 immediately prior to entering graduate school and an additional $30,000 while attending graduate school.  There are no geographic restrictions on the use of the scholarship, and recipients are allowed to supplement the award with other scholarships, assistantships and research grants.  All of the funding must be utilized within five years of completion of undergraduate studies.  In the absence of institutional support or limits, scholars may receive a maximum award of $15,000 per year.

Learn more about the Beinecke Scholarship

Basic Eligibility

Candidates must:

  • have demonstrated superior standards of intellectual ability, scholastic achievement, and personal promise during their undergraduate career. An overall GPA of 3.8 or higher is strongly recommended; must demonstrate strong academic performance in courses within intended graduate field of study.
  • be a college junior pursuing a bachelor’s degree during the 2020-2021 academic year. “Junior” means a student who plans to continue full-time undergraduate study and who expects to receive a baccalaureate degree between December 2021 and August 2022.
  • plan to enter a research- or creative-focused master’s or doctoral program in the arts, humanities or social sciences (PhD or terminal master’s like an MFA preferred). Students in the social sciences who plan to pursue graduate study in neuroscience should not apply; nor should students applying for professional degrees that emphasize skills and practical analysis such as business, law, public health, public policy, and social work.
  • be a U.S. citizen or a U.S. national from American Samoa or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
  • have a documented history of receiving need-based financial aid during their undergraduate years. Primary evidence of meeting this criterion is a student’s history of receiving need-based institutional, state, or federal grands-in-aid. The nominated student will be required to complete and submit a Financial Aid Data Sheet outlining how the student meets this criterion. During the selection process, the amount of financial need will be one of the factors considered with preference being given to candidates for whom the awarding of a scholarship would significantly increase the likelihood of the student’s being able to attend graduate school.

Selection Criteria

  • Graduate Program & Goals: Strong applicants will be “highly motivated students” and “courageous in the selection of a graduate course of study in the arts, humanities and social sciences”. Beinecke emphasizes terminal degrees and pursuit of a research-based career following graduate school.
  • Financial Aid: Applicants not currently receiving need-based financial aid due to receipt of a merit award or tuition exchange should complete the Financial Data Sheet using FAFSA information for the current academic year to estimate how much need-based aid the student would receive if not receiving non-need based support. Applicants who did not submit FAFSA prior to applying should notify our office as soon as possible.
  • Professional Schools: The selection committee does not respond favorably to nominees planning to attend law school, business school or other professional school programs such as education, architecture, journalism, public health or occupational therapy that emphasize skills and practical analysis over theory and research. Joint degrees may be permissible depending on reasoning for both degrees to contribute to research-based career.
  • Transfer Students: While not precluded from applying, transfer students should receive strong letters of recommendation in their chosen field from faculty at the nominating institution (USC) who can vouch for their ability to succeed at the graduate level after demonstrated excellence in USC coursework, research, etc.

Campus Nomination Process

Campus nomination is a competitive process and not guaranteed. USC may nominate one (1) current junior per application cycle. Beinecke Scholar candidates are required to be nominated by their university and cannot submit directly to the foundation. For more information, review the Nomination Material Instructions in Beinecke Scholarship 2020-2021 Announcement.

USC Campus Endorsement application will open September 1, 2020. 

Application Components

You must receive campus nomination from the University before beginning the national Beinecke Scholarship application. Campus application requirements are modified from the final application to fit the campus review process. Final application materials are detailed on the Beinecke website.

The application for USC nomination includes the following components:

  1. Complete Application Form (typed) – available on Beinecke Scholarship website
  2. Current resume or C.V. meeting the standards of your academic field
  3. Short answer responses (Download Fillable Form: Beinecke Application Short Answer Questions)
    • Why do you believe the study of arts, humanities, and/or social sciences is important?
    • What are your plans for graduate study? Include specific degree programs/institutions of interest and why you have identified those as the best fit.
    • What is your intended research question or focus for graduate school? What current research or other experiences will prepare you to pursue this inquiry? Beyond your own curiosities, what are the broader impacts or merit of your research (or creative work) in your academic field?
    • What are your short- and long-term career plans?
  4. Three equally-strong USC faculty recommenders in your intended field of study assessing your intellectual curiosity, character, and potential for advanced graduate study. DO NOT request formal letters for the nomination application. Only the selected USC nominee will need to submit formal letters on USC letterhead. For the nomination process, provide the following information for each faculty recommender (applicants should contact each faculty recommender to confirm the following information):
    • Name and email address for each recommender
    • Brief summary of relationship with recommender
    • Brief description of what strengths or experiences the recommender will highlight
  5. PDF version of OASIS Course Summary and any unofficial transcripts from other institutions attended (if applicable). USC nominee will be asked to submit official transcripts.
  6. Financial Data Sheet available on Beinecke Scholarship website. Use current FAFSA information to complete the information to best of your ability. For nomination, do not include your social security number. Do not send directly to Beinecke at this time.
  7. Candidates pursuing an MFA degree must submit an artist’s supplement of up to five pages of original work.

USC Campus Nomination Application

Application Timeline

USC Campus Endorsement Application

  • September 1, 2020: USC Campus Nomination application opens
  • October 19, 2020: Campus Nomination application deadline
  • November 9-13, 2020: Competitive applicants may be invited to interview
  • November 20, 2020: Nomination decision announced

Beinecke Scholarship National Application

  • December 2020 – February 2021: Nominated candidate works with AHF staff and faculty mentors to develop and finalize application.
  • February 10, 2021: Beinecke Scholarship national deadline (AHF submits on behalf of nominee)
  • May 1: Beinecke Scholarship deadline to announce recipients

USC Recipients

Caitlin L. Goddard – 1999
Undergraduate School: University of Southern California
Major: English
Graduate School: New York University Graduate
Field: English and American Literature

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