*Information taken from the Goldwater website

Program Description

The purpose of the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation is to alleviate a critical current and future shortage of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians, and engineers. A more realistic statement of the purpose, in today's terms, is to provide a continuing source of highly qualified individuals to those fields of academic study and research.

The Foundation will award undergraduate scholarships to outstanding students, to be known as Barry Goldwater Scholars, in the spring of every year for use during the upcoming academic year. 

The awards will be made on the basis of merit to two groups of students— those who will be college juniors and those who will be college seniors —who have outstanding potential and intend to pursue research careers in mathematics, the natural sciences, or engineering. Four-year institutions are eligible to nominate up to four students who are in the sophomore or junior class during the current academic year.  To be considered, a student must be nominated by his or her college or university using the official online nomination process on the Foundation's website. 


  • 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.
  • Scholars may opt to study abroad, but their Goldwater funding will be based on their U.S. institution's budget.
  • Scholars must consult with the Foundation prior to signing up for an overseas program, as there may be some costs associated with being overseas that are prohibited from being covered by this scholarship.


  • Be a full-time matriculated sophomore or junior pursuing a degree at an accredited institution of higher education during the 2018–2019 academic year, and intend to pursue research careers in mathematics, the natural sciences, or engineering. "Sophomore" is defined as a student who plans two more years of full-time undergraduate study beginning September 2018. 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 September 2019. 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 only requires a 3.0 average, the typical winning applicant has a GPA in the 3.9 range)
  • 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 superlative letters of recommendation.
  • A demonstrated interest in a research career.
  • Intensive scientific research experience, usually more than one summer's worth. Many candidates have one experience on-campus and one off-campus.
  • A desire to complete a terminal degree within their chosen academic field, almost always a Ph.D.

*Taken from Grinnell College Website

Application Process

Nominations must be submitted electronically from the Foundation's website at www.act.org/goldwater .

Online Application will consist of the following:

  • Institution Nomination (Faculty Rep)
  • Nominee Application (Student)
  • Recommendations  - 3 

Supporting Documents

  • Nominee essay—written by the student and relates to the student's chosen career.
  • Transcript from nominee's current institution, including fall semester if available.
  • Transcript(s) from other institutions, that nominee attended with grades for courses taken.
  • Copy of the nominee's Permanent Resident card and letter of intent to become U.S. citizen, if nominee's citizenship status is permanent resident.

For more information on the application process click here

The Goldwater Scholarship requires institutional nomination. Schedule a meeting with Sally Phelps to discuss a potential application and to review your application materials before November 15th.

Past Olin Goldwater Winners 

Award Year


Academic Year Funded


Elizabeth Threlkeld

Junior and Senior


Brendan Quinlivan



Jeffery Holzgrafe



Cassandra Overney

Junior and Senior