Mandela Rhodes Foundation

Established in 1903 under the will of Cecil RhodesThe Rhodes Scholarship is the oldest and perhaps the most prestigious scholarship program in the world. The Scholarship board selects 100 scholars annually from a list of participating countries. While there are numerous global scholarships available, 19 of these scholarships are slotted scholarships for Africans from various countries and regions.

The Rhodes Scholarships are postgraduate awards supporting outstanding all-around students at the University of Oxford, and providing transformative opportunities for exceptional individuals.  The Rhodes Trust provides the Rhodes Scholarships in partnership with Second Century Founder, John McCall MacBain, and other generous benefactors.

Cecil Rhodes’s vision in founding the Scholarship was to develop outstanding leaders who would be motivated to fight ‘the world’s fight’ and to ‘esteem the performance of public duties as their highest aim’ and to promote international understanding and peace.

At the University of Oxford, the oldest university in the English-speaking world, Rhodes Scholars join just over 20,000 students from more than 140 countries currently studying at the University and are enriched by the stimulating and rigorous education and the vibrant cultural and community life. Nearly 8,000 Rhodes Scholars have gone on to serve at the forefront of government, the professions, commerce, the arts, education, research, and other domains. They are well-known advocates for expanded social justice and have advanced the frontiers of science and medicine.

Rhodes Scholarship covers all University and College fees, a personal stipend, and one economy class airfare to Oxford at the start of the Scholarship, as well as an economy flight back to the student’s home country at the conclusion of the Scholarship.

The Eligibility criteria for the Rhodes Scholarship:

  • Citizenship & residency: Each applicant must fulfil the citizenship and residency requirements of the Rhodes constituency for which they are applying.  Please check the detailed information carefully via the country links.
  • Age: Age limits vary between constituencies and range from a minimum age limit of 18 to a maximum of 28 by 1 October of the year following selection. In most constituencies, the age limit is 24 or 25. Please check carefully the specific age requirements for your constituency before applying.  Successful candidates will arrive in Oxford the October following the selection process.  The Scholarship may not normally be deferred.
  • Education: All applicants must have achieved academic standing sufficiently advanced to assure completion of a bachelor’s degree by the October following election. Academic standing must be sufficiently high to ensure admission to the University of Oxford, which has very competitive entry requirements, and to give confidence that Rhodes Scholars will perform to a high academic standard in Oxford. Individual constituencies may specify a 1st or equivalent.  Some constituencies require an undergraduate degree to have been taken within the constituency of application.

How to Apply

The Rhodes Oxford University Scholarship website provides country-specific information where one makes their application. In broad terms, all constituencies will require the following materials in differing forms:

  • Evidence of academic record / transcript (complete or in progress) of undergraduate degree and any postgraduate study
  • Curriculum vitae/ résumé or list of principal activities
  • Personal statements or essay (including, crucially, a clear statement of what the applicant wishes to study at Oxford and why
  • Evidence of age/birth certificate/ passport
  • English language proficiency (where English is not the first language)
  • Photograph
  • List of referees (usually several are required) who can attest in confidential references to the character and intellect of the applicant, including academic, personal, extra-curricular and leadership achievements (and who should never include people to whom you are related).

Rhodes selection criteria

The selection criteria, as found in the Will of Cecil Rhodes, govern selection across all Rhodes constituencies.  They are:

  • Literary scholastic attainments
  • Energy to use one’s talents to the full
  • Truth, courage, devotion to duty, sympathy for protection of the weak, kindliness, unselfishness and fellowship
  • Moral force of character and instincts to lead, and to take an interest in one’s fellow beings.


Selection in each Rhodes constituency is by committees comprised of Rhodes alumni and distinguished non-Scholar members of the community. The committees select applicants of outstanding intellect, character, leadership, and commitment to service.  The Rhodes Trust warmly welcomes applications from talented young women and men of diverse backgrounds. Selection of Rhodes Scholars is made without regard to gender, gender identity, marital status, sexual orientation, race, ethnic origin, colour, religion, social background.


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