Churchill Scholarship

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

History and Purpose

Established in 1959, the Winston Churchill Foundation was founded by American friends of Churchill, who wanted to fulfill his wish of always having young American graduate students at Churchill College at the University of Cambridge. The Foundation’s Scholarship Program offers American citizens of exceptional ability and outstanding achievement the opportunity to pursue graduate studies in engineering, mathematics, or the sciences at Cambridge. One of the newer colleges at the University of Cambridge, Churchill College was built as the national and Commonwealth tribute to Sir Winston, who in the years after the Second World War presciently recognized the growing importance of science and technology for prosperity and security. The Winston Churchill Foundation of the United States is a not-for-profit organization classified as a public charity and is supported by gifts and grants from alumni, friends, and corporations.

Description of Churchill Scholarships

The Foundation awards 14 Churchill Scholarships each year, depending on its funding levels, for either the Master of Philosophy or the Master of Advanced Study at the University of Cambridge in science, mathematics, and engineering.  The scholarship is worth between $50,000 and $60,000 and covers all fees/tuition and includes a living and travel allowance, reimbursement for applications for a visa and health surcharge.  Churchill Scholars may apply for a Special Research Grant of up to $2,000 for additional research travel (e.g., conferences, seminars, etc.). 

Eligibility requirements

Applicants must be/have:

  • Senior or graduate within 12 months of a Participating Institution in the Scholarship Program; must have obtained a bachelor’s degree before the time of the grant; may not have a PhD
  • any age
  • U.S. citizens (either native born or naturalized)
  • Outstanding academic achievement, especially in the major, as indicated by course grades and recommendation letters. No minimum GPA, but recent Churchill Scholars usually have 3.9 or above.
  • A capacity to contribute to the advancement of knowledge in the sciences, engineering, or mathematics by pursuing original, creative work at an advanced level as demonstrated by awards, prizes, research, and letters of recommendation. Applicants in the sciences and engineering will have extensive laboratory experience, internships, or other related work; math applicants will show substantial independent work or other projects
  • Outstanding personal qualities; while applicants are not expected to be “well-rounded,” they often display talents and activities outside of academic pursuits, especially in music, athletics, and social service

How to apply

All applicants (seniors and alumnae) must apply through a campus process, facilitated by National Fellowships Advisor, and be endorsed by the College (represented by the Committee on Fellowships, chaired by the Dean of Studies).  Applicants should attend an information session if possible, read all of the Guidelines and Instructions  on the Churchill website (click on the pdfs there) and meet with the National Fellowships Advisor to discuss their candidacy.  The National Fellowships Advisor will also provide feedback on essay drafts and other application materials, facilitate the interview with the Committee on Fellowships, and submit final application materials and the College endorsement letter to the Churchill Foundation.

Application components

IMPORTANT NOTE: Following the Churchill Foundation’s prescribed format for all materials is absolutely critical.

  • A completed online application form where the candidate enters biographical data; education background; proposed programme(s) of study; names of recommenders; publications and presentations, non-academic interests, career plans, and previous foreign travel, other graduate programmes and fellowships to which they are applying.
  • A separate application to an eligible program at the University of Cambridge submitted by October 15th or Friday preceding; must indicate Churchill College as 1st choice
  • A Proposed Programme of Study essay (see formatting guidelines on Churchill site)
  • A Personal Statement – essay (2 pages)
  • Scholarships, Prizes, Awards, and Other Distinctions listing (1 page)
  • Research/Employment Experience (1 page)
  • Four academic recommendations – must answer the questions posed on the Churchill recommendation form; note that if an applicant has done an NSF REU, an internship, or other analogous programs, it is compulsory that at least one of the four letters will come from the director of that activity; all recommendations must be from professors in related disciplines
  • Four recommendation waiver forms - forms include recommender information; MHC candidates must sign that they waive the right to access the letter
  • A Letter of Interest or correspondence with the laboratory supervisor at Cambridge indicating willingness to accept the student into his or her laboratory (necessary for MPhil programs; not needed for MASt in Math or Astrophysics)
  • Official Transcripts – from all undergraduate study sources
  • GRE scores mailed directly to the foundation, not within the application, no later than the end of December

Letters of recommendation are read by the Churchill Selection Committee, composed of former Churchill Scholars who are, for the most part, academic scientists in a variety of fields. There is always a mathematician, a physicist, a chemist, an engineer, and two different kinds of biologists. The Foundation asks recommenders to address specific questions in their letter, found on page two of this pdf form. Please type your recommendation letter on institutional letterhead, sign, scan and send to the National Fellowships Advisor.

Campus Process and Checklist

Please note that for all deadlines, submission time is 12:00 noon

Timeframe Task(s) to Complete
Spring Semester/ by June 1st
  • Attend UK Fellowships information session/read Churchill website/MHC Churchill webpage
  • discuss degree programs at Cambridge with faculty advisor in your field
  • research departments/programs at the University of Cambridge
  • Begin corresponding with faculty/lab directors at Cambridge
  • ask faculty/research supervisors in disciplines related to application if they will recommend you; give them the Churchill recommender form (note requirement about NSF-REU recommendation)
  • Notify the National Fellowships Advisor of names of recommenders
  • order transcripts of all college work; have sent to the National Fellowships Advisor directly
  • Begin Churchill online application
  • plan to take GRE or MCAT test in time to submit scores no later than end of December
 By July 1st
  • Send the National Fellowships Advisor a draft of application; first drafts of personal statement, proposed program of study, research experience, and scholarships/awards pages
  • Seek faculty advisor feedback on Proposed Program of Study.
Sept/early Oct Apply separately to the University of Cambridge - no later than mid-October
By Oct 17th
  • Send the National Fellowships Advisor printed application and all additional materials, including GRE Scores if available and completed recommender waiver sheets
  • Recommenders send letters to the National Fellowships Advisor (can be sent electronically, but should show institutional heading).
Oct 24-28 Interviews with Committee on Fellowships
By Nov 3rd
  • Nominees press SUBMIT button in online application
  • Nominee prints the submitted application, signs it, and gives it to the National Fellowships Advisor in printed form
By Nov. 10th The National Fellowships Advisor prepares pdf of all application materials including the recommendation and endorsement letters, and sends to Foundation via email as one pdf document
by end of Dec GRE or MCAT scores should be officially submitted to the Churchill Foundation
early Jan Churchill Screening Committee selects 20 finalists, invited for 20-min phone interviews; within one week candidates notified about final decisions
April Awards officially announced