The information contained on this web page pertains to the 2023 Rhodes Scholarship for Canada competition and includes the steps required for applicants seeking institutional endorsement through the University of Waterloo.

Overview

The Rhodes Scholarship is the oldest (established 1903) international scholarship programme in the world, and one of the most prestigious. Administered by the Rhodes Trust in Oxford, the programme offers 100 fully-funded Scholarships each year for postgraduate study at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom - one of the world’s leading universities. Rhodes Scholarships are for young leaders of outstanding intellect and character who are motivated to engage with global challenges, committed to the service of others and show promise of becoming value-driven, principled leaders for the world’s future. Two scholarships are allocated to the province of Ontario.

The broad selection criteria are:

  • Academic excellence
  • Energy to use talents to the fullest (as demonstrated by mastery in areas such as sports, music, debate, dance, theatre, and artistic pursuits, including where teamwork is involved)
  • 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 fellow human beings

The Rhodes Scholarship covers tuition and fees and provides a stipend to help cover living expenses for 2 to 3 years of study while at Oxford. The scholarship also covers travel to and from Oxford at the start and end of the program as well as private health insurance.

Important dates

Applicants currently studying at a Canadian university can choose to apply in either their region of residence or in the region where their university is located. 

All applicants must earn the endorsement of their University President or equivalent representative. Applicants seeking endorsement through the University of Waterloo must submit application materials, including reference letters, to the Co-ordinator, Graduate Financial Aid and Awards in Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (GSPA) by Waterloo's firm deadline of August 5, 2022; 10:00 AM ET. 

Date Deadline/Event
June 1, 2022 Competition opens
August 5, 2022;
10:00 AM ET
Waterloo institutional deadline (application and reference letters)

Mid August to early September

All Waterloo applicants will be contacted via email regarding whether or not they have been selected for an interview; Waterloo institutional interviews to take place

September 28, 2022; 23:59 PT National deadline for endorsed applicants to submit application via Rhodes portal 

October 5, 2022; 
23:59 PT

National deadline for referees of endorsed applicants to submit reference letters via Rhodes portal; National deadline for institutions to upload endorsement letter via Rhodes portal

November 2022 National interviews and social engagement
October 2023 Successful scholars begin study at the University of Oxford*

*The Rhodes Scholarship is confirmed only upon successful admission to the University of Oxford. Students must apply separately to the University of Oxford for admission. Successful applicants will need to apply to the University of Oxford very soon after selection. 

Critical steps

1.  Eligibility

  • Nationality/citizenship: must be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada (students who are attending a Canadian university on a student visa are not eligible to apply).
  • Education/residency: must be studying and living in Canada
  • Age: Upon 1 October 2022, you must meet either of the below criteria:
    • You must be at least 18 and have not reached your 24th birthday (i.e. you must have been born after 1 October 1998 and on or before 1 October 2004) 
    • OR (for older candidates who completed their first undergraduate degree later than usual) you must have not reached your 27th birthday (i.e. have been born after 1 October 1995) AND your first undergraduate degree must have been (or will be) awarded on or after 1 October 2021
  • Academic achievement: You must have already completed, or will have completed by July 2023, an undergraduate degree (normally a Bachelor’s degree) with an academic background and grade that - at a minimum - meets or exceeds the specific entry requirements of your chosen full-time course at the University of Oxford. 
    • Students who have completed or will be completing a master’s degree are also eligible to apply for the Rhodes for a second master’s degree or doctoral degree, providing they still meet all other eligibility requirements, including the age limit.
    • Most degrees offered by Oxford University are covered by the Rhodes Scholarship. However, there are some exceptions. Review the Conditions for Tenure document to ensure that your chosen degree would be covered by the Scholarship (e.g. it must be a full-time degree).
    • Given the very intense international competition for places at the University of Oxford, applicants will have a greater chance of success if they have at minimum a First Class Honours Degree, a GPA of 3.70/4.0 or an A-/80% average.

2. Read the application instructions

The official Rhodes website provides detailed instructions regarding the competition process in their 2023 Information for Candidates, as well as Guidance for Referees.  

3. Select referees

Applicants must select six referees to write letters of recommendation. For full details about the requirements of referees, refer to 2023 Information for Candidates (section 5.j.)

