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The Rhodes Scholarship named after Cecil Rhodesmarker is an international award for study at the University of Oxfordmarker and was the first large-scale programme of international scholarships. Rhodes Scholars may study any full-time postgraduate course offered by the University,whether a taught Master’s programme, a research degree, or a second undergraduate degree (senior status).

In the first instance, the scholarship is awarded for two years. However, it may also be held for one year or three years. Applications for a third year are considered during the course of the second year.

University and College fees are paid by the Rhodes Trustmarker. In addition, Scholars receive a monthly maintenance stipend to cover accommodation and living expenses. Although all scholars become affiliated with a residential college while at Oxford, they also enjoy access to Rhodes Housemarker, an early 20th century mansion with numerous public rooms, gardens, a library, study areas, and other facilities.


The scholarships are administered and awarded by the Rhodes Trust which was established in 1902 under the terms and conditions of the will of Cecil John Rhodesmarker, and funded by his estate. Scholarships have been awarded to applicants annually since 1904 on the basis of academic achievement and strength of character. There have been more than 7,000 Rhodes Scholars since the inception of the Trust. More than 4,000 are still living.

In 1925, the Commonwealth Fund Fellowships (later renamed the Harkness Fellowships) were established to reciprocate the Rhodes Scholarships by enabling British graduates to study in the United States. The Kennedy Scholarship program, created in 1966 as a living memorial to John F. Kennedy, adopts a comparable selection process to the Rhodes Scholarships to allow 10 British post-graduate students per year to study at either Harvardmarker or MITmarker.


Rhodes' legacy specified four standards by which applicants were to be judged:
  • literary and scholastic attainments;
  • energy to use one's talents to the full, as exemplified by fondness for and success in sports;
  • truth, courage, devotion to duty, sympathy for and protection of the weak, kindliness, unselfishness and fellowship;
  • moral force of character and instincts to lead, and to take an interest in one's fellow beings.

This legacy originally provided for scholarships for the British colonies, the United Statesmarker, and Germanymarker. These three were chosen so that " ... a good understanding between England, Germany and the United States of America will secure the peace of the world ... "

Rhodes, who attended Oxford University, chose his alma mater as the site of his great experiment because he believed its residential colleges provided the ideal environment for intellectual contemplation and personal development.

Rhodes' original aim with the Scholarship, and subsequent changes

An early change was the elimination of the scholarships for Germanymarker during World Wars I and II. No German scholars were chosen from 1914 to 1932, nor from 1939 to 1970. Also, between the wars, for political and propaganda reasons Erich Vermehren was prevented by the German government from taking up a Rhodes Scholarship.

Rhodes' bequest was whittled down considerably in the first decades after his death, as various scholarship trustees were forced to pay taxes upon their own deaths. A change occurred in 1929, when an Act of Parliament established a fund separate from the original proceeds of Rhodes' will. This made it possible to expand the number of scholarships. For example, between 1993 and 1995, scholarships were extended to other countries in the European Community.

Because the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 in the United Kingdom did not affect wills, it took another Act of Parliament to change the Rhodes' will to extend selection criteria in 1977 to include women.

For at least its first 75 years, scholars usually studied for a Bachelor of Arts degree. While that remains an option, more recent scholars usually study for an advanced degree.







Australia 9 6
Bermuda 1 1
Canada 11 2
Newfoundland 1 1
Germany 2
Hong Kong
India 6
Jamaica 1 1
Kenya 2
New Zealand 3 1
Pakistan 1
Southern Africa 10 5
USA 32 32
Zambia &
(formerly Rhodesia)



Total 83 52

There were originally 52 scholarships. During the ensuing 100 years, the Trustees added at one time or another approximately another 40 scholarships, though not all have continued. Some of these extended the scheme to Commonwealth countries not mentioned in the Will. A more detailed allocation by region by year can be found at Rhodes Scholarship Allocations. Very brief summaries of some of the terms and conditions can be found on the Trust's web site. Complete details can be obtained from the nominating countries.

Currently, scholars are selected from citizens of 14 specified geographic constituencies, namely: Australia; Bermuda; Canada; Germany; Hong Kong; India; Jamaica & Commonwealth Caribbean; Kenya; New Zealand; Pakistan; Southern Africa (South Africa and neighbours Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia and Swaziland); USA; Zambia; and Zimbabwe.

From 2006, 11 scholarships were suspended for a period of 5 years. The scholarships for Hong Kongmarker were abolished in July 1997 following its withdrawal from the Commonwealth (due to the transfer of sovereignty from the United Kingdom to the People's Republic of Chinamarker). However, with the benefaction from the Lee Hysan Foundation (described by the Rhodes Trust as "substantial and generous" ), the Rhodes Scholarships for Hong Kong were reintroduced in late 2006.

Notable Rhodes Scholarship recipients

A table of notable people who are also Rhodes Scholarship recipients can be found at List of Rhodes Scholars.

See also: Rhodes scholars category

Centenary degrees

In recognition of the centenary of the foundation of the Rhodes Trust in 2003, four scholars were awarded honorary degrees by the University of Oxford:
  • John Brademas (Indiana & Brasenose 1950), President of New York University, U.S. Congressman (Indiana), 1959-1981
  • Robert J. L. Hawke (Western Australia & University 1953), Prime Minister of Australia, 1983-1991
  • Rex Nettleford (Jamaica & Oriel 1957), Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West Indies, author, dance director
  • David R. Woods (Rhodes & University 1963), Vice-Chancellor of Rhodes University

Current trustees

The Trust is governed by a Board of Trustees:

The business of the Trust is administered by the Warden of Rhodes House and Secretary to the Trust, Dr. Don Markwell.

Former trustees

References and notes

In the Oxford University Calendar,the Greek letter rho (\rho) against a name indicates that the person is a former Rhodes Scholar. This symbol should precede the name.

Further reading

  • R.I. Rotberg, The Founder: Cecil Rhodes and the Pursuit of Power (Oxford University Press, New York, 1988)
  • Anthony Kenny (ed.), The History of the Rhodes Trust (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2001)

External links

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