Goldwater Scholarship – Apply Now for STEM Fields

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship is a prestigious award for undergraduate students in the United States. Established in 1986 to honor Senator Barry Goldwater, it supports exceptional students pursuing research careers in the natural sciences, mathematics, and engineering. Funded by the U.S. Congress, the scholarship aims to invest in the nation’s future scientific workforce by recognizing and empowering talented researchers early on in their academic journeys.

Awarded to college sophomores and juniors, the Goldwater Scholarship provides up to $7,500 for the remainder of their undergraduate studies.  This financial assistance is crucial for students dedicated to research, which can often involve additional expenses for equipment, travel, and conferences.

What is the Goldwater Scholarship?

The Goldwater Scholarship is a one-year scholarship awarded to undergraduate students demonstrating exceptional potential for a research career in a natural science, mathematics, or engineering field.  The scholarship amount is currently $7,500 per year.

Why Apply for the Goldwater Scholarship?

  • Financial Support: The scholarship alleviates financial pressure, allowing students to focus on research and academics.
  • Prestige and Recognition: Being a Goldwater Scholar is a significant honor that sets you apart from other applicants for graduate programs and future research opportunities.
  • Networking Opportunities: Goldwater Scholars gain access to a network of accomplished scientists, mathematicians, and engineers.

Who is Eligible for the Goldwater Scholarship?

  • Citizenship: Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • Enrollment: Be enrolled as a full-time undergraduate student at an accredited institution of higher learning in the U.S.
  • Academic Year: Be a sophomore or junior (or the equivalent in a five-year program) at the time of application.
  • Field of Study: Pursue a natural science, mathematics, or engineering field leading to a research career.

Note: Specific eligibility requirements may change from year to year. Refer to the official Goldwater Scholarship website for the most up-to-date information:

How to Apply for the Goldwater Scholarship

The Goldwater Scholarship application process typically opens in late September/early October and closes in February. Here’s a roadmap to guide you through each stage:

1. Gather Your Materials:

  • Transcripts (official or unofficial)
  • Research experience documentation (descriptions, publications, presentations)
  • Letters of recommendation (one from a faculty member familiar with your research and two from science or engineering professors)
  • Personal statement outlining your research goals and career aspirations
  • Proposed research essay detailing your specific research interests and proposed project

2. Research and Choose Your Nominator:

  • Seek a faculty member who closely mentors your research endeavors and can confidently endorse your potential.
  • Discuss your research goals and scholarship aspirations with them well in advance of the nomination deadline.

3. Craft a Compelling Personal Statement:

  • Showcase your passion for STEM research and articulate your long-term career goals.
  • Highlight your research experiences and demonstrate your dedication to rigorous scientific inquiry.
  • Use vivid language and personal anecdotes to create a compelling and memorable narrative.

4. Develop a Detailed Research Essay:

  • Clearly define your specific research interests within a broader scientific field.
  • Outline your proposed research project, including its methodology, significance, and potential impact.
  • Demonstrate a clear understanding of the scientific literature surrounding your chosen research area.

5. Submit Your Application on Time:

  • Carefully review all application materials for accuracy and completeness.
  • Submit your application electronically through the online portal before the deadline.

Crafting a Competitive Application

The Goldwater Scholarship application is highly selective, so crafting a strong package is crucial. Here are some key elements:

  • Research Statement: Clearly articulate your research interests, goals, and experiences. Highlight your passion for your chosen field and future research aspirations.
  • Faculty Recommendations: Secure strong letters of recommendation from professors who can speak to your academic potential and research abilities.
  • Transcripts: Submit official transcripts showcasing your academic performance.
  • Additional Materials: Consider including research proposals, publications, or awards to strengthen your application.

FAQs about the Goldwater Scholarship

What are the selection criteria for the Goldwater Scholarship?

The scholarship committee looks for students with a strong academic record, a demonstrated commitment to research, and outstanding potential for a research career in a STEM field.

Can I apply for the Goldwater Scholarship more than once?

Yes, students can apply for the scholarship twice during their undergraduate studies, as long as they meet the eligibility requirements for sophomores or juniors.

What happens if I am awarded a Goldwater Scholarship?

Goldwater Scholars receive $7,500 for the following academic year to use for educational expenses.  They are also invited to participate in a special awards ceremony and gain access to a network of accomplished scientists and mathematicians.

Are there other scholarships like the Goldwater Scholarship?

Yes, there are many other scholarships available for STEM students. Research universities often have their own scholarship programs, and there are national scholarships offered by professional societies.

What are the award amounts?

The Goldwater Scholarship awards a maximum of $7,500 per year for up to two years of undergraduate study.

How many scholarships are awarded each year?

Approximately 400 scholarships are awarded annually.

Can I reapply for the scholarship if I am not selected initially?

Unfortunately, no. The Goldwater Scholarship is a one-time award for sophomores and juniors only.

What are some additional resources to help me prepare my application?

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation website offers a wealth of resources, including application materials, selection criteria, and helpful tips: Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation website: link to website.

What are some of the benefits of receiving the Goldwater Scholarship?

Beyond the financial support, being a Goldwater Scholar carries significant prestige and opens doors to future academic and research opportunities. It demonstrates your exceptional potential and can be a valuable asset for graduate school applications and research careers.


The Goldwater Scholarship is a remarkable opportunity for aspiring scientists and mathematicians. By understanding the eligibility requirements, application process, and selection criteria, you can increase your chances of receiving this prestigious award. Remember, strong academic performance, a passion for research, and a well-crafted application are key to success.