thumb|right|General of the Army [[George C. Marshall, former Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense and Army Chief of Staff, for whom the scholarships are named]] The Marshall Scholarship is a [[Postgraduate student|postgraduate]] [[scholarship]] for "intellectually distinguished young Americans [and] their country's future leaders" to study at any university in the United Kingdom. Created by the Parliament of the United Kingdom in 1953 as a living gift to the United States in recognition of the generosity of Secretary of State George C. Marshall and the Marshall Plan in the wake of World War II, the goal of the scholarship was to strengthen the Special Relationship between the two countries for "the good of mankind in this turbulent world." The scholarships are awarded by the Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission and are largely funded by the British government. With nearly 1,000 applicants in recent years, it is among the most selective graduate scholarship for Americans, with an acceptance rate around 4 percent, and as low as 3.2 percent in 2015. It is widely considered one of the most prestigious scholarships for U.S. citizens, and along with the Fulbright Scholarship, it is the only broadly available scholarship available to Americans to study at any university in the United Kingdom. The program was also the first major co-educational British graduate scholarship; one-third of the inaugural cohort in 1954 were women. There are over 1,900 Marshall Scholar alumni,. In the Federal government, current alumni include two of the nine current Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States (Neil Gorsuch and Stephen Breyer), and the Director of the CIA, William Joseph Burns. Other alumni have been members of Congress and the presidential cabinet; state governors; CEOs of companies such as LinkedIn and Dolby Labs; deans of Yale Law School, Stanford Law School, the Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard College; and presidents of Duke University, Wellesley College, the Cooper Union, and Caltech. They also include one Nobel Laureate, one winner of the Kluge Prize, four Pulitzer Prize–winning authors, two winners of the John Bates Clark Medal, twelve MacArthur Genius Grant awardees, the president of the National Bureau of Economic Research, the managing editors of ''Time'' magazine and CNN, the international news editor of ''The New York Times'', NASA's youngest astronaut, two Oscar nominees, one winner of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, and one awardee of the Distinguished Flying Cross for service during the Iraq War.


In a letter to the first class of Marshall Scholars, George Marshall echoed his own words in initially presenting his ideas for European recovery by saying,
A close accord between our two countries is essential to the good of mankind in this turbulent world of today, and that is not possible without an intimate understanding of each other. These scholarships point the way to the continuation and growth of the understanding which found its necessity in the terrible struggle of the war years.
The published objectives of the Marshall Scholarships are outlined as follows: # To enable intellectually distinguished young Americans, their country's future leaders, to study in the UK. # To help scholars gain an understanding and appreciation of contemporary Britain. # To contribute to the advancement of knowledge in science, technology, the humanities and social sciences and the creative arts at Britain's centres of academic excellence. # To motivate scholars to act as ambassadors from the US to the UK and vice versa throughout their lives thus strengthening British American understanding. # To promote the personal and academic fulfilment of each scholar.


Plans to establish "Marshall Scholarships" as a living memorial to Secretary of State George Marshall were announced by British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden on July 31, 1952, and were enacted by the Parliament of the United Kingdom when the Marshall Aid Commemoration Act was passed in 1953. The act's passage was backed by "leaders of all political hues," with British Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin describing the scholarship's establishment as "a great opportunity for Europe." While the authors of the proposal initially considered partnering with the Rhodes Scholarship, and even considered using the same selection committees, this idea was eventually disregarded because its proponents strongly believed the scholarships should be available to women, and to married men under the age of 28 (at the time, the Rhodes Scholarship was limited to single men under the age of 25). The creation of a separate scholarship was a cause of great concern to Lord Godfrey Elton, the head of the Rhodes Trust at the time, who worried that the ability to study at other universities would draw potential applicants. He urged the Foreign Office to create a "reverse exchange" for British students in the United States instead. The Rhodes Scholarship became open to women beginning in 1977 following the passage of the British Sex Discrimination Act in 1975. In 1959, when Parliament doubled the number of scholars from 12 to 24, British politician Philip Noel-Baker argued that "Marshall, more than perhaps any other man, destroyed isolation in the United States and built up the conception that only collective security through international institutions can save the world...I think the world has never seen an act of greater national generosity than Marshall aid and the other aid which the United States has given to other continents throughout the last 15 years." By 1960, six years after their establishment, the scholarship was "on its way to becoming as well-known and respected as the fellow phrase, "Rhodes cholarship" and both scholarships attracted roughly 500 to 600 applicants. As part of the celebrations for the 50th Anniversary of the Marshall Scholarships in 2003, Marshall Medals were awarded to a group of distinguished Americans in recognition of their contributions to US-UK relations, including Justice Stephen Breyer (1959 Marshall Scholar), Dr. Ray Dolby (1957 Marshall Scholar), Thomas L. Friedman (1975 Marshall Scholar), and former President of Duke University Nannerl Keohane (1961 Marshall Scholar). The number of scholars was increased to 30 in 1973, 40 in 1991, and between 2004-2007 "up to 44". In 2010, the Commission decided to offer a limited number of one year awards. In 2016, the Foreign Office announced that 40 scholars had been selected, a 25 percent increase over the originally planned 32, with Foreign Office Minister Alok Sharma calling it a demonstration of how "resolute Britain is in its commitment to the special relationship." In the early years of the Marshall Scholarship, it was common for new Scholars to travel together to the UK on an ocean liner, but now Scholars are usually flown together to London from Washington, D.C. following a welcome program with top US and UK government and diplomatic officials.

