Rhodes Scholarships NSW
The Rhodes Scholarship programme was established in 1903 and is one of the most prestigious international scholarship programs in the world. Rhodes Trust offer fully-funded scholarships for postgraduate study at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. Each year, there are nine Scholarships available for Australia.
Of the nine scholarships available each year in Australia, each state offers one scholarship that is awarded by a selection committee based in the state. In addition, there are three Australia-at-Large Scholarships awarded by a selection committee based in Canberra.
Applications for Australia open on 1 July 2020 and must be received by midnight, AEST 11 September 2020.
Please note there have been important updates to the eligibility criteria for the 2021 scholarship. Please review the Information for Candidates document.
All applicants must read the Information for Candidates – Australia document (opens an external link) which sets out the eligibility and selection criteria and provides application guidance.
Applying for the Rhodes Scholarship
Grace Henry, Rhodes Scholar-Elect 2020, talks about applying for the Rhodes Scholarship.
[00:00:02] Hi, everyone.
[00:00:03] My name is Grace Henry and I'm the New South Wales 2020 Rhodes Scholar. I've put this video together to share a bit about my experiences in applying for the Rhodes scholarship and also discuss the selection criteria and what you do and don't need in order to apply for the Rhodes scholarship. So I studied a bachelor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at the University of Sydney, and I graduated a few years prior to applying for the Rhodes scholarship last year. I first heard about the Rhodes scholarship growing up with some of our prime ministers obviously being Rhodes scholars, but it never occurred to me as a scholarship that I could apply for or a scholarship that I was eligible for. And it wasn't until I was at university and some of my peers actually said, hey, Grace, you know, I think you should look into this further. And for that, I'm really grateful because I was able to look at the selection criteria many years before I ended up actually applying. And I was able to see that I ticked some of the boxes, but there was definitely a little bit more work I could do to make sure that I was in a good position to apply for the Rhodes scholarship. So as we know, there's four key selection areas for the Rhodes scholarship, there is academic excellence, so that's obviously your university results, and that's really to ensure that you can get into your course at Oxford, it’s obviously incredibly competitive to get a spot at Oxford and they have their own academic requirements. So that's to make sure the Rhodes scholarship is in line with Oxford's academic requirements as well. There is community engagement.
[00:01:56] so that can be volunteering work and community activities that you undertake. There is energy to use one's talents. Now, this is where it gets a bit confusing because this selection point use to actually involve sport. So many of the previous Rhodes scholars have always had to have a sport, whereas this is no longer the case. This is being removed. And energy, to use one's talents, is really just an extra-curricular activity that you've pursued to your full potential. So it could be something like public speaking, debating a musical instrument, humanitarian work you've undertaken.
[00:02:42] maybe you've written a book or anything like that, started a new app and you've been able to demonstrate that you've pursued your full talents in that area. And then there's leadership. So for myself, I found that my leadership also crossed over with some of the other points, in particular the community engagement and energy to use one's talents. So what I actually did with this selection criteria was I printed off my CV and next to each point I marked down the does that tick, you know, community engagement or is this a leadership one? And then I actually reshuffled my CV so that it was under those four headings.
[00:03:31] And from that last year, I was able to see that, yes, in fact, I make all of those four criteria points. And I was able to go into the application process feeling confident in myself in meeting those points. So that's something that I really encourage everyone to do, because, as you know, you don't have to apply for the Rhodes scholarship as soon as you're finishing university. So I actually spent an extra few years working on some of those points and also working on what it was that I wanted to do with the Rhodes Scholarship. And that really benefited me for the next step, which was writing the personal statement, because the personal statement is all about writing who you are, what it is that you do, what it is that you want to do in the future, and how the Rhodes scholarship and the particular courses you've proposed to study will help you along that journey. So, you know, you can do many Google searches and find out more on the personal statement. But personally, I stayed clear of reading any other examples on the internet because the personal statement really has to be your own writing and really depict who you are. You want the selection committee to be able to read that and really get a sense of who you are. And then when you turn up for the interview, you want that then to match your personal statement. The qualities that you've expressed in your personal statement match who you are in real life. So, yeah, I tried to stay clear of looking at examples because I knew that would then skew how I wrote my personal statement. Well, what I did do was I gave it to some family and friends and asked them to read it and provide some feedback.
[00:05:36] And that was really valuable because, you know, your family knows a lot about who you are. And my family were actually able to say, oh, maybe you should, you know, mentioned this point, which you haven't mentioned, because that really, for instance, shaped why you wanted to study engineering or something along those lines. And I was able to incorporate that feedback. But at the end of the day, it has to be your own writing. And it has to be something which really clearly articulates who you are and how you’ll the courses and the Rhodes scholarship to achieve what it is that you're working towards. Another part the selection or the application process is the referees. So you need five referees. And I actually found this quite a stressful part of the application process because the referees have to submit it themselves. They get a link and they will upload it themselves. And so all you have to do here is make sure that you give your referees plenty of time, plenty of warning of the deadline. And for myself, I actually supplied my CV for my academic referees because I've been out of uni for a few years and they probably weren't aware of some of the activities and work that I was doing since leaving university. So I also gave them my CV just said they were aware of what I'd been doing since university. So that's basically it. The three parts the CV, the personal statement and the referees and the big question is, you know, who are the committee looking for? Well, that's the beauty of the Rhodes scholarship, is that there is no set person that they are looking for.
[00:07:33] You can be studying any degree. You can come from any background. You can have any goal that you're working towards. And you can still be eligible for the Rhodes scholarship. So really, don't psych yourself out from applying. I know myself. You know, in earlier years when I was considering it, I thought, no way would I ever get this. When I saw the high profile people who have had it in the past. But please don't psych yourself out for it. If you've done that exercise, you see that you've met most of the selection points, I think, you know, you should definitely give it a go. And the opportunity to go and study at Oxford is incredible. And not only that, you then join the Rhodes’ community, which is incredibly special and unique. So I encourage you to apply if you have any questions, what I found really useful was that each of the universities have a key vocal point. So you might be able to email them and say, look, I'm interested in applying. Do you have any advice? And they might be able to give you some advice or at least a bit of confidence just to go ahead and apply. So I wish you all the best of luck. And, you know, even if you are unsuccessful, it's a very rewarding process to go through to really spend that time thinking about yourself, what it is, your goals and your ambitions and how you’ll get there. That's something that's a really valuable exercise to do, regardless of if you achieve the Rhodes scholarship or not. So all the best.
The information webinar provides information for applicants in 2020 for entry to Oxford in October 2021. Hosted by the NSW Honorary Secretaries on Tuesday 23 June 2020.
- Rhodes Scholarship webinar presentation slides (PDF, 3MB)
- Rhodes Scholarship webinar questions and answers (PDF, 607kB)
Watch the webinar:
OK. Well, good afternoon, everyone. Actually, it's fantastic. I can see there's 155 participants on this cohort, which is great news, very exciting. So my name is Jennifer Martin. I'm a professor of medicine up at Newcastle and I work as a physician at the hospital as well, and a previous Rhodes Scholar from New Zealand 25 or so years ago, where I studied PPE, Politics, Philosophy and Economics. I'm one of the co-secretaries for New South Wales and I work with Associate Professor Tamson Pietsch, who is online there also. And we'll be sharing this presentation.
And we are supported by the secretariat headquarters at UTS and Simone Lehman supports us considerably with administrative and executive functions. And for that, we're eternally grateful. The session today, we're planning to just go through some slides to give you a brief overview of the main questions that people ask us for the Rhodes Scholarship. And then at some time at the end, there are some questions. I'm gonna do the first half of the slide set and I'm happy for people to interrupt as they go, but it may be worth holding your question to the second half in case that question is actually answered.
So Simone and myself and Tamson do run the scholarship for New South Wales but we work in a broader context for the Australian Rhodes Scholarships, and that's led by a union in Canberra. And we also have governance from Rhodes House in Oxford which has overall oversight of the conditions of the scholarship and the credentials have been selected.
So this information session is slightly different to last year. You may already have had access to slides before talking to people who've had slight changes in some of the applicability criteria for people to apply. Tamson and myself have also worked hard with Simone around the state to actually encourage people that weren't traditional people applying for not just the Rhodes but other prestigious scholarships. So we've been doing quite a bit of work at universities, particularly outside of Sydney, and it probably explains why we have, actually, 166 participants now online.
So people often ask me, you know, what is a Rhodes Scholarship? People hear that Bill Clinton was a Rhodes Scholar and some of our own political leaders here in Australia. And I think there's sort of an impression of what a Rhodes Scholar is and what a Rhodes Scholarship is. Essentially, there's quite a bit of background that you can find on the web. In fact, it's actually quite pertinent at the moment with the Black Lives Matter processes going on and some of the protests and some of the academic discussions around that.
So it's actually more on Cecil Rhodes and I think it's been for quite a long time. But essentially, it was established in 1903. It is one of the most prestigious international scholarship programs in the world and it's probably been running one of the longest time as well. It's very people seek it because it's a fully-funded scholarship as well as its prestige is fully funded and very well supported for postgraduate study in Oxford, which is in the UK.
And, each year, we have nine Australian Rhodes Scholars from Australia that are selected to study, but we only select one here from New South Wales.
OK. People have funny ideas about what we're looking for when we select a Rhodes Scholar. I think when, as I mentioned before, people expect that it's something to do with being a political leader, for example, and if you're not that way inclined, then perhaps you shouldn't apply. But actually, that's probably just a small number of scholars that have gone on to take roles in political leadership.
People, until recently, in New Zealand, even said to me, "Oh, I thought that was just for men who played rugby." And I was quite surprised that those sort of ideas were still, you know, talked about quite commonly. So it may be that we haven't had a lot of people that are Rhodes Scholars but not in political leadership positions standing up and talking about what the Rhodes Scholarship has meant for them and how they've used that to deliver the Rhodes legacy in terms of public service in their community. So, really, we look for a variety of things in a Rhodes Scholar but they come down to three or four main criteria.
So it's not based on colour or gender. It's not necessarily based on a prestigious background such as law or playing rugby. Really, it's very broad but also quite specific. And so if I can just go into the specifics for a minute and then I'll give you some examples of… Actually, Simone, can I just go back to that slide before? Thank you.
So the academic achievement and excellence is one of the specifics and you can achieve that in a variety of ways. And Associate Professor Pietsch will talk about those when she talks on that aspect later on. But I think, often, there's misconceptions about whether you actually need to really have a PhD or whether a bachelor's degree is enough, do you have to have achieved high levels of academic achievement right through school or is your overall university score adequate? So there are questions that we're happy to talk about. I think this one, about the courage and skills to lead, I think that is often one that really is quite obvious when you see the people that are selected as Rhodes Scholars.
Obviously, it's a lot of people in the community that have academic achievement and excellence, but I think that's courage and skills to step up when there's a need to serve the public. I think that's really something that really stands out about our scholars. And I'm sorry I'm just having difficulty reading this slide down here, but it's really about...it's an intrinsic motivation to really achieve something that you feel very passionate about or you think is a real need in society.
An example for that might be someone who is very ambitious to improve our refugee situation or someone who's very ambitious to improve the mental health of people in detention, for example. And I just actually forgot number 4 which is down the bottom. Maybe, you know Tamson can just call that one out to me. I'm sorry I'm still having difficulty shrinking my screen here. (CROSSTALK) hopefully, you can all see that. Okay. We're moving on now. I struggled with number 4. Here we go.
People also asked me, because I'm a doctor, I'm a physician in the hospital and an academic, people say to me things like, "Oh, I just assume you did politics and economics over there because that's what all Rhodes scholars do." So, again, I think it's another myth that we probably need to discuss because I think that, you know, going to Oxford, as long as the course is going to enable you to actually achieve the vision that you've set out to achieve, that's an acceptable course to study. So we've got listed here a few of the courses that people that we know have taken up I guess in the past. Yes, it's true most people did politics, philosophy, and economics or a law degree or a DFIL in a science area. But really, there's a lot of courses that are new around environmental science, for example, refugee studies. And then we've got some of the more traditional courses there.
So, really, it's about aligning your course of study to your passion and ensuring that that course will actually give you the skills that you need to be able to contribute your career to a career in public service. Okay. People often also ask, what's it like to live in Oxford? And I think it is worth talking to people if you're thinking about applying for this because, actually, living in Oxford is a little bit different to living in New South Wales and I think it can, for some people, be a bit distressing, not just homesickness but the whole way of learning, which is often very different to the university learning that people have had here in New South Wales.
And I think, in particular, for a campus such as mine, which is the Newcastle, where it's very spread out and there's not really so much of a focus in the university, when people go to Oxford, sometimes, not that we've actually heard some from Newcastle, but from that sort of background, feeling like they're stuck in this centre of the city and it's just a bit claustrophobic for some people. Not for me.
I absolutely loved it, but certainly being aware of what you're going to, the learning environment, the fact that you might not be supervised or have lectures for all of your teaching, etc. I think that can be quite overwhelming for people.
So I think if you're planning to, or considering, applying just to have a look at your course and Oxford and to maybe talk to people who have been there, try and get some understanding of what your course will actually be like so that should you get selected, you'll feel pretty comfortable about what life will actually be like in Oxford. I think there's a couple of points on the slide which are good to highlight. Firstly, we have access to Rhodes House. It's very exciting. Non-Rhodes people don't have access to that. Well, not as easily anyway. And there's a lot of very interesting seminars, forums, and a lot of interesting speakers that come to talk.
Yeah, I think that was an amazing experience for me, I think, especially coming from New Zealand at the time that I hadn't really met a lot of people from around the world. And I think my own understanding of world issues was really quite biased from a small country at the other end of the universe, really, where no one really worry too much about foreign policy because it's such a long way away. But actually, being right there in Europe and hearing people who were coping with issues that I never would have thought I'd have to cope with and leaders, as well, from those countries, it was absolutely fantastic and fascinating.
