Prospectus for 2019 - 2020

Applications for Kennedy Scholarships tenable in 2020 - 21 will open on 12th August 2019.   The Prospectus for 2019 - 20 can be downloaded here and/or read below.  It will be updated ahead of the next application season so please use this text as a guide only.  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 regarding course options of interest at Harvard and MIT.

In 1965 a Fund was set up 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 United Kingdom graduates.  The Scholarships are tenable at Harvard or the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Expanded window for those with professional experience since graduating

As the 50th anniversary of the Memorial Trust approached, the Trustees expanded the Scholarships to include not only recent graduates but also some who have gained a few years of experience outside academia and would now benefit from a course of study at Harvard or MIT.  All candidates continue to be selected according to the criteria outlined in paragraph 5 of the Prospectus.  Please see paragraph 4 of the Prospectus for the window since graduation.

Master's Programmes at Harvard

The majority of Master's Programmes offered by the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences at Harvard are integral to the doctoral programme and cannot be taken as free-standing programmes. An unofficial summary of one- and two-year Master's programmes offered by the various graduate schools may be downloaded here.   Please visit the individual school websites for fully up-to-date and accurate information.

Master's Programmes at MIT

There is a wide-range of one- and two-year Master's programmes offered by the various departments at MIT. An unofficial summary of MIT Schools & Master's programmes may be downloaded here.   Please visit the individual departmental websites for fully up-to-date and accurate information.

1.Kennedy Scholarships, tenable for one year, will be awarded for the academic year 2019-2020 at Harvard University and MIT. Students who are applying for two-year Master's or PhD programmes will normally secure the necessary funding for second or subsequent years within their institution.

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 provides funding but does not carry automatic admission to Harvard or MIT, nor is it associated with particular programmes. Please note that Special Student deadlines at Harvard GSAS are not until early March 2019 so these US applications can be made after the award interviews in January.

Those applying to doctoral programmes at Harvard and MIT are welcome to apply for the additional benefits of being part of the Kennedy Scholar network. Further, UK-registered doctoral students are welcome to apply for an additional year of research as part of their doctorate. 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: 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;
  • ordinarily resident in the UK;
  • wholly or mainly educated in the UK.

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

4.Those studying for a first degree at a UK university and due to graduate in the academic year 2018-19 are eligible.

Graduate applicants must have spent at least two of the seven years prior to 1st September 2019 studying as an undergraduate at a UK university, taking their first degree not earlier than 2014.

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 consideration candidates’ intellectual attainment, readiness and 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. It should be noted that Kennedy Scholars typically have a First Class degree. Trustees may also look for:
  • originality of mind;
  • commitment to public service;
  • potential to make a mark in public life;
  • ability to overcome adversity.
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 may study as a Special Student/non-degree student.
7.A Kennedy Scholarship 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 $26,000 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 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   These will open on Monday 13th August 2018.
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 24th October 2018.  You are advised to submit your application well-ahead of this deadline.
12.Applicants will be asked to give 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 familiar with the applicant’s performance at university and afterwards. 
13.Both references must be submitted online by 23.59 on Wednesday 31st 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 7th or Tuesday 8th January 2019.  Interview candidates should ensure their attendance in person in London on the date requested.  A UK passport will be required 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
Peter Macpherson, 2004
"The Kennedy Memorial Trust's ideals of global equity and promotion of relationships between..."
Peter Macpherson, 2004