“The empires of the future are the empires of the mind.”
– Sir Winston Churchill speaking at Harvard University,  September 6, 1943
The Churchill Scholarship was established at the request of Sir Winston Churchill as part of the founding of Churchill College, Cambridge. It fulfills his vision of deepening the US–UK partnership in order to advance science and technology on both sides of the Atlantic, ensuring our future prosperity and security.

The Award

We fund 18 scholarships per year, comprised of 16 Churchill Scholarships in science, mathematics, and engineering, and two Kanders Churchill Scholarships in science policy. It is for one year of Master’s study (courses run between 9 and 12 months). The award covers tuition, roundtrip airfare to the UK, visa fees and health surcharge, and a stipend that is set 5% higher than the UK Research Council standard. Recipients are eligible to apply for a $4,000 special research grant. The total value is around $65,000.

Our Philosophy

In contrast to other scholarships that look for “leadership potential” or “ambassadorial qualities,” we select Scholars on the basis of academic and research achievement. We then seek to provide accomplished scientists, mathematicians, and engineers with the tools to maximize their future impact.

To that end, we provide public engagement training and science policy seminars to Scholars. While not all Churchill Scholars will become science communicators or be engaged with science policy, these skills are often part of a successful career in STEM.

In addition to these program extras, Churchill Scholars are invited to engage with the legacy of Sir Winston Churchill through guided visits to Chartwell (his country home) in Kent and the Churchill War Rooms in London.

What They Say

“This has undoubtedly been the most incredible year of my life - academically, socially, musically, culturally, or in any other dimension you would care to measure. Previously, all my research projects had been nicely packaged: my PI has a goal; I work towards it; we achieve it; we present or publish it. The open-endedness and intellectual freedom of my work in Cambridge was a stark contrast.”

“I worked on several research projects in undergrad, but this is the first time that I felt able to take ownership of the project and to steer it in the directions that I found most interesting.”

“During undergrad, I felt pressured to pursue the most solvable questions in order to have something to show application committees. With the freedom of the Churchill Scholarship, I was allowed to take it slow and pursue the questions that seemed most meaningful.”

“The exceptional circumstance that the Scholarship creates is exactly the kind of incubator needed to carry out ‘high-risk, high-reward’ research that would be infeasible in most other contexts. I could pursue ambitious research plans without the fear of my entire PhD project being on the line. As it happened, in my case the chance to take that ambitious risk paid off more than I could have hoped.”

“Thank you, thank you, thank you for giving me the gift of living, working, and breathing in the most humble and inspiring place on Earth. I am happier and more intellectually stimulated than I can ever remember being.”

Programs of Study

The Churchill Scholarship is for one year of study at the University of Cambridge for an MPhil (Master of Philosophy) or MASt (Master of Advanced Study). The standard MPhil is a research degree that entails full-time research in a lab and culminates in a thesis and a viva (an oral examination). The MASt is a taught course comprised of lectures and written examinations, often with the option to do a short research paper. Applicants to the MPhil, in most cases, are required to show correspondence with a supervisor to ensure that the lab placement is appropriate; applicants to the MASt do not. The majority of our mathematics applicants will pursue an MASt (also called Part III – see the link below to our guide), although it is possible to apply to the MPhil by research.

A year of independent research at the master’s level is virtually unheard of in the US and represents a unique opportunity for Churchill Scholars. In some cases, for example in engineering, biotechnology, or computer science, students have the opportunity to take a hybrid, part-taught and part-research MPhil course. These courses (marked with an asterisk* below) do not require correspondence with a supervisor as part of the application. Applicants to these courses should be aware that they will encounter a teaching culture in Cambridge that contrasts with their American undergraduate experience. Many courses cover a great breadth of topics, and you will be on your own to explore them in the depth necessary. There is little contact with professors, and office hours are the exception. For these reasons, students wishing to explore a new area in their Churchill year may be better off with a lab placement, assuming they are accepted by a supervisor.

Eligible Courses


  • MPhil in Archaeological Research (Only eligible for a scientific research project.)
  • MPhil in Biological Anthropological Science


  • MPhil in Astronomy

Biological Sciences

The Departments listed below offer the MPhil in Biological Sciences. [Note: The Foundation recommends you try to arrange an MPhil by research and work in a lab. Biological Sciences has recently introduced a number of training-style Master’s courses such as Reproduction and Embryogenesis, Developmental Biology, etc. We believe that these are intended as a kind of first-year post-graduate experience for prospective PhD students at Cambridge and are not a good fit for our candidates. Still, if potential research supervisors push you in that direction, we will accept applications for those courses.]
  • Babraham Institute (NOTE: Babraham is independent of the University, so to take this option, you must check with a research supervisor that you can pursue research there as a Cambridge student and you must apply to a Cambridge department and find a supervisor willing to support your plan.)
  • Biochemistry
  • Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit
  • Genetics
  • MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology
  • MRC Toxicology Unit
  • Pathology
  • Pharmacology
  • Physiology, Development and Neuroscience
  • Plant Sciences
  • Psychology
  • Wellcome MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute
  • Wellcome Trust / Cancer Research UK Gurdon Institute
  • Wellcome Sanger Institute
  • Zoology

Cambridge Centre for Data Driven Discovery

  • No courses offered at this time. It acts as a hub for research and teaching across the University.

Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology

  • MPhil in Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology
  • MPhil in Advanced Chemical Engineering*
  • MPhil in Biotechnology* (Mainly for non-bio majors.)


  • MPhil in Chemistry

Computer Laboratory

  • MPhil in Advanced Computer Science*

Earth Sciences

  • MPhil in Earth Sciences


  • MPhil in Engineering
  • MPhil in Energy Technologies*
  • MPhil in Machine Learning and Machine Intelligence*
  • MPhil in Nuclear Energy*
  • MPhil in Structural Engineering


  • MPhil in Geography
  • MPhil in Polar Studies (Polar Physical Sciences only.)

Materials Science and Metallurgy

  • MPhil in Materials Science and Metallurgy
  • MPhil in Micro & Nanotechnology Enterprise* (Only eligible if the research project undertaken is scientific, rather than business-related.)


(The three MASt courses are also called Part III of the Mathematical Tripos. Before you apply to Part III, please read the Foundation’s guide, Part III Mathematics for Churchill Scholars. Note also that applicants to this course can also be considered for the Trinity Studentship in Mathematics, if they indicate interest on their Cambridge application.)
  • MASt in Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics*
  • MASt in Pure Mathematics*
  • MASt in Mathematical Statistics*
  • MPhil in Mathematics (you must have approval from a professor from the Department of Pure Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics or from the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics)

Medical Sciences

The following Departments offer the MPhil in Medical Science:
  • Cambridge Institute for Medical Research
  • Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Clinical Neurosciences
  • Haematology
  • Medical Genetics
  • Medicine
  • MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit
  • MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Oncology
  • Pediatrics
  • Psychiatry
  • Radiology
  • Surgery

Modern and Medieval Languages

  • MPhil in Theoretical and Applied Linguistics (Language Technology Laboratory. NOTE: Only scientific research proposals will be considered.)


  • MPhil in Music Studies (Only the Music and Science option is eligible.)


  • MPhil in Data Intensive Science*
  • MPhil in Physics
  • MPhil in Scientific Computing*

Veterinary Medicine

  • MPhil in Veterinary Science


Please note that your application must be for one of the above programs or it may not be considered. If you discover another program at Cambridge that is appropriate for you, please contact the Foundation. It is true that course offerings are always changing, and there are laboratories and research units in the University of Cambridge that are not always easily found on the Cambridge website. Some labs that do not advertise an MPhil may be willing to take a Churchill Scholar. Previous applicants have found relatively obscure programs that we have subsequently made eligible. You must receive permission in these cases.

Applicants to courses marked with an asterisk (*) do not need to show correspondence with a supervisor on their application. Applicants to all other courses must submit evidence that their would-be supervisor thinks they would be a good fit for the lab.

Please contact the Foundation if you are interested in an area of study not specifically mentioned above, or if you have any questions, by emailing info@churchillscholarship.org or by calling 212-752-3200.

Participating Institutions

Amherst College
Arizona State University
Auburn University
Bates College
Baylor University
Boston College
Boston University
Bowdoin College
Brandeis University
Brown University
California Institute of Technology
Carleton College
Carnegie Mellon University
Case Western Reserve University
Claremont McKenna College
Clemson University
Colgate University
College of William and Mary
Colorado School of Mines
Columbia University
Cornell University
CUNY Macaulay Honors College
Dartmouth College
Davidson College
Duke University
Emory University
Fordham University
George Washington University
Georgetown University
Georgia Institute of Technology
Grinnell College
Harvard University
Harvey Mudd College
Haverford College

Howard University
Indiana University/Bloomington
Johns Hopkins University
Lafayette College
Lehigh University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Mercer University
Michigan State University
Middlebury College
Mississippi State University
Mount Holyoke College
New York University
North Carolina State University
Northeastern University
Northwestern University
Oberlin College
Occidental College
Ohio State University
Oregon State University
Pennsylvania State University
Pitzer College
Pomona College
Princeton University
Purdue University
Reed College
Rice University
Rutgers University/New Brunswick
Scripps College
Smith College
Southern Methodist University
Stanford University
Stony Brook University
Swarthmore College
Texas A&M University

