This scholarship requires one year of graduate study leading to a degree (generally a master's) in engineering, mathematics, and/or the sciences at Cambridge University, England. U.S. citizens in their last year of undergraduate studies or who graduated with their undergraduate degree within the last 12 months are eligible to apply. Two Kanders Churchill Scholarships are also available for STEM students who wish to pursue an MPhil in Public Policy at Cambridge.


Churchill Scholarship Information Session

Friday, Sept. 6, 2024 from 3:00-4:00 p.m. in 514 IUB

What They're Looking For

The Churchill Scholarship enables outstanding American students to pursue graduate work in engineering, mathematics, or the physical or natural sciences (or for the Kanders Churchill Scholarship, public policy) at Churchill College, Cambridge University. The scholarships also provide the opportunity to experience life in England, to forge friendships with British students and those from many other lands who are enrolled at Cambridge, to see something of Britain and lands beyond, to see the U.S. from a new perspective, and to gain personal insights about oneself that come from living abroad and adjusting to new challenges. Thus, bright students who are introverted, shy, lacking in confidence, or rigid may not prosper in the Cambridge environment. The Churchill Foundation is looking for intellectual leaders as demonstrated by the academic record, evidence of independent research, the all-important letters of recommendation, and intellectual passion. The foundation also seeks individuals who will represent our country admirably at Cambridge by their intellectual endeavors and by their participation in the life there. Past Churchill Scholars report meeting these goals.

The official criteria for the selection of Churchill Scholars include the following:

  1. Outstanding Academic Achievement
  2. Proven Talent in Research, in particular signs of originality and creativity
  3. Outstanding personal qualities as demonstrated by leadership, activities, and engagement

While only 16 scholarships nationwide are provided each year, the University of Illinois has had more recipients (20) than any other public institution. Read more about Illinois Churchill Scholars.

Getting Started

Students are encouraged to submit drafts of their Cambridge and Churchill Scholarship applications to us well in advance of the campus deadline in order to receive feedback. Submit the Churchill application through the online application site and then send us an email, along with the Cambridge application as an attachment, 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 Churchill Campus Deadline

October 3, 2024 by 12:00 pm (noon)

With the exception of the Kanders Churchill Scholarship, Churchill scholarship applications are submitted in two parts. A student needs to apply to both Cambridge University and the Churchill Scholarship separately. Churchill Scholarship reviewers will only have access to your Churchill application. A complete Churchill Scholarship application must be submitted to us by this deadline in order to be considered for University of Illinois endorsement (a requirement to move forward in the competition). Based on your submittal (and in special circumstances an interview), a Churchill Scholarship Campus Review Committee will determine your endorsement. The university will endorse those candidates the committee feels have the potential to be Churchill Scholars; up to 2 applicants may receive this endorsement. We may also offer some feedback on your Churchill application based on committee member comments.

Note, the Kanders Churchill Scholarship is different: it only requires a Cambridge University application, with a checkbox that you would like to be considered for the award (no additional essays, letters, or university nomination), submitted by the Cambridge deadline (October 12 in 2022). In either case, your first choice college must be Churchill.

Required information for the Churchill Scholarship includes:

  1. A signed Scholarship Waiver (either scanned or in hard copy).
  2. Your complete Cambridge University application submitted directly online to Cambridge University by their early deadline (October 11).
  3. A complete Churchill Scholarship application (including application form, intellectual trajectory (formerly "personal statement"), proposed program of study essay, listing of awards and research experiences, transcripts, and a copy of any correspondence with a potential laboratory supervisor at Cambridge) submitted online through the Churchill site.
  4. At least 4 academic letters of recommendation (2 of which presumably will be from the same letter writers who wrote your Cambridge recommendation for your Cambridge University application). However, each of the 4 letters must be written specifically for the Churchill Scholarship and be submitted online through the Churchill site (the letter writers may not just use a copy of the letter they provided for admission to Cambridge).

Letters should be written to the attention of the "Committee of Selection." If letter writers wish to include the address, it is:

The Churchill Scholarship Program
U.S. Student Programs
Institute of International Education
809 United Nations Plaza
New York, NY 10017-3580

Required Final Cambridge Received Deadline

October 11, 2023 at 12:00 noon CST

The applicant is responsible for submitting his or her application to Cambridge. Please note that your online application will automatically be deleted if you don't make any changes in a 2-week period, so log in periodically to keep it active! Also, your Cambridge reference letters are also due on that date. Your entering their email addresses triggers the request email to your referees. Letters should be written to the attention of the "Board of Graduate Studies." If your letter writers wish to include the address, it is:

The Secretary
Board of Graduate Studies
4 Mill Lane
Cambridge CB2 1RZ
United Kingdom

Note that some programs at Cambridge also require test scores, additional essays, or even an earlier deadline—make sure to check your Cambridge Department specifics! We would appreciate a copy of all materials (including letters) prior to submission. Please make sure to save and print a copy of your Cambridge application prior to submitting as well.

Endorsed Applicant Deadline

Endorsed applicants will have an opportunity to modify their materials prior to submitting their final Churchill application online by October 28, 2024 at 12:00 noon.

The Final Stages

We electronically submit an official University Endorsement Letter to be attached to your application for review by the Churchill Foundation. The national Churchill Foundation Scholarship Screening Committee, comprised of former Churchill Scholars, evaluates the applications and very selectively endorses those considered most qualified for a scholarship. Those students who make the short list will be invited for a phone interview in January with the Director of the Foundation. Then, the Cambridge Board of Graduate Studies and the appropriate department at Cambridge review the applications of nationally endorsed candidates, consider the availability of appropriate supervision and laboratory space, and decide who are eligible for admission to the university. Based on this information, the Winston Churchill Foundation makes final decisions on Churchill Scholarship winners and announces them in February).

General Application Tips

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

The national Churchill Committee will not review your Cambridge application. Thus, treat the Churchill application as a stand-alone document (hence the need for separate letters of recommendation and transcripts).

The personal statement is the most important part of the application and is meant to be extremely academic in nature. Demonstrate what you are all about and why Cambridge will be good for you. Prove that studying at Cambridge is better than enrolling at an institution in the U.S. at this point in your career. Illustrate the amount of energy you've put into research and that you have a serious focus and intensity in your area of study. Delineate the progression of your research. For more advice, see the personal reflections of an Illinois recipient who has served on the national panel.

Churchill Website and Application

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