Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship

Website: Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship


The Goldwater Scholarship Program, one of the oldest and most sought after undergraduate scholarship in the natural sciences, engineering and mathematics in the United States, seeks to identify and support college sophomores and juniors who show exceptional promise of becoming this Nation’s next generation of research leaders in these fields.

The characteristics the Foundation seeks in a Goldwater Scholar include:

  • effective display of intellectual intensity in the sciences, mathematics and engineering, and
  • strong commitment to a research career in the natural sciences, mathematics and engineering,
  • potential for a significant future contribution to research in his/her chosen field.

Scholarships of up to $7,500 a year are provided to help cover costs associated with tuition, mandatory fees, books, room and board. A sophomore who receives a Goldwater Scholarship will receive up to $7,500 in each of their junior and senior years. A junior who receives a Goldwater Scholarship will receive up to $7,500 in their senior year.

Accredited 2- and 4-year academic institutions that have identified a Goldwater Campus Representative with the Foundation may nominate up to six (6) students annually (at least one of the six must be a transfer student, and one of the six must be a veteran). No direct student applications or nominations by campuses without a Goldwater Campus Representative will be considered.

  1. Be a full-time matriculated sophomore or junior pursuing a degree at an accredited 2- or 4-year institution of higher education during the 2023-2024 academic year. 
  2. Intend to pursue a research career in a natural science, mathematics or engineering,**
  3. Have a college grade point average of at least a 3.00 on a 4.00 scale.
  4. Be a U.S. citizen; a U.S. national; or a permanent resident.

** The natural sciences, engineering and mathematics fields and sub-fields used by the Goldwater Foundation to determine eligibility are those used by the National Science Foundation for its Graduate Research Fellowship Program. These include: Chemistry, Computer and Information Sciences and Engineering, Engineering, Geosciences, Life Sciences, Materials Research, Mathematical Sciences, Physics and Astronomy, and Psychology. To view a field’s sub-fields, visit

While research in medicine is not supported by the National Science Foundation, students interested in pursuing careers in medicine are eligible for a Goldwater Scholarship IF MEDICAL RESEARCH IS A CENTRAL PART OF THE STUDENT’S CAREER GOALS.

Not sure if you're eligible? Consider these FAQs:

Student Type
  • sophomore
  • junior
Citizen Type
  • US Citizen
  • Permanent Resident

Students must be nominated to compete for the Goldwater Scholarship. UW is authorized to nominate six candidates to the national competition, and we conduct an internal UW application and nominee selection process each fall.  For best results, interested students should begin preparing during summer.  Questions can be directed to Chetana Acharya in the Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships & Awards, and are encouraged to attend one of the Autumn 2023 Goldwater Scholarship Information Sessions.

2023-2024 Campus Nomination Procedures

To apply for UW nomination for the Goldwater Scholarship, please complete and submit the UW internal online application form (opens in September 2023).

This application will request short responses regarding your academic and professional aspirations, and will allow you to upload the following materials. Please start by reviewing the Goldwater Foundation's guidance and tips for applicants, even at this UW application stage. This will be very helpful to you as you plan what to write and submit!

A. Research Essay: Keep in mind that the individuals who will be reviewing your application, both at the campus level and at the national level if nominated, will be  evaluating the likelihood that you will pursue a research career in the natural sciences, mathematics or engineering. Therefore, your responses should help the reviewers understand that you have the appropriate background, experience, skills, temperament, and interest to pursue a long-term career in research. This does not mean, for example, that you should simply state that you have the temperament but that you should demonstrate through your work that this is the case.

