These merit- and need-based scholarships are awarded to students seeking to gain a graduate degree in the arts, humanities, or social sciences. Current juniors who are U.S. citizens are eligible.

What They're Looking For

The program seeks to encourage and enable highly motivated juniors who are U.S. citizens to pursue terminal degrees in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. The selection criteria include demonstrated superior standards of intellectual ability, scholastic achievement, and personal promise. This is also demonstrated by the breadth of coursework taken by a student; thus, many strictly performance majors may be at a disadvantage in this competition. Each scholar receives $5,000 immediately prior to entering graduate school and an additional $30,000 while attending graduate school. While eligible, applications for professional degrees such as law or business are generally not competitive. Most recipients are students who look forward to obtaining a PhD in an academic discipline.

Scholars are encouraged to begin graduate study as soon as possible following graduation from college and must utilize all of the funding within 5 years of completion of undergraduate studies. Nominees should have received need-based financial aid at Illinois, and preference is given to candidates for whom the awarding of significant financial aid would increase the likelihood of the student's being able to attend graduate school. Read more about recent Illinois Beinecke Scholars.


Beinecke Information Events

Thursday, February 6, 2025 from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Information Session in room 514 IUB.

Friday, February 7, 2025 from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m.  ONLINE Beinecke Information Session.  Register here.

Friday, February 7, 2025 from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. in room 514 IUB.  Workshop on how to craft a Beinecke Application.

Getting Started

Students are encouraged to submit drafts of their Beinecke Scholarship applications to us well in advance of the campus deadline in order to receive feedback. Submit the application via email with a few potential meeting times no earlier than 2 business days after your submission to receive feedback. We are willing to work with students through numerous revisions.

Required Campus Deadline

February 24, 2025 at 12:00 p.m. (noon)

A complete Beinecke application including official transcripts from all colleges and three letters of recommendation 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, a Beinecke Campus Review Committee will determine your endorsement. The university will nominate a candidate the committee feels has the potential to be a Beinecke Scholar; only one applicant may receive this endorsement.

Required information includes:

  1. A signed Scholarship Waiver (either scanned or in hardcopy).
  2. A completed application form.
  3. A personal statement of 1,000 words or less describing your academic background, interests, plans for graduate study, and career aspirations. The statement should include a discussion of some experiences and ideas that have shaped your interests, plans and aspirations.
  4. A current CV (no page limit).
  5. Three letters of recommendation on letterhead—primarily from faculty members (drafts are acceptable) that assess the nominee's academic strength, intellectual curiosity, character, and potential for advanced graduate study. Students may either hand-deliver these letters in signed, sealed envelopes, or they may be submitted to us directly by the referee.
  6. A Financial Data Sheet demonstrating that the student has financial need.
Endorsed Applicant Deadline

March 28, 2024 at 12:00 p.m. (noon)

The endorsed student will submit a final application packet, including any updated materials, and provide official transcripts from all colleges (including community colleges where you may have only taken one course and study abroad transcripts, unless both the grades and credits of all courses appear on your Illinois transcript), to the National and International Scholarships Program. The Scholarships Program will attach your transcripts and final letters of recommendation for submittal to the Beinecke Foundation. By March 29, nominated students must also email a copy of the Financial Aid Data Sheet to the Beinecke Scholarship Program Director.

The Final Stages

We submit an official Certification of Eligibility Form and write a letter summarizing the reasons for the nominee's selection to the Beinecke Foundation. We submit all of your application materials to the Foundation for review. The final selection will be announced by May.


Visit our Canvas page for additional tips and samples of winning applications.

The National Beinecke Committee shares that candidates fared best if they:

  • Provided three equally-strong letters of recommendation from faculty members in their field, research supervisors, or creative advisors who could speak to the candidate’s strengths in the area in which they hope to undertake their graduate studies.
  • Convinced the committee that their research or creative work was unique and had broader impact/merit outside the candidate’s own curiosity.
  • Focused on the research or creative work they wish to do rather than their aims to make change in society.
  • Provided 1000-word statements that focused more on their research and career interests than their personal backgrounds.
  • Thoroughly researched and presented options for the graduate programs they hope to attend.
  • Had consistently high grades in the field in which they want to study. (Please note – this is different from a high GPA – we saw a number of candidates who had overall high GPAs but who had a pattern of receiving lower grades in courses that are critical to their proposed graduate studies.)
  • Provided artist supplements if they hope to attend creative programs of graduate study.
Beinecke Website

For official information on the Beinecke Scholarship Program (which supersedes any information provided here), please visit their website.