About Knight-Hennessy Scholars
Basic Eligibility & Selection Criteria
Campus Advisement Process
Application Components
Application Timeline
Applicant Resources
AHF Advising


Direct-Apply Opportunity

About Knight-Hennessy Scholars

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 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.

Basic Eligibility

Applicants must:

  • apply 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).
  • have received their first Bachelor’s degree in 2014 or later
  • plan to enroll in a Stanford graduate program in 2021 or later.
  • meet the requirements of the Stanford graduate program(s) that they wish to pursue. Applicants must complete the entire application process for the graduate department – including any standardized test that the discipline requires (GMAT, GRE, LSAT, MCAT, etc.) and, if needed, an English proficiency test.

Learn more about eligibility 

Selection Criteria

Knight-Hennessy Scholars are evaluated on three main areas: 1) Independence of Thought, 2) Purposeful Leadership and 3) Civic Mindset.

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. You cannot be selected 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).

Learn more about selection criteria

Campus Advisement Process

Academic Honors and Fellowships is committed to helping motivated applicants (including current USC undergraduates and recent alumni) and will offer application feedback throughout June and July.

To schedule an appointment, you must prepare drafts of all application materials for AHF staff to review. Your drafts do not have to be perfect, but it is expected that you present complete materials. Please note that AHF staff need at least one week to review your materials before meeting.

Once your drafts are ready, complete the Knight-Hennessy Summer Advising Request Form to schedule your feedback session.

Application Components

You can apply directly through the Knight-Hennessy website. The application includes the following components:

  • Background information
  • One page résumé 
  • Transcript(s) (can be unofficial or self-reported) 
  • Recommendation letters (2) (see Advice for Recommenders)
  • Short-answer responses (4)
    • 1) After graduating from Stanford, what are your immediate and long-term intentions? (150 word limit)
    • 2) How will your Knight-Hennessy Scholars experience prepare you to realize your intentions? (150 word limit)
    • 3) Please tell us eight improbable facts (things that are unlikely but true) about you. (150 word limit)
    • 4) Please tell us when you: a) made someone proud of you, b) were most challenged, and c) did not meet expectations. (150 word limit combined)
  • Essay (600 words maximum)
    • 1) Connect the dots. How have the influences in your life shaped you?
  • Video supplement (after submitting application only)
    • 1) Teach something to your cohort of fellow Knight-Hennessy Scholars.

Learn more about application components

Application Timeline

  • May 2020: Knight-Hennessy Scholars application opens. Your graduate program application likely will not be available in the summer, unless you are considering the MBA or MD programs.
  • June – July, 2020: USC campus advisement process. Complete the summer advising request form for application feedback.
  • October 14, 2020 (1:00 PM PST): Knight-Hennessy Scholars application deadline
  • September – November, 2020:  Most graduate degree program applications open. Application deadlines vary. Check your graduate program for more information.
  • January 2021: Knight-Hennessy Finalist decisions announced.
  • February 2021: Finalists attend Immersion Weekend.
  • Spring 2021: Knight-Hennessy Scholars selected.

Learn more about application timeline

Applicant Resources


AHF Advising

Open Advising: May – August
Request an Individual Summer Draft Review

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