Selection, selectivity, and academic destinations

Prospective applicants must first be endorsed by their universities to apply. The selection process is then coordinated through the eight major British embassy/consulate regions in the United States (Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.). Selection committees in each region, consisting of former Scholars and other distinguished individuals, receive university-endorsed applications (including personal statements and essays) which are used to select a short list of candidates for interviews. Each committee then interviews each of the regional finalists prior to making the final decisions on the year's awards. In 2014, 16 percent of university-endorsed applicants received an interview. Although most of the responsibility for selecting the recipients is in the hands of the committees, a few formal guidelines have been outlined in the official selection criteria, most notably:
As future leaders, with a lasting understanding of British society, Marshall Scholars will strengthen the enduring relationship between the British and American peoples, their governments and their institutions. Marshall Scholars are talented, independent and wide-ranging in their interests, and their time as Scholars will enhance their intellectual and personal growth. Their direct engagement with Britain through its best academic programmes will contribute to their ultimate personal success. In appointing Scholars the selectors will look for distinction of intellect and character as evidenced both by their scholastic attainments and by their other activities and achievements. Preference will be given to candidates who display a potential to make a significant contribution to their own society. Selectors will also look for strong motivation and seriousness of purpose, including the presentation of a specific and realistic academic programme.


Between 900 and 1000 students are typically endorsed to apply for the Marshall Scholarship annually, with 979 applying in 2014 (compared to 857 for the U.S. Rhodes Scholarship, and 924 for the UK Fulbright Program), of whom 3.4 percent were ultimately selected. In 2015 and 2016, 3.2 and 3.5 percent of university-endorsed applicants to the Marshall Scholarship were elected. In 2020, 1,000 students were endorsed, 160 interviewed, and 46 selected. The Marshall selection committees place a strong emphasis on academic achievement and potential, and as such the application requires a minimum GPA of 3.7. Successful applicants, however, typically have much higher GPAs: more than half of applicants have perfect academic records. Winners from Harvard University have had average GPAs of 3.92, and Stanford University recommends that applicants have a GPA of 3.8 or above. In comparison, winners of the Rhodes Scholarship from Harvard have had an average GPA of 3.8. Between 1954 and 2021, 255 of 2,138 scholars received their undergraduate degrees from Harvard University (12 percent), 137 from Princeton University, 123 from Yale University, 94 from Stanford University, and 82 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Among public universities, the top producers are the United States Military Academy, with 44 scholars, followed by the University of California, Berkeley and the United States Naval Academy, each with 32 scholars. The following table includes those institutions that have produced 30 or more scholars since 1954. † Harvard University includes Radcliffe College, Brown University includes Pembroke College, and Columbia University includes Barnard College.

Academic destinations

University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, London School of Economics, University College London, University of Edinburgh, King's College London and Imperial College London have always dominated the list of preferred universities selected by both the endorsed and the actually interviewed Marshall Scholarship applicants from 2005 to 2016. SOAS and the LSHTM have also sometimes been highly preferred. These nine institutions almost always form the dominant block of the destinations of eventually selected Scholars.Statistics 2005 - 2016
Retrieved on April 18, 2016.
That said, Scholars have attended a wide range of universities throughout the UK, many of which are ranked among the best in the world. In 2015, there were 69 Marshall Scholars in residence at British universities including those who were selected for the classes of 2012, 2013, and 2014. During this time, there were 27 scholars at the University of Oxford, 17 at the University of London (including 5 each at the London School of Economics and King's College London, and 1 at University College London), 13 at the University of Cambridge, and 4 at Imperial College London. Of these scholars, 46 were studying arts and social sciences while 23 were studying science, engineering or mathematics.

