McDonnell International Scholars Academy


Enrolment status Currently enrolled students
Student type Domestic students
Level of study Postgraduate, Higher Degree by Research
Study area All study areas
Scholarship value full-tuition scholarship, a monthly living stipend and annual travel allowance
Opening date 31 October 2020
Closing date 31 January 2021


In these challenging times during the global pandemic, Washington University in St. Louis and the McDonnell International Scholars Academy remain open for business and continue to welcome talented students from around the globe with open arms. The Academy are committed to providing unparalleled educational opportunities to McDonnell Scholars and to developing a community of future global leaders. 

The McDonnell International Scholars Academy provides the network with which Washington University in St. Louis incubates new ideas and mentors future leaders. Through our partnerships, we lead groundbreaking research projects and prepare our Scholars to be effective leaders in a global community.

The Academy provides academic, cultural and social opportunities to help Scholars develop into future leaders knowledgeable about the United States, other countries of the world and critical international issues.  A special feature of the McDonnell Academy is that each scholar has a mentor, who also serves as the ambassador to the student’s home institution. These mentors help students to enhance their scholarship and international networks. 

The Award provides the following financial and programmatic support:

  • full tuition fellowship;
  • a monthly living stipend and annual travel allowance;
  • cultural and leadership training through a leadership seminar and workshops, specially-designed educational events including visits to Washington D.C. and New York, participation in international symposia, and more;
  • individual mentorship by a dedicated faculty Ambassador who assists in the development of the Scholar’s academic and professional life;
  • global network of students and alumni from across countries and disciplines.


The McDonnell International Scholars graduate fellowship is open to prospective graduate and professional degree students who plan to attend Washington University in St. Louis and enrol in one of a select group of full-time doctoral or master’s degree programs.

To qualify to apply the McDonnell International Scholars program:

  • Applicants must apply to an eligible WashU doctoral or master’s degree program. Application to the McDonnell Academy is separate from and in addition to an application to a graduate degree program at Washington University in St. Louis. Applicants must apply separately to both the McDonnell Academy and the WashU doctoral or master’s program. 
  • Applicants must have earned or plan to earn a bachelor’s degree or higher before the end of the 2020-21 academic year.
  • This fellowship is not available for undergraduate studies.
  • Applicants from all countries are welcome. However, priority is given to international graduate candidates who are graduates of one of the Academy’s Partner Universities (The University of Queensland is a partner university)
Applications are closed.

Before you get started

If this scholarship has rules, download and read them.

How to apply

Applicants to the McDonnell Academy must first apply to one of a select group of full-time doctoral, professional or master’s degree programs

See Admissions for Washington University in St. Louis application information.

You will need to submit the following information for the McDonnell Academy online application.

Complete your profile

The McDonnell Academy application requests general biographic and demographic information such as your contact details and country of citizenship.

Academic history

Provide details about your previous academic degrees, such as the partner university you graduated from (international students only) and the degree(s) you hold.

Personal essay

One of the goals of the McDonnell International Scholars Academy is to create a global network of leaders who have a desire to address scientific and societal issues. In an essay of 1000 words or less, please explain:

  • Why would you like to be selected as a McDonnell Scholar?
  • How will being a McDonnell Scholar benefit your professional career and your country?
  • How will you contribute to the goals of the McDonnell Academy?

Essays must be uploaded to your application in .pdf format.

Video introduction

Help the McDonnell Academy get to know you and your views about leadership better.  Submit a video between one to two-minutes in length addressing both of the following questions:

  • What is the biggest global challenge, (with the exception of COVID-19) facing our world today and how would you address it?
  • Outside your field of study, what are you passionate about and why?

You will be required to upload a URL to your application; video files such as .mp4, .mov, .wmv are not accepted.  It is recommended that applicants use the video recording software of their choice and upload the file to an online video sharing service such as YouTube or Vimeo. Please adjust the video privacy settings accordingly to ensure it is viewable.

Recommendation letter

You are required to select one individual to write a letter of recommendation for you.  This individual should be a current or past instructor, academic advisor, employment manager, or professional mentor who is able to speak to your leadership skills, character, and potential.  We will also review your departmental recommendation letters included in your graduate program application (in consultation with the academic department). For that reason, please select an individual who has NOT previously submitted a letter of recommendation for your academic program application.  The application will request the individual’s name, organization, and professional email address.  Because your recommender will be contacted directly by the McDonnell Academy to request their letter, we strongly suggest you discuss the recommendation letter in advance with him/her before submitting contact information in the online application. Recommenders will not be contacted until your application is submitted.

Upon submission, your recommender will be sent a letter of recommendation request email which includes a link to upload the recommendation letter.  Recommenders are given 14 days from receipt of the letter of recommendation request email to upload the letter of recommendation. The upload link provided to the recommender automatically expires after the 14-day period. The application deadline is 31 January, which means recommendations can be submitted until 14 February and still be considered on time.

Selection criteria

Scholars are selected on the basis of their promise to become future leaders in academia, government, the professions or the corporate world. The Academy provides academic, cultural and social opportunities to help scholars develop into future leaders knowledgeable about the world and critical international issues.

Applications are closed.


McDonnell International Scholars Academy
Applications are closed.