Call for Applications 2021-2022


***Please note: for current applicants, the Kennedy Memorial Trust is monitoring the COVID-19 situation closely, and may update the details of the 2021-22 Kennedy Scholarship competition as needed.***

Applications for Kennedy Scholarships tenable in 2021-22 will open on 12th August 2020 and close on 21st October 2020. The Call for Applications for 2021-22 can be downloaded here and/or read below. Please contact the Trust office with particular questions. That conversation will be more helpful to you if you have read this document thoroughly and done some research on courses of interest at Harvard and MIT.


In 1965 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.

1.Kennedy Scholarships will be awarded for the academic year 2021-2022 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.

UK-registered Doctoral students are welcome to apply for a Scholarship to support an additional year of research towards their thesis. The Trust particularly welcomes those with links to faculty in the Media Lab and CSAIL, or those working in digital technology and/or policy in other Harvard and MIT schools. Potential Harvard 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 2021 so these US applications can be made after the award interviews in January. However, those wanting to apply to the Kennedy School as non-degree students should note this has the same deadline as a Master's degree].

3.Those applying for awards must be all of the following:
  • British citizens at the time of application (this does not include those with indefinite leave to remain)
  • ordinarily resident in the UK
  • wholly or mainly educated in the UK and (will be) graduates of a UK university

Applications cannot be accepted from those already in the United States.
There is no additional funding for dependents.

4.Graduate applicants must have commenced their undergraduate studies at a UK university no earlier than 1st September 2011 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 2020-2021 are also eligible. [Please note: this is an expanded eligibility window for the 2021-22 scholarship competition].

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 $27,250 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 system will open on Wednesday 12th August 2020.

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 21st October 2020. 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 28th October 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 to London for interview on either Monday 11th or Tuesday 12th January 2021. Interview candidates should ensure they attend in person in London 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, 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.

Scholar Profiles
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