Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program

Knight-Hennessy Scholars develops a community of future global leaders to address complex challenges through collaboration and innovation. Every year, up to 100 high-achieving students from around the world will receive full funding to pursue any graduate degree at Stanford University, including the JD, MA, MBA, MD, MFA, MS, and PhD programs, as well as all joint- and dual-degrees. Knight-Hennessy Scholars is the largest fully endowed scholars program in the world.

Award: The Knight-Hennessy Scholars program funds up to the first three years of your graduate education. If your degree program exceeds three years, your Stanford home department will fund the remainder of your education to the standard extent (5-6 years for most PhDs). In the first three years of graduate study, Knight-Hennessy Scholars receive, a fellowship applied directly to cover tuition, a stipend for living and academic expenses, and a travel stipend for one annual trip to and from Stanford. Knight-Hennessy Scholars also may apply for supplemental funds to support academic endeavors.

Criteria: The Knight-Hennessy Scholars program looks primarily at three areas: (1) Independence of thought, (2) Purposeful leadership, (3) Civic mindset.

Endorsement is not required to apply for the Knight-Hennessy Scholarship. However, applicants are very strongly encouraged to seek endorsement through ODS, as it emphasizes UNC’s confidence in you as an applicant and gives ODS the chance to submit information about your character and accomplishments.

Application deadlines

ODS internal deadline for review: Thursday, October 1, 2020 (5:00 pm ET)

Scholarship final deadline: Wednesday, October 14, 2020


You are eligible to apply to the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program if:

  • you are applying to enroll in any full-time graduate degree program at Stanford
  • you apply during your final year of study for your first/bachelor’s degree or within four years of earning your first/bachelor’s degree (January 2015 through September 2020)
  • you meet the requirements of the Stanford graduate program(s) that you wish to pursue

How to apply for UNC endorsement

  • Personal information form
  • 2 Essays
  • 2 Short-answer responses
  • Resume (1 page)
  • All relevant transcripts
  • Standardized test scores
  • Photograph
  • Video story
  • 2 Letters of recommendation

Resources for applicants

  • Review the ODS “Tips & Advice” document for general advice on applying for a distinguished award.
  • Review the Knight-Hennessy’s rules and guidelines:
  • Attend an ODS information session or prep-shop
  • Schedule a meeting with the ODS director to discuss your application and receive advice. Non-local applicants may schedule meetings via Skype or phone. (Note: You may receive feedback on your Knight-Hennessy personal statement and essays, but you may not incorporate the revised content into a Rhodes or Mitchell Scholarships personal statement.)


Recent Knight-Hennessy Scholarship Recipients: Kelly McFarlane ’14, Sasha Seymore ’15