Marshall Scholarships Overview

Amherst internal deadline: August 27, 2021 - noon 

Dakota Foster 2017

History and Purpose: Founded by a 1953 Act of Parliament, and named in honor of US Secretary of State George C. Marshall, the Marshall Scholarships commemorate the humane ideals of the Marshall Plan and express the continuing gratitude of the British people to their American counterparts for economic assistance following World War II. Marshall Scholarships are mainly funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and are overseen by the Marshall Commission. The Secretariat is provided by the Association of Commonwealth Universities. In the US the selection process is managed by the regional Consulates General in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco, and in Washington DC by the British Embassy. By providing these scholarships, the Marshall Commission intends to develop future U.S. leaders with a lasting understanding of British society, who will strengthen the enduring relationship between the British and American peoples, their governments, and their institutions. Through their direct engagement with Britain through its best academic programs, Scholars will enhance their intellectual and personal growth, contributing to their ultimate success. 

 Award description: The Marshall Scholarships fund one to two years of study in any field at one or more British universities, with up to 50 awards offered each year. Grantees may pursue two successive one-year master’s programs, one two year master’s program, or the first two years of a PhD (with the possibility of a third year extension). Applicants intending to study for only one year should be able to justify why the shorter stay is necessary to their future goals and if they intend to follow the Marshall year in medical or law school,they should have already applied before matriculating at a UK university. Note that if the first choice institution in either or both years is Cambridge, ICL, KCL, LSE, Oxford, or UCL, none of these universities may be named as a second choice for either year.

For candidates in bioscience, medicine and related disciplines, there is a special category of awards funded jointly by the Marshall Commission and the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, called the NIH Marshall Scholarships. To be eligible, applicants must first be selected as Marshall Scholars, applying in the usual way. Any Marshall Scholar who is selected for research in a bio-medical/Science field can be put forward to the NIH for consideration.

Marshall Scholars (awardees) who are pursuing a three-year PhD at Cambridge or Oxford may apply for additional Partnership Marshall Scholarships which will fund the third year of the PhD (of which the Marshall only funds two). The application for these takes place in the first year of a Marshall awardee's course of study but the intention to apply should be mentioned in the Marshall application..

Funding details: the award covers university fees, cost of living expenses, annual book grant, thesis grant, research and daily travel grants, fares to and from the United States and, where applicable, a contribution towards the support of a dependent spouse

Eligibility: U.S. citizens only who (at the time they take up their Scholarship) hold a first degree from an accredited four-year college or university in the United States with a minimum GPA of 3.7 at the time of application (no exceptions; this refers to the AC grade point average, not including grades from a previous institution). Candidates may apply as seniors or within two years of graduating from their undergraduate college or university. Any subject of study is welcomed, except pursuit of professional degrees and some other important degree program restrictions, outlined in the Rules for ONE Year Candidates and Rules for TWO Year Candidates. (Persons already studying for or holding a British degree or degree-equivalent qualification are not eligible to apply for a Marshall Scholarship.) Marshall seeks candidates with outstanding academic, ambassadorial, and leadership potential.

How to apply

Seniors and alumni must apply through the Amherst campus process, which includes receiving essay feedback and guidance from the Director of Fellowships; submitting an application by the internal deadline of August 28, 2020 noon; and requesting that recommenders submit letters by that date as well. During early September, all candidates will be interviewed by the campus Committee on Student Fellowships, who will decide whom to endorse as AC nominees to Marshall. Endorsed candidates will revise application materials as advised, then finally submit their applications by September 23rd. The Director will attach endorsement letters to these applications, and submit them to Marshall by the final deadline. Endorsements: Amherst may endorse up to 24 candidates.

Application materials: The Marshall application requires the candidate to write several essays and upload transcripts from all college-level work. Application components and instructions are described in detail on the Marshall Application page.

For Recommenders

Content: Please comment on the candidate's general fitness for the course of study proposed, particularly in upper-level coursework, and the suitability of the university chosen (why their studies and proposed career would be best served by being at a British university). Observations about the candidate's general character as well as academic standing and ability will be of great value to the selection authorities in deciding which candidates should be invited for an interview at the Regional Centre. The Selectors look for candidates who have the potential to excel as scholars, as leaders and as contributors to improved UK-US understanding and base their selection on the candidate's academic merit, leadership potential and ambassadorial potential. Preference is given to candidates who combine high academic ability with the capacity to play an active part in the life of the United Kingdom university to which they go, and who display potential to make a significant contribution to their own society. As you craft your letter, you may find helpful our suggestions for writers of recommendation letters.

Format and submission: Please submit your letter by August 27, 2021, so that the Committee on Student Fellowships can review it along with the candidate's other application materials. Your letter provides information critical to their endorsement decision. Letters have a 1,000 word limit and are submitted by copying and pasting into an online portal. Recommenders will recieve an email invitation from the Marshall Scholarship Embark Application system providing a link and instructions for submitting the letter. Alternatively, you can send your letter as a Word doc to Christine Overstreet and she can copy and paste the letter into the portal on your behalf. Please address your letter to the Marshall Scholarship Selection Committee. If a candidate is selected as a Scholar by the Marshall Commission, you will be sent a second email with a pdf of your letter attached.  If this occurs, Marshall will ask you to print your letter on institutional letterhead, sign it by hand in ink, and mail it to the address provided. (Therefore, please save your original copy on a Word document so that you can easily print it onto letterhead should the applicant be offered the scholarship.) Information for recommenders on the Marshall website.

Foundation website:

Deadlines: see application timelines

Christine Overstreet, Director of Fellowships
212 Converse Hall, 413-542-2536,
Eric Myers, Associate Director, Fellowships                         
Mailing address: Office of Fellowships, Amherst College, Amherst, MA 01002

Amherst College Marshall Winners & Finalists

Amherst's most recent Marshall Scholar is Dakota Foster '18 in 2017. Conor Clarke '08 was a Marshall winner; recent finalists include Emily Isko '18, Jacob Witten ’14, Dylan Vasey ’14, Kyra Ellis-Moore ’15, Ned Kleiner '16, Siraj Sindhu '17, and Dustin Tran '18. Jeremy Thomas '21 was selected but declined it to accept a Rhodes Scholarship.