Goldwater Scholarship


The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation was established by Congress in 1986 to serve as a living memorial to honor the life and work of Senator Barry M. Goldwater. The Goldwater Scholarship Program is one of the oldest and most prestigious national scholarships in the natural sciences, engineering, and mathematics in the United States. By awarding scholarships to college sophomores and juniors who intend to pursue research careers in the natural sciences, mathematics and engineering, the Goldwater Foundation seeks to ensure that the U.S. is producing highly-qualified professionals in the STEM fields. Goldwater Scholarships have been awarded to thousands of undergraduates, many of whom have gone on to win other prestigious awards like the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Fellowship, Rhodes Scholarship, Churchill Scholarship and the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship. Goldwater alumni are contributing to the nation in a variety of ways, including finding cures for diseases, conducting research that is helping to defend the nation, and teaching future generations of researchers, scientists, and mathematicians. 


Scholarships of up to $7,500 a year are awarded to help cover costs associated with tuition, mandatory fees, books, room and board. Sophomores who are awarded a Goldwater Scholarship will receive up to $7,500 in each of their junior and senior years. Juniors who are awarded a Goldwater Scholarship will receive up to $7,500 in their senior year.


  • U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or permanent resident who intends to become a citizen
  • Full-time matriculated sophomore or junior 
  • GPA 3.0 or higher 
  • Intend to pursue a research career in natural sciences, engineering, or mathematics

Application Procedure

To be considered for a nomination to the Goldwater Scholarship, interested students must complete a short Student Profile and Pre-Application that will be considered by the campus representative. After the campus representative approves the pre-application, the student can proceed to complete the application. A campus committee reviews applications to determine who will be nominated for the national process The Goldwater national deadline is the last Friday in January, and by the last Friday in March the Goldwater awards are announced. 

Application Materials

  • Online questionnaire
  • Research essay of up to 3 single-spaced pages. The Research Essay should include 1) description of the issue or problem, 2) discussion of the research methodology, and 3) discussion of the student’s findings. It is very important that the essay details the student’s specific contributions to the project and indicate the specific skills/expertise the student developed as a result of participation in the project. To demonstrate that the applicant “thinks like a scientist,” the essay might, as an example, describe future work the experimental data suggests or describe an entirely new work that is based on the skills and insights the student learned from the experience.
  • Transcript(s)
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • If a student is a Permanent Resident, a copy of the student’s Permanent Resident Card and a Letter of Intent to become a U.S. citizen

Selection Criteria

  • Strong commitment to a research career in the natural sciences, engineering, or mathematics 
  • Effective display of intellectual intensity in the sciences, mathematics, or engineering
  • Potential for a significant future contribution to research in chosen field