This scholarship provides one to three years of study leading to a degree at any British university. Seniors, graduate or professional students, and graduates are eligible to apply within two years of their undergraduate graduation. You must be a U.S. citizen with an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.7.
Marshall Scholar Josie Chambers shares her experience in applying for the scholarship.
What They're Looking For
Candidates are evaluated on academic achievement, leadership potential, social commitment, and communication skills. In appointing scholars, the selectors will look for distinction of intellect and character as evidenced both by their scholastic attainments and by their other activities and achievements. Preference will be given to candidates who display a potential to make a significant contribution to their own society. Selectors will also look for strong motivation and seriousness of purpose, including the presentation of a specific and realistic academic program. Succinctly, Marshall Scholars are deep thinkers who are prepared for leadership in multiple sectors and get things done. The University of Illinois has had five students selected as Marshall Scholars in the last seven years! Read more about recent Illinois Marshall Scholars.
June 1, 2017
Students are encouraged to submit a priority application for the Marshall Scholarship. University faculty and staff who are familiar with the Marshall Scholarship will review materials received by this date, while only the National and International Scholarships Program directors will review materials submitted after this date. In either case, we will provide feedback on multiple drafts of your application both prior to the priority deadline, and from the priority deadline to final submission.
Please submit the following requested information to us via email or mail at 807 South Wright Street, Fifth Floor, MC-317:
- A signed Scholarship Waiver (either scanned or in hardcopy).
- Four to five letters of recommendation of 1,000 words or less (drafts acceptable). If you have been a student in the UK on a study abroad program, you should seriously consider obtaining one of your letters of recommendation from your senior tutor or from a professor who is familiar with your work. Letters should be sent as attachments directly to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Personal Statement of 1,000 words (personal statement should be in 12 point font and double spaced).
- University Statements of 500 words each naming your choices of program and universities in the UK and describing why you have selected them.
- Leadership Essay of 500 words describing a situation in which you recognized and responded to a need for leadership.
- Ambassadorial Essay of 500 words describing what the "USA-UK special relationship means" and how you might strengthen those ties.
In addition to the personal statement and résumé it is in your best interest to submit at least four letters of recommendation as four letters are ultimately required and a few "Choice of University Statements" outlining your choices of university and the coursework or research you propose, as Marshall requires more than one university choice.
Required Campus Deadline
August 22, 2017 at 12:00 p.m. (noon)
Whether or not you turned in a priority application, a complete Marshall application must be submitted to us in order to be considered for University of Illinois endorsement (a requirement to move forward in the competition). Based on your submittal, including grade reports that we will provide, and an interview, a University of Illinois Scholarships Selection Committee will determine your endorsement. The university will endorse those candidates the Committee feels have the potential to be Marshall Scholars; up to a handful of applicants will receive this endorsement (there is no limit on the number of endorsements, but the committee is quite judicious). We may also offer some feedback on your application, based on comments from committee members.
Required information includes:
- A signed Scholarship Waiver (if not submitted since June—either scanned or in hardcopy).
- Four letters of recommendation (submitted online through the Marshall website and particular to the student's Marshall application—note that applicants must enter the recommender information and hit the "Send Request" button at least 2 weeks in advance of the deadline to give your letter writers time to submit their letters electronically). You should list your primary recommender first, and then your other two academic recommenders, with the fourth letter most focused on your leadership. Letters should be written to the attention of the "Marshall Scholarship Selection Committee" and may not exceed 1,000 words. As with the rest of the application, bold or italicized text will not transfer through. In addition, it is best to enter hard returns between paragraphs, as tabs do not work when printing out the letter.
- A complete Marshall Scholarship application (including essays) submitted electronically. You will be able to make changes to your application once you are endorsed.
Endorsed Applicant Deadline
September 28, 2017 at 12:00 pm
The Marshall Scholarship requires applications and letters of recommendation to be submitted electronically. Those students who have been endorsed need to electronically submit any final revisions by this date. Hard copies of official transcripts from all colleges (including community colleges where you may have only taken 1 course and study abroad transcripts, unless both the grades and credits of all courses appear on your Illinois transcripts) and any supplementary materials (portfolios) for students in the arts (with your Marshall-issued ID number on each) must be submitted to us by this date as well.
If any changes were requested, recommendation writers will need to resubmit their letters, specifically tailored toward your application as a Marshall Scholar, electronically by this deadline.
The Final Stages
We electronically submit your complete Marshall Application (after you electronically submit it to us) along with an official University Endorsement Letter and mail your original transcript(s) (marked with your Marshall online ID code) and portfolio (for fine arts applicants) to a regional selection panel. Short-listed candidates will be called for an interview in November. Those who are called to interview will be asked to scan and attach a photograph to their application, print the application, and sign it before bringing it to the interview. Finalists will also be asked to provide a brief biographical sketch to be used for promotional purposes if named a Marshall Scholar. Candidates must also bring with them a completed medical form along with evidence of your date of birth and U.S. citizenship (e.g., a birth certificate or passport), and marriage certificate, if married. We will coordinate mock interviews for those students called to an interview. The final selection will be announced shortly after the Marshall interview.
General Application Tips
To be eligible, an applicant must have graduated from their undergraduate institution within two academic years of applying (after April 2015 for applications submitted in fall 2017). The Selection Committee prefers awarding scholarships to help develop expertise, rather than for a person to broaden themselves before deciding to specialize.
When writing your personal statement, consider what makes you tick. Provide evidence of your research and address how U.K. study will help your future. Why is it important to pursue the degrees in the U.K.? Address how your past got you interested in what you are doing. Discuss medical or other conditions—be honest and up-front, gutsy. The statement should show the texture of the candidate. The U.K. sees the Marshall Scholarship as an investment; how will you provide future benefits? How are you an ambassador? They want students to be advocates for U.K. policies in the U.S.
Your "Proposed Academic Programme" statement should be written about ¾ in regards to your first choice institution and ¼ about your second choice institution. Your second 1-year MA (if choosing two) is less important as many students change these after arriving. You may choose two different universities for the scholarship (1 year at each). Identifying the program or person you would like to work with is important. It helps to have been in contact with professors at whatever school you are applying to go to, especially for those interested in research degrees. Focus your statement on how you fit into the program(s) rather than just the general details of the programs.
At least two of your letters of recommendation should be from academics in your field, one who is the "preferred recommender." The letters should try to humanize the candidate—it is often best if one letter is nonacademic. Ideally, senior faculty would write the other letters. Any applicant who has studied previously in the U.K. should strongly consider obtaining one of their letters of recommendation from a U.K. faculty member. Read our advice on writing letters of recommendation.
Marshall Website & Application
For official information on the Marshall Scholarship (which supersedes any information provided here) and access to the online application, please visit their website.