Goldwater Scholarship

Location: United States Experience Type: Nomination Based Fellowship Awards


Goldwater Scholarships provide one to two years of undergraduate funding (a maximum of $7,500 annually) for U.S. students intending research careers in mathematics, the natural sciences, or engineering. Being chosen as a Goldwater Scholar or Honorable Mention helps open doors to graduate school and other competitive awards (such as the Churchill Scholarship).

Eligibility: open to second- and third-year U.S. citizens in the sciences who intend to pursue research careers

Campus deadline for PRE-APPLICATION APPROVAL: Friday, October 13, 2023 by 5 p.m. CST (Applications open early September 2023)

Campus deadline for APPROVED applicants: Monday, November 20, 2023 from 1-5 p.m. CST

National deadline: Friday, January 26, 2024 by 5 p.m. CST

Scholarship URL:

The 2023-2024 Campus Application Checklist: Goldwater Campus Application Checklist, 2023-2024

View sample essays from former Goldwater Scholars and Honorable Mention [Grinnell login required]

About the Award

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship Foundation will award undergraduate scholarships to outstanding students, to be known as Barry M. Goldwater Scholars, in the spring of 2024 for use during the 2024-2025 academic year. The awards will be made on the basis of merit to two groups of student – those who will be college juniors and those who will be college seniors in the 2024-2025 academic year – who have outstanding potential and intend to pursue careers in mathematics, the natural sciences, or engineering. Grinnell College and other four-year institutions are eligible to nominate up to four students who are in the sophomore or junior class during the 2023-2024 academic year. Each scholarship covers eligible expenses for undergraduate tuition, fees, books, and room and board, up to a maximum of $7,500 annually. Scholarship monies not used during one academic year are not transferable to the succeeding academic year. Junior-level scholarship recipients are eligible for a maximum of two years of scholarship support, and senior-level scholarship recipients are eligible for a maximum of one year of scholarship support. The Trustees intend to award up to 450 Goldwater Scholarships based upon academic discipline.



To be considered for nomination as a Goldwater Scholar, a student must:

  • Be a full-time matriculated sophomore or junior pursuing a degree at an accredited institution of higher education during the 2023-2024 academic year. “Sophomore” is defined as a student who plans two more years of full-time undergraduate study beginning after August or September 2024. Sophomore nominees can expect to receive a maximum of two years of support. Students in two-year colleges who plan to transfer to a baccalaureate program at another institution may be nominated. “Junior” is defined as a student who plans one more year of full-time undergraduate study beginning after August or September 2024. Junior nominees can expect to receive a maximum of one year of support.
  • Have a college grade-point average of at least “B” (or the equivalent) and be in the upper fourth of his or her class. (Note: Though the Goldwater Scholarship requires only a 3.0 average, the typical winning applicant has a GPA at 3.7, 3.8, 3.9, or 4.0.)
  • Be a United States citizen, a permanent resident, or, in the case of nominees from American Samoa or the Commonwealth of the Mariana Islands, a United States national. Nominations from permanent residents must include a letter of the nominee’s intent to obtain U.S. citizenship and a photocopy of the Permanent Resident Card (formerly known as the Alien Registration Card).

Selection Criteria

Successful Goldwater candidates usually meet most or all of the following selection criteria:

  • Outstanding academic work, reflected in a top-notch GPA and backed by supportive letters of recommendation.
  • A demonstrated interest in a research career.
  • Intensive scientific research experience, usually more than one summer’s worth. Many candidates have had at least one on-campus experience (e.g., a MAP) and one off-campus experience (e.g., an REU).
  • A desire to complete a terminal degree within their chosen academic field, almost always a PhD. Students interested in pursuing MD degrees only (that is, not in conjunction with a PhD) should not apply for the Goldwater Scholarship.

How to Apply

To be considered for one of Grinnell’s four annual nomination spots for this scholarship, please set-up an advising appointment with Ann Landstrom by the pre-application approval deadline to discuss your academic interests and potential candidacy. If pre-approved, you will be given access to the online application portal and follow the Campus Application Checklist (see above).

Goldwater Scholarship candidates are encouraged to read: Goldwater Advice, 2019-2021 [Grinnell login required]. ​​​​​

Ethical Guidelines

All applicants are expected to adhere to these ethical guidelines.

Grinnell College Goldwater Scholars and Honorable Mentions, 2000-Present

  • Ellie Seehorn ’25 (scholar, 2024)
  • Chase Holdener ’23 (scholar, 2022)
  • Hollis Akins ’22 (scholar, 2021)
  • Rachel Bass ’19 (honorable mention, 2018)
  • Timothy Burnette ’19 (honorable mention, 2018)
  • Nina Galanter ’18 (scholar, 2017)
  • Minu-Tshyeto Bidzimou ’18 (honorable mention, 2017)
  • Lillian Webster ’17 (honorable mention, 2016)
  • Melissa Hardy ’16 (scholar, 2015)
  • Michael Fitzpatrick ’16 (honorable mention, 2015)
  • Jennifer Fulton ’15 (scholar, 2014)
  • Christi Peterson ’15 (honorable mention, 2014)
  • Alice Nadeau ’13 (scholar, 2012)
  • Rebecca Mandt ’13 (honorable mention, 2012)
  • Emily Blythe ’12 (scholar, 2011)
  • Boanne MacGregor ’12 (scholar, 2011)
  • Kevin Jennison ’12 (honorable mention, 2011)
  • Stephanie Cheung ’11 (scholar, 2010)
  • Laura Mertens ’11 (honorable mention, 2010)
  • Sam Calisch ’10 (honorable mention, 2009)
  • Karl Kremling ’10 (honorable mention, 2009)
  • Britta Nordberg ’09 (scholar, 2008)
  • Katherine Lee ’09 (honorable mention, 2008)
  • Joshua Weber ’09 (honorable mention, 2008)*
  • Katrina M. Honigs ’08 (scholar, 2007)
  • Jon Henry ’07 (scholar, 2006)
  • Sarah Parker ’07 (scholar, 2006)
  • Katie Lewin ’05 (scholar, 2004)
  • Holly Maness ’04 (scholar, 2003)
  • Megan Salter ’03 (scholar, 2002)
  • Benjamin Buelow ’02 (scholar, 2001)
  • Julia Haltiwanger ’02 (scholar, 2001)
  • Erin Lay ’02 (scholar, 2001)
  • Molly Gallogly ’01 (scholar, 2000)

*Honorable mentions were first initiated by the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program around 2005. As a result of a partnership with the Department of Defense National Defense Education Program in spring 2019, the Goldwater Foundation will award 450-460 scholarships per year for 2019 to 2023+. The Foundation is not expecting to award Honorable Mentions during this period.