And I think, at one point, I was even close to not passing a paper because I spent so much time at Rhodes House meeting other Rhodes Scholars, planning how we could save the world, and do amazing things in healthcare, which is my area. But there are also study spaces, libraries, and social events where you'll meet other Rhodes Scholars. And the good thing about that is, similarly, to the discussion earlier when we said that not everybody comes on a strong legal background who's been to this university or that university, potentially, which is what I think I thought when I went there. But, actually, it's a wide variety of people. It's a very diverse group even though we were all selected on similar criteria. People are just very diverse compared to, I guess, the 1960s and 70s which is what we tend to think of when we think of Rhodes Scholars.
So I think that’s, essentially... Did you want to take over from here, Tamson, or? I'm not sure the slides are numbered, but I think I might just do this slide, should I, and then we'll hand over to you. So these are our criteria for... I think, here, it's just a bit... Hopefully, you can all see them. I've got mine a bit cut off but... So there's criteria for applying. So you do have to meet these criteria and they're based on nationality, citizenship, residency, and your age. And these are very difficult to move, these dates and times and places. So, really, it's important that you check that you fit all of these criteria. And if you thinks you might be borderline or not quite sure, it's really important to ask one of us.
And it might not be clear to us either but we can get extra advice to make sure that you actually do meet it. It wouldn't be very good to go through that whole process and then find that you're actually too old or you don't meet the residency criteria, for example. So thank you. So I'm gonna hand over to Associate Professor Pietsch who's going to go through the next suite of slides. And this is very important because this is another area going forward where we get a lot of questions about eligibility. So I hand over now and I'll be there at the end if you've got questions.
Thanks very much, Jenn. And I hope everyone can hear me. I'm Tamson. Great to be talking to you. I noticed just a question in the Q & A from Jamie. Yes, you need to check your birthday against those dates. And if you are going after those dates and they are different depending on whether you've done a double degree or not, then you won't be able to be eligible for the Rhodes Scholarship. But at the end of this session, we'll talk about some of the other scholarship schemes that you might also like to consider that don't have an age restriction. So if you want to stick around for that, you're welcome to.
So these are the academic eligibility criteria. So you remember on the previous side, there was an age criteria, a citizenship criteria. There's also an academic achievement criteria. And so your results must be outstanding as demonstrated by the attainment of Australia Bachelor's degree with or without Honours. So that's AQF levels 8, 7 or 8. And you must have that in hand by the time you would start at Oxford. So no later than June 2021.
So you might, in fact, be doing your third year at the moment. That would make you still eligible to apply. Or you could have a master's degree or you could have one of the international equivalents of these degrees. There might be people who are watching this, probably not now because of the time zone, that are currently eligible to apply in New South Wales but studying abroad at the moment.
Now, the achievement of the GPA all the way to that average mark is really important because this is an indicative grade of the kind of level of marks, not only that you would need to get into Oxford, but the committee will be assessing you on. And I have to emphasise that the Rhodes is a very competitive scholarship. So the level of your attainment will be a factor in your selection. But having said that, it's not the only factor. So we're going to come next to the four selection criteria. So these are the eligibility criteria and we'll come next to the selection criteria.
I do notice some questions but we'll pick them up towards the end. So, Jenn, maybe we could... Sorry, Jenn. Simone, move to the next line. Great. So these are the all-important selection criteria. There are four criteria against which the committee will be assessing your application. One is academic excellence, which we have already noted. Now, if you have, you should absolutely put your GPA or your WAM on your application. In fact, it will require you to enter it in the application form, but also other academic markers of success like any prizes you've won or scholarships. Often, there are deans awards or university medals. These are very important markers of your academic excellence and attainment.
But the three other criteria are crucial. And so we'll spend a little bit more time discussing them. There is the infamous energy criteria. Energy, the terms of the scholarship specify...sorry, if we could go back one...energy to use your talents to the full as demonstrated by mastery in areas such as sport, music, debate, dance, theatre, artistic, pursuits, etc.
Jenn was referring to the kind of perception that everyone must be a rugby player. Sport used to be one of the driving ways that selection committees assess this. But for the last 15, 20 years, that has no longer been the case. And I think it's much more helpful to think about this in terms of extra-curricular activities and also that crucial phrase, mastery. So how do you demonstrate mastery in an extracurricular activity that shows that you have the capacity to use your talents to the full, not just your academic talents? You're not just a mere bookworm as the terms of the will specifies. But you have a broad range of interests.
So that sometimes means thinking a little bit creatively about what you do with your time. And if you have a few years of eligibility left, it might be worth putting some time to thinking about how you might develop some of the interest that you may have had in high school but have let go, perhaps, during your undergraduate studies.
So then if we move on to the third criteria here, the third point, which is described as truth, courage, devotion to duty, sympathy for and protection of the weak, etc, I think this is useful to think of in terms of community service. So how have you demonstrated that public service function that is so crucial to the selection of Rhodes Scholars?
This might be through, I don't know, becoming a leader of scouts or membership of a religious organisation or any number of kind of community activities. It's important that you are able to articulate what your services and why and also the selection form. The application form will require you list how many hours a week you contribute and over what duration. The school is not really interested in sort of a fly by night interest thing that's really episodic. They want a sense of what your values and commitments are.
And then the fourth criteria is really the leadership criteria, the moral force of character slate and to take an interest in your fellow human beings. And this is perhaps a little bit of amorphous. It's obviously can be demonstrated through election to positions of office by your peers or by others. But I think it also involves recognising or seeing that there is a need in a particular area and then initiating something that addresses that need.
And that, you know, sometimes people found organisations but sometimes they also join existing organisations and institute change within them. And, I think, thinking through both election to roles but also events or initiatives that you have put in place. And so examples is an important way to think through how you might answer that particular question.
So if we move on to the next slide, thanks, Simone. So this is the personal statement and the CV. There are two parts here. Let's say on the CV. There are two parts to the application. Actually, there's three. There's the CV that you will have to submit, there's a personal statement you'll have to submit, and there's an online form that you'll have to complete. And then there's also a set of referees you'll have to ask to come in to speak on your behalf.
So the CV is worth thinking about because I think sometimes we receive applications where students are submitting a CV that they've clearly used for job applications. And that's not the most useful way you can represent yourself for this scholarship. So my strong advice is to structure your CV according to these four selection criteria. So use the headings, and I suggest, one, is academic achievements. That's pretty self-explanatory. Second is extra-curricular activity. Third, community service. And fourth, leadership. And you can do them in whichever order seems to make more sense to you.
