Marshall Scholarships

What is a Marshall Scholarship?

Marshall Scholarships finance young Americans of high ability to study for a degree in the United Kingdom. Up to forty Scholars are selected each year to study at graduate level at an UK institution in any field of study.

As future leaders, with a lasting understanding of British society, Marshall Scholars strengthen the enduring relationship between the British and American peoples, their governments and their institutions. Marshall Scholars are talented, independent and wide-ranging, and their time as Scholars enhances their intellectual and personal growth. Their direct engagement with Britain through its best academic programmes contributes to their ultimate personal success

The objectives of the Marshall Scholarships are to enable intellectually distinguished young Americans, their country's future leaders, to study in the UK; to help Scholars gain an understanding and appreciation of contemporary Britain; to contribute to the advancement of knowledge in science, technology, the humanities and social sciences and the creative arts at Britain's centres of academic excellence; to motivate Scholars to act as ambassadors from the USA to the UK and vice versa throughout their lives thus strengthening British American understanding; to promote the personal and academic fulfillment of each Scholar.

William & Mary's most recent Marshall Scholar is Judd Kennedy '08.

What does it take?

Applicants must be U.S. citizens. They must hold an undergraduate degree by the time they take up their Scholarship and have graduated from their undergraduate college or university after April 2015. Applicants must have a grade point average of not less than 3.7 and must not have studied for, or hold a degree or degree-equivalent qualification from a British University. (Studying abroad does not count.)

Before completing the application candidates are advised to consider the objectives of the Marshall Scholarship Programme (see opening paragraph of the Rules for Candidates) and to be aware that the selection committees are seeking candidates who have the potential to excel as scholars, leaders and as contributors to improved UK-US understanding. Marshall selection criteria can be found here.

A Marshall Scholar must possess a keen intellect and a broad outlook. Selectors will look for distinction of intellect and character; preference will be given to candidates who combine high academic ability with the capacity to play an active part in the life of the UK university they attend, and to those who display a potential to make a significant contribution to their own society. Strong motivation and seriousness of purpose is also important. Applicants currently attending William and Mary must be endorsed by the College.

Do your homework: choosing a university

General information on studying in the UK, undergraduate and postgraduate, is available on the EducationUK website. Current faculty lists, and summary information on the universities themselves, is included in the Commonwealth Universities Yearbook (ACU - Association of Commonwealth Universities).

Be sure to look closely at the Marshall Partner Institutions.

W&M Campus Application Procedures

Read all of the information on the Marshall website carefully, particularly the Criteria, Rules for Candidates, and FAQs

If you think you are a qualified candidate, request a preliminary application questionnaire. Note that this is an in-depth questionnaire that will take some time to complete.

I. Preliminary Application - due by noon on July 1

The preliminary application questionnaire, a Banner transcript, and a list of activities of not more than 2 pages (all in Word format) may be submitted to at any time and no later than 12:00 noon on July 1. Potential applicants are encouraged to meet with the Director of National Fellowships to discuss these materials in advance of July 1.  

Members of the campus nomination committee will review the preliminary application materials and invite select candidates to submit the campus application. Everyone who submits preliminary application materials will receive a status update by July 15.

II. Campus Application - due by noon on August 15

The full campus application is due by 12:00 noon on August 15 and must be submitted online through the Marshall application website. The application is submitted to William & Mary only - it does not go to Marshall and applicants will be able to edit it later. Note that a request for a campus application is not a guarantee of the College's endorsement.

In order to addition to the materials already submitted, the full campus application includes:

  1. Short answers (personal details, education, proposed program of study, employment, recommenders, activities, awards, post-scholarship plan).  
  2. A personal statement of not more than 1,000 words describing in which the candidate describes his/her academic and other interests and pursuits.
  3. A brief essay in which the candidate desribes his/her proposed academic programme, giving reasons for their choice of course and preferred university. Those hoping to read for a research degree should give an outline proposal of the research they wish to undertake. Candidates should also include a brief outline of why they have chosen their second choice courses and institutions.
  4. A brief essay where the candidate describes a situation in which they recognized and responded to a need for leadership. When answering this question please consider the Commission's criteria on leadership potential.
  5. A brief essay describing what "the USA-UK special relationship" means to the candidate. They should also describe
    how they might strengthen ties between the USA and the UK in their field of study and through their
    extra-curricular activities, whilst in the UK and upon their return to the US.
  6. Four letters of recommendation must be submitted by email to no later than noon on August 15.
III.Campus Interviews

The campus nomination committee will review the applications and issue invitations to those selected for interviews. Interviews will be held shortly after the campus deadline. The interview will last approximately 25 minutes. At the completion of the interviews, the committee will select the College's nominees and all applicants will be notified of their status. Decisons of the nomination committee are final.

Note that the nomination committee determines the region to which each candidate is nominated.

IV. Fine Tuning

Candidates chosen as nominees will have time to fine tune their application materials prior to submitting them to the Regional Committee of Selection designated by the campus nomination committee. The final applications must be submitted online no later than 5 p.m. on October 2, 2017.

V. Regional Interviews

Shortlisted candidates will be invited to interview at one of eight U.S. regional centers. Interviews will start in early November.

VI. Marshall Scholars Named

The final selection will be announced shortly after interview. Successful applicants will be offered a scholarship in writing, and will be asked to accept or decline this offer, also in writing, within 10-12 days of receiving it (NB: this timeframe may be shorter where the interviews occur late in the interview week). In keeping with other UK government-funded programs the Marshall Commission asks Scholars to give a definitive and final response in this way, so that the Commission can at the earliest opportunity arrange the best and most appropriate graduate program and living accommodation for each Scholar's needs.