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. A Kanders Churchill Scholarship is also available for a STEM student who wishes to pursue an MPhil in Public Policy at Cambridge.
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. However 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:
- Achievement in academic work as indicated by course grades and scores on the GRE
- Capacity for original, creative work as shown by special recognition and letters of reference
- Ability to contribute to the advancement of knowledge
- Outstanding personal qualities as demonstrated by leadership, activities, and engagement
While only 14 scholarships nationwide are provided each year, the University of Illinois has had more recipients (20) than any other public institution. Read more about recent Illinois Churchill Scholars.
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 from our directors. Submit the application via email to us along 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 10, 2017 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. 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 the Churchill portion of your application based on comments from committee members.
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 October 11. In either case, your first choice college must be Churchill.
Required information for the Churchill Scholarship includes:
- A signed Scholarship Waiver (either scanned or in hardcopy)
- Official transcripts from all colleges attended
- 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 accompanied by a cover sheet that the applicant has signed (the letter writers may not just use a copy of the letter they provided for admission to Cambridge).
- A complete Churchill Scholarship application (including printed application form, personal statement, proposed program of study essay, listing of awards, and research experiences). Do not electronically submit your application until after the endorsement decision.
- Optional: A copy of your GRE report for the general test (Churchill Foundation code #3922). MCAT scores may be substituted for the GRE.
- A copy of any correspondence with a potential laboratory supervisor at Cambridge.
Applicants should provide referees with the official Churchill reference cover sheet. The letters of recommendation should be specifically tailored toward your application as a Churchill Scholar. All materials (including letters) must be submitted to us. Students may either hand-deliver the transcripts and recommendation letters in signed, sealed envelopes, or they may be submitted to us directly by the registrar or referee. While letters are submitted on campus, they should be written to the attention of the "Committee of Selection." If letter writers wish to include the address, it's:
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, 2017 at 12:00 p.m.
Gates Cambridge scholarship applications are a part of the general Cambridge application. 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 reference letters are also due on October 11. 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:
Board of Graduate Studies
4 Mill Lane
Cambridge CB2 1RZ
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
November 6, 2017, at 12:00 p.m.
Those students who have been endorsed need to submit their final Churchill application packet to us by this deadline. At this time, you'll need to include a signed, original Churchill Foundation application form (both submitted online and in hard copy), all original transcripts, and an original Churchill reference cover sheet and letter from each of your 4 referees (if updated letters were requested). You'll also need to include any updated correspondence with your potential laboratory supervisor at Cambridge. Finally, ensure that your GRE scores are submitted directly to the Winston Churchill Foundation (code #3922). MCAT scores may be substituted for the GRE.
The Final Stages
We electronically submit an official University Endorsement Letter along with your complete application materials (including reference letters) to the Churchill Foundation. We also mail your official transcripts. 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
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 Churchill Foundation has carefully outlined the required format of a Churchill application and supplemental materials. Make sure you follow their explicit guidelines!
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 one 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. Also check out our advice for writing letters of recommendation.
Churchill Website and Application
For official information on the Churchill Scholarship (which supersedes any information provided here), please visit the Churchill website.