Churchill Scholarship

Website: The Winston Churchill Foundation


The Winston Churchill Foundation Scholarships provide funding to American students for a year of Master’s study in science, mathematics, and engineering at the University of Cambridge, based at Churchill College. The Scholarship was set up at the request of Sir Winston Churchill in order to fulfill his vision of US-UK scientific exchange with the goal of advancing science and technology on both sides of the Atlantic, helping to ensure our future prosperity and security.

Many Churchill Scholars describe their year in Cambridge as the best year of their lives. What makes this program so unique?

  • It provides an opportunity for independent research (often leading to publications) that Churchill Scholars will not find again until well into their PhD programs
  • The environment is well balanced between academic work, social life, and extracurriculars
  • Churchill Scholars form friendships with their future colleagues from around the world
  • Churchill is the only college at Cambridge (or Oxford, for that matter) that is focused on STEM subjects

Fifteen Churchill Scholarships, tenable for nine or twelve months, depending on the academic program, are offered annually.

The Churchill Scholarship is worth around $65,000, depending on the exchange rate. The award covers tuition, roundtrip airfare to the UK, visa fees and health surcharge, and a stipend that is set 5% higher than the UK Research Council standard. Recipients are eligible to apply for a $4,000 special research grant. 

Married students should consult with the Foundation about additional support in accordance with the guidelines of the University of Cambridge.


An applicant for the Churchill Scholarship must be a citizen of the United States, either native born or naturalized, and must be a senior who is enrolled in one of the institutions participating in the Scholarship Program or a student who has graduated from one of those institutions within the past 12 months. Upon taking up the Churchill Scholarship, a Churchill Scholar must hold a bachelor's degree or an equivalent, and may not have attained a doctorate.

The criteria for the selection of Churchill Scholars include:

Outstanding academic achievement, especially in the major, as indicated by course grades. The Foundation does not require a minimum GPA, but recent Churchill Scholars have had a GPA of at least 3.7 and usually have 3.9 or above.

Proven talent in research and a capacity to contribute to the advancement of knowledge in the sciences, engineering, or mathematics by pursuing original, creative work at an advanced level as demonstrated by awards, prizes, research, and letters of recommendation. Applicants in the sciences and engineering will demonstrate extensive laboratory experience, internships, or other related work, while applicants in mathematics will show substantial independent work or other projects.

Outstanding personal qualities. Understanding the time commitment required by research, the Churchill Foundation does not seek so-called “well rounded” applicants; instead, it seeks applicants with what we call interesting “jagged edges.” Nonetheless, it should be noted that successful applicants display a bewildering array of talents activities outside of academic pursuits, especially in music, athletics, social service, among other activities.

The Winston Churchill Foundation of the United States is committed to a policy against discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, gender, marital or parental status, race, color, religion, national origin, or disability or any other characteristic protected by law.

Student Type
  • junior
  • senior
Citizen Type
  • US Citizen

Whether you've made any firm decisions about applying, which universities/grad programs you're interested in, or are just getting started exploring, let us know you're considering UK options. Connect with Robin Chang in the UW Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships & Awards.

What is the nomination requirement?

Students/alumni must be nominated by the University of Washington to compete for the Churchill Scholarship. UW has a spring campus application process to identify its nominees, and uses this one application process to select nominees for the Marshall, Rhodes, Mitchell and Churchill scholarships. Interested applicants can apply for any or all of the scholarships within that group that are relevant to their goals for study and/or research at universities in the UK. The Gates Cambridge Scholarship does not require university nomination, but we include it in the campus application as well to provide support to students applying.

After the campus application deadline, a campus selection committee composed of UW faculty and staff members will review applications and determine which applicants can be nominated for each scholarship, based on each applicant's potential competitiveness and fit for the rigorous national and international selection processes, and considering each individual scholarship's criteria and mission. Interviews may be included in that campus selection process. Those students/alumni able to be nominated for any of these scholarships will receive support and guidance in completing the official program applications throughout the summer, in preparation to meet the final program deadlines in early fall.

How do I apply for UW nomination?

The UW application for nomination will open on March 14, 2024 for those hoping to start graduate studies at Cambridge in fall 2025. Apply here!

To be considered as part of the 2024-2025 nomination (which would assume a fall 2025 start date for graduate studies in the UK), students should submit the UW Campus Nomination Application (when it becomes available in spring) to the Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships & Awards by the campus deadline.