  • Referees must email their letters directly to the Co-ordinator, Graduate Financial Aid and Awards by 10:00 AM ET on August 5, 2022 in order to be considered for institutional endorsement.
  • Six reference letters are required:
    • At least three of the referees should be academics who have formally taught and graded the applicant during their undergraduate or postgraduate degree. 
    • At least two referees should be able to comment on the applicant's character and/or involvement in extra-curricular/service or leadership activities.
  • Applicants are encouraged to provide the Rhodes Guidance for Referees to individuals they have selected.

    Note: Referees of applicants who receive institutional endorsement from Waterloo will be asked to submit their letters of recommendation again via the Rhodes application portal. 

4. Submit application materials to GSPA

Institutional endorsement is required from the institution in order for the applicant to formally apply via the Rhodes portal.

Applicants must email the following application materials to the Co-ordinator, Graduate Financial Aid and Awards in Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (GSPA) by 10:00 ET on August 5, 2022:

  1. Include in body of email: Full name, Waterloo ID
  2. Full curriculum vitae (CV) which should include details about academic qualifications, prizes, scholarships, positions of leadership, employment positions, involvement in student, voluntary, community or political activities and any cultural, musical or sporting accomplishments. This should not exceed two letter size pages in length with a minimum 12 pt font. Submit as PDF.  
  3. Personal statement of no more than 750 words. For a full description of the required contents of the personal statement, refer to the 2023 Information for Candidates (section 5.h.). Submit as word file.
  4. Academic statement of study of no more than 350 words. For a full description of the required contents of the academic statement of study, refer to the 2023 Information for Candidates (section 5.i.). Submit as word file.
  5. List of six referees: Separate the list by indicating who is your academic vs. character referees; Include full names, employer, job title, and email addresses. Submit as word file.

Applicants do not need to submit transcripts with their application. Official transcripts will be automatically produced internally and used for institutional endorsement assessment purposes. Official transcripts will be provided to the applicant if they are selected for institutional endorsement in order to submit their application through the Rhodes portal.

Additional materials (colour photograph, copy of birth certificate, copy of passport) will be required if selected to receive institutional endorsement.

Institutional endorsement

The institutional committee will invite selected applicants for an interview to determine whether they are competitive enough to warrant institutional endorsement. All Waterloo applicants will be contacted mid August to early September via email regarding whether or not they have been selected for an interview.

The institutional selection committee will be comprised of (but is subject to change):

  • Dr. Jeff Casello, Associate Vice-President (GSPA)
  • Dr. Liz Nilsen, Assistant Vice-President (GSPA)
  • Laura Frazee, Co-ordinator, Graduate Financial Aid and Awards (GSPA)

The selection committee will review the application packages, taking into consideration the selection criteria of:

  • Academic excellence
  • Energy to use talents to the fullest (as demonstrated by mastery in areas such as sports, music, debate, dance, theatre, and artistic pursuits, including where teamwork is involved)
  • 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 fellow human beings

Applicants who are selected for institutional endorsement will be invited to submit their application to the online portal by 23:59 PT on October 5, 2022. Endorsed applicants will be provided with an official transcript by GSPA. Referees of endorsed applicants will be required to submit their letters of recommendation again via the Rhodes application portal. An institutional endorsement letter, signed by the President of the University, will be written in support of the endorsed applicant(s) and will be uploaded by GSPA to the Rhodes application portal. 

Examples of contributions from past Rhodes applicants

Applicants are expected to be of the highest calibre as the Rhodes scholarship competition is exceptionally fierce. Below is a sampling of contributions that would be expected of competitive Rhodes applicants:

  • Participant on committees such as social services, student governance, cultural diversity associations, community associations, city council, youth summit in the roles of representative, volunteer, secretary, director
  • Public interest research group leader
  • Program volunteer/assistant for student enrichment
  • Student ambassadors/dons
  • Volunteer at human rights centres
  • Missionary/humanitarian work
  • Presenter/delegate at international conferences, United Nations annual meeting
  • Workshop facilitator
  • Panel member in speaker series
  • Recipients of governance/volunteer/sportsmanship awards

Helpful resources

Questions about the Rhodes scholarship application process can be emailed to the Co-ordinator, Graduate Financial Aid and Awards in Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (GSPA).

Last updated May 25, 2022