Beinecke Scholarships

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Read about 2015 Beinecke Scholar Matt Abel and 2011 Beinecke Scholar Adam Lerner!

The Beinecke Scholarships are for the graduate education of young men and women of exceptional promise. The program seeks to encourage and enable highly motivated students to pursue opportunities available to them and to be courageous in the selection of a graduate course of study in the arts, humanities and social sciences. Since 1975 the program has selected more than 500 college juniors from more than 100 different undergraduate institutions for support during graduate study at any accredited university.

Each scholar receives $4,000 immediately prior to entering graduate school and an additional $30,000 while attending graduate school. There are no geographic restrictions on the use of the scholarship, and recipients are allowed to supplement the award with other scholarships, assistantships and research grants. Scholars are encouraged to begin graduated study as soon as possible following graduation from college, and must utilize all of the funding within five years of completion of undergraduate studies.

To be eligible for consideration for the W&M nomination, applicants must

  • Have demonstrated superior standards of intellectual ability, scholastic achievement and personal promise during his or her undergraduate career. An excellent GPA is required for consideration.
  • Be a college junior pursuing a bachelor's degree during the 2018-2019 academic year. "Junior" means a student who plans to continue full-time undergraduate study and who expects to receive a baccalaureate degree between December 2019 and August 2020.
  • Plan to enter a master's or doctoral program in the arts, humanities or social sciences. Students in the social sciences who plan to pursue graduate study in neuroscience should not apply for a Beinecke Scholarship.
  • Be a United States citizen or a United States national from American Samoa or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
  • Have a documented history of receiving need-based financial aid during his or her undergraduate years. Primary evidence of meeting this criterion is a student's history of receiving need-based institutional, state or federal grants-in-aid. An institutional financial aid officer will be required to complete a Financial Data Sheet certifying that the student meets this criterion. During the selection process, the amount of financial need will be one of the factors considered with preference being given to candidates for whom the awarding of a scholarship would significantly increase the likelihood of the student’s being able to attend graduate school.
2018 William & Mary Nomination Process

Candidates for the W&M nomination must submit the original and two copies of the following items to the Charles Center by the 12 noon Monday, February 5, 2018 deadline:

  1. financial data sheet (pdf) completed by a financial aid officer certifying that the applicants qualifies for need-based financial aid
  2. application form (pdf)
  3. a current resume (2 pages maximum)
  4. a personal statement of 1,000 words or less from the nominee describing his or her background, interests, plans for graduate study and career aspirations. The statement should include a discussion of some experiences and ideas that have shaped those interests, plans and aspirations
  5. one official W&M transcript that includes spring 2018 course registration + official transcripts from any study abroad / away (if applicable)

In addition, applicants must submit three letters of recommendation from faculty members that assess the nominee’s intellectual curiosity, character and potential for advanced graduate study. Letters must be signed and on letterhead. Applicants should submit the letters (in sealed envelopes signed across the seal) to the Director of National Fellowships with the rest of their application materials.  One copy of these letters is sufficient.

Meet with your recommenders to discuss the Beinecke Scholarship and your motivation for applying and to provide them with a copy of your resume and a draft of your statement.

Finally, applicants must have at least one consultation with a Charles Center Peer Scholarship Advisor to discuss the personal statement.  

Next Steps: If you are endorsemed by the campus selection committee, you will have time to upade your application before the campus representative submits your application to Beinecke.

As stated above, Beinecke Scholar receives a total of $34,000 in support of his or her graduate education. The initial payment of $4,000 is awarded directly to the student prior to entering graduate school. This award is intended to offset the costs associated with the graduate application process and to pay for travel expenses directly related to the start of graduated school. While in graduate school, a Beinecke Scholar will receive an additional $30,000 in support. These funds are awarded as a supplement to support provided by the graduate school and the award may be spread over up to five years to comply with institutional limits on the total amount of a student's annual award. In the absence of institutional support or limits, scholars may receive a maximum award of $15,000 per year. These funds are sent directly to the financial aid officer of the institution where the student is enrolled and disbursed in accordance with the scholarship policy of the academic institution. In addition, the following policies apply to the award:

  • A scholar must be attending an accredited graduate school as a full-time student in good academic standing in order to receive funding. 
  • A scholar must utilize all funding within five years of graduation.
  • A scholar is allowed to take a one-year leave of absence immediately following graduation, but is normally expected to enter graduate school and begin receipt of the Beinecke funding in the following year. A scholar who receives a National Science Foundation, Marshall, Fulbright, Rhodes or similar scholarship is allowed to postpone receipt of the Beinecke award until the student has completed study under those programs. However, a scholar is still expected to utilize the Beinecke funding within the five-year period following graduation.
  • A scholar who is unsuccessful in gaining admission to graduate school may petition the program director for permission to defer funding for an additional year.

Contact the Director of National Fellowships at with any questions.