Details and Guidance:

Interested students and alumni should contact the Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships & Awards and obtain information describing the campus screening process. For best results, interested students should begin preparing early, prior to the campus application deadline. Learn more about the Churchill Scholarship at To learn about the degree options available at Cambridge, check the Cambridge Graduate Admissions information at

Please note that this is a long process. Nominees are identified in the spring, work on their final application for the national Churchill competition over the spring and summer, to meet the fall national application deadline, and if selected, would start their studies at Cambridge the following fall. So planning and applying 1.5 years in advance of when you want to start your studies at Cambridge is necessary!

Applicants and nominees for the Churchill, Marshall, Mitchell, Rhodes, and Gates Cambridge scholarships should take advantage of OMSFA’s Global Fellowships Prep to get advising support, connection to additional scholarship opportunities supporting their goals, application development tools and resources, potential connections to program alumni and additional mentors, and the opportunity to engage with peers working on similar applications.

Campus application materials include: (additional guidance on these components is available through the Global Fellowships Prep resources)

  • Basic biographical and educational information, including your proposed graduate program(s) in the UK
  • 2 letters of recommendation:
    • At least one letter must be from a faculty member who has taught you, which addresses intellectual curiosity, academic potential, preparation and potential for success in the proposed graduate program(s), and character.
    • At least one of your recommenders should also be able to speak in support of your extra-curricular, experiential learning (including research), and/or leadership experiences, how you have demonstrated motivation and potential with respect to community, campus leadership, research and/or public service.
  • A list of 2-6 additional supporters, at least 2-3 must be faculty from whom you have received instruction.
  • Personal Statement Essay (max 1,000 words). Please use this essay to reflect on your intellectual development and experiences that have contributed to shaping or clarifying your trajectory.
  • Why UK/Ireland and Your Proposed Studies Essay (max 500 words): Provide your ideas at this early stage about the UK or Irish graduate program(s) you hope to do, sharing reasons for these choices and preferred universities. 
  • Leadership Essay (max 500 words): Reflect on one leadership experience you've taken on. How did this experience challenge you to leverage your courage of conviction, persistence, determination, energy and/or creativity in the pursuit a goal? What was your role in bringing about an outcome (or multiple outcomes) in this work?
  • Resume/CV
  • Unofficial transcripts.

Please note that not every scholarship this campus application covers is looking for the same qualities and experiences from candidates. So approach all parts of the application as opportunities to share information about yourself in various areas. But don't be dissuaded from applying if you are stronger, or have more to write about, in one area than another! For the Churchill Scholarship in particular, research experiences are central in the review process. If you have less to discuss for the other essays, don't let that discourage you from applying! Share any relevant experience you do have for each essay. The selection committee might see something you don't and suggest you consider additional scholarships you hadn't thought about.

Please also note that the official Churchill Scholarship application is very different from the UW campus application. Our campus application at this stage does not mirror the applications nominees will ultimately submit to any of these national competitions.


As the establishment of a new college in Cambridge was becoming a reality, Sir Winston Churchill met with American friends to ask them to create a mechanism for young American to study at the college. Among those friends was Lewis W. Douglas, a graduate of Amherst College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who served as the U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain from 1947 to 1950.  Carl Gilbert, chairman of the Gillette Company, was the first chairman of the Foundation.

The first Churchill Scholarships, three in number, were awarded in 1963 and funded one year of study.  Shortly thereafter the Scholarships were available either for one-year programs or for doctoral studies at Cambridge.  In the early 1980's the Foundation decided to support only one-year programs in order to increase the number of Churchill Scholars.  In its early years the Foundation also made small travel grants to Churchill Fellows, distinguished senior faculty who would spend one year at the College.  Eight of the Churchill Fellows won the Nobel Prize.

The Winston Churchill Foundation currently awards fourteen Scholarships.  The one-year awards lead to the Masters of Philosophy (MPhil), the Certificate of Post-Graduate Study (CPGS in different fields), the Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS in theoretical or applied mathematics), and a Diploma (in Computer Science).

Contact Information

Robin Chang

Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships & Awards
171 Mary Gates Hall
Box 352803 Seattle, WA 98195-2803
Phone: 206-543-4282
Fax: 206-616-4389

Winston Churchill Foundation Scholarship website: