Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program at Stanford University

Website: Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program


The Knight-Hennessy Scholars program will annually identify a group of up to 100 high-achieving students from around the world with demonstrated leadership and civic commitment to receive full funding to pursue a wide-ranging graduate education at Stanford, with the goal of developing a new generation of global leaders. The Knight-Hennessy Scholars is the largest fully endowed scholars program in the world.

As a Knight-Hennessy Scholar you will develop both the depth and range of subject expertise to confront the numerous grand challenges and opportunities of the future. You will be part of a unique community of change agents from a diverse range of backgrounds. This is a community that will support you, motivate you, and hold you accountable for achieving your goals even when the odds of success seem likely against you.


What We're Seeking in a Scholar

If you remember only one thing from this admission section, please remember this: to be selected as a Knight-Hennessy Scholar, you must apply separately to the Stanford graduate degree program you wish to pursue in addition to the Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program. We can't select you as a Knight-Hennessy Scholar if the department doesn't admit you (though the department may admit you even if you're not selected as a Knight-Hennessy Scholar).

You should check each department's website for a sense of what it seeks in candidates. For Knight-Hennessy Scholars, we look primarily at three areas:

1. Independence of Thought

  • First-step mental sharpness
  • Seeks out knowledge and new experiences
  • Full of original ideas
  • Makes sense of ambiguous situations
  • Can hold a contrarian or dissenting point of view

2. Purposeful Leadership

  • Ambitious, in the best sense of the word
  • Driven to improve self
  • Willing to take risks
  • Self-aware
  • Persists and bounces back from adversity

3. Civic Mindset

  • Personally humble and kind
  • Inclusive
  • Respects differences
  • Concerned for and helpful to others
  • Low ego

Where we find evidence of these criteria is throughout your application materials and, if you are selected as a finalist, at Immersion Weekend. We look forward to getting to know you, what you have done, your influences, ideals, hopes, and dreams.



Please review complete eligibility criteria at

There are two baseline eligibility requirements. 

  1. First, in addition to applying to Knight-Hennessy Scholars, you must apply to, be accepted by, and enroll in a full-time Stanford graduate degree program. Each incoming Knight-Hennessy Scholar must be a newly enrolling student in a Stanford graduate program including, but not limited to, DMA, JD, MA, MBA, MD, MFA, MPP, MS, or PhD programs. There are no quotas by discipline or program. Note that we will give priority consideration to those who will spend at least two years studying at Stanford. 
  2. Second, you must have earned, in January 2015 or later, a U.S. bachelor’s degree or its equivalent from a college or university of recognized standing.


To apply to join the cohort in: You  must have earned a bachelor’s degree by:
2022 January 2015 or later
2023 January 2016 or later
2024 January 2017 or later


For applicants who served in the military, we extend the eligibility window by two years in acknowledgement of longer service commitments. 

Student Type
  • junior
  • senior
  • graduate
Citizen Type
  • US Citizen
  • Permanent Resident
  • International or Other Visa Status
  • Undocumented

The application for enrollment in fall 2022 will open in August 2021.

Please find complete application requirements and information at

Application requires:

  • The online application for admission (including personal and academic information, etc.)
  • Unofficial transcripts
  • Standardized test scores: The Knight-Hennessy Scholars program follows the practices of your graduate degree program: if your graduate degree program does not require standardized tests, then neither does the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program. 
  • One-page resume/CV
  • Two recommendation letters
  • One essay
  • Three short answer responses

On a rolling basis in January, we will invite up to 500 applicants to submit a required video.

Finalists are invited to Stanford for Immersion Weekend, which will be evaluative and informative.

Applicants for the Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program must also apply separately to the specific Stanford graduate degree program that you want to pursue, meeting those individual program deadlines and requirements.

Selection criteria for the Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program are detailed at, along with additional guidance, tips and advice.

Contact Information

UW undergraduate students and alumni applying for the Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program should connect with us for advice, feedback on application materials, additional guidance and information!

UW-Seattle undergrads & bachelor's alums, contact Robin Chang, Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships & Awards,, 206-543-2603, MGH 171

UW-Bothell students, contact Kimberly Wilson, UWB Career Services,, 425-352-5306, UW1-160

UW-Tacoma students, contact Cindy Schaarschmidt, Student Fellowships & Study Abroad,, 253-692-4358