But then, under those headings, you can place the activities and list your achievements as you normally would with the dates and with the hours that seem most relevant. And that will give you the best chance to make yourself and your achievements understood to the selection committee. Then we move to the personal statement which, I forget, is about two or three pages. I forget actually how long it is. It might be a word count, but it's a considerable amount of space. And the notes to guidance which are available under Rhodes House application website which we can give you in a second are very clear. They specify these are the three things that should appear in your personal statement. You should address your general interests and activities, what inspires you, and what your passions are. And that's really important. The Committee want a sense of you and what is driving you. They want a sense of your aims and priorities and what you hope to do with your future and how you hope to contribute to the world, which are two different questions, really.
And they also want to know how Oxford fits into that picture, how a study at Oxford fits into that picture.
So if we move now to the next slide which addresses the personal statement... I think there's another slides, Simone, which is about your leadership vision. Yes, thank you. So it's important that you are able, in your personal statement, to articulate your vision of leadership and service and why that's important. So why should this opportunity, that is the Rhodes Scholarship, be given to you. And that's what your personal statement needs to address.
So I think it's important and helpful for you to ask yourself these questions. What is one of the challenges facing our world that you care about? And now, that can be a challenge that's a local one. It could be one which is rating on a global scale or at a national one. Doesn't matter. Usually, they move between all levels.
Why is that important? Why is that a major concern for all of us? And then how will you be part of the approach that helps address that challenge? So what's your vision for tackling it? So you need to be able to both articulate why that issue is important and also say what you have to contribute to it? Why a new approach, for example, is needed. And then why should you... What in your life today, your career, your academics, your extracurricular activity shows that this is already something you're invested in, that this is something that you're committed to? Why should you be the person that the committee trusts? Yeah?
And then, finally, why is Oxford, why study at Oxford, an important part of that story of helping you, enabling you to meet that challenge in the way that you've laid out? So that's the kind of overall leadership vision that the committee is gonna want to see in your application. And if we go back now to the slide before, people often come to me and I say, "I don't know how to begin. Like, that all feels very amorphous and I feel like I just don't even know how to open this this statement."
And what I think is, perhaps, useful is to think about what the turning point in your life was or how you came to be committed to that particular issue. Sometimes it was a light bulb moment, sometimes it was an experience on study abroad. Sometimes it's something that is deeply embedded in a kind of family culture. Sometimes it's something that hit you at university and you met somebody or something like that.
So that's a nice little story. It gives the community a sense of who you are and it lets you begin telling them about that broader picture, but also about you, personally, how that is iterated in your own life. So I might just look at the questions here while we move on to the next slide. These are largely about eligibility, which we will come to.
But I noticed that Grace Henry is here, and Grace is the New South Wales scholar elect for 2020. She's waiting to go to Oxford. Hello, Grace, thanks for joining us. Do you wanna say a little bit about who you are, what your background is, how you came to the scholarship and any advice you might have for the application? And, you know, those of you who are participating and have a question for Grace, particularly, I'm sure she'd be happy to answer.
Yeah, sure. Hi everyone. Just check you can hear me, Tamson. Yep, perfect. Yeah, so my name is Grace. I was in your shoes this time last year considering applying for the Rhodes Scholarship. And it's definitely a bit of an overwhelming experience when you start looking into the history of it and the applications, but I think don't let that face you. Go in there with a little bit of confidence and back yourself if you've done that exercise of looking at all the different criteria points.
So a bit about myself. I studied Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Sydney, and I have a real passion for the energy industry, but it actually took a few years of me going through university and then working in industry to really work out where it was that I felt that I could make a difference where it was that I saw specific courses at Oxford helping me along that that way.
So I didn't apply straight out of university, I applied two years after university. And this year, fingers crossed, if I can leave the country, I'll be going off to study a Master of Energy Systems, which is a new course at Oxford. It's one year, quite unique. It only has 20 people in the cohort. So it's quite a tight-knit group. And then after that, I'm leaving a few doors open. So I'm thinking of, potentially, the one year Master of Public Policy. Not that I want to get into politics but that I've seen so much of Australia's issues with the energy industry to come down to energy policy.
So I feel that gaining experience in that area will help me greatly. But, also, the unique thing is once you get over there, you know, doors can open up and you can get funding from different areas and so forth. So, now, I'm actually looking at potentially studying a day field under a previous Australian Rhodes Scholar, actually, who's a professor there now. He does work in energy, economics, and policy and the transition to net-zero emissions.
So, yeah, that's a bit about myself. I think the biggest thing that helped me was really spending quite a lot of time thinking about what it is that I stood for and how I thought that I could make a difference in how the Rhodes Scholarship and those particular courses would help me on that journey. So happy to answer any more specific questions at the end.
Grace, do you have any tips for people starting out with their applications, specifically. Like, how did you go about that blank page issue?
Yeah. So it's funny how you mentioned, you know, try and think of a turning point, and that's how I basically started it. Because when I was in high school, I went on a soccer trip to China and that trip just changed my whole career direction and where I wanted to devote time in my life because I saw the huge population over there and the demands for energy and resources and the air quality and so forth. So I really just tried to paint that image.
And I think... Yeah, how did you start? Really, just try and spend that time reflecting, you know, why did you go down and study the undergraduate course that you did? Why is it that you participate in those extracurricular activities? What makes you drive? What makes you want to pursue this particular area further? And then, hopefully, it will become quite natural to write it on paper. But spend that time, initially, working that out yourself. For me, that took years, really. And then, once you get to that confidence stage, then, yeah, put it to paper.
Thanks so much, Grace. If you've got questions for Grace, put them in the Q & A. We're nearly coming to questions. I think the next slide, Simone, lists the process. So...
Applications are open and they will close on 11 September. And then interviews would take place in October, those dates are listed on the website that will circulate on shortly. But it's also worth bearing in mind that as Jen mentioned, that there are nine scholarships available for Australia. There are six for States. So New South Wales is one of them.
And then there are three, actually there are seven for States, and then there are three available for app called the Australia large round. And those are available to direct application from residents of the Northern Territory and the ACT, but each of the selecting States. So each of those seven States also has the option of sending on to Canberra two people that they think were not successful at the state round, but are really, really good candidates.
And New South Wales, you know, usually sends two students on and they often do very well at Australia at large. And that's obviously because our population is a lot bigger. So there are, it's a sort of way of ending up, of equating the fairness component here. And that's where the December date is relevant because those second round applications in Canberra happening in December. And then there are only then once you have the scholarship in hand, do you actually go through the Oxford application process.
So admission to Oxford is a separate process and you will have been awarded the scholarship by then. No one can take it away from you. And you will be helped through that application process by Rhodes House and by the Rhodes Australia leadership. So you don't really need to worry about that at this point, but you do need to think through if you're applying for, or a degree or particularly a DPhil, you need to make sure that you show the committee that you meet the application requirements of Oxford. And that is why that the marks threshold is so important.
So, I know there's a lot of questions about those marks and we'll get to them very soon. And then only in September 2021, do you arrive in Oxford? The academic year in the Northern Hemisphere starts in September, so it's then that you will arrive. So this is a sort of Geelong process, really if you're successful.