Comparison to other post-graduate scholarships

The Marshall Scholarship is more selective than the Churchill Scholarship, the Harry S. Truman Scholarship, or the UK Fulbright Program, approximately as selective as the American Rhodes Scholarship and the Mitchell Scholarship, and less selective than the Gates Cambridge Scholarship. In structure and selection criteria, the Scholarship is most similar to the American Rhodes Scholarship and the Fulbright Program. Like the Fulbright available for study in the United Kingdom, Marshall Scholars can study at any university in the UK. However, under the Fulbright, applicants compete in separate pools for 43 specified universities of varying selectivity, except for two awards tenable at any university. In structure, the Marshall Scholarship is more flexible than the Rhodes Scholarship, in that Marshall Scholars can study at any British university, and can also attend a different university each year during a Scholar's tenure. In addition, a limited number of one-year Marshall scholarships are available. Unlike Rhodes Scholars, Marshall Scholars must be American citizens (in comparison, approximately 80 Rhodes Scholarships are given annually to citizens of over a dozen countries). In process, the Marshall Scholarship is approximately as selective as the Rhodes and Mitchell Scholarships: the Marshall was awarded to 3.4 percent of university-endorsed applicants in 2014, compared to 3.7 percent for the Rhodes in 2014 and 3.2 percent for the Mitchell Scholarship in 2017. Also, because the selection processes of the scholarships discussed above differ, the likelihood that an applicant will be granted a final round interview is different for each scholarship. In 2014, 15.9 percent of university-endorsed applicants for the Marshall Scholarship received a finalist interview, compared to 24 percent of Rhodes applicants and 5.4 percent of Mitchell applicants. While the selection committees continue to emphasize academic potential, over time "the Marshall program has become more Rhodes-like, stating that it is seeking persons who also demonstrate leadership potential." In general, "nearly all Rhodes Scholars are willing to admit that, by and large, the Marshalls are superior if one looks just at grade point averages and other signs of academic achievement," but this is a point of both "admiration" and "disdain."Schaeper, Thomas and Kathleen Schaeper. "Rhodes Scholars: Oxford, and the Creation of an American Elite," 2010. Berghahn Books: New York Walter Isaacson, describing Rhodes Scholars as "fairly intelligent, well-rounded, honest people who could be counted on to be upstanding citizens," has said that "the real geniuses...were the Marshall Scholars," perhaps because of the expectation that Rhodes Scholars be "all-rounders." In practice, the Marshall and Rhodes have engaged an "informal rivalry," but in career trajectory after the completion of their fellowships, "the line between he fellowshipsis not so evident," with scholars pursuing similar fields with similar success. In general, a higher percentage of Marshall Scholars "go on to careers in academe and research, whereas Rhodes Scholars are more evenly scattered through the full range of professional occupations."

Association of Marshall Scholars

The Association of Marshall Scholars (AMS) was formed in 1988 as a charitable organization to * publicize the Marshall Scholarship Program in the United States and to provide information on British educational institutions in general * aid in the selection of future Marshall Scholars * maintain contact among Marshall Scholars and Marshall Scholar Alumni * sponsor programs that would further the charitable and educational aims of the Marshall Scholarship Program. The organization has been led by several notable board and advisory members, including Kathleen Sullivan, Reid Hoffman, Nannerl Keohane, Peter Orszag, Harold Koh, Roger Tsien, and Daniel Yergin. In 2017 the Association of Marshall Scholars, in partnership with the German Marshall Fund and the British Embassy, Washington, hosted the Harvard Marshall Forum at Harvard University to mark the 70th anniversary of the Marshall Plan and focused on its legacy and impact today. The event featured 30 distinguished speakers including Madeleine Albright as well as Supreme Court Justices Stephen Breyer and Neil Gorsuch - both Marshall Scholars. In 2018, the AMS partnered with the British Consulate General, San Francisco and the Bechtel International Center at Stanford University to host a Marshall Forum on Innovation. The Forum focused on the pipeline of scientific invention in fields such as biomedicine and genetics that are of particular interest to the United States and the United Kingdom. Distinguished speakers included Reid Hoffman, a Marshall Scholar, and David Reitze, Director of LIGO Laboratory. The Forum highlighted societal challenges and opportunities raised by explosive innovations in these fields as they interact with advances in machine learning, artificial intelligence, and data science. In 2019, the AMS hosted the Marshall Forum with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, focusing on peace and prosperity. The Forum featured 17 distinguished speakers including the Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney, the Director of US National Security Agency General Paul Nakasone, former U.S. Ambassadors Michael Froman, Carla Hills, and Bill Burns, and former British Ambassador to the United States Kim Darroch. The Association of Marshall Scholars releases an annual public opinion poll in partnership with Emerson College in Boston, MA. The poll measures the American public's perceptions of the United Kingdom.

Notable Marshall Scholars

See also

* Churchill Scholarship at University of Cambridge * Fulbright Scholarship * Gates Cambridge Scholarship at University of Cambridge * Harry S. Truman Scholarship * Knight-Hennessy Scholarship at Stanford University * Mitchell Scholarship at universities in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland * Rhodes Scholarship at University of Oxford * Schwarzman Scholarship at Tsinghua University * Yenching Scholars at Peking University * Jardine Scholarship at University of Oxford and University of Cambridge


Further reading


External links

Official Website
{{Global Scholars Group Category:Scholarships in the United Kingdom Category:Higher education in the United Kingdom Category:Scholarships in the United States Category:1953 establishments in the United Kingdom Category:United Kingdom–United States relations Category:International educational organizations Category:Student exchange