Our mission is to identify and develop leaders to achieve public good. This is what the Rhodes Scholarships have done, with remarkable success, since their inception in 1903.
We find and develop exceptional people who will be able to create real change in the world.
A Second Century of Impact
We find, bring together and develop exceptional young people who are impatient with the way things are and have the courage to act. Each year, a class of c 100 Scholars is selected from over 60 countries, maintaining a community of c 250 Scholars studying in Oxford at any one time. The combination of a collaborative and dynamic environment, intensive and challenging education and a focus on character, service and leadership prepares them to make a positive impact on the world.
History of the Rhodes Trust
The will of Cecil Rhodes (1853-1902) created the Rhodes Scholarships, managed by the Rhodes Trust.
It is a global organisation and we use our deep connections across the world to bring together people of different backgrounds and viewpoints. We encourage them to openly debate, challenge each other’s thinking and generate new ideas.
Cecil Rhodes expected his Trustees to adapt his plans to respond effectively to changing circumstances. Soon after his death his Trustees created several more Scholarships for Canada than he had done. The adaptation continued through three Acts of the British Parliament and other important changes to his will – for example, during World War I, abolishing the German Scholarships, which were twice re-created by his Trustees (in 1929-30 and 1969-70); in 1929, wholly remaking the geographic basis on which the Scholarships are awarded in the United States; opening up all but four of the Scholarships to women as well as to men in 1976; the opening up of those four remaining Scholarships (for named schools in South Africa) to women in recent years. During the first 100 years after Cecil Rhodes's death, the Trustees added at one time or another nearly another 40 Scholarships, though not all have continued.
In 2003 to mark the centenary of the Rhodes Scholarships and to continue the historic commitment of the Rhodes Trust to Africa and specifically to leadership development for Africa, the Rhodes Trust joined in the creation of The Mandela Rhodes Foundation. The Rhodes Trust is a forward-looking organisation. As Nelson Mandela said at the launch of that Foundation in 2003, there is “a chance to close the circle of history”. We do not shy away from history but use it to challenge the status quo.
The Rhodes Trust Archive documents the history and development of the Trust since the first meeting of the Trustees in 1902. Over a century of activity has produced a large collection of various media, files, plans, photographs, sound recordings, and videos.
The collection provides a record of the history of the Trust, its organisation and structure, significant developments and decisions, and financial policy. It also gives insight into its daily working and the individuals involved.
We regret that it is not currently possible to visit the Archive but for research enquiries contact:
What is the Rhodes Scholarship?
Step 1 - The Rhodes Scholarship is a postgraduate award supporting exceptional students from around the world to study at the University of Oxford.
- The Rhodes Scholarship is the oldest (first awarded in 1902) and perhaps most prestigious international scholarship programme
- The Scholarship aims to nurture public-spirited leaders for the world's future
- Ninety five outstanding young women and men are awarded the Scholarship each year, from 20 Rhodes constituencies (64 countries) worldwide
- Rhodes Scholars study at the world-class University of Oxford, ranked first internationally in the Times Higher Education rankings 2017
- Scholars may pursue any full-time postgraduate degree (subject to limited restrictions) offered by the University of Oxford, for a duration of 2-3 years
- The Scholarship includes full tuition, a maintenance stipend, and flights to and from Oxford at the beginning and end of tenure
- Whilst at Oxford Scholars enjoy a comprehensive Rhodes Character, Service & Leadership programme, inclusive of retreats, workshops, conferences, as well as many discussion and social events at Rhodes House, Oxford
- The Rhodes Scholarship is a lifelong, intergenerational fellowship of over 5000 individuals, resident in over 100 countries worldwide.
Who can apply?
Step 2 - If you are a young person of outstanding intellect, character, leadership, and commitment to service, you could be a candidate for the Rhodes Scholarship.
Supporting the Scholarships
Your support will enable Rhodes Scholars to have greater impact on their communities, benefitting the whole world. Your giving could change the world for the better.
The Impact of Your Gift
The Rhodes Trust supports the intellectual and personal growth of talented men and women, now chosen from over 45 countries, who have outstanding potential to excel at Oxford and exhibit leadership in their wider careers. It has been very successful in this aim – Rhodes Scholars share a history of enriching their communities, being pioneers in their chosen fields, and applying the knowledge gained and experience acquired as Scholars to the prosperity and betterment of the societies in which they live. They have consistently distinguished themselves in politics, academia, business, law, the arts, medicine, science, sport, activism and countless other fields, much to the advantage of the communities from which they come and in which they go on to live and work.