Schwarzman Scholars

About Schwarzman Scholars
Application Components
Application Process & Timelines
Applicant Resources
Schwarzman in the News & USC Recipients

Due to the changes in the application requirements, AHF is currently revising the campus advising process for Schwarzman. Updates will be posted during summer 2018.

About Schwarzman Scholars

Per the Schwarzman Scholars website: Schwarzman Scholars, inspired by the Rhodes Scholarship, is a program designed to help future leaders meet the challenges of the 21st century and beyond by preparing them to better understand China’s culture, economy, governance and evolving role in the world. Up to 200 Scholars chosen annually from around the world for this highly selective, fully-funded program will have an unrivaled opportunity to live in Beijing for a year of study and cultural immersion, attending lectures, traveling and developing first-hand exposure to China, its people and a global group of promising leaders. Scholars will study for a one-year Masters degree in public policy; international studies; or economics and business at Tsinghua University, one of China’s most prestigious institutes of higher education with a 100 year history of strengthening ties between China and the rest of the world and a record of producing leaders such as President Xi Jinping, former President Hu Jintao, and former Premier Zhu Rongji.

For more information, visit the Schwarzman Scholars website.

Information for the 2018 USC campus process and all application requirements will be available in late May. 


Per the Schwarzman website, the eligibility requirements are:

  • Undergraduate degree or first degree from an accredited college or university or its equivalent. All fields are welcome.
  • Meet age requirement (between 18 and 29 years of age as of August 1st, 2018).
  • English language proficiency as all teaching and instruction is in English.
  • Applicants are expected to have demonstrated excellence in their academic studies, and the most competitive candidates will be among the top students in their graduating class. There are no course prerequisites for applicants to the program, although some individual classes at Tsinghua University may have prerequisites.  **Average recipient GPA: 3.8

Qualities That Make a Strong Applicant

Per the Schwarzman Scholarship website: A Schwarzman Scholar should demonstrate extraordinary leadership potential, the ability to anticipate trends, strong intellectual capacity and exemplary character.

  • Leadership: the ability to conceptualize, articulate and implement new approaches to existing conditions, with determination, energy and adaptability to drive change despite obstacles. A leader must have the ability to inspire others to help make change happen. Leadership can be demonstrated through many contexts and fields, political, social, business, the arts, and beyond.
  • Intellect: achievements demonstrated through outstanding performance in academic endeavors.
  • Character: personal values and integrity that inspire trust among others.

Specifically, strong applicants demonstrate the following:

  • Evidence of leadership as a process not just positional
  • A linkage to the Schwarzman vision
  • Problem solving and steps taken toward a solution/being a change agent
  • Academic agility (multiple academic programs)
  • High level thinking
  • Ability to anticipate and act on emerging trends and opportunities
  • A desire to understand other cultures, perspectives and positions
  • Potential to  benefit from and contribute to the Schwarzman Scholars program and network of Schwarzman Scholars alumni
  • A curiosity about China and an adventurous side

Additionally, compelling applicants can clearly answer the following:

  • What do you study now? How do your studies connect to a concentration offered by Schwarzman Scholars? How does this all connect to a clear career trajectory?
  • What is your version of leadership?  (Can range from the lead of a six-member research team to the President of a large organization)
  • Why China? Why is China important as a gateway for your career?
  • Why should you be exposed to a global network with a deep connection to China?
  • Why do you want to pursue a Masters degree in China?
  • What is Tsinghua University’s leadership in your chosen field?
  • How will understanding China help you meet your goals in the 21st century?
  • How do you plan to address a problem that is bigger than yourself? Why is China key to understanding this problem? How can you see yourself making a global impact?
  • If you already have extensive experience in China, how will being a Schwarzman Scholar fill a gap for you?

Application Components

  • Complete and submitted online application form
  • Transcripts/academic records: from every degree-granting institution attended (combined PDFs); all non-English transcripts translated
  • Three electronic letters of recommendation: Referees should know you well and be able to speak to your intellectual abilities, personal characteristics and/or leadership potential. Can choose a combination of professors, supervisors, mentors or advisors.
  • Video: Up to one minute in length; self-introduction in any style or setting that best conveys your interests and personality (file less than 20MB to upload).
  • Current Resume/CV: Appropriate for any job application in your home country; no longer than 2 pages.
  • Essay one: Statement of Purpose and Leadership (750 words) – describe your professional interests and goals, how Schwarzman and a deeper knowledge of China’s role in the world will help you advance those goals; provide examples of demonstrated leadership taking initiative, working well with a team, and overcoming obstacles to achieve your goals.
  • Essay two: Current Affairs Essay (up to 500 words)

Letters of Recommendation

Currently Enrolled Undergraduates

  • 2 letters from professors who have taught you in the classroom and can speak to your academic abilities
  • 1 letter addressing your leadership abilities (this can be from an employer, supervisor, mentor, faculty member, or other)

Graduate Students or Alumni

  • At least 1 academic letter from a professor who can speak to your academic abilities
  • 1 letter of recommendation addressing your leadership abilities
  • For the final two, you should choose from the following options that will best represent your current profile: an employer or mentor, additional academic letters, an assessment letter from a university level office (see above), or some combination of the above options.

Chinese Nationals

  • At least 1 academic letter from a professor who can speak to your academic abilities
  • 1 letter of recommendation addressing your leadership abilities
  • For the last letter, the applicant should choose from the following, focusing on letters that will best reflect their current profile as an applicant: a letter from an employer or mentor commenting on leadership abilities; a second academic letter from a professor; or an institutional letter from a fellowship office.


Application Process and Competition Timelines

China Application System

  • Applicants who hold passports from mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macao must apply via the China application system
  • Online application opens in January 2018 and closes on May 31, 2018
  • Interviews: July 2018 in Beijing
  • Admissions Decisions will be made before October 2018

The application for Chinese candidates can be accessed on the Tsinghua University Schwarzman Scholars webpage.

United States/Global Application System

  • Applicants from all other countries and regions must apply using the global application system
  • Online application opens on April 16, 2018 and closes on September 27, 2018 at 11:59pm Eastern Daylight Time
  • Interviews will take place in three locations around the world
  • Admissions Decisions will be made by mid-November 2018

Review the Schwarzman Application page for Instructions for Applicants.

Applicant Resources

Schwarzman Scholars Webinars

Webinar offerings for the 2018 application cycle are To Be Announced.

In the News

USC’s Edwin Saucedo named a 2019 Schwarzman Scholar, will study in Beijing (December 4, 2017)

USC Dornsife student and alumnus named 2018 Schwarzman Scholars (December 1, 2016)

Scholar without borders bridges three continents to improve health care  (May 4, 2017)

USC Schwarzman Recipients

  • 2017: Jack Huebner and Matthew Prusak
  • 2018: Edwin Saucedo

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