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Wiki Goldwater Scholarship Essay

Interested students should contact the Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships for a Goldwater Scholarship Application Booklet.

Applicants for the Goldwater Scholarship must be endorsed by Northeastern.

To apply to the Goldwater Scholarship, you will need to submit the following documents:


  1. A pre-application form. Register on the Goldwater application, indicating your GPA, area of study, and those faculty members from whom you would like to solicit letters of reference. Once our office has reviewed your pre-application form and approved your references, you can then begin the application and the solicitation of references on your own behalf. The approval of your references will trigger an email indicating that I will be approaching your references. Please disregard this email and use our “Request for Reference” form to solicit the references on your own behalf. We believe that approaching references and soliciting recommendations is an important part of your learning to become a research scientist.
  2. A complete application form.  The application becomes available when you register on the official Goldwater web site by completing the pre-application form and our Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships approves your application and potential references.
  3. The main part of the application is an essay describing a scientific issue or problem of interest to the applicant.  Your essay may be single or double spaced and use 12 point or larger Arial or Times New Roman font. Margins should be 1inch on all sides. Page length should not exceed 3 pages. Your essay must include your name and the name of your academic institution at the top of each page. The research essay can focus on research already conducted (the best option) or propose a new area of inquiry. All essays should include:
  • a description of an issue or problem in the field
  • a methodological discussion of an idea for research that would have significant impact on the issue or problem
  • a description of the student’s contribution to the work an aspect of the research in which the student would be involved
  • a discussion of research outcomes, including future research borne of this investigation, as well as the relevance of the issue or problem to the student as a mathematician, scientist, or engineer.


  • Three letters of recommendation from faculty. Please do not solicit letters of reference until your pre-application form has been approved by our Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowship. Please be sure to use our Request for Reference form. Two letters should be from tenured or tenure-track faculty members, or those with similar statue from industry (think high-level coop supervisor) who can discuss your potential for a career in mathematics, the natural sciences, or engineering. At least one of these must be a faculty member in your field of study. A third letter should be from another individual/faculty member who can attest your potential as a researcher. If you have been involved in research, one recommendation must be from the individual who supervised your work. Contact the Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships at for a Request for Reference form.
  • An official Northeastern University Transcriptand any transcripts from other institutions of higher education you have attended, including during high school.  Northeastern transcripts can be ordered through the Office of Registrar or through the myNEU Web Portal. These materials should be forwarded by snail mail directly to the Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships in 411 Richards Hall or by email to


Submit your complete application form and project essay via the official Goldwater application site.

After the internal evaluation, selected candidates finalize their applications. These applications are then forwarded to the national competition.

The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by the United States Congress in 1986 in honor of former United States Senator and 1964 presidential candidateBarry Goldwater. Its goal is to provide a continuing source of highly qualified scientists, mathematicians, and engineers by awarding scholarships to college students who intend to pursue careers in these fields.

The Scholarship—the most prestigious undergraduate scholarship given in the natural sciences, engineering and mathematics—is awarded annually to about 300 college sophomores and juniors nationwide. The scholarship is awarded based on merit, and the actual amount given is based on financial need, up to a maximum of $7500 per academic year.

In addition, since at least 2006, about 150 exceptional applicants not awarded the Scholarship have been recognized with official Honorable Mentions.[1]

Competition for the Scholarship is exceptionally intense. Universities are allowed to nominate only four undergraduate students per year to receive the final Scholarship, making it the premier award in the U.S. conferred upon undergraduates studying the sciences. Through March 2006, Princeton University had the most Goldwater Scholars with 64, followed by Harvard University with (60), Duke University (58), Kansas State University (57), and the University of Chicago (53).[2]

In awarding scholarships, the Foundation Board of Trustees considers field of study, career objectives, commitment, and potential to make a significant professional contribution. This is judged by letters of reference, student essays, and prior research experience. The number of scholarships awarded per region depends on the number and qualifications of the nominees for that region. The regions are defined as each of the 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and, considered as a single entity, Guam, the United States Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands.


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