So if we move to the next slide, Simone, the one that's, yeah, right. So I mentioned earlier that there are some other scholarship opportunities. Now the Rhodes has this age cut off, and it's also got the energy criteria. And that's one of the reasons it's a very specific kind of scholarship, but these three programs use, the other three criteria are very similar and they're worth thinking about. So if you find yourself just cut off from the aid because of the age or sometimes you think actually there's a program in a different institution that is better suited to you.
Sir John Monash Scholarships are open at the moment. They work with very, very, very similar selection criteria in terms of leadership and academic attainment and community service. And they enable you to go to any institution. So they're absolutely worth looking at, and all of the advice I've given you probably applies to them as well. The Fulbright are slightly different, that takes you to the United States. But again the Fulbright is copied on the Rhodes.
So there's a lot of similarities and the Schwartzman scholarships to take you to China. And these are all really been inspired by the kind of Rhodes scholarships. So there's opportunities here. If you don't meet the criteria or if you think that perhaps there's some other opportunities that you'd like to shoot for, to really go to the websites of these scholarship programs.
And then if we go to the next slide, there is, so this is a crucial slide for you all and I think we'll pop up these links in the chat function as opposed to the Q and A. But there are three bits of information from this slide that I really want you to absorb. One is that every university has a network advisor. And if you Google Rhodes apply you will find the page that lists them. You'll also find the notes for guidance for applicants, which you absolutely must read. That should be your Bible in constructing your application. And contact your network advisor.
Their job is to help you think through some of these questions if you've got questions about eligibility that aren't answered today you can obviously email us. That's one of those three bits of advice and our names are there. As is the general inquiries email address, but your network advisor can really talk you through those things. You can talk through the application with them. You can talk through little aspects of your own particular story. And they are familiar with the eligibility criteria, selection criteria, and are an incredibly useful resource.
Second is that Rhodes New South Wales website. Now that has links to everything, we'll have a little video from Grace giving you advice onto how to write your personal statement. Thank you, Grace. It will have a copy of this presentation if you wanna go back and think through again, anything we've said, we'll have some suggestions for your personal statement writing. And it's got a million facts, which is questions that other people have asked before. And some of them are pretty tricky because there's lots of different, you know, permutations of how you might construct your degree.
And it's very worth looking using that site as your reference point. It will also give you a link to the application documents and give you the dates for the interviews, write it down and consult it. And then there's Professor Jen Martin and myself we're available to kind of talk to you on a one to one basis, but also answer any questions and you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. So, I think now, Jen, unless you have anything else you want to say we might move to the questions.
Oh, that sounds good. I've been typing away trying to answer them. I've only done nine out of 18. (LAUGHS) But perhaps the ones that haven't been answered which are mainly on age, date, and the GPA questions are common ones. They're sort of on theme. I thought maybe we could talk through those ones. Can you see the ones that I've done there?
I can't see the ones you have answered. So maybe just mention. Why don't you pose the questions for me?
OK, I just see, here is the one. So, are you able to give us more information on the age, date, restrictions, if you did a dual degree? And the other dual degree question that I think it was a couple asking if you had to get to the GPA of well the GPA or WHAM for each degree? Would you choose the best one, I think is what they meant?
So, if you have a double degree, this document is available on the Rhodes House websites called information for candidates, go check it out. So if you have a double degree, you must not have reached your 27th birthday. And so you must've been born after 1 October, 1993. So you can be under 27 by then. So you're getting a sort of extra two years. Now a double degree is one of those instances in which you've finished your degree later than usual. There may be some other situations in which you've finished your first degree later than usual. And that's up to the discretion of the national secretary to determine your eligibility.
So, you feel that you meet that criteria. So, you've had a child you've entered study later than for a family reason, probably not gonna be a gap year, that's probably not gonna be judged as sufficient reason, but if there's a personal circumstance, that means that you think some special consideration should be given to you, then it's up to the national to reject it, that's not general or that's the national secretary to make a judgment. So if you feel that you meet that criteria, get in touch with us. But that provision is mostly for those that have done a double degree. Was there another question about the wham and the GPA? How much is that weighted? Is that all had to be for both degrees?
Great, and then there's question saying if one was better than the other, I can't actually find the questionnaire. Yeah. Oh, someone has not made the 80 when cut off, they've got over 75 but they're on track to get a first class honours. How would academic achievements be considered? There is a couple of those, yes.
I mean, again, there are two elements to this. There's one, what determines your eligibility to apply? So, 'cause we will weed out those that don't make the eligibility criteria before they even go to the committee. And then there's a second question. What makes your application competitive? What means you're likely to get an interview? So, if you have a GPA of above what was it, 6.7 or around above 80 in one of your degrees, that makes you eligible. If you are on track to get a first class honours, that also makes you eligible. You know, you would need your referees to predict your mark. So we'd need some evidence. In fact, they're asked to do that in the form they have to fill out. So, that would be an important component of how you would evidence that claim. And it may be that if you are on track to get a first class honours this year, and you still have an extra year to apply that next year is a stronger, you're in a stronger position next year to apply than you would, when you have your grade in hand than you would be this year.
So, you know, think through what your strategy is there. So that's what makes you eligible. What makes you competitive will be that you have either a really good story about why you did really, really well, and one part of your degree and not so great in the other, or that you've got evidence of strong improvement and academic excellence, because may you know, there are eight, max 10 people who are interviewed in the first round of interviews. And you gonna wanna be competitive with those people. And they may have, you know, like there are four criteria. So if your marks are perhaps teetering on the edge of what you might consider a competitive but your energy, you know, your extracurricular and your community service criteria are out of this ballpark, you've founded a start-up. That's, you know, made a lot of new widgets that are fixing out of diagnostics in rural Australia. I just made that up.
That might mean that, you know, the committee will weigh those criteria against each other. So you have to think about this alongside other parts of your application. But it's entry to Oxford is competitive. It's particularly competitive in some disciplines. So if you are applying in law, your marks have to be great because getting into the BCL is really hard and the committee knows that. So there are, you need to think through those aspects. And that's why talking to your network advisors is very important. If you think that your situation is perhaps not totally clear cut.
I think that's good. And in fact, there's a few questions that are similar to that. So it's not, they're just trying to distinguish this issue of whether you're eligible to apply versus what you be the one person out of just say, 50 applications that come through. And that relates to the questions that have come up about for young people, when they finish university, you could actually, you probably have a few years in which to apply, but you might be more competitive after you finish honours, as opposed to, after you finish a three year Arts or Science degree. I mean, you can still apply, but the more that you've got, the more on your track record, the more competitive you are in that setting.
And there's other questions that have come up a few around, are there courses that are not attractive to Oxford. That wasn't the wording, I'm sorry, but things like people who've got an undergrad in Veterinary Science or an Arts and Design my answer to those, some of them are responded to others is it doesn't, it gave me don't discriminate the scholarship doesn't discriminate and what course you've done. It's really whether it's your marks and then where they're going to Oxford will provide you the skills to actually be able to deliver your public service or whatever else you're planning to deliver with it.
