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Rhodes House in Oxford, designed by Sir Herbert Baker.

The Rhodes Scholarship, named after Cecil Rhodes, is an international postgraduate award for study at the University of Oxford,[1] and was the first large-scale programme of international scholarships.[2] Rhodes Scholars may study any full-time postgraduate course offered by the University,[3] whether a taught Master’s programme, a research degree, or a second undergraduate degree (senior status).

In the first instance, the scholarship is awarded for two years. However, it may also be held for one year or three years. Applications for a third year are considered during the course of the second year.

University and College fees are paid by the Rhodes Trust. In addition, Scholars receive a monthly maintenance stipend to cover accommodation and living expenses.[4][5] Although all scholars become affiliated with a residential college while at Oxford, they also enjoy access to Rhodes House, an early 20th century mansion with numerous public rooms, gardens, a library, study areas, and other facilities.

"For more than a century, Rhodes scholars have left Oxford with virtually any job available to them. For much of this time, they have overwhelmingly chosen paths in scholarship, teaching, writing, medicine, scientific research, law, the military and public service. They have reached the highest levels in virtually all fields."[6]



The scholarships are administered and awarded by the Rhodes Trust which was established in 1902 under the terms and conditions of the will of Cecil John Rhodes, and funded by his estate.[7] Scholarships have been awarded to applicants annually since 1902 on the basis of academic achievement and strength of character. There have been more than 7,000 Rhodes Scholars since the inception of the Trust. More than 4,000 are still living.[8]

In 1925, the Commonwealth Fund Fellowships (later renamed the Harkness Fellowships) were established to reciprocate the Rhodes Scholarships by enabling British graduates to study in the United States.[9] The Kennedy Scholarship program, created in 1966 as a living memorial to John F. Kennedy, adopts a comparable selection process to the Rhodes Scholarships to allow 10 British post-graduate students per year to study at either Harvard or MIT.[10][11]


Rhodes' legacy specified four standards by which applicants were to be judged:

  • literary and scholastic attainments;
  • energy to use one's talents to the full, as exemplified by fondness for and success in sports;
  • truth, courage, devotion to duty, sympathy for and protection of the weak, kindliness, unselfishness and fellowship;
  • moral force of character and instincts to lead, and to take an interest in one's fellow beings.

This legacy originally provided for scholarships for the British colonies, the United States, and Germany. These three were chosen so that " ... a good understanding between England, Germany and the United States of America will secure the peace of the world ... "[7]

Rhodes, who attended Oxford University, chose his alma mater as the site of his great experiment because he believed its residential colleges provided the ideal environment for intellectual contemplation and personal development.

Rhodes' original aim with the Scholarship, and subsequent changes

An early change was the elimination of the scholarships for Germany during World Wars I and II. No German scholars were chosen from 1914 to 1929, nor from 1940 to 1969.[12] Also, between the wars, for political and propaganda reasons Erich Vermehren was prevented by the German government from taking up a Rhodes Scholarship.

Rhodes' bequest was whittled down considerably in the first decades after his death, as various scholarship trustees were forced to pay taxes upon their own deaths. A change occurred in 1929, when an Act of Parliament established a fund separate from the original proceeds of Rhodes' will. This made it possible to expand the number of scholarships. For example, between 1993 and 1995, scholarships were extended to other countries in the European Community.

Because the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 in the United Kingdom did not affect wills, it took another Act of Parliament to change the Rhodes' will to extend selection criteria in 1977 to include women.

For at least its first 75 years, scholars usually studied for a Bachelor of Arts degree. While that remains an option, more recent scholars usually study for an advanced degree.


Australia[13][14] 9 6
Bermuda[15] 1 1
Canada[16] 11 2
Newfoundland 1 1
Germany[17] 2
Hong Kong
India[18][19] 6
Jamaica[20] 1 1
Kenya 2
New Zealand[21][22][23] 3 1
Pakistan 1
Southern Africa[24][25] 10 5
USA[26][27][28] 32 32
Zambia &
(formerly Rhodesia)

Total 83 52

There were originally 52 scholarships.[7][12] During the ensuing 100 years, the Trustees added at one time or another approximately another 40 scholarships, though not all have continued. Some of these extended the scheme to Commonwealth countries not mentioned in the Will.[8] A more detailed allocation by region by year can be found at Rhodes Scholarship Allocations. Very brief summaries of some of the terms and conditions can be found on the Trust's web site.[29][30] Complete details can be obtained from the nominating countries.[31]

Currently, scholars are selected from citizens of 14 specified geographic constituencies,[32][33] namely: Australia; Bermuda; Canada; Germany; Hong Kong; India; Jamaica & Commonwealth Caribbean; Kenya; New Zealand; Pakistan; Southern Africa (South Africa and neighbours Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia and Swaziland); USA; Zambia; and Zimbabwe.

From 2006, 11 scholarships were suspended for a period of 5 years. The scholarships for Hong Kong were abolished in July 1997 following its withdrawal from the Commonwealth (due to the transfer of sovereignty from the United Kingdom to the People's Republic of China). However, with the benefaction from the Lee Hysan Foundation (described by the Rhodes Trust as "substantial and generous"), the Rhodes Scholarships for Hong Kong were reintroduced in late 2006.[34]

Notable Rhodes Scholarship recipients

A table of notable people who are also Rhodes Scholarship recipients can be found at List of Rhodes Scholars.

