The Rhodes Scholarships are postgraduate awards supporting outstanding all-round students at the University of Oxford, and providing transformative opportunities for exceptional individuals. The Rhodes Trust provides the Rhodes Scholarships in partnership with Second Century Founder, John McCall MacBain and other generous benefactors. Established in 1903 under the will of Cecil Rhodes, the Rhodes is the oldest and perhaps the most prestigious international graduate scholarship program in the world. A class of 89 Scholars is selected each year from: Australia, Bermuda, Canada, China, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Jamaica & the Commonwealth Caribbean, Kenya, New Zealand, Pakistan, Southern Africa (including South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia and Swaziland), United Arab Emirates, United States, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Rhodes's vision in founding the Scholarship was to develop outstanding leaders who would be motivated to fight 'the world's fight' and to 'esteem the performance of public duties as their highest aim', and to promote international understanding and peace. His will outlines four criteria to be used in the election of Scholars:
- literary and scholastic attainments
- energy to use one's talents to the full
- 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 one's fellow beings.
In short, Rhodes Scholarship selection committees will be seeking young women and men of outstanding intellect, character, leadership, and commitment to service. The Rhodes Scholarships support students who demonstrate a strong propensity to emerge as 'leaders for the world’s future'.
At Oxford, the oldest university in the English-speaking world, Rhodes Scholars join just over 20,000 students from more than 140 countries currently studying at the University, and are enriched by the stimulating and rigorous education and the vibrant cultural and community life. Nearly 8,000 Rhodes Scholars have gone on to serve at the forefront of government, the professions, commerce, the arts, education, research and other domains. They are well known advocates for expanded social justice, and have advanced the frontiers of science and medicine.
A Rhodes Scholarship covers all University and College fees, a personal stipend and one economy class airfare to Oxford at the start of the Scholarship, as well as an economy flight back to the student's home country at the conclusion of the Scholarship.