So people might go, might be a Veterinary Scientist, and undertake DPhil in Oxford or undertake something around Environmental Economics and come back and be guidance in Australia on the agricultural industry or policy, something like that. Anyway, so there's no discrimination on your course, it's really on your marks have to cut it really. And they also have to, you have to have a clear link with the program you're doing in Oxford and how that will help you deliver your career and your agenda in the public area.
And I think I'm related slightly related to that. Thanks, Jen. Two questions about people who have started their PhD's already. If you've started a PhD program in Australia already, you might be just beginning or coming towards the end of it, but you're absolutely eligible to apply. That might be to continue the same subject of your research or to do something different. As Jen said, you might go back and do PPA like a master's program or condensed undergraduate program in something that will enable you to develop that story. But, it's important to remember that the scholarship is not deferrable. So you won't be able to, you'll have to suspend your Australian studies and you'll have to begin to complete a different degree abroad in the United Kingdom.
So, I think you've got to think very carefully there about what your story is and why it matters for you to do another PhD or for you to do another degree. If you're nearing the end of your PhD. I know people who have, were halfway through a Physics degree in Australia and went to Britain and was successful at Rhodes applications and did another PhD at Oxford. And that was part of a story about why that was necessary to make the contribution they wanted to make. So the eligibility, again, you're absolutely eligible, but think through why that's important and why a committee should invest in you to do that.
That's good. Thank you, Chancellor. There's quite a few questions in that vein as well about people who have started a PhD or can apply, yeah. So thank you for answering that.
Tamson, I was just gonna see if you could just answer the question about which state to apply if someone started their undergrad, perhaps in one state and ended up doing an Honours year in New South Wales.
Yup, I think Grace was sort of a little bit in this position. Weren’t you, Grace?
Yeah, so I live in WA but because I never did my high school or university in WA, I had to apply for New South Wales. So I think the advice is that if you're eligible for two, for instance, if I did my high school in New South Wales and my university in WA, then apply for the state in which you feel made the biggest contribution. But second to that, I would also consider you know, if I had the option between WA and New South Wales, I would have been going for WA. (LAUGHS) So, if you have more than one option.
I think Grace says that because there is a numbers element, there's just, there's a many universities in New South Wales and that means that you're competing against more people. But in other respects, she is totally spot on where have you made the most contribution? Where does your story make most sense? Are the selection committee gonna understand the references to the community service that you'll be providing as part of your track record? And I think there may have been a question here about high school as well.
Probably those people that have done university here but high school overseas.
Yeah, I think the document says you must have two years of the last ten that you've been resident or two years of your schooling in the last ten must've been done in Australia. So that could be your undergraduate degree or it could be your secondary schooling. There was a question I think right at the start about mastery and I think that's worth, I don't know if you answered that, Jen, but...
I could not understand it, sorry. So thanks for bringing that one up.
That I mean, the terms of those sentences come straight from a will that was written in 1903. So they do require a bit of translating, but what is it to attain mastery? It's to be good at something. And I don't know, there are many ways to demonstrate that. Obviously exams is one way or a kind of level of sporting achievement is another, but what if you're orienteer perhaps, you know, and there's no kind of divisional. It's not like a sport, a sporting competition in which there is the state division and a national division. So what is it to win those competitions? How can you kind of be bettering your score, I guess, what is your level of commitment to how much time do you spend doing that. There's kind of ways to demonstrate mastery, but if there is an element of skill and attainment in that as well, so say you're in an orchestra you know, or Indian dance.
One of my favourite applicants from last year had been doing Indian dance for 15 years and the level of time and commitment, and also sheer physicality required to do that at the level that she was, was extraordinary. And it was not something that when we met, she thought of as a kind of extracurricular activity, was so much a part of her cultural and her family life that it was, she just kind of put it aside. But it met all of those criteria around the extracurricular activity and it absolutely demonstrated mastery. Somebody else had been doing calligraphy as part of, again for 15 years as part of their kind of artistic and cultural practice. And again, the level at which they were doing that, that remember of a National Calligraphy Association I think met all those criteria.
But so there's no cut and dry answer to this question but I think it is useful to think say of what it would mean in a sporting context or a musical context and to think about how you can demonstrate those kinds of thresholds of time commitment but also competency and attainment when you're talking about the various pursuits, OK.
Tamson, there's just a few questions there about who's on the selection panel and how the interview process runs. That might be something that a few people would want to know the answer to.
Thank you. I've just written an answer to them, but essentially it's a mix of people from different backgrounds and careers. So, I think one immigrant, maybe one Indigenous diverse views from public industry prove it. I think we've done quite a bit of work over the last few years to make sure it's representative of New South Wales now and also into the future. And people that often have had a public service role, there's three Rhodes scholars on that committee as well. And so I think probably the most diverse committee that I've ever been involved in. And yeah, I think that's great. It really speaks to the diversity that we have in New South Wales.
Yeah, if you are successful and you make it to interview, you'll be told the committee members in advance. There is a two stage process. One stage interview where all the candidates interviewed. There's traditionally been a dinner at government house. The committee has been hosted by the governor of New South Wales and then an interview the following day. And then usually four people make it through to the second round of the interviews. And a second interview is held. There is some question about whether this has to happen online this year, but I wouldn't worry about any of that at the moment, because it's not really a question unless you get that far. And also the answers are kind of revolving as the health situation moves.
There has been some questions too. I've just picked up about GRA and that's a really important one to pick up, I think because yeah, historically group of eight universities have dominated New South Wales and University of Sydney have absolutely dominated not just those who were selected, but those who were shortlisted.
And as Jen said at the start, we've been on a massive drive to widen the applicant pool. And I have to say the committee is very interested in people that come from all kinds of university backgrounds and the selection committee, the selection criteria had been widened specifically to enable pathways for people that might not have had a traditional entry into university. And I really encourage you to apply and not to think that there's any kind of hidden criteria because there really isn't and if anything, there's a desire to see great candidates from lots of different backgrounds.
And that's also why we're putting up those other scholarship programs, because there's a lot of work upon for Rhodes. But once you've done that work, you can also put those applications towards those other programs. And in fact, we've had, I think the last two years I've been writing this, we've had New South Wales people that made the shortlist of the Rhodes, win the Monash scholarships. So it sets, the interview process sets you up like extremely well for those other scholarship opportunities as well. Yeah?
Oh, there's a similar one from Asha here. Can I continue, or do you I?
No, you go.
It is just in line with what you're saying this question here, so the panel doesn't tend to have conservative sort of people? I remember an SMH article that said the panel of Tony Abbott had Roden Cutler and Dyson Heydon, from what I can remember. Look, I went through a panel like that in 1992, and the only woman was actually the Governor General of New Zealand. So she, that was actually fascinating. And I came from a state school and everyone had been from a private school and played rugby for the All Blacks and all the rest. And like, she had no idea what I was doing really, but at the end of it, I asked how they thought I went.
