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How to Apply

*** The Kennedy Scholarship competition for 2024-25 is open. See the Call for Applications and apply online (link top right).***

Kennedy Scholarships are awarded annually to UK citizens for postgraduate study at Harvard or MIT.

  • Applications typically open in August and close in October, the year prior to your intended start date at Harvard or MIT.

  • The Kennedy Scholarship application consists of:
    • An online form which asks for some basic information about you and details of your intended Harvard/MIT programme, and includes questions about your educational and professional experience.
    • A personal statement of up to 1000 words, which explains why you want to study at Harvard/MIT as a Kennedy Scholar.
    • Two references, ideally one academic and one professional.

  • If your scholarship application is shortlisted you will also be invited to an interview in London with the Kennedy Trustees.

  • You must apply separately to Harvard and/or MIT for admission to your intended postgraduate programme. This may include taking standardised tests like the GRE, if required for admission to your intended programme.


Please see below for general information on the Kennedy Scholarship competition and application process. For more detailed information, please see our FAQs.

When is the competition for Kennedy Scholarships held?
Kennedy Scholarships are awarded annually. Applications are invited during late summer and early autumn each year, with a deadline usually in October. Scholarships are offered for the following academic year. Scholarship applications should therefore be made in the same application season as an admissions application to Harvard and/or MIT. Please note that these are entirely separate application processes, and candidates should ensure they submit their Harvard/MIT applications separately and according to the relevant deadline for their intended course.

Please see the Call for Applications for specific dates and deadlines for Kennedy Scholarship applications. 

Who is eligible to apply?
Those applying for awards must be all of the following:

  • British citizens;
  • ordinarily resident in the UK;
  • wholly or mainly educated in the UK prior to university;
  • graduates of a UK university (with an undergraduate degree. Please note, eligibility timeframe applies).

See the Call for Applications for full eligibility stipulations. Please note that applications cannot be accepted from those already in the United States, and there is no additional funding for dependents. Potential applicants are welcome to contact the office for advice at any time during the year.

Here is a review of recent application statistics.

What makes a strong application?
A strong application provides a clear academic, professional, and personal context to your application, demonstrates that you have researched your intended Harvard/MIT programme thoroughly, and conveys your future aims and intended impact – such as the ways in which studying at Harvard and MIT as a Kennedy Scholar will help you to have a wider positive impact on society. Please see here for some general advice on applying, and here for specific guidance on crafting your personal statement. Make sure to read the Call for Applications carefully - section 5 in particular highlights the main criteria for evaluating applications. We also have a list of FAQs addressing the application process, eligibility questions, and many other common queries.

How do I apply for a Kennedy Scholarship?
An online application portal will be available on this website when the competition is live. This consists of an application form which should be completed online, and applicants will be asked to submit an essay (which MUST NOT exceed 1,000 words) giving an account of their academic pursuits, general activities and intellectual interests, their reasons for wishing to study in the United States and their choice of course and institution, and their plans for the future. Applicants must also provide contact information for two referees who will be asked to submit letters of references (please note these individuals will only be contacted once an application is submitted). Shortlisted candidates will be invited to interview in January following the closing date, after which provisional awards will be offered. These scholarship offers can only be confirmed if candidates are admitted to Harvard or MIT.

During the competition, you will see an "Apply Online" box in the top right corner of this page. An application can be started by clicking this box and selecting "Kennedy Scholarship".

When might I be notified?
Applicants will be notified of the progress of their application by email, generally between the end of November and mid-December. Since this is close to most of the Harvard and MIT deadlines, applicants should prepare their US application, along with any GREs and subject-specific tests, whilst they wait to hear from the Trust. Mid-December is too late to get everything completed.

Scholar Profiles
Miratul Muqit, 2000

It was a hugely enriching time socially and culturally and one that I will never forget

Miratul Muqit, 2000

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