The Marshall Scholarship was first devised in a bill proposed to Parliament by Roger Makins, then the Deputy Under Secretary in the Foreign Office supervising the American Department. When the bill passed through Parliament, Makins was transferred to Washington, D.C. as Ambassador, and the Marshall Aid Commemoration Act became law on July 31, 1953. The Act established regional boards in New Orleans, New York, Chicago and San Francisco to interview candidates and make recommendations to a national Advisory Council chaired by the British Ambassador. The Advisory Council would then review the regional recommendations and prepare a national list of recommended candidates for the Marshall Commission to review and give final approval.
The process of the Marshall Scholarship remains the same, but Atlanta, Boston, Houston and Los Angeles have since been added as regional boards. In 1954, the first year in which scholarships were awarded, there were 700 applicants and 12 recipients. In 2018, 33 scholarship recipients were selected from 943 applicants.
The program's objectives are to provide academically distinguished young Americans the opportunity to study in the United Kingdom. From this experience, the program aims to help scholars gain an understanding and appreciation of contemporary Britain, to contribute to the advancement of knowledge in science, technology, the social sciences and the humanities, to motivate scholars to act as ambassadors from the United States to the United Kingdom and vice versa, and to promote the academic and personal fulfillment of each scholar.
Candidates are evaluated based on three equally weighted selection criteria: academic merit, leadership potential and ambassador potential. Applicants should be able to demonstrate that they possess strong academic backgrounds and traits such as strength of purpose, creativity and self-awareness, as well as exemplary interpersonal skills and knowledge of U.S./U.K. relations. Up to 40 scholars are selected each year to study at the graduate level at any U.K. institution in any field of study.
Award stipend and benefits
The award includes university fees, cost of living expenses, an annual book grant, thesis grant, research and daily travel grants, fares to and from the United States, and a contribution toward the support of a dependent spouse (if applicable).
The two-year Marshall Scholarship is tenable for two academic years (22 months) with the possibility for an extension by the Commission for a third academic year. The one-year Marshall Scholarship is tenable for one academic year (12 months) and cannot be extended. To view a more detailed outline of the possibilities of each scholarship, visit the Marshall website.
Program and eligibility requirements
A minimum of a 3.7 GPA is required to apply for this scholarship. Other program and eligibility requirements include:
- Candidates must be a citizen of the United States to apply.
- Candidates must have earned their first undergraduate degree from an accredited four-year college or university in the United States. To qualify for awards tenable from October 2019, candidates must have been awarded their undergraduate degree after April 2016.
- Candidates who are applying must fill out all applicable forms and submit them to the institution through which they are applying. The institution will then ensure that the application is complete and decide whether to endorse the application. If the application is endorsed, the institution will submit it through the system to the regional committee.
- Students who already hold a British degree or degree-equivalent qualification are not eligible to apply.
- The Marshall Scholarship Commission has also established partnerships with multiple institutes, universities and colleges, and offers scholarships with these institutions as an option for the 40 Marshall Scholarships awarded annually. Students interested in applying for one of the partnership scholarships should indicate their preference on their application. A list of qualifying partner institutions and more information can be found here.
The application for the Marshall Scholarship opens in May and is due in early October. Applications must be submitted to and endorsed by an accredited U.S. college or university. Applications can be submitted from only one of the eight regions in the United States, either from the region of the applicant's permanent place of residence or employment, or from the region in which they are studying. Finalists are notified around late October. Interviews are conducted in person during mid-November (the foundation will pay travel costs for the interview). Award recipients are notified after interviews are conducted.
University contact information
Interested students should contact Kent State University's Marshall Scholarship advisor Frank Congin at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Please check back in future months for Kent State's internal deadline process for applying to the Marshall Scholarship.