And the Governor General said, I was a breath of fresh air, and I've never forgotten it because I think that's the sort of thing that we can get from people that aren't polished. You can see the potential that's there, yet what the Rhodes Scholarship will actually do or provide people with opportunities that haven't had to actually use their innate leadership skills and their innate qualities to actually be a really good leader back in the public service.
And certainly Tamson and I have worked pretty hard, I think, to try and make the scholarship panels or the selection panel much more diverse and representative of the state, but also to make visits also out to the regional universities. And often we need to have a bit more of a hand for people at the regional sites like Newcastle, for example, and Wollongong, because people haven't come from a background where they're used to putting themselves forward. And Tamson more than me is actually being really helpful in getting network advisors in each of the universities to actually work with people early. So I think, you know, reach out to your network advisor and try and start making sure that you've got all the help and the privilege that you can get to get your scholarship application looking as good as it can, because if you haven't come for a more prestigious background, it's harder to get yourself up to that level on your own and really just reach out to the support that you've got to make sure that your application is really competitive.
Yep, and if you are fortunate enough to make it to the interview stage, then they can also help you do mock interviews and prepare for the aspects of the interview as can we. But there's also a question here about what the fully funded aspect of the scholarship means in practice. And yeah, so the scholarship will cover your fees. It will cover your college.
So at Oxford, you enter the university and you have to pay university fees, but you'll also have to live and be attached to a college. So that involves college fees as well and often that comes with residents in the college. So that's a kind of rent. And then it gives you a daily stipend on top of that or not a daily stipend, kind of, just a set, you get paid every month, I think a monthly stipend. So it covers your living expenses, your rent and accommodation and your university fees. So it's, it's very generous really.
And if you are married or have a partner, it also I mean, you don't get extra money, but they get visa status so they can work in the UK. And there there's many colleges that have couple’s accommodation. So, theirs that might determine which college you decide to pick, but that's a problem for after you're awarded the scholarship, not at this stage, I would say. And there's some really good FAQ questions on that Rhode New South Wales website which will answer all of those questions about what it pays for and what it doesn't.
There's a question about the referees. So you name, yeah, five referees, three of them, academic referees, I believe. And I think here don't be swayed and try and pick the highest profile person you know, pick someone who knows you very well and can write a very honest reference for you. And also pick someone who's reliable because, you know, they need to submit it by the date. And because you have five referees, you know, maybe try and pick five diverse referees. Someone who might be able to talk about, you know, your leadership in a certain area, or someone who can talk about some of the community work you've done, or whatever it is.
Thanks, Grace. Yeah, no, totally and you're doing three academic referees. And what they will be asked to do in the form that they have to submit is say where you sit in your academic cohort. So if you are worrying, I guess, or interested in thinking through what that academic criteria means for you in practice, it might be worth talking to some of the people that you're thinking about asking to be referees and ask them where they would put you in your cohort. And if it's not the top 5%, then I think that's a pretty good indication that you might not be as competitive as your grades might suggest. So do, you know, talk to your referees before you ask them, send them a random email and that will help them, right. The best case they can for you. OK, is there any other questions?
The timings, just are we still going? It’s 3:10, I don’t want to keep people. 112.
Yeah, look maybe it is time to draw this to a close. We're available to address questions at that email address. Do you shoot them through, if I will look through the list and answer any that we haven't answered today in live and measure that website address has been put in the chat, oh, no in the chat function. So take a note of that and give it your best shot. I think my final parting advice and Jen might have some of her own is that it's completely worth writing. It takes time.
It's a lot of work, but it's often a reflective process that will be a really rewarding thing to do in itself because it makes you at a particular moment in your career, sit down and say, what is it I care about? What is it I've put my time towards, what do I wanna put my time towards? What are the things that really matter? And how do I wanna set the direction for my life and contribution? And that's a pretty worthwhile conversation to have at any point in your life, but particularly at this point.
I have nothing to add. Thank you.
Thank you, everyone. And thank you particularly to Grace, who's Zoomed in. We wish you all the best in Oxford, Grace.
No worries. Thanks, everyone, and good luck to everyone applying. Make sure you back yourself and don't let the intimidation step in.
Wonderful Grace, thank you.
Oh, and I think there's just a last, last entry there. The PowerPoint will also go up on the Rhodes New South Wales website. So you can have this, all of these resources will be there.
Yeah and I think we've tried to get most of the areas here, but if we haven't answered some of the questions or not satisfactorily, can you just maybe email us and we'll have another go. But I think it looks like we've got through most of the major ones. Maybe not the specific ones for people, goodness, OK. Thank you.
OK, thank you, everyone.
Due to COVID-19 the interviews for the 2021 scholarship may be held by video conference. This will be confirmed closer to the date depending on the COVID-19 environment.
The interview dates for the 2021 NSW Scholarship selection round will be held on:
- Monday 26 October - evening dinner with the selection committee and candidates
- Tuesday 27 October - interviews day one
- Wednesday 28 October – interviews day two
If you have been shorted listed to attend the dinner and interviews you will be notified by Thursday 15 October 2020. Please note that you need to be available to attend the selection events in person.
Alternatively if you have any questions about the scholarships please contact your university Network Advisor or the NSW State Secretaries.
Please also visit the FAQ which may be helpful in the first instance with answering some of your questions.
Frequently asked questions
What expenses does the scholarship cover?
Living expenses (including rent, college fees and a stipend) and international student fees for two years (minimum) with an option to extend for a third year.
I will be just over the age limit by a matter of days, can I apply?
No, the age limit is set by the Rhodes Trustees, and it is not negotiable.
Can I defer the Rhodes Scholarship?
I am married, can I apply?
Married applicants are most welcome.
Can I study part time on a Rhodes Scholarship?
No. If the applicant has a disability, please speak with the National Secretary.
What do I upload as proof of secondary schooling?
Please upload your senior secondary certificate.
Which state should I apply to if I completed school and a first degree in one state, and then a subsequent degree in another state?
This is a matter of choice. You must consider where you think your contributions have been strongest.
I was homeschooled and I do not have a formal record of a senior secondary certificate? What should I do?
Homeschooled applicants should contact the National Secretary in order to make an assessment of Eligibility. This is done on the basis of your track record in the highest level of study.
How should I structure my application?
Organise your CV against the selection criteria of the Rhodes Scholarships. This is stated in the Candidates – Australia document (opens an external link). Also outlined below.
- Academic excellence – specific academic requirements can be found under ‘Eligibility Criteria’ below (Academic Achievements)
- Energy to use your talents to the full (Extra-curricular activities) - as demonstrated by mastery in areas such as sports, music, debate, dance, theatre, and artistic pursuits, including where teamwork is involved.
- Truth, courage, devotion to duty, sympathy for and protection of the weak, kindliness, unselfishness and fellowship (Community Service)
- Moral force of character and instincts to lead, and to take an interest in your fellow human beings (Leadership) – either leadership positions or examples of initiatives the candidate has led.
Personal statement. The notes for guidance advise that in their personal statements a candidate should:
- Address your general interests and activities. What inspires you? What are your passions?
