Schwarzman Scholarship

Schwarzman Scholarship

Contact Co-Director of External Fellowships Dr. Jason Marsh (

Initial St. Olaf Campus Deadline (for current seniors only): May
On-Campus Conversation with External Fellowships Dr. Jason Marsh (for current seniors only): August
National Deadline: Mid to End September

If you have already graduated from St. Olaf and wish to apply for the Schwarzman Scholarship, you may apply directly to the Schwarzman Foundation. Letters of institutional support are not required for those who have already graduated. There is therefore no initial campus deadlines associated with the award for all alumni who wish to apply.


Designed to prepare the next generation of global leaders, Schwarzman Scholars is the first scholarship created to respond to the geopolitical landscape of the 21st Century. Whether in politics, business or science, the success of future leaders around the world will depend upon an understanding of China’s role in global trends.

Application Information:

Interested St. Olaf applicants should first carefully read the information provided on the official Schwarzman Scholars website (don’t miss the helpful recorded webinar for prospective students, presentations and webinars). After going through the official information, applicants are welcome to refer questions to and to seek application advice from the fellowships advisor.

Award Benefits:

Enrolling the inaugural class in 2016, the program will give the world’s best and brightest students the opportunity to develop their leadership skills through a one-year Master’s Degree at Tsinghua University in Beijing – one of China’s most prestigious universities. Students will live and study together on the campus of Schwarzman College, a newly-built, state-of-the-art facility, where all classes will be taught in English. Students will pursue degrees in one of three disciplines:

  • Public Policy
  • Economics and Business
  • International Studies

Students will spend a year immersed in an international community of thinkers, innovators and senior leaders in business, politics and society. In an environment of intellectual engagement, professional development and cultural exchange, they will learn from one another and pursue their academic disciplines while building their leadership capacities. This experience will expand students’ understanding of the world and create a growing network of global leaders for the future. For those ready to make their mark on the world, Schwarzman Scholars represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Please continue to check this site and the Schwarzman Scholarship site for the most up-to-date information, including information on applying through St. Olaf College.

Application Process for Initial St. Olaf Initial Campus Deadline (for current seniors only):

  1. Submit the materials listed under “Materials due by final campus deadline” to the fellowships advisor via email by the initial St. Olaf Campus Deadline.
  2. Three Letters of recommendation should be submitted to the fellowships advisor via email ( by the initial St. Olaf Campus Deadline. Letters should also be submitted to the Schwarzman Scholars Application Portal.
  3. Sign up for a conversation with the External Fellowships Dr. Jason Marsh during the interview time frame indicated above (for current undergraduates only- alumni can apply as at-large candidates). This interview will inform the letter of institutional endorsement that will be written on behalf of the applicant. For currently enrolled undergraduate students, one of the four letters should be an institutional letter of support. This will be written by the fellowships advisor after you submit your initial application by the St. Olaf Initial Campus Deadline.
  4. Submit final application by the national deadline.

Materials Due By Initial Campus Deadline (for current seniors only):

Finalize your Schwarzman Scholars online application and save it as a pdf. Send the finalized application to the fellowships advisor by the initial campus deadline (but DO NOT submit your final application until you receive permission from the fellowships advisor to do so). 

  • Fellowships Permission Form and Waiver: Fill out the “Fellowships Permission Form and Waiver” and return to the fellowships advisor by email ( For access to the form, email the fellowships advisor. The form has many functions, one of which is to make the applicant’s transcript available free of charge. Once the fellowships advisor has received the fellowships form, he will submit it to the registrar.
  • Three electronic letters of recommendation: At least one of these letters must come from a recommender who can comment on the specific examples of leadership described in the candidate’s application, but the recommender must at least be able to comment on the candidate’s leadership qualities from direct knowledge of the candidate. Recommendations must be translated to English by a professional translator if written in another language. You should instruct your recommenders to submit their letters to the Schwarzman Application Portal AND to the fellowships advisor. You will have an opportunity to register your recommendation writers in the Schwarzman Application Portal. When you register your recommenders, the portal will send an email granting your recommender access to the online portal, where they will receive instructions for submitting their letter. You will be unable to see the letter.
  • An essay in three sections:
    • Personal Statement (up to 750 words): Describe your professional interests and values and how the Schwarzman Scholars program and deeper knowledge of China will help advance your goals. Describe both your short-term objectives for the 1-3 years after the program and your long-term aspirations. How will you contribute to the community of Schwarzman Scholars and to the program’s mission?
    • Leadership Essay (up to 750 words): We want candidates to provide specific examples of their leadership that explore their abilities to understand challenges and opportunities, envision solutions, take initiative to act, inspire others to join an effort, and push through resistance and/or challenges in reaching results. The applicant’s example(s) of leadership might address some but not all of these characteristics. Examples might include efforts such as founding a student organization that successfully addressed a pressing need on campus; taking on a influential role in an existing organization to redirect or revitalize it in the context of a new challenge; founding and running a startup to take advantage of an emerging opportunity. Candidates should NOT let these examples limit their thinking and should draw on their own personal experiences for similar examples of leadership. Candidates should avoid describing situations that might fall into one of the following categories, all of which are valuable learning and growth experiences, but do not give the committee a deeper understanding of the applicant’s leadership over extended periods of time: (1) accomplishing a difficult but typical task assigned to you in the workplace (2) solving brief problems of cultural miscommunication while traveling or studying overseas (3) simply winning office in a student or community organization (It is, however, helpful, to describe the challenges faced and accomplishments achieved in office.) (4) brief situational challenges (Focus instead on longer term projects and challenges.)
    • Current Affairs Essay (up to 500 words): Choose an issue in contemporary social, international, business, environmental, diplomatic, arts, or other policy that is of interest to you. This essay should lay out the current factors and trends influencing the topic and make a realistic recommendation of how local, national, or international leaders should intervene to contribute to a more peaceful and prosperous future. Current resume/CV: Please submit a resume or c.v. appropriate for any application for employment in your country. This can be no longer than 2 pages.

Directions for Submitting:

  • There is no “unsubmit” button for the Schwarzman Scholars website; do NOT press “submit” until the fellowships advisor notifies you to do so, which will occur after all on-campus processes are complete.
  • You should instruct your recommenders to submit their letters to the Schwarzman Application Portal AND to the External Fellowships Dr. Jason Marsh. You will have an opportunity to register your recommendation writers in the Schwarzman Application Portal. When you register your recommenders, the portal will send an email granting your recommender access to the online portal, where they will receive instructions for submitting their letter. You will be unable to see the letter.
  • After your final campus interviews, the fellowships advisor will direct you to submit your final application.
  • The Fellowships Advisor will process your application and finalize your letter of endorsement. Once you receive permission, you may submit your final application on the Schwarzman Application Portal.