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 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 2020, 396 scholarships were awarded from a pool of 1,343 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). Congratulations to Smith College’s 20202019, 20182017,2016 and 2015 Goldwater Scholars and Honorable Mentions! 

The Goldwater Scholarship is highly competitive and highly prestigious. Info sheet – more details.

“Goldwater Scholars have impressive academic and research credentials that have garnered the attention of prestigious post-graduate fellowship programs. Goldwater Scholars have been awarded 93 Rhodes Scholarships, 146 Marshall Scholarships, 170 Churchill Scholarships, 109 Hertz Fellowships, and numerous other distinguished awards like the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships.” (2020 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


  • First step is an online application for Smith College nomination.
    – this will combine completion of a Goldwater Scholarship student profile and pre-application
    – plus a supplemental internal application  (short answer questions, plus copies of your unofficial transcript and résumé). See supplemental notes.
  • Here’s a copy of the online application for Smith College nomination: Qualtrics Nomination.
  • Faculty recommendations will be requested in an email when the student completes the application. Here’s the Faculty Recommendation.
  • 2021 internal deadlines: November 16, 2020 (student application for nomination) and November 23, 2020 (faculty recommendation)
  • Note: Nominees will be required to submit their completed Goldwater applications to Dr. Margaret Lamb by January 11, 2021 and their letter writers are asked to submit completed letters of recommendation by January 21, 2021 to Dr. Margaret Lamb.

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