What is a Rhodes Scholarship?

Rhodes Scholarships were established in 1902 under the terms of the Will of Cecil Rhodes that set up the Rhodes Trust to administer these scholarships. The Trust funds over 100 scholars each year and provides opportunities for outstanding all-round students to study at the University of Oxford.

Scholars are selected on the basis of their exceptional intellect, character, leadership and commitment to service.

Each year nine Australian Rhodes Scholars are chosen: one for each state, and another three from anywhere in the country (these are known as 'Australia-at-Large Scholarships'). These Scholars join a community of Rhodes Scholars worldwide and are part of a tradition in Australia that started in 1903.

QUT administers the Queensland Rhodes Scholarship on behalf of all Queensland universities. The State Secretary for Queensland is Professor Stan Hurn. The State Administrator for Queensland is Sonya Betros.

What does a Rhodes Scholarship entail?

A Rhodes Scholarship supports you in full-time study at the University of Oxford where you can choose from a wide variety of courses.

The Scholarship is usually awarded for two years, but may be extended to three for some degrees. It funds:

  • all university and college fees
  • the university application fee
  • a personal stipend for living expenses
  • private health insurance
  • one economy class airfare to Oxford at the start of the scholarship, and one economy fare for the flight back to your home country at the end of the scholarship.

You will also have the opportunity to participate in the life of the Rhodes community in Oxford and attend:

  • events that develop your leadership, problem-solving and public speaking skills
  • presentations from leading international speakers in politics, academia and commerce
  • weekly discussions and debates on global challenges
  • internships with a wide range of organisations.

Get in touch

If you have any questions about the scholarship or application process, contact the Rhodes Scholarship Queensland representatives at rhodesqueensland@qut.edu.au.

Who can apply?

To be eligible to apply in 2020 for a 2021 Rhodes Scholarship, you must:

  • be an Australian citizen or permanent resident
  • upon 1 October 2020, you must meet either of the following criteria:
    • be at least 18 years of age and have not passed your 25th birthday (i.e. you must have been born after 1 October 1995 and on or before 1 October 2002
    • you must have not reached your 27th birthday (i.e. have been born after 1 October 1993) AND your first undergraduate degree must have been (or will be) awarded on or after 1 July 2019
  • have completed at least two years of schooling at an Australian secondary school
  • have completed by no later than 30 June 2021 either:
    • an Australian bachelor’s degree, with or without honours (Australian Qualifications Framework levels 8 or 7)
    • an Australian master’s degree (Australian Qualifications Framework levels 9 or 9E)
    • an international equivalent
  • have an indicative expectation of a GPA of at least 6.75/7, a weighted average mark of 80%, or equivalent in your degree(s)
  • meet the entry requirements for your proposed course at Oxford.

You may only apply for a Rhodes Scholarship twice in your academic career.

Achievements and personal qualities

Apart from the eligibility criteria, the selection panel are looking for applicants who can demonstrate:

  • academic achievement and excellence
  • ambition for impact, clarity of purpose and intrinsic motivation
  • a commitment to make a difference in the world, contributing to the greater good
  • the courage and skills required to lead with a wider desire for public good.

When to apply

Applications for the 2020 Queensland Rhodes Scholarship open on 1 July 2020 and close on 11 September 2020.

How to apply

Applications can be submitted for consideration in only one Australian state or territory. The state or territory of application is determined by:

  • the Australian state or territory in which you completed your highest university qualification; or
  • the Australian state or territory in which you completed at least two years of secondary schooling.

For full eligibility and application requirements, read the information for Australian applicants.

You must submit all of the following documents with your application:

  • a completed application form
  • declaration addressing the eligibility criteria
  • birth certificate or passport
  • official documentation to prove your citizenship or residence status
  • academic transcript
  • CV (curriculum vitae) of not more than three A4 pages in length
  • personal statement
  • your proposed course of study at Oxford.

You also need to nominate five referees that address the Scholarships criteria:

  • three academic referees, and
  • two other referees.

Selection process

The Queensland selection panel is chaired by the Governor of Queensland. It has six other members, who serve on the panel for four years.

Guided by the terms of the Will of Cecil Rhodes the selection panel will assess all valid applications. Shortlisting will occur at a meeting in October and these candidates will be invited to attend an interview.

