goldwaterThe Goldwater Scholarship awards up to $7,500 p.a. to outstanding college sophomores (two years of scholarship) and juniors (one year of scholarship) intending to pursue research careers in mathematics, the natural sciences, or engineering. Students who are competitive for the award have had significant research experience and have plans for graduate study (aspire to a PhD or MD/PhD). How to Apply

“Research careers” are interpreted by Goldwater to exclude clinical research or research in practice. Pre-med students, psychology majors, and engineering students should consider if either of these guidelines affects their potential applications. See FAQs and Research Bulletin explanation and examples.

“Natural sciences” as meant by Goldwater include only some fields in or overlapping the broad field of psychology (incl. cognitive sci, neurobiology, neuroscience).

In 2017, 240 scholarships were awarded and 307 honorable mentions recognized from a pool of 1,286 applicants nominated by their schools. Although the majority of applicants and scholars are juniors, substantial numbers of sophomores are successful in the Goldwater competition (in 2014, approximately 28% of applicants and 17% of scholars were sophomores when they applied). Congratulations to Smith College’s 201820172016 and 2015 Goldwater Scholars and Honorable Mentions! 

The Goldwater Scholarship is highly competitive and highly prestigious.

“Goldwater Scholars have very impressive academic qualifications that have garnered the attention of prestigious post-graduate fellowship programs. Recent Goldwater Scholars have been awarded 89 Rhodes Scholarships, 127 Marshall Awards, 145 Churchill Scholarships, 96 Hertz Fellowships and numerous other distinguished awards like the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships.” (2017 Scholar Press Release)


  • US citizens, US nationals, or US permanent residents
  • GPA of 3.7-4.0 expected of nominees
  • Review panels give equal weight to the following aspects of an application:
    • Academic achievement:  Look for challenging loads, advanced work, awards
    • Progress towards research goals: Look for research activities, career goals, course work, consistency across whole of application
    • Research essay: Expected or obtained research results. Look for a well written essay with strong technical content
    • 3 Recommendations: Look for content that speaks to research potential and commitment


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