Goldwater Scholarship: Overview, Score Indexing, Eligibility, Application process,Benefits and FAQs

Congress established the Goldwater Scholarship in 1986 to pay tribute to Senator Barry Goldwater’s lifelong dedication.

Senator Goldwater, a soldier and statesman for 56 years, ardently championed education and research.

He firmly believed that investing in future scientists and engineers was vital for the United States.

An image illustration of Goldwater scholarship
The scholarship uses a scale from 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest score, to evaluate applicants. [Image: Illinois News Bureau]

About Goldwater Scholarship

In 1986, Congress created the Goldwater Scholarship to commemorate Senator Barry Goldwater’s 56 years of service as a soldier and statesman.

Senator Goldwater was a staunch supporter of education and research.

He emphasized the necessity for the United States to invest in its upcoming scientists and engineers.

Score Indexing

The Goldwater Scholarship uses a scale from 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest score, to evaluate applicants.

The scholarship committee takes several factors into account when assessing applications:

  1. Academic Achievement: The committee examines the applicant’s GPA, standardized test scores, and the rigor of their coursework.
  2. Research Experience: The committee seeks applicants who have demonstrated an interest in and skill for research. This may encompass research involvement at their college or university, internships, or participation in research competitions.
  3. Letters of Recommendation: The committee reviews the letters of recommendation from the applicant’s professors and mentors. These letters should offer insights into the applicant’s academic capabilities, research potential, and character.
  4. Personal Statement: The committee reads the applicant’s personal statement to gain a better understanding of their motivation for pursuing a STEM research career and their future aspirations.


To qualify for the Goldwater Scholarship, you need to meet these criteria:

  1. Citizenship or Residency: You must be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident.
  2. Year in School: You must be a sophomore or junior at a recognized U.S. institution of higher education.
  3. Major: You must major in a field related to natural science, engineering, or mathematics.
  4. GPA: You should maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  5. Research: You must demonstrate your interest in and aptitude for research.

Application for Goldwater Scholarship

To apply for the Goldwater Scholarship, you must begin by securing a nomination from your college or university.

Each institution can nominate up to four students annually. Thus, it’s crucial to engage with your academic advisor or Goldwater Scholarship campus representative early in the process.

Upon receiving a nomination, you’ll proceed with the online application, which includes these key elements:

1. Personal Statement: This statement serves as your chance to convey your academic accomplishments, research background, and the driving force behind your STEM research career aspirations to the Goldwater Scholarship Foundation.

2. Letters of Recommendation: You’ll be required to furnish three recommendation letters from professors or mentors who possess a deep understanding of your academic capabilities, research potential, and character.

3. Transcripts: Official transcripts from all colleges or universities you’ve attended must be submitted.

4. Research Summary: You’ll need to provide a concise overview of your research experience, encompassing the research topic, methodologies employed, and your findings.

Deadline for Goldwater Scholarship

The Goldwater Scholarship application deadline typically falls in late February or early March.

The specific deadline varies from year to year, so it’s vital to consult your college or university’s Goldwater Scholarship campus representative for the latest information.

In the 2022-2023 application cycle, the deadline is set for February 28, 2023.

Benefits of Goldwater Scholarship

The Goldwater Scholarship offers significant advantages to its recipients, which include:

1. Financial Support: It provides up to $7,500 per academic year to cover tuition, fees, books, and room and board, easing the financial burden on STEM students.

2. Recognition: The Goldwater Scholarship stands as one of the nation’s most esteemed undergraduate awards. Being named a Goldwater Scholar reflects a student’s outstanding academics, research potential, and dedication to a STEM career.

3. Scholar and Alumni Network: The Goldwater Scholarship Foundation’s extensive network comprises over 17,000 Goldwater Scholars and alumni. This network offers opportunities for mentorship, research, and job placement assistance.

4. Research and Mentorship Opportunities: The Foundation provides various programs and resources to support scholars in their research and mentorship endeavors. This includes the Goldwater Scholarship Summer Research Program, which funds research at leading research institutions.

Accomplishment of Goldwater Scholarship

Goldwater Scholarship
Scholars receive up to $7,500 annually to cover tuition, fees, books, and room and board. [Photo: CNN]

Goldwater Scholars have gone on to achieve remarkable feats in their careers.

They’ve made substantial contributions to STEM research, education, and industry while holding leadership roles in government and business.

Noteworthy Goldwater Scholar achievements include:

1. Dr. Eric Schmidt (Goldwater Scholar, 1975): Former CEO of Google and Alphabet Inc., recognized as a leading expert in computer science and artificial intelligence.

2. Dr. Frances Arnold (Goldwater Scholar, 1979): Nobel Laureate in Chemistry (2018) and pioneer in directed evolution, a groundbreaking approach for designing new proteins and enzymes.

3. Dr. Jennifer A. Doudna (Goldwater Scholar, 1984): Nobel Laureate in Chemistry (2020) and co-inventor of the CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing system, revolutionizing biomedical research.

4. Dr. Elon Musk (Goldwater Scholar, 1992): CEO of Tesla, SpaceX, and Neuralink, renowned as an entrepreneurial and innovative force changing the world.

5. Dr. Megan Smith (Goldwater Scholar, 1986): Former Chief Technology Officer of the United States, recognized as a leader in technology policy and innovation.

Quick Facts

Eligibility: Sophomores and juniors studying natural sciences, engineering, or mathematics at a U.S. higher education institution. They should maintain a GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale and show interest in research.

Benefits: Recipients receive up to $7,500 annually to cover tuition, fees, books, and room and board. They gain recognition as promising young scientists, engineers, and mathematicians, access to a network of Goldwater Scholars and alumni, and research and mentorship opportunities.

Application Process: Students require a nomination from their college or university. Each institution can nominate up to four students annually. The online application comprises a personal statement, letters of recommendation, transcripts, and a research summary.