Beinecke Scholarship

History   |   Description   |   Eligibility   |    How to   |   Application   |   Checklist

Beinecke Manuscript and Rare Book Library, Yale University

History and Purpose

Edwin, Frederick, and Walter Beinecke were born in New York City in 1886, 1887, and 1888. They were linked from their earliest years by a deep affection, shared interests, and complementary talents and personalities. Together they assumed the leadership of The Sperry and Hutchinson Company in the 1920's, and by 1970 built it from a small enterprise to one with revenues exceeding $350 million. In 1963 the brothers and their families gave The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library to Yale University.

William Sperry Beinecke, the eldest son of Frederick, served the company until 1980. An ardent advocate for business support of charitable and educational institutions, he guided the creation of the foundation that is now The Sperry Fund. In 1971, at his request, the Sperry and Hutchinson board established the Beinecke Scholarship Program in memory of Edwin, Frederick, and Walter Beinecke. 

Description of the Beinecke Scholarship

Since 1975, The Beinecke Scholarship Program has provided substantial scholarships for the graduate education of young men and women of exceptional promise. The program seeks to encourage and enable highly motivated students to pursue graduate study in the arts, humanities and social sciences. Selection is made from among 120 schools invited to nominate one student each for this prestigious award; 20 scholarships are awarded annually. Each Scholar receives a total of $34,000.00 in support of her graduate education. The initial payment is awarded directly to the student prior to entering graduate school, and is intended to offset the costs associated with the graduate application process and travel related to the start of graduate school. While in graduate school, scholars receive an additional $30,000.00 in support. These funds supplement support provided by the graduate school, and may be spread out over up to five years or be received at a maximum of $15,000.00 for two years. Scholars may defer the award for one year, but are normally expected to enter graduate school and begin receipt of the Beinecke funding in the following year. See the Scholarship Conditions on the Beinecke website for more details.

US citizens eligible

Eligibility Requirements and Rules for Nomination

Applicants must have/be:

  • a US citizen or US national from American Samoa or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
  • have demonstrated superior standards of intellectual ability, scholastic achievement, and personal promise during her undergraduate career (recommended GPA is 3.7 or higher)
  • be a college junior at the time of application
  • planning to enter a rigorous master’s or doctoral program in the arts, humanities, or social sciences (excluding neuroscience; law, medicine, and other professional programs are not favored by Beinecke)
  • have a documented history of receiving need-based financial aid (see details in how to apply section below) during undergraduate years. Evidence of meeting this criterion is based on a report from the institution’s financial aid officer
  • Mount Holyoke College may nominate one junior per year for consideration as a Beinecke Scholar

How to apply

Before pursuing the application, interested students should make sure they are receiving need-based financial aid or would receive it if not receiving a merit award, by contacting a Student Financial Services Specialist.  Once a student learns she is eligible, she should make an appointment to meet with MHC’s National Fellowships Advisor (FA), Christine Overstreet  early during the fall semester of her junior year (or sooner) to discuss her candidacy and receive guidance on preparing her application for submission to the Committee on Fellowships. The Committee, made up of four faculty members and chaired by the Dean of Studies, reviews applications, interviews each candidate, and decides which candidate to nominate. The Mount Holyoke College nominee will then revise her materials as recommended, and submit them to the FA by the due date below. The Fellowships Senior Administrative Assistant, Marianne Taylor assists in all aspects of the application process and will mail the nominee’s materials to the Beinecke office by the deadline.

Application components

  • Completed application form (requesting five choices of graduate programs; family and mailing information) Forms are available at on the Beinecke website and must be downloaded and saved in order to fill out the form fields.
  • Financial Aid Data Sheet (must be completed by the Student Financial Services Specialist).
  • Current Resume (may be two pages and should be graduate study-oriented rather than job-oriented)
  • A Personal Statement of 1,000 words or less from the nominee describing her background, interests, plans for graduate study and career aspirations. The statement should include a discussion of some experiences and ideas that have shaped those interests, plans and aspirations.
  • Three letters of recommendation from faculty members that assess the nominee’s intellectual curiosity, character, and potential for advanced graduate study
  • An official copy of the nominee’s transcripts from all undergraduate study (students should wait until fall grades are in to order the MHC transcript; abroad transcripts should be ordered immediately upon issue)
  • Supplementary materials if field of graduate study is in the creative or performing arts
  • A Certificate of Eligibility (completed by the Fellowships Advisor if candidate is nominated)
  • An endorsement letter (written by the Fellowships Advisor if candidate is nominated)

Campus Process and Checklist

For all deadlines, submission time is 12:00 noon

Timeframe Task(s) to Complete
Early fall semester make appointment to discuss application with Fellowships Advisor
  contact Student Financial Services to determine eligibility
Oct/Nov research potential graduate programs; discuss plans with faculty
By November 15 submit Financial Aid Data form to SFS to allow time for completion
  send Personal Statement and Resume to FA for feedback
November/December feedback and re-writing process continues
  request recommendations from three faculty members
December download, complete, and print forms from Beinecke website
By January 21 submit all application materials to FA (can be via email attachment)
  faculty recommenders send letters to FA (can be via email)
February 3-7 Committee on Fellowships interviews candidates; selects nominee
By February 14 Nominee submits all revised materials to FA
  Signed recommendation letters, on letterhead, due to FA (hard copy)
By February 21 Fellowships Office mails materials to Beinecke
By May 1 Awards announced; Beinecke sends letter to candidate