About the Marshall Scholarship
Per the Marshall Scholarship website: Founded by a 1953 Act of Parliament, and named in honor of US Secretary of State George C. Marshall, the Scholarships commemorate the humane ideals of the Marshall Plan and they express the continuing gratitude of the British people to their American counterparts.
As future leaders, with a lasting understanding of British society, Marshall Scholars will strengthen the enduring relationship between the British and American peoples, their governments and their institutions.
Marshall Scholars are talented, independent and wide-ranging, and their time as Scholars will enhance their intellectual and personal growth. Their direct engagement with Britain though its best academic programs will contribute to their ultimate personal success.
The objectives of the Marshall Scholarships are:
- To enable intellectually distinguished young Americans, their country’s future leaders, to study in the UK.
- To help scholars gain an understanding and appreciation of contemporary Britain.
- To contribute to the advancement of knowledge in science, technology, the humanities and social sciences and the creative arts at Britain’s centers of academic excellence.
- To motivate scholars to act as ambassadors from America to the UK and vice versa throughout their lives thus strengthening British American understanding.
- To promote the personal and academic fulfillment of each scholar.
Marshall Scholars support the aims of General Marshall when, in 1947, he proposed the idea of American economic assistance for post-war Europe. He said, “An essential part of any successful action on the part of the United States is an understanding on the part of the American people of the character of the problem and the remedies to be applied. Political passion and prejudice should have no part. With foresight and the willingness on the part of our people to face up to the vast responsibilities which history has clearly placed upon our country, the difficulties…can and will be overcome”. Successive British Prime ministers have endorsed these ideals.
Scholarship Details and Eligibility
The selection criteria are divided into three equally weighted categories:
A PDF of these criteria can be found here.
Marshall Scholarships are available for graduate study in most universities in the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland). Up to forty Marshall Scholarships will be awarded annually. Traditional scholarships fund two years of study. Eight of the awards will be for one year only. One year applicants must have a clear post-scholarship plan that demonstrates why spending only one year in the UK would be beneficial to the candidate. Desired qualities are demonstrated social concern and evidence that a candidate will be a leader both within his or her profession and within the broader community.
At the time of application, an applicant must:
- be a U.S. Citizen
- be a rising senior or have graduated no more than two years before applying
- have a minimum G.P.A. of 3.70 (though the average recipient GPA is above 3.90)
- receive USC endorsement
Campus Endorsement Process
Competitive applicants seeking USC Endorsement will:
- Research the Marshall Scholarship website and thoroughly review the Frequently Asked Questions.
- Review the Rules for Candidates which provides guidance for the application process, including general regulations, conditions of eligibility, the basis of selection, the method of selection, and the courses that are open to Marshall Scholars.
- Review the Candidate Evaluation Criteria which discusses the three-category selection criteria: academic merit, leadership potential, and ambassadorial potential.
- Review the Marshall Scholarship Application Criteria The application is quite extensive and requires composition of five personal statements.
- Research graduate programs in the UK and identify faculty in relevant research areas of interest. A useful tool is the UK Research Excellence Framework, a system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The website offers a searchable online database and an initial analysis of REF impact case studies are available.
- Utilize the UK Scholarships Timeline to develop a strong application over several months.
- Request letters of recommendation from your referees.
- Meet with an Academic Honors and Fellowships advisor to discuss the application process and interest in applying.
- Prepare application materials including responses to the following statement prompts:
- Personal Statement: In no more than 1000 words, describe your academic and other interests and pursuits
- Proposed Academic Program: In no more than 500 words describe your proposed academic program, the reasons for your choice of course and preferred university. If you plan to pursue a research degree, briefly outline a proposal for the research you hope to undertake.
- Post Scholarship Plan: In 250 words or less, describe your immediate plans upon completion of your Marshall Scholarship and how the Scholarship will enhance these plans.
- Leadership: In 500 words or less, describe a situation in which you recognized and responded to a need for leadership.
- Ambassadorial Potential: In 500 words or less, describe what the US-UK special relationship means and how you will strengthen ties between the USA and the UK in your field of study and through extra-curricular activities while in the UK and when you eventually return to the US.
- Submit a complete Marshall Scholarship Campus Endorsement Application, including four letters of recommendation, by Monday April 3, 2017 at 5pm. All applications will be reviewed; however, only competitive applicants will be invited to a campus endorsement interview.
Letters of Reference
The Marshall Scholarship application gives the following information to candidates about letters of recommendation:
You should state the names of four persons who can supplement the required Letter of Endorsement by providing further details as to your qualifications. The first of these should be designated the Preferred Recommender and this recommender should have supervised your college or university training. At least two recommendations must be provided by academics. At least three of these recommenders should be in the United States.
Referees should use the letter of recommendation to comment on the candidate’s general fitness for the course proposed and the suitability of the university chosen as well as considering how they meet the Commission’s criteria of Academic Merit, Leadership and Ambassadorial Potential. Confidential observations on the candidate’s general character as well as academic standing and ability will be of great value to the selection authorities in their task of deciding which candidates should be summoned to the Regional Centre for interview.
In appointing Scholars the Selectors will look for candidates who have the potential to excel as scholars, as leaders and as contributors to improved UK-US understanding. Assessment will be based on academic merit, leadership potential and ambassadorial potential. We ask that you consider our criteria when completing your letter.
The Selectors will also look for adequate preparation for the proposed course of study, particularly in the upper-level course work and real strength in the major field. Preference will be given to candidates who combine high academic ability with the capacity to play an active part in the life of the United Kingdom university to which they go, and to those who display a potential to make a significant contribution to their own society.
Campus Interview Process
After an initial screening, competitive applicants will be invited to interview before a USC faculty panel. Once interviewed, impressive applicants will be supported with University Endorsement. Applicants must receive University Endorsement to apply for the national competition.
Questions asked during the campus interview often reference application materials and asses an applicant’s knowledge of their proposed field(s) of study, proposed graduate program(s) of study, leadership and ambassadorial potential. Other questions may be related to knowledge of topics outside of the application process such as national or global affairs or an applicant’s non-academic interests.
Reading American and British publications such as The Economist or The Guardian is an important step in the application process. Applicants can access a free copy of these publications through USC Libraries.
USC Marshall Scholars
- 1969: Roland L. Trope
- 1991: Andrew L. Oros
- 2000: Jacob M. Chacko
- 2002: Paul D. Miller
- 2004: David M. Chacko and Nilay Vora
- 2007: Colin D. Koproske
- 2013: Alexander Fullman
- 2016: Moriah Mulroe and Anu Ramachandran
Erica Lovano McCann
Director, Academic Honors and Fellowships