Barry Goldwater Scholarship Program

Description: The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was created in 1986 to encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in mathematics, the natural sciences, or engineering and to foster excellence in these fields. Nominees for Goldwater Scholarships must include in their nomination materials a statement of interest in mathematics, the natural sciences, or engineering, detailing how their academic program and their overall educational plans will prepare them for their chosen career goal. Most Goldwater Scholars plan to pursue PhD's in their chosen field. Students who intend to study medicine are eligible only if they plan a research career rather than a career as a medical doctor in a private practice. A strong candidate will have had the opportunity to participate in research, either at his or her institution, in local industry, or in a national research facility. Students who have not participated in formal research can demonstrate intellectual curiosity through independent investigation of a theory or issue related to their fields of interest. Abilities and potential are also shown through meeting significant responsibilities, involvement in science-related organizations, and accomplishments outside the classroom.
Dollar Value: Scholars receive up to $15,000 to cover tuition, fees, books and room and board expenses.
Number of Scholarships: Up to 300 Goldwater Scholarships are awarded each year.
  • Be a full-time matriculated sophomore or junior pursuing a degree at an accredited institution of higher education during the academic year in which he or she applies. "Sophomore" is defined as a student who plans two more years of full-time undergraduate study beginning in September after application. Sophomore nominees can expect to receive a maximum of two years of support. Students in two-year colleges who plan to transfer to a baccalaureate program at another institution may be nominated. "Junior" is defined as a student who plans one more year of full-time undergraduate study beginning the September after application. Junior nominees can expect to receive a maximum of one year of support.
  • Have a college grade-point-average of at least "B" (or the equivalent) and be in the upper fourth of his or her class.
  • Be a U.S. citizen, a permanent resident, or, in the case of nominees from American Samoa or the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands, a U.S. national. Nominations from permanent residents must include a letter of the nominee's intent to obtain U.S. citizenship and a photocopy of the Permanent Resident Card. (Formerly known as the Alien Registration Card)
Application Procedures: Students must be nominated by their institution to compete for the Goldwater Scholarship. Contact campus representative for information about campus screening process.
Deadline: January 13, 2012
Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence In Education Foundation
6225 Brandon Avenue, Suite 315
Springfield, VA 22150-2519
Phone: 703/756-6012
FAX: 703/756-6015
Fellowships Coordinator:
Name: Scott Handley, Honors College, University Hall 212
Phone: 417-836-6371
Frequently Asked Questions:
Can students combine undergraduate majors or minors that may include disciplines not normally allowed by the Goldwater Scholarship Program? Examples might include Mathematics/Economics or Biology/Psychology.
Yes, with some limitations. The Goldwater application must be a research emphasis in mathematics, science or engineering. Students who seek double majors should explain how the non-science major will be incorporated into and enhance the science research career.
Is there one area of the Goldwater application that is more important than others?
No. The evaluation of all Goldwater nominees places equal emphasis on academic achievement, progress toward research goals, the research essay, and letters of recommendation.
Given the low percentage of Goldwater Scholars who came from 2-year academic programs, should community college students apply for the Goldwater Scholarship?
Yes. Statistically, the vast majority of Goldwater scholars came from 4-year colleges and universities where access to undergraduate research is readily available. Community colleges students need access to research facilities at either the 2-year college, through cooperative agreements with 4-year colleges and universities, government laboratories, or private companies.
Is it a requirement that Goldwater nominees complete a research project before applying?
No. Research experience is important to verify that nominees are making progress toward a research career. Juniors are more successful than sophomores in the Goldwater scholarship review process, in part, because of greater research opportunities and experience. However, a completed research project is not a requirement for a successful application.
Is there an appeal process for qualified students who are not selected as Goldwater scholars?
No. The Goldwater review process submits a preliminary list of scholars and honorable mention candidates to the Goldwater Foundation Board of Directors. The decision of the Board is final, and there is no appeal process.