Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program

Want to talk over your ideas?  Meet with your departmental representative first. You may also see a Peer Scholarship Advisor.

Congratulations to Goldwater Scholars Lyuba Bolkhovitinov, Bernadette Deschaine, Melissa Guidry, and Honorable Mention Jessica Joyce! Read about them here.

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by Congress in 1986 to honor Senator Barry M. Goldwater, who served his country for 56 years as a soldier and statesman, including 30 years of service in the U.S. Senate. The purpose of the Foundation is to provide a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians, and engineers by awarding scholarships to college students who intend to pursue careers in these fields. Each scholarship covers eligible expenses for undergraduate tuition, fees, books, and room and board, up to a maximum of $7,500 annually.

Highly motivated William and Mary students with outstanding academic records who plan to pursue research careers in mathematics, the natural sciences, or engineering are encouraged to apply for nomination. 

The pre-application is online this year. Create your profile and submit the brief pre-app here by November 1, 2017.

Note: no letters of recommendation are due at this time but you should speak to all of your potential recommenders to be sure they're willing to write for you.

Please read all of the information on the Goldwater site carefully.

Potential applicants should consult with their departmental representative before they begin work on the application. Departmental representatives on the campus Nomination Committee are as follows:

  • Biology: [[mjwawe, Matthew Wawersik]], 221-2237, ISC 2139
  • Chemistry: [[ejharb, Elizabeth Harbron]], 221-2557, ISC 2047
  • Computer Science: Andreas Stathopolous,, 221-3483, McGlothlin-Street 104-B
  • Geology: [[beowen, Brent Owens]], 221-1813, McGlothlin-Street 214
  • Mathematics: [[gyu, Gexin Yu]], 221-2040, Jones Hall 127
  • Physics: [[ixnovi, Irina Novikova]], 221-3693, Small 251

Please see the representative from your department if you have specific questions about your application. You may send them an email by clicking on their names.

The Essay

Your Research Essay is one area of the application where you will be able to demonstrate these characteristics. The strongest Research Essays students submit are based on a prior research project. Your essay should include a description of the issue or problem, a discussion of the research methodology, and discussion of your findings. When writing an essay on a past research experience, it is important that you clearly state what YOUR contributions to the project were and indicate what specific skills/expertise you developed. To demonstrate that you “think like a scientist,” you might, as an example, describe future work your data suggests or work that still needs to be done to complete the current project.

If you have not been involved in a research project, you can develop your Research Essay on a “proposed” research project. In this case, you will want to put forward a possible research problem, discuss an idea for a research project that could have a significant impact on the issue or problem, describe the methodology that you would use and discuss anticipated results. Again, the reviewers will be reading your nomination materials attempting to determine the likelihood that you will pursue a research career. It is again in your interest to work to convince the reviewers that you have the characteristics that are needed to become a research scientist, mathematician or engineer.

Your Research Essay should include appropriate bibliographic information and references.

Research Essay Formatting Guidelines: Your essay may be single or double spaced and use 12 point or larger Arial or Times New Roman font. Margins should be 1inch on all sides. Page length should not exceed 3 pages. Your essay must include your name and the name of your academic institution at the top of each page. Save your Research Essay as a PDF file. Although the upload site accepts JPG and PNG file formats, PDF files are preferred.

Submitting your Research Essay: You are responsible for up-loading your essay to the Goldwater online application. Instructions for uploading your Research Essay will be provided in Application Step 2 – Supporting Documents.

The Process

Please note: these dates replace the "Important Dates" on the Goldwater website

The Goldwater Nomination Committee will review the pre-applications and invite selected applicants to move forward with the process and deadlines listed below:

  • December 15th (Noon)--> Campus Deadline for the complete Goldwater application, with the exception of final transcripts. Please upload all application materials into the Goldwater portal & send a copy of your unofficial transcript to (The Goldwater website contains additional information about all of the components of the application.) Your recommenders should send their letters directly to the Campus Director of National Fellowships, [[llove, Lindsey Love]] (emailed or mailed).
  • January 10th--> Director of National Scholarships will contact all applicants to let them know if they have been selected as campus nominees. The nominees will have two weeks to fine tune their applications and upload their updated transcript into the Goldwater portal.
  • January 25th (5:00 pm)--> Deadline to submit your revised application materials and transcripts to the Goldwater website portal. (This allows the Director of National Fellowships one day to complete the final submission to meet the Jan 26th Goldwater National Deadline.)

The decisions of the Nomination Committee are final.

Final applications must be submitted online to the Goldwater portal no later than Thursday, January 25, 2018.

Read the information on the Goldwater website and the application materials very carefully before you begin to fill them out. Please contact the Director of National Fellowships at if you have general questions about your application or about the Goldwater process.