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Call for Applications 2024-25

*** The Kennedy Scholarship competition for 2024-2025 has closed. The 2024-25 Call for Applications is retained below as a guide to future competitions.***

In 1964 a Fund was established in the United Kingdom by public subscription to commemorate President John F. Kennedy. A Memorial was created at Runnymede in perpetuity; and it was resolved that Scholarships to the United States should be offered every year to British Citizens who are graduates of UK Universities. The Scholarships are tenable at Harvard University or the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Scholarships are awarded across the range of academic disciplines. Applicants with a strong public-service ethos are particularly welcomed.

Call for Applications 2024-25
1.Kennedy Scholarships will be awarded for the academic year 2024-2025 at Harvard University and MIT. A Kennedy Scholarship provides full tuition fees, health insurance, and a means-tested bursary for living expenses (see point 7 below) for one academic year. Students who are applying for a two-year Master’s degree will normally secure the necessary funding for second or subsequent years within their institution. Doctoral applicants are expected to accept departmental funding and may receive a contribution to their research costs of up to $20,000, distributed over the first four years of their PhD programme, in addition to the benefits associated with a Kennedy Scholarship and being part of the Kennedy Scholar network.

2.Candidates must, in the same application season as applying for a Kennedy Scholarship, make a separate and independent application for admission direct to their chosen programme at Harvard and/or MIT. See and A Kennedy Scholarship may provide funding but does not carry automatic admission to Harvard or MIT, nor is it associated with particular programmes.

3.UK-registered Doctoral students are welcome to apply for a Scholarship to support an additional year of research towards their thesis. Potential Harvard Griffin GSAS Special Student or Visiting Fellow applicants should consult the following list for eligible programmes of study: [Please note that Special Student/Visiting Fellow deadlines at Harvard GSAS are not until early March 2024 so these US applications can be made after the award interviews in January].

4.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 and (will be) graduates of a UK university
Graduate applicants must have commenced their undergraduate studies at a UK university no earlier than 1st September 2014 and have since graduated with their first degree from a UK universityThose studying for a first degree at a UK university and due to graduate in the academic year 2023-2024 are also eligible.

Applications cannot be accepted from those already in the United States.

There is no additional funding for dependents.

Awards will not be made to postdoctoral candidates wishing to pursue further research in their own field.

5.In awarding Scholarships, the Trustees will take into account candidates' intellectual attainment, ability to express themselves, and a well-researched and argued case for their proposed course of study at Harvard or MIT at this point in their careers. Applicants should make clear why their proposed course in the US is particularly suitable, in light of similar opportunities available in the UK.

Trustees will also look for:
  • originality of mind;
  • commitment to public service;
  • potential to make a mark in public life;
  • ability to overcome adversity.
Candidates who are re-applying should make clear the ways in which this application is different from previous submissions.

6. Scholars will be required to devote most of their time to one of the faculties of the university to which they are admitted. They may be registered on a degree programme or as non-degree or Special Students.

7.A Kennedy Scholarship typically covers the full costs of tuition and health insurance, paid direct to the institution concerned. In addition, Scholars selected at interview may apply for a means-tested bursary of up to $29,000 to cover living costs. Scholars are expected to spend part of their summer vacation in the United States after the end of the academic year and may also apply for an additional grant of $2,500 to pay for vacation travel.

8.Awards are made in the expectation that Scholars will bring the benefits of their American experience back to the United Kingdom.

9.Applications are to be made online at[The application portal is available on this website and will remain open until the deadline].

10.In addition to completing an online form, applicants will be asked to submit an essay (which MUST NOT exceed 1,000 words) giving an account of their academic pursuits and intellectual interests, their general activities, their reasons for their choice of course and institution and their current plans for the future.

11.The closing date for applications will be 23.59 on Wednesday 18th October 2023. [You are advised to submit your application well-ahead of this deadline].

12.Applicants will be asked to give the names and professional email addresses of two referees. The first should ideally have supervised some aspect of the applicant’s academic work at university. The second may be non-academic but should be able to write pertinently in support of the applicant’s choice of programme at this particular stage in their academic and professional career.

13.Both references must be submitted online by 23.59 on Wednesday 25th October 2023 for the application to be accepted. Referees will be contacted automatically but only once the applicant has submitted an application. Please give them enough time to respond before the deadline.
Interviews and Selection
14.Selected applicants will be invited for interview on either Wednesday 10th or Thursday 11th January 2024. These interviews will take place in London, and interview candidates should ensure they attend in person on the date requested. A UK passport will be required to be shown at this time. Those awarded Scholarships will later be asked to provide a medical certificate.

15.Candidates selected to receive Scholarships will be notified by the end of January but confirmation of the award cannot be made until May 2024, when admission to Harvard or MIT has been secured.

16.Please note that it is not possible for the Trustees to provide candidates with comments on unsuccessful applications at any stage of the process.

To download a copy of the Call for Applications, click here.

Scholar Profiles
Keith Glover, 1969

There is no question that the Kennedy Scholarship has had a major impact on my career.

Keith Glover, 1969

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