After the interviews, the panel will elect the Queensland Rhodes Scholar.

If the panel considers the second- and third-ranked applicants to be of sufficient merit, it will nominate them for interview in the Australia-at-Large Scholarship selection process. These interviews are usually conducted in Canberra in late November or early December.

Information Sessions

Information sessions, including a live stream session for regional students, for the 2021 Queensland Rhodes Scholarship are conducted by state secretary Professor Stan Hurn.

At these sessions Professor Hurn will provide helpful guidance to interested applicants through his Queensland Rhodes Scholarship 2020 for 2021 presentation.

DateTimeLocation

Monday

27 April 2020

4.30pm - 6.30pm

Griffith University, Prestigious Scholarships Virtual Event

Griffith University Prestige Scholarships Information Evening presentation slides (PDF file, 1.2 MB)

Friday

8 May 2020

12pm - 1pm

QUT, Prestige Scholarships Virtual Information Session

QUT Prestige Scholarships Information Evening presentation slides (PDF file, 1.3 MB)

Rhodes Scholarship Information Session for 2020 Applicants - Video

Rhodes Scholarship Information Session for 2020 Applicants - Video Transcript (PDF file, 110.2 KB)

Friday

15 May 2020

9am

and

5pm

Warden of Rhodes House, Dr Elizabeth Kiss, is going Live on Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/RhodesTrust/live

The theme is 'Why apply to the Rhodes Scholarship?'

Applicants can find out about why they should apply, the selection criteria, how to apply, the application process and what it is like to be a Rhodes Scholar studying at the University of Oxford.

Monday

25 July 2020

2pm - 4pm

University of Queensland Information Session, St Lucia Campus

Senate Room, Level 5, Brian Wilson Chancellery, Building 61A

Wednesday

29 July 2020

3pm - 4pm

Rhodes Scholarship Virtual Information Session (Regional Universities)

You are invited to a Zoom meeting.
When: Jul 29, 2020 03:00 PM Brisbane

View Rhodes Scholarship Virtual Information Session Recording

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

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?

No.

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.

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 Interjurisdictional candidate, is there any financial support to fly to Australia, Sydney for the interviews?

Interjurisdictional candidates are responsible for covering their own costs to travel to Sydney for the interviews.

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. 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.
Value
Value of the project for you personally, for academics, and the wider community.
Proposed department and potential supervisors
What department would you be joining and who would be your 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.

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 Achievements
Academic excellence, specific academic requirements can be found under ‘Eligibility Criteria’ below.
Extra-curricular activities
Energy to use your talents to the full, as demonstrated by mastery in areas such as sports, music, debate, dance, theatre, and artistic pursuits, including where teamwork is involved.
Community Service
Truth, courage, devotion to duty, sympathy for and protection of the weak, kindliness, unselfishness and fellowship.
Leadership
Moral force of character and instincts to lead, and to take an interest in your fellow human beings either via 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:

The item of your personal statement 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 was a turning point in your life?
  • what is a time when you look back and decided that you were passionate about this challenge facing society?

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 suffice?

Specific entry requirements vary, and there is usually some flexibility about prior qualifications. Applicants with an Australian Pass degree (i.e. 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.

View the Oxford entry requirements for overseas students

If you have a question about a specific degree programme, please contact your state secretary.

Contacts

If you have questions about the Scholarship or the application process, you can email the Rhodes Scholarships Queensland representatives or contact the Network Advisor at your university.

Network advisors

Bond University

Professor Derek Carson
Email: dcarson@bond.edu.au

CQ University

Professor Lee Di Milia
Email: v.dimilia@cqu.edu.au

Griffith University

Professor David Ellwood
Email: d.ellwood@griffith.edu.au

James Cook University

Professor Philip Pearce
Email: philip.pearce@jcu.edu.au

QUT

Professor Stan Hurn
Email: rhodesqueensland@qut.edu.au

University of Queensland

Dr Robert Mullins
Email: r.mullins@law.uq.edu.au

University of Southern Queensland

Professor Margaret Baguley 
Email: margaret.baguley@usq.edu.au

University of the Sunshine Coast

Dr Adrian McCallum
Email: amccallu@usc.edu.au
Facebook: adrian.mccallum
Twitter: @acmccallum