About the Churchill Scholarship
The Churchill Scholarship provides funding to American students for a year of Master’s study in science, mathematics, and engineering at the University of Cambridge, based at Churchill College. The Scholarship was set up at the request of Sir Winston Churchill in order to fulfill his vision of US-UK scientific exchange with the goal of advancing science and technology on both sides of the Atlantic, helping to ensure our future prosperity and security.
An applicant for the Churchill Scholarship must be a citizen of the United States, either native born or naturalized, and 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. 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. The Foundation does not require a minimum GPA, but the average GPA of recipients is 3.98.
- 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.
- Outstanding personal qualities. Understanding the time commitment required by research, the Churchill Foundation does not seek so-called “well rounded” applicants; instead, it seeks applicants with what we call interesting “jagged edges.” Nonetheless, it should be noted that successful applicants display a bewildering array of talents and activities outside of academic pursuits, especially in music, athletics, social service, among other activities.
Campus Endorsement Process
Campus endorsement is a competitive process and not guaranteed. Students seeking USC nomination must submit certain all application components by the campus endorsement deadline. USC is a participating institution and may nominate up to two candidates each year for the Churchill Scholarship.
The campus deadline to apply for Marshall, Mitchell and/or Rhodes Scholarship endorsement for the 2020-2021 grant year is April 1, 2019.
Applicants are evaluated by a committee panel of USC faculty. The panel has endorsed students from a wide range of majors, career goals and leadership experiences. While there is no standard portfolio for a successful candidate, there are some general evaluation guidelines that the faculty committee typically follows:
- Performing at the level of an advanced graduate student.
- Letters of recommendation that represent work both inside and outside of USC.
- Substantial research and publication experience. (The committee recognizes that the form publications take can look different across fields.)
You must receive campus endorsement from the university in order to apply for the Churchill Scholarship. Endorsed candidates must apply separately to the University of Cambridge in mid-October (learn more). A complete Churchill Scholarship application includes the following components:
- Biographical & Academic Information
- Future Career Plans (limit 200 words)
- Research/Employment Experience (limit 800 words)
- Scholarships, Prizes, Awards, and Other Distinctions (limit 800 words)
- Non-Academic Interests and Activities (limit 350 words)
- Dissemination – Publications, Oral Presentations, Poster Presentations (no word limits)
- Proposed Program of Study (1 page): Make your own case for the program you are choosing, based upon your previous research and study. This essay is not an opportunity merely to restate the work of the particular laboratory in which you wish to work. It should, instead, describe what you wish to investigate and what you wish to accomplish in the context of that laboratory. Include brief citations in this section only if they are critical for understanding your purpose.
- Personal Statement (2 pages): This Statement can be an intellectual autobiography in which you describe the development of your academic interests, the importance of your research for you, someone whose work inspired you, or some other critical aspect of your work in the sciences, mathematics, or engineering. Please do not repeat information from the Proposed Program of Study. This is a good place for you to describe what you actually did in the course of your independent research, so that the Selection Committee has a good understanding of your research activities to date. While the Personal Statement is primarily about your intellectual passions, you should feel free to discuss other work and activities that provide a fuller picture of who you are and who you want to be.
- Four letters of reference
- A copy of 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.
USC Campus Endorsement Application (same for Marshall, Mitchell and Rhodes Scholarship campus endorsement)
- Early April: Campus Endorsement application deadline
- Mid-April: Campus Endorsement interview for competitive applicants
- Late April: Interviewed candidates are notified of the University’s nomination decision
Churchill Scholarship National Application
- Early May: Churchill Scholarship application opens
- Mid-October: University of Cambridge deadline (The Churchill Scholarship is only tenable at Churchill College, so you must put Churchill College as your first choice on the Cambridge application.)
- October 31, 2019: National deadline for applicants to submit Churchill Scholarship application
- December/January: Phone interviews of shortlisted candidates
Churchill Scholarship website: Interested applicants must complete an extensive review of this websites with special attention to the following pages in advance of submitting their application:
- Applying for the Churchill Scholarship
- Churchill Scholarship Programs of Study
- University of Cambridge Colleges and Departments
- Bios of 2019-2020 Churchill Scholars and Past Churchill Scholars
- DJ Strouse’s Blog – USC Churchill Scholar shares about his year at Cambridge
- USC Recipient Essays Visit STU 300, Monday – Friday between 9 AM – 5 PM, to review a successful USC Churchill Scholar essay. No appointment needed.
Previous Churchill Scholarship Recipient:
2011: Daniel (DJ) Strouse
Majors: Mathematics & Physics
Cambridge Department: Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics
Open Advising: January-March
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