Schwarzman Scholars

The Schwarzman Scholars program, inspired by the Rhodes Scholarships, is designed to train future leaders to meet the challenges of the 21st century and beyond by preparing them to better understand China, its role in global trends and their role as future leaders.

Schwarzman Scholars will have an unrivaled opportunity to live in Beijing for a year of study and cultural immersion, attending lectures, traveling, and developing first-hand exposure to China and its people. Scholars will develop their leadership skills through a one-year master’s degree in public policy, international studies, or economics and business at Tsinghua University, one of China’s most prestigious institutes of higher education.

Up to 200 individuals are chosen annually from around the world for this highly selective, fully-funded program. Schwarzman Scholars will be selected on the basis of not only their academic aptitude and intellectual ability, but also their leadership potential, entrepreneurial spirit, ability to anticipate paradigm changes, exemplary character, and desire to understand other cultures, perspectives and positions.

Read more application instructions and details here.

Application Details   Apply Now


You must meet the following eligibility requirements to apply for the Schwarzman Scholars program:

  • Meet the Schwarzman Scholars eligibility listed here.
  • Applicants must be at least 18 but not yet 29 years of age as of August 1 in the year they would begin orientation at Tsinghua University.
  • There are no citizenship or nationality requirements.
  • There is no minimum GPA or class rank required to apply. Academic excellence will be a requirement for successful applicants.
  • The Schwarzman Scholars award does not require UNC endorsement, but ODS is available to provide feedback upon request and as allowed by Schwarzman Scholars parameters.

Letters of Recommendation

You must submit four letters of recommendation as part of a complete application. If you are a current Carolina undergraduate student, you must register ODS within the online application as one of your four recommenders before Friday, September 1, 2017 at 5PM ET. This prompt will be sent to Professor Inger Brodey in ODS.

Currently Enrolled Undergraduates:

  • 2 letters from professors who have taught them in the classroom and can speak to their academic abilities
  • 1 letter addressing their leadership abilities (this can be from an employer, supervisor, mentor, faculty member, or other)
  • 1 institutional letter of assessment (see below)

Graduate Students or Alumni:

  • At least 1 academic letter from a professor who can speak to their academic abilities
  • 1 letter of recommendation addressing their leadership abilities
  • For the last two letters, the applicant should choose from the following, focusing on letters that will best reflect their current profile as an applicant: a letter from an employer or mentor commenting on leadership abilities; a second academic letter from a professor; or an institutional letter from a fellowship office (if they are able to obtain one).

Applying for UNC Assessment

If you are a current Carolina undergraduate student, you must register ODS (using the email within the online application as one of your four recommenders before Friday, September 1, 2017. That request will be sent to the ODS Director, who will provide an institutional letter of assessment. If you hold a passport from only mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, or Macao, you do not need to register ODS as one of your four recommenders.

This brief letter will confirm your enrollment and will highlight specific details about you that may not be reflected in other parts of the application. This may include explanations of academic accomplishments, awards, or extracurricular activities in the context of Carolina that an application reader may not know.

Schwarzman applicants must submit their essays and and letters of recommendation to ODS to provide valuable information for the assessment letter. Submit materials here and have your four recommenders submit their letters here. All materials should be submitted to ODS by Friday, September 15, 2017.

Video Introductions

You may submit a video introduction as part of your application; this is strongly recommended but not required. The video can be up to one minute in length, and candidates are invited to introduce themselves in any style or setting they think best conveys their interests and personality.

Application Essays

You will submit a personal statement (up to 750 words), a leadership essay (up to 750 words), and an essay on current affairs (up to 500 words). The leadership essay can provide multiple examples of your leadership instead of only one example.

Application Deadlines

Deadline for consideration by the China committee

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Institutional Assessment/letter of recommendation request (consideration by the US/Global committee–see above)

Friday, September 1, 2017 (5:00 pm ET)

Deadline for consideration by the US/Global committee

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Tips & Advice

Students interested in applying for the Schwarzman Scholars program should:

Recent Schwarzman Scholars program recipients

Chang Zhao ’15
2016-17, Schwarzman Scholars program

Jialing Jiang ’17
2016-17, Schwarzman Scholars program

Larry Han ’16
2015-16, Schwarzman Scholars program

Max Seunik ’15 
2015-16, Schwarzman Scholars program