Applying for the Churchill Scholarship

The Winston Churchill Foundation of the United States accepts nominations for the Churchill Scholarship from a limited number of Participating Institutions. If you are interested in applying, you should first contact the scholarship office at your undergraduate institution. Each institution will have an internal application deadline some weeks in advance of the Foundation nomination deadline.The next nomination deadline for the Churchill Scholarship is:

    Monday, November 1, 2021, at 5pm Eastern Time.

Application process

These instructions are for the 16 Churchill Scholarships available in science, mathematics, and engineering. (Applicants for the Kanders Churchill Scholarship simply apply to the Master's in Public Policy at the University of Cambridge by early October, 2021, the same date as the Gates Cambridge deadline, and indicate that you would like to be considered for that award.) Applications for the Churchill Scholarship are reviewed by a Selection Committee comprised of at least eight former Churchill Scholars from a variety of STEM disciplines. An offer cannot be made before completion of an informal telephone interview.


Criteria for selection

Outstanding academic achievement. There is no minimum GPA, though most applicants have a very high average. The Committee looks at achievement in STEM courses, especially in the major, as indicated by course grades and recommendation letters.


Proven talent in research. 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. The Committee looks for originality and creativity.


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.” The Committee takes into account interests and achievements outside of research, but it does not favor any particular kind of activity.


The Winston Churchill Foundation of the United States is committed to a policy against discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, gender, marital or parental status, race, color, religion, national origin, or disability or any other characteristic protected by law.

Before you apply

1. Check that you are eligible
The Churchill Scholarship is open to US citizens who are in their senior year or have just graduated from one of our Participating Institutions. Please check Eligibility before you apply.

2. Select a course
Choosing the right course for you can be far from straightforward, and you should check the Programs of Study page for a list of eligible and ineligible courses. Applicants interested in the MASt in mathematics should first read the Foundation's guide, Part III Mathematics for Churchill Scholars.


1. Fill out the online application
Only online applications will be considered. You may register at our online application portal and fill out your application at that website. In addition to the application form, you will also need to supply a 1-page Proposed Program of Study, a 2-page Personal Statement, your transcript, and correspondence with a potential lab supervisor (if applicable). All this is explained in detail at the online application portal.

2. Request four academic letters of recommendation
You should seek four people who are directly familiar with your academic or research work. They must submit their letters of recommendation through the online portal. When you request letters, they will receive an email linked to instructions and an upload portal. For convenience, those instructions are also available here.

3. Apply to the University of Cambridge
The Churchill Scholarship is only tenable at Churchill College, so you must put Churchill College as your first choice on the Cambridge application. The Scholarship is only for a 1-year Master's degree, so your application must be for an MPhil or MASt. Because of Cambridge's rolling admissions, we strongly suggest that you apply by the deadline for the Gates Cambridge Scholarship, in early October, 2021.

4. Complete the application
Complete your online application and press "SUBMIT." Your application is not complete until your institution nominates you. If you are selected as a nominee by your institution, you may request to "unsubmit" your application by contacting your scholarship adviser or the Foundation at the number or email address below. You can then continue to work on it until close to the nomination deadline. Work with your scholarship office to ensure that there is enough time for them to upload your Institutional Letter of Support before the deadline. Each Participating Institution can nominate up to two applicants.

Applicants are normally notified of the results by late December and awards are announced publicly by early February.


Frequently Asked Questions

How does the Churchill Scholarship work with the NSF GRFP? With the caveat that we cannot speak for other scholarships and fellowships, and they may have changed their policies, here is how it has worked in the past: The National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship is typically for three years of funding which must be used over a five-year period. You should be able to use your Churchill year as one of the two "reserve" years, provided that you have a connection with a graduate school where you intend to do a PhD. In short, you do not defer your PhD but you get on your grad school's grants roster and take a leave of absence for a "non-enrollment" year. Some applicants worry that the NSF does not accept applications from students who have already received a Master's degree. This means you can apply to the NSF GRFP at the same time that you apply to the Churchill, and (at least in past years) you can even apply while a Churchill student, since you will not have received your Master's yet. However, undergraduates who expect to receive a Master's and Bachelor's at the same time must apply for the NSF GRFP in the same cycle that they apply for the Churchill, or they may lose their eligibility for the former.


The Churchill Scholarship can be for up to 12 months, so how is it possible for me to start med school in July or August that year? We have students in this situation every year. Churchill Scholars typically finish their disserations and hold their viva (dissertation defense) early. Just consult with your supervisor and make arrangements.


What happens with applicants to other UK scholarships? The Marshall and Rhodes Scholarships tend to make their selections early in our process. If you win and accept one of those awards, you must withdraw from the Churchill competition. The Gates Cambridge Scholarship makes its decisions after we do, and successful applicants to the Churchill are encouraged to withdraw from the Gates Cambridge competition. However, if your first choice is PhD funding through Gates Cambridge, then, in consultation with the Churchill Foundation, you can continue your candidacy for that scholarship.

For further information, please email or call 212-752-3200.