McDonnell International Scholars Academy

The McDonnell International Scholars Academy at Washington University in St. Louis is an endowed fellowship program that offers generous financial support towards graduate and professional degree studies at WashU. Applications are accepted from graduates of universities across the world, with a special interest in those students from its network of partner universities. Founded in 2005, the McDonnell Academy strives to develop a community of future global leaders. To that end, the Academy provides its Scholars with leadership training, mentorship by dedicated faculty members, and global engagement opportunities. It also facilitates collaborative research with its partners across disciplines and countries.

In selecting Scholars, the program considers the following:

  • Academic distinction: Scholars are selected on the basis of their academic talent, promise and ambition to become future leaders in academia, government, the professions, or the corporate world. 
  • Global mindset: Scholars share a global outlook, embrace difference, and express interest in broader social and cultural issues. They are committed to engaging in dialogue across disciplines and cultures.
  • Leadership: Scholars demonstrate a desire and potential to generate positive change in their communities and around the world. They are committed to engaging in the Academy’s platform for leadership development and communication acumen.
  • Community: Scholars become part of a diverse, close-knit community. They share a commitment to engaging in the Academy’s academic, professional and social activities and to strengthening ties across our global network of partners.


This fellowship opportunity is open to prospective students applying to pursue an eligible full-time graduate or professional degree program at Washington University in St. Louis. Applicants from all countries are welcome.

  • Priority is given to international graduate and professional candidates who are graduates of one of the Academys partner universities.
  • Domestic (U.S.) citizens who have spent most of their life and earned previous degrees in the United States are eligible to apply to as U.S. Scholars.
  • International graduate and professional candidates from international universities outside the partner network are eligible to apply as Global Scholars.



McDonnell Scholars receive both financial and programmatic support including:

  • full tuition scholarship;
  • a monthly living stipend;
  • annual travel allowance;
  • cultural and leadership training through a leadership seminar and workshops, specially-designed educational events including visits to Washington D.C. and New York, participation in international symposia, and more;
  • individual mentorship by a dedicated faculty Ambassador who assists in the development of the Scholar’s academic and professional life;
  • global network of students and alumni from across countries and disciplines.


The McDonnell Academy accepts applications beginning in October 1st 2020 through through the end of January. The application to the McDonnell Academy is separate from and in addition to, an application to an eligible full-time graduate or professional degree program at Washington University in St. Louis. The McDonnell Academy application consists of the following components:

  • candidate’s biographic information and academic history;
  • a personal essay;
  • a short video;
  • recommendation letter.

Decisions are typically made by the end of March. Approximately 20 Scholars are admitted to the McDonnell Academy each year.


Class Year

  • Senior
  • Recent Graduate
  • Post-baccalaureate
  • Graduate


  • Arts
  • Business
  • Communication
  • Education
  • Health
  • Humanities
  • International Affairs
  • Public Affairs/Government
  • Social Sciences
  • STEM
  • Multiple


  • English


  • Other

Program Type

  • Graduate Study


  • North America

GWU Sponsored?


GWU Endorsement Required?