The Goldwater provides one- or two-year awards of $7,500 for undergraduate educational expenses. Sophomores and juniors majoring in mathematics, sciences, or engineering who are U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, or permanent residents are eligible to apply. Traditionally, nominees have a minimum GPA of 3.7, and the average GPA of recipients is a 3.9+ at the national level. Applicants should be committed to pursuing a PhD in the research fields of mathematics, sciences, or engineering.

Applicants Bryan Plummer and Monique Richards describe the eligibility requirements for a Goldwater Scholarship.

Two-Day Goldwater Information Event

Thursday, October 10, 2024: 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Information session and discussion with a former Goldwater Scholar held in 514 IUB

Friday, October 11, 2024:  9:00-10:00 a.m.  Online Goldwater Information Session.  Register here.

Friday, October 11, 2024: 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. Workshop on how to craft a Goldwater Application in 514 IUB. 

What They're Looking For

Selectors seek students who demonstrate a strong commitment to a career in math, science, or engineering; display intellectual curiosity and intensity; and possess potential for significant future contributions in their chosen field. Students who plan to study medicine are eligible only if they plan a research career rather than a career as a medical doctor in private practice. Typical fields of study include, but are not limited to, applied science, astronomy, biochemistry, biology, chemistry, computer science, entomology, environmental science, genetics, geology, mathematics, microbiology, neurobiology, physics, zoology, and all fields of engineering. Succinctly, reviewers want to invest in students who demonstrate strong evidence of contributing to the technological advances of the United States. Illinois may nominate up to 4 students for the Goldwater Scholarship. While the average success rate of nominees is 25% nationally, an average of 73% of University of Illinois nominees have been selected as Goldwater Scholars since 1990.  Read more about recent Illinois Goldwater Scholars. We encourage interested Goldwater students to also apply for an Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF) award, of which one University of Illinois student will win each year.

Bryan Plummer and Monique Richards describe some characteristics of a competitive Goldwater applicant.

Getting Started

Students are encouraged to submit drafts of their Goldwater Scholarship applications well in advance of the campus deadline in order to receive feedback from us. The first step is to submit a Pre-application online through the Goldwater site. Once that is approved, you are encouraged to begin using the online Goldwater application. Here are some tips to help you get started. When you have all of your written materials completed, please email us with a few potential meeting times at least 2 business days later to receive feedback. We are willing to work with students through numerous revisions. 

Required Campus Deadline

December 2, 2024 at 12:00 p.m. (noon)

A complete Goldwater application must be submitted to us in order to be considered for University of Illinois endorsement (a requirement to move forward in the competition).

Required information includes:

  1. A signed Scholarship Waiver (either scanned or in hardcopy).
  2. Three letters of recommendation—primarily scientific, sent directly to the scholarships program as an attachment to Letters must be no more than two pages, have one-inch margins on all sides, be single spaced, use 12 point font, and be printed on letterhead.
  3. Your completed online application from the Goldwater website, including an essay of no more than 3 pages in 12-point Arial font discussing a significant issue or problem in the applicant's field of study (see detailed Goldwater instructions). Margins should be 1 inch on all sides.
Endorsed Applicant Deadline

January 29, 2025 at 12:00 p.m. (noon)

Those students who have been endorsed for the Goldwater will submit their final application packet online. The National and International Scholarships Program will obtain and attach unofficial transcripts to your application. Nominees are responsible for ensuring that any updated letters of recommendation are received by our office.

Goldwater Website & Application

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

For official information on the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship (which supersedes any information provided here), please visit their website.