See also: Rhodes scholars category

Centenary degrees

In recognition of the centenary of the foundation of the Rhodes Trust in 2003, four scholars were awarded honorary degrees by the University of Oxford:

  • John Brademas (Indiana & Brasenose 1950), President of New York University, U.S. Congressman (Indiana), 1959-1981
  • Robert J. L. (Bob) Hawke (Western Australia & University 1953), Prime Minister of Australia, 1983-1991
  • Rex Nettleford (Jamaica & Oriel 1957), Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West Indies, author, dance director
  • David R. Woods (Rhodes & University 1963), Vice-Chancellor of Rhodes University

References and notes

In the Oxford University Calendar,[35] the Greek letter rho (ρ) against a name indicates that the person is a former Rhodes Scholar. This symbol should precede the name.[36]

  1. ^ Rhodes Trust (2009) The Rhodes Scholarships, Retrieved 26 December 2009.
  2. ^ The American Rhodes Scholarships: A Review of the First Forty Years, Review author[s]: Harvie Branscomb, The American Historical Review © 1947 American Historical Association
  3. ^ Periodically the Rhodes Trustees include or exclude the MBA from the courses offered.
  4. ^ Rhodes Trust (2009) FAQs about the Scholarships, Retrieved 29 December 2009. In 2009, the stipend was UKPounds 958/month.
  5. ^ Elliot F. Gerson (2009) Press Release, 21 November 2009, Office of the American Secretary of the Rhodes Trust, Retrieved 29 December 2009. Amongst other things, the press release states that the value of the Rhodes Scholarship varies depending on the academic field and the degree (B.A., master’s, doctoral) chosen. For American Rhodes Scholars, Gerson estimates that the total value of the Scholarship averages approximately US$50,000 per year, or up to as much as US$175,000 for Scholars who remain in Oxford for four years.
  6. ^ Elliot Gerson (2009) From Oxford to Wall Street, 21 November 2009, The Washington Post. Retrieved 21 December 2009.
  7. ^ a b c d Cecil Rhodes & William Thomas Stead (1902). The last will and testament of Cecil John Rhodes: with elucidatory notes to which are added some chapters describing the political and religious ideas of the testator. "Review of Reviews" Office.  
  8. ^ a b Brief history of the Rhodes Trust,
  9. ^ History of the Harkness Fellowships,
  10. ^ David Cannadine (2006) JFK's legacy - a point of view, 6 January 2006, Retrieved on 30 December 2009.
  11. ^ William Waldegrave, Baron Waldegrave of North Hill, the current chairman of the Rhodes Scholarship program, attended Harvard University as a Kennedy Scholar -
  12. ^ a b c Lists of Rhodes Scholars,
  13. ^ The Rhodes Scholarships in Australia,
  14. ^ Australian Rhodes Scholarships,
  15. ^ The Rhodes Scholarships in Bermuda,
  16. ^ The Canadian Association of Rhodes Scholars,
  17. ^ The Rhodes Scholarships in Germany,
  18. ^ The Rhodes Scholarships in India,
  19. ^ Indian Rhodes Scholarships,
  20. ^ The Rhodes Scholarships for Jamaica & the Commonwealth Caribbean,
  21. ^ The Rhodes Scholarships in New Zealand,
  22. ^ New Zealand Vice-Chancellors' Committee page on Rhodes Scholarships,
  23. ^ New Zealand Rhodes Scholars, listed for 1903 to 1964,
  24. ^ The Rhodes Scholarships in South Africa,
  25. ^ The Mandela Rhodes Foundation in South Africa,
  26. ^ The Rhodes Trust, USA,
  27. ^ Association of American Rhodes Scholars,
  28. ^ United States Naval Academy Rhodes Scholars,
  29. ^ Rhodes Scholarship FAQ,
  30. ^ Information about the Scholarships,
  31. ^ Country Websites and Information,
  32. ^ Rhodes Scholarship constituencies,
  33. ^ Countries from which Rhodes Scholars are selected,
  34. ^ The Rhodes Scholarship for Hong Kong - Memorandum for 2007,
  35. ^ Oxford University Calendar,
  36. ^ Notes on style, Oxford University Calendar, 7 April 2008, Retrieved 2008-10-10.

Further reading

  • R.I. Rotberg, The Founder: Cecil Rhodes and the Pursuit of Power (Oxford University Press, New York, 1988)
  • Anthony Kenny (ed.), The History of the Rhodes Trust (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2001)
  • Ziegler, Philip (2008). Legacy: Cecil Rhodes, the Rhodes Trust and Rhodes Scholarships. Yale: Yale University Press. ISBN 9780300118353.  

External links


Simple English

The Rhodes Scholarship named after Cecil Rhodes is an international award to go to school at the University of Oxford and was the first large-scale group of international scholarships.[1]

Famous Rhodes Scholars


  1. The American Rhodes Scholarships: A Review of the First Forty Years, Review author[s]: Harvie Branscomb, The American Historical Review © 1947 American Historical Association


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