Tufts University
Tulane University
United States Air Force Academy
United States Military Academy
United States Naval Academy
University of Alabama
University of Arizona
University of Arkansas/Fayetteville
University of California/Berkeley
University of California/Davis
University of California/Irvine
University of California/Los Angeles
University of California/Riverside
University of California/San Diego
University of California/Santa Barbara
University of Chicago
University of Cincinnati
University of Colorado/Boulder
University of Connecticut
University of Delaware
University of Denver
University of Florida
University of Georgia
University of Illinois/Chicago
University of Illinois/Urbana-Champaign
University of Iowa
University of Kansas
University of Kentucky
University of Maine
University of Maryland/College Park
University of Massachusetts/Amherst
University of Michigan/Ann Arbor
University of Minnesota/Twin Cities
University of Mississippi

University of Missouri
University of Nebraska/Lincoln
University of New Hampshire
University of New Mexico
University of North Carolina/Chapel Hill
University of Notre Dame
University of Oklahoma
University of Oregon
University of Pennsylvania
University of Pittsburgh
University of Rochester
University of South Carolina
University of South Florida
University of Southern California
University of Tennessee/Knoxville
University of Texas/Austin
University of Tulsa
University of Utah
University of Virginia
University of Washington
University of Wisconsin/Madison
University of Wyoming
Vanderbilt University
Vassar College
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Wake Forest University
Washington and Lee University
Washington University in St. Louis
Wellesley College
Wesleyan University
Williams College
Yale University


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:

Friday, November 1, 2024, at 5pm Eastern Time.
Scholarship Kids In Field


An applicant for the Churchill Scholarship must be a citizen of the United States, either native-born or naturalized, and must be enrolled in one of the Participating Institutions and due to graduate during the same academic year as the deadline or be a student who has graduated from one of those institutions within the past 12 months before the deadline. Upon taking up the Churchill Scholarship, a Churchill Scholar must hold a bachelor’s degree.

Kanders Churchill Scholarship in Science Policy

The Kanders Churchill Scholarship was created to address the growing divide between science and science policy. There are two Kanders Churchill Scholarships available each year. The Kanders Churchill Scholars will hold a bachelor’s degree (either as a major or minor concentration) in science, mathematics, or engineering, from any US college or university and will pursue a Master’s in Public Policy. There is no time limit since graduation for applicants for this award, but the citizenship requirement remains.

Unlike the other Churchill Scholarships, there is no application to the Churchill Foundation. Instead, candidates state their interest in the Kanders Churchill Scholarship on their Cambridge application. Please indicate briefly on your Statement of Interest that you would like to be considered for this award. The next deadline is in early October (exact date to be announced in September and will be the same deadline as the Gates Cambridge Scholarship).

As with all Churchill Scholarships, applicants must put Churchill College as their first college choice. The Selection Committee will consider candidates’ academic achievements in STEM as well as their preparation for the Master’s in Public Policy. A Selection Committee of former Churchill Scholars working in science policy will make their decision in mid-December, drawing on a pool of applicants admitted to the Master’s in Public Policy. Candidates will be informed by late December, on the same timeline as the other Churchill Scholarship applicants.

The Kanders Churchill Scholarship was made possible through a generous donation from Churchill Foundation Board Member Warren Kanders.

Churchill Scholarship

The following instructions are for the 16 Churchill Scholarships in science, mathematics, and engineering. 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.

Application Process

1. 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 courses.  Do not limit yourself and look at labs in a variety of departments. Applicants interested in the MASt in mathematics should first read the Foundation's guide, Part III Mathematics for Churchill Scholars.

2. Fill out the online application

Only online applications will be considered. You may register at our online application portal (see Apply Now button below) starting in May, 2024, 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 Academic and Research History, your transcript, and correspondence with a potential lab supervisor (if applicable). All this is explained in detail at the online application portal.

3. 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 .

4. 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, which is in early October.

5. 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?

After a few years of last-minute changes to their guidance, the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship now says explicitly that their recipients cannot enroll at a foreign university. This is a change from decades of established practice and affects Churchill winners, as well as Marshall and Rhodes winners. Some recent Churchill Scholarship winners (as recently as 2023) have been able to enroll at their desired PhD institution in the US in order to accept the NSF GRFP while taking some sort of research leave for their Churchill year. Others have not, and it looks like the NSF is trying to end the practice. While this change in the NSF is happening, it looks like Churchill Scholarship winners will need to decline the NSF GRFP and reapply during their Churchill year (for which they are often successful) and also perhaps apply to other scholarships. It is important that you consult with your Scholarship Office and carefully read the NSF official solicitation. Also, for those who receive a bachelor’s and master’s degree at the same time, there are special considerations and procedures.

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 dissertations 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. In the past, students have won both awards and spent one year on an MPhil as a Churchill Scholar, followed by a number of years on a PhD as a Gates Cambridge Scholar.