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.
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:
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.