The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation provides scholarships to college sophomores and juniors who intend to pursue research careers in the natural sciences, mathematics and engineering to help ensure the U.S. is producing the number of highly-qualified professionals the nation needs in these critical fields. The scholarships are awarded for the final one or two years of undergraduate study and cover the cost of tuition, fees, books and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year. The Goldwater Scholarship is the premier undergraduate award of its type in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering.
Students interested in learning more about the Goldwater Scholarship should visit the website, attend an information session typically held early in the fall semester and contact the U of I Distinguished Scholarships Coordinator for advice and direction on the formal U of I application process.
- Be a full-time matriculated sophomore or junior pursuing a degree at an accredited 4-year or 2-year institution of higher education during the current academic year
- Intend to pursue a research career in a natural science, mathematics or engineering**
- Have a college grade point average of at least a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
** The natural sciences, engineering and mathematics fields and sub-fields used by the Goldwater Foundation to determine eligibility are those used by the National Science Foundation for its Graduate Research Fellowship Program. These include: Chemistry, Computer and Information Sciences and Engineering, Engineering, Geosciences, Life Sciences, Materials Research, Mathematical Sciences, Physics and Astronomy, and Psychology. To view the eligible sub-fields, visit the Goldwater website link provided above.
While research in medicine is not supported by the National Science Foundation, students interested in pursuing careers in medicine are eligible for a Goldwater Scholarship IF THEY CLEARLY INTEND TO CONDUCT RESEARCH AS PART OF THAT CAREER.
If you are interested in receiving a Goldwater Scholarship, you must be nominated for the award by the University of Idaho. The Distinguished Scholarships Coordinator and Goldwater Campus Representative will facilitate this process.
Step 1 - Complete a Student Profile and Pre-Application
Students must first submit a Student Profile and Goldwater Pre-application and then candidates who are eligible and competitive for the award will be provided with access to the Goldwater on-line application.
Step 2 - Complete the Online Goldwater Application
You will be able to save your work and return to the application to work on it throughout the application process. As you complete each element of the application, please keep in mind that the individuals who are reviewing your application will be attempting to evaluate the likelihood that you will pursue a research career in the natural sciences, mathematics or engineering. Therefore, your responses should help the reviewers understand that you have the appropriate background, experience, skills, temperament, and interest to pursue a long-term career in research. This does not mean, for example, that you should simply state that you have the temperament but that you should demonstrate through your work that this is the case.
The U of I on-campus Goldwater application deadline is 5 p.m. on the Monday after Thanksgiving. Applicants must complete the online application, ensure all letters of recommendation have been received by the Goldwater Campus Representative in sealed envelopes or via email attachment, and submit transcripts from all colleges and universities attended (see Goldwater website and/or campus representative for further information regarding transcripts) to the U of I Distinguished Scholarships Coordinator, Honors Program Office, Room 315 Idaho Student Union Building by 5 p.m. on the Monday after Thanksgiving.
Step 3 - Nomination
The U of I Goldwater Committee will review the applications, select a maximum of four applicants to nominate and forward from U of I to the national competition, and will provide those four applicants with substantial feedback to improve their applications before the end of the semester. The successful U of I applicants will revise their applications and formally submit their online application prior to the national Goldwater submission deadline. The Goldwater Campus Representative will upload the rest of the packet (Transcript(s) and Letters of Recommendation) to the Goldwater nomination site and complete, sign and submit the Institution Nomination page.
- Read and make sure that you meet the criteria for the scholarship
- Current sophomore or junior majoring in Math, Science or Engineering.
- Have a strong GPA. Successful applicants will likely have a 3.8 GPA or above.
- Have a strong demonstrated interest/record in research and an interest in seeking an advanced degree, normally a doctorate (Ph.D.).
- Talk with several faculty members about your competitiveness and whether they would serve as references. The application takes many hours to complete and reference letters take significant time to write.
- Application and essays
- Read Goldwater Application Tips.
- In your application, write to the criteria of the scholarship: describe your unique experience and background, your personal passion, your desire to pursue an advanced degree(s) such as doctorate, and your professional goals and career path.
- Make your research essay memorable and distinguishable from all of the other hundreds!
- Spend lots of time on the application and essay and have peers and faculty read your responses - edit, edit, edit.
- Ask a faculty member to mentor you through this process and to provide feedback on your application. Probably 3-5 or more edits will be necessary prior to submitting the application to the U of I Goldwater Committee.
- Ask your references to write letters of recommendation that speak to your strong academic ability and potential as well as your involvement in research and/or other scholarly activities. In order to help your references write strong letters, provide them with your resume and perhaps a bullet list of items that describe how you are unique and outstanding.
- The Faculty Recommenders page has tips and formatting requirements for the letters.
- Consider sharing with your references the following information on the University of New Mexico website which provides suggestions to Goldwater References: Goldwater Recommenders.
- University of Idaho Deadline: November (contact Distinguished Scholarships Coordinator for exact date)
- Foundation Deadline: January (see foundation website for exact date)
The online application opens the first Tuesday in September. Applications require an institutional endorsement as explained above; materials are due to the Goldwater Campus Representative by the U of I Deadline. Students selected as U of I nominees will complete the final application by the foundation deadline. Scholars and Honorable Mentions are announced the last Friday in March.