Schwarzman Scholars


About Schwarzman Scholars
Basic Eligibility & Selection Criteria
Campus Advisement Process
Application Components
Application Timeline
Applicant Resources
USC Recipients
AHF Advising


Direct-Apply Opportunity

About Schwarzman Scholars

Designed to prepare young leaders to serve as a bridge between China and the rest of the world, Schwarzman Scholars is the first scholarship created to respond to the geopolitical landscape of the 21st Century. Whether in politics, business or science, the success of future leaders around the world will depend upon an understanding of China’s role in global trends. With the inaugural class enrolled in 2016, the program gives the world’s best and brightest students the opportunity to develop their leadership skills and professional networks through a fully-funded one-year Master’s Degree at Tsinghua University in Beijing – one of China’s most prestigious universities.

Watch: Schwarzman Scholars Overview

Basic Eligibility

Applicants must:

  • Have received an undergraduate degree or first degree from an accredited college or university or its equivalent
  • Be at least 18 but not yet 29 years of age as of August 1 of their Schwarzman Scholars enrollment year
  • Demonstrate English language proficiency

Learn more about eligibility

Selection Criteria

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

Specifically, strong applicants demonstrate the following:

  • A linkage to the Schwarzman vision
  • Evidence of leadership as a process not just positional; problem solving and steps taken toward a solution
  • Academic agility (i.e. multiple academic programs) and high level thinking
  • Ability to anticipate and act on emerging trends and opportunities
  • A desire to understand other cultures, perspectives and positions; a curiosity about China, specifically.
  • Potential to benefit from and contribute to the Schwarzman Scholars program and network of Schwarzman Scholars alumni

Additionally, compelling applicants can clearly answer the following:

  • How do your current studies connect to a clear career trajectory?
  • What is your version of leadership? (This can range from leading a six-member research team to being 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? 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?

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 to August.

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. Appointments are scheduled based on first-come, first-serve availability.

Once your drafts are ready, complete the Schwarzman Scholars Summer Advising Request Form to schedule your feedback session.

Application Components

You can start your application directly through the Schwarzman Scholars website. The application includes the following components:

  • Background information
  • Résumé(two page maximum)
  • Transcript(s) or Academic Records
  • Essays (2)
    • 1) Leadership Essay (750 words maximum): Describe at least one distinct example that best illustrated your leadership.
    • 2) Statement of Purpose (500 words maximum): Describe your professional interests and goals and how the program connects with your professional trajectory.
  • Letters of recommendation (3) (Read more in FAQ)
    • Current undergraduates: 2 letters from professors who can speak to your academic abilities, and 1 letter specifically addressing your leadership abilities (this can be from an employer, supervisor, mentor, faculty member, advisor, or other).
    • Graduate students or young professionals: At least 1 academic letter from professor, 1 letter addressing your leadership abilities, and 1 additional letter that will best reflect the applicant’s current profile, either from an additional employer, mentor, or faculty.
  • Video (optional)

View the sample application

Application Timeline

United States / Global Application System
Applicants from United States and most other countries and regions must apply using the global application system.

  • April 2020: Online application opens
  • September 2020: Schwarzman Scholars application deadline (U.S./Global)
  • October 2020: In-person finalist interviews, held in three locations globally
  • November 2020: Admission decisions announced.

China Application System
Applicants who hold passports from mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macao must apply via the China application portal.

  • January 1, 2020: Online application opens
  • May 31, 2020: Schwarzman Scholars application deadline (China)
  • July 2020: In-person finalist interviews in Beijing
  • October 1, 2020: Admission decisions announced.

Learn more about application timeline

Applicant Resources

USC Recipients

In the News

View all Schwarzman Scholars

AHF Advising

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

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