  • ESSAY CONTENT: Your Research Essay is one area of the application where you will be able to demonstrate these characteristics. The strongest Research Essays students submit are based on a prior or current research experience. A Research Essay should include a description of the issue or problem, a discussion of the research methodology, and a discussion of the student’s findings. It is very important that the essay detail a student’s specific contributions to the project and indicate the specific skills/expertise the student developed as a result of participation in the project. To demonstrate that a student “thinks like a scientist,” the essay might, as an example, describe future work the experimental data suggests or describe an entirely new work that is based on the skills and insights the student learned from the experience.
  • If a student has not been involved in a research project, the student can develop a Research Essay on a “proposed” research project that might, for example, be based on an independent investigation of theory or on a topic of interest in the student’s field. A research problem should be put forward, an idea for a research protocol that would address the problem should be presented, methodology should be discussed, and anticipated results described. Linking the project to the skills the student has acquired through coursework or other work would be helpful to the reviewers.
  • Research Essay Formatting Guidelines: The Research Essay should include appropriate bibliographic information and references. Research Essays should be single spaced and use 12 point or larger Arial font. Margins should be 1 inch on all sides. Page length, including bibliographic information and references, must not exceed 3 pages. The Research Essay must include the applicant’s name and the name of the nominating institution in the header at the top of each page. Single or double column format may be used. As appropriate, utilize graphs, tables, and figures in the essay to explain results or to provide interpretation that lead to next steps. Figure and caption options may use 10 point Arial font. Save your Research Essay as a PDF file.

B. Curriculum Vitae (CV): While your CV should be brief and concise, please also be sure to include brief descriptions of those research, work, volunteer, internship, leadership and other experiences and skills you include, so the readers can get a sense of their importance to you. CVs can be as long as needed to include these details. If this is the first time you’re crafting your CV, the Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships & Awards has some brief introduction and guidance material on building your CV. The UW Career and Internship Center offers CV and Resume examples here.

In listing research experiences on your CV, please include all of these details:

  • start and end dates of your involvement;
  • hours per week spent on the project;
  • the name(s) of your PI or supervisor;
  • the purpose of the research and brief description of your role;
  • any products of the work (publications, presentations, etc.)

C. Transcript: The UW online application system will automatically include your UW transcript. If you have earned credits at other colleges or universities, please include unofficial transcripts from those schools. Do not include high school transcripts.

D. Three Recommendation Letters: Each of the three references should be an individual who knows your strengths and weaknesses well, particularly those who know your research strengths and weaknesses. Those who have served as faculty mentors for your research project are are often the most important references. Letters can also come from faculty or post-docs who may not have served as your research mentor but have interacted with or observed some aspect of your research work. Additionally, letters from faculty who know you from science, math or engineering classes, particularly those who can relate course materials to your research career interests or who can comment on your research aspirations, are appropriate letter writers.  Application tips are available at

UW Nominee Selection Process:

A UW faculty selection committee will review all completed application materials and five finalists will be selected for nomination to the national competition. Campus nominee selection will be based on:

  1. Strength of the applicant's academic work especially in their field.
  2. Applicant's engagement in coursework, research, internships and other experiences demonstrating progress toward their stated goals.
  3. History of research activities demonstrating increased challenges and greater levels of independence.
  4. Research Essay demonstrates depth of understanding of the project and its significance to field, science and to themselves as a researcher.
  5. Potential to become a successful research scientist, mathematician or engineer who will make a significant contribution to research in their field (evidenced by demonstrations of motivation, creative thought, stamina and the ability to collaborate that are characteristics of those successfully practicing in these areas).

The selected campus nominees will be notified around early December. The six nominees will then have additional time to continue revising, preparing, and submit applications materials for the Goldwater Scholarship national deadline, which is the last Friday in January by 5pm Central. National results are announced by the last Friday in March.


The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by Congress in 1986 to honor Senator Barry M. Goldwater, who served his country for 56 years as a soldier and statesman, including 30 years of service in the U.S. Senate.

The purpose of the Foundation is to provide a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians, and engineers by awarding scholarships to college students who intend to pursue careers in these fields.

Contact Information

UW Seattle applicants are welcome to contact: Chetana Acharya at the Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships & Awards; 

UW Tacoma applicants are welcome to contact: Office of Global Affairs,;

UW Bothell applicants are welcome to contact: Office of Connected Learning, or Scholarships