- Discuss your aims and priorities and the contributions you have made and hope to make to the world and/or your local community.
- Tell us your reasons for wishing to study at the University of Oxford, which course / courses you would wish to pursue and why.
The second component (2) is an important one.
- What is one of the big challenges facing our society either local or on a global level that you think is really important and that you want to help address in your career?
- How is the Rhodes scholarship going to be part of enabling you to address this challenge through your career? Why should you be the one given this opportunity?
If you are struggling, think about a meaningful event that set you on your pathway - this is often a good way to open your personal statement:
- What is the turning point in your life?
- What is a time when you look back and decided that you were passionate about this challenge facing society?
What assistance can my Network Advisor or the State Secretaries provide with writing my personal statement?
Members of the team are welcome to give verbal advice on the nature of the personal statement in general terms, and are welcome to refer applicants to this resource on the Rhodes House website.
Members of the team are not permitted to read or edit statements. Please be wary of private sites that offer advice on personal statements as most of these sites provide unhelpful and formulaic advice.
Can a friend or family member be a referee for me?
This is not recommended. Referees should be as senior as possible, and they should know the applicant. Academic referees should be academics who have formally taught and graded you, or supervised or examined you. If you are worried about whether an academic staff member knows you well enough to provide a reference, it is best to request a meeting with the referee.
Do I need to attend the selection interview in person?
Yes you need to attend the interview in person and phone interviews are not permitted. The only allowance that will be taken into consideration is if the applicant is on active military service and is not cleared for release to travel, or if the applicant is researching or working on remote Australian territories such as Antarctica or Macquarie Island for which there are no commercial flights.
I am an interjuristictional candidate, is there any financial support to fly to Australia, Sydney for the interviews?
Interjuristictional candidates are responsible for covering their own costs to travel to Sydney for the interviews.
Some courses require an undergraduate degree with Honours, which I understand is often inbuilt into degrees in the UK. Is Honours at an Australian university the equivalent requirement, or will an undergraduate degree without Honours would suffice?
Specific entry requirements vary, and there is usually some flexibility about prior qualifications. Applicants with an Australian Pass degree (ie an ordinary Bachelors degree without honours) may be considered if their results are very strong, typically HD or WAM > 80% average. A lesser average is likely to mean the application is uncompetitive, and an Honours degree will be an advantage. As Oxford’s Graduate Admissions page states:
“Oxford’s graduate admissions process is very competitive. This means that you're unlikely to be offered a place if your qualifications are below the minimum entry requirements for your course, and meeting the minimum entry requirements doesn't necessarily mean you will be offered a place.”
Find out more about the Oxford entry requirements for overseas students.
If you have a question about a specific degree programme, please contact your state secretary.
I do not have Honours, am I still eligible?
Yes you are eligible to apply as long as you have completed an Australian Bachelor’s degree, with or without Honours (AQF level 8 or 7) / Graduate Certificate / Graduate Diploma (AQF Level 8) or Masters (AQF Level 9) at the appropriate level of achievement, by no later than 14 June 2020. 30 June 2021. Indicatively achievement of a GPA of at least 6.75 / 7, Weighted Average Mark of 80%, or equivalent, in your degree(s).
I am eligible to apply but will not have my results at the time of application, can I still apply?
You can apply and will need to have a GPA of at least 6.75/7 or equivalent in your undergraduate degree. Any fails on a transcript will make admission into Oxford University extremely difficult. You should ask your academic referees to provide a detailed assessment of your academic qualifications, commenting on your relative academic standing in comparison with other students on the same course and other measures of your expected results. There is detailed information on this in the Guidance for Referees document.
I am currently studying in the UK / USA and my results will not be available until late June 2019. Can I still apply?
You are eligible to apply as long as you will complete a course at international equivalent to Honours / Graduate Certificate / Graduate Diploma (AQF Level 9) at the appropriate level of achievement, by no later than 14 June 2020. In cases like this, please refer to the National Secretary, who can assess with Rhodes House whether grades can be transferred in time for Oxford deadlines.
I am studying a Doctor of Medicine (MD or MChd) and grades are not awarded. Am I eligible to apply?
Students enrolled in Australian Qualifications Framework level 9E degrees (eg the JD, the MD) are eligible to apply. Referees should be selected that are able to comment on your standing within the year’s cohort. For more detailed advice please contact the National Secretary.
I am applying for a DPhil, do I need to submit a thesis proposal?
Yes, in addition to the personal statement please also submit a 2-page statement with the following headings:
- Summary: 100-word description of the area of research and why you are interested in it, for readers from all backgrounds;
- Background or context: account of the area of research and the area or problem you would like to investigate;
- Methodology: what kind of research approach or approaches you will use to explore the problem or area; and
- Value: value of the project for you personally, for academics, and the wider community
- Proposed department and potential supervisors
I am applying for a Masters and the Department I want to study with has asked for a longer thesis proposal than that requested by Rhodes, what do I do?
Please conform to the word length, and upload in the CV section of the form.
My aim is to study a Masters program at Oxford, however I am wondering if there is an opportunity to expand that goal to include a DPhil or MBA afterwards should I be accepted, or whether this needs to be made explicit during the application and interview process?
Rhodes will cover two years of funding with the possibility of an additional third year of funding. It is common for student to undertake a masters and then go on to a PhD combining Rhodes and other funding.
I have heard that the BCL is hard to get into. What should I do?
No, Oxford program is easy to get into, but the BCL is challenging. You may like to discuss this with your Network Advisor or seek advice from your State Secretary.
Can I study the MBA and then MPP?
This study pattern is not recommended for workload reasons. There are plenty of other Masters options so please talk with your Network advisor or the State Secretary.
Can I study the MPP?
You can indicate on your application that you would like to apply for the Master of Public Policy. If you are successful, Rhodes House and the National Secretary will work with you to ensure that you get the best fit for programs as possible.
Do I use my honours GPA, or my Bachelor degree GPA, or my weighted average mark (WAM) in my application?
You are required to use your overall GPA as this is what Oxford will look at.
I don’t have a passport and getting a copy of a birth certificate costs money.
You will need to obtain a copy of your birth certificate. The National Secretary is discussing the cost of documents with Rhodes House.
Can I add my referees to the Embark online application system one at a time or do all referees need to be added at once.
You can add your referees as each referee confirms that they would like to provide a written reference in support of your application.
Does Rhodes have a preferred Oxford College?
No, Rhodes likes to see scholars at all colleges which offer the course that the student is interested in taking.
Are there any programmes that are not supported?
Rhodes House will not support the combination of the MPP-MBA or MPP-MFE; the four year accelerated graduate entry program in Medicine; part-time study, Kellogg programs or Oxford continuing education programs; or four year doctoral training centre programs.
If I am studying at Oxford and I get the coronavirus will I have access to the NHS.
Student visa-holders are entitled to the same NHS benefits as U.K. citizens. Rhodes house pay a £300 health fee for each overseas student to give them full and equal access to the NHS.