Goldwater Scholarship

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship is given to college sophomores and juniors who intend to pursue research careers in the natural sciences, mathematics and engineering. Approximately 450 students nationwide receive a Goldwater Scholarship each year.

Award: Scholarships of up to $7,500 a year are provided to help cover costs associated with tuition, mandatory fees, books, room and board. Sophomores receive support in both their junior and senior years. Juniors will receive support in their senior year.

Criteria: The characteristics the Foundation seeks in a Goldwater Scholar include (1) strong commitment to a research career in the natural sciences, mathematics and engineering; (2) effective display of intellectual intensity in the sciences, mathematics and engineering; and (3) potential for a significant future contribution to research in his/her chosen field.

Application deadlines

ODS internal application deadline for endorsement: Monday, November 16, 2020 (5:00 pm ET)

Scholarship final deadline: Friday, January 29, 2021


To be eligible for nomination for a Goldwater Scholarship, a student must:

  • Be a full-time matriculated sophomore or junior
  • Intend to pursue a research career in a natural science, mathematics or engineering, as defined by the Goldwater Scholarship’s Conditions of Eligibility
  • Have a competitive GPA of at least a 3.0, and usually 3.6 or higher
  • Be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident
  • Be nominated by a faculty member, in an email sent to ODS during the current application year

How to apply for UNC endorsement

  • Personal information form
  • Goldwater pre-application
  • Goldwater online application
  • Research essay
  • All relevant transcripts
  • Photograph
  • 3 letters of recommendation

Steps for Applying to the Goldwater Scholarship:

Step 1: Check your eligibility
• Sophomore or Junior standing
• GPA > 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale)
• Intent to pursue a career in research that involves one of the following:

    •  Engineering
    • Mathematics
    • Natural Sciences

• Permanent resident of the United States

Step 2: Know your campus rep email address
• For UNC, it is

Step 3: Complete your Pre-Application on the Goldwater portal
• Complete your pre-application, making sure to include in the campus rep category.
• Our office will be notified when we you complete pre-application
• Our office will review your eligibility and approve your pre-application

Step 4: Complete the online application
• Once we have approved your pre-application, you will be prompted via email to begin the application online
• The online application has several components, including: 1) online questionnaire, 2) research essay, 3) three letters of recommendation, 4) transcript(s), and 5) for a Permanent Resident, a copy of your Permanent                   Resident Card.

Step 5: Nomination:
• Once you have completed your application, our office will be alerted
• We will hold interviews and can endorse up to 4 students


Nomination by a UNC Faculty or Staff Member

Eligible students who are interested in pursuing a Goldwater Scholarship must be nominated by a UNC faculty or staff member before they can apply for endorsement. Students may reach out to a UNC faculty or staff member and ask to be nominated.

In order to nominate a student: a faculty or staff member must send a short e-mail to ODS ( by Friday, October 9 with the following information:

  • The student’s name
  • The student’s PID
  • The student’s UNC email address
  • The nominator’s name and email address

Resources for applicants


Recent Goldwater Scholarship Recipients: Andrew Pendergast ’20, Scott Emmons ’19, Sarah Miller ’18, Chiara Pancaldo Salemi ’17