• Country: United States of America
  • Scholarship Type: Merit-based
  • Offered by: Stanford University
  • Institutions: Graduate schools at Stanford University
  • Type: Fully funded scholarship for up to 3 years
  • Degree Program: Masters, PhD
  • Scholarship Amount: Full tuition, traveling allowance, academic expenses, and living allowance
  • Deadline: Oct 2023

Scholarship Description

Launched in 2018, the Knight-Hennessy Scholarship aims to help promising graduate students study at Stanford University. The university created the award to attract the brightest minds in the world. There are as many as 100 spots every year and candidates may come from any country in the world. 

The award covers full tuition costs, educational expenses, living allowance, and traveling allowance. Scholars get funding for as long as three years while they take a graduate degree(s) at the university. There are exceptions for those pursuing programs that may exceed this period; including students taking medical degrees, doctorates, dual degrees, or joint degrees. They are eligible to receive funding beyond this timeframe.

Previously, the university has launched Denning House, which is located by Lake Lagunita. The building is the center for the community of Knight-Hennessy Scholars and is designed to be where the scholars gather for workshops, social events, and presentations. 

A New York-based architectural firm called Ennead designed this structure. The two-story building has meeting rooms, lecture rooms, classrooms, office space, and a dining area. The university received it as a gift from spouses, Steven A. Denning and Roberta Bowman Denning. Mr. Denning serves as the chair of the Board of Trustees. Meanwhile, Mrs. Denning is the chairperson of the Humanities & Science Council and the Arts Advisory Board

Knight-Hennessy Scholarship Eligibility

Regarding admission to the university, there are four conditions that interested parties must meet:

  • Apply separately yet concurrently to the scholarship and a full-time graduate degree program in a way that both will start in a single year.
  • Received an offer to a graduate degree program but deferred admission and will apply for the scholarship to start both at the same time.
  • A current graduate student interested in applying to another graduate degree program and Stanford, intending to start both at the same time.
  • A first-year PhD student at Stanford who plans to start the scholarship in the second year of enrollment.

Here are the criteria set by the panel for eligibility for the Knight-Hennessy Scholarship:

  • Fluency in English
  • National of any country
  • Application to the scholarship within four years of earning a first degree, typically a bachelor’s
  • Enrolment to the graduate degree within five years of earning a first degree, typically a bachelor’s
  • Mentally sharp and seeks out new knowledge and experiences
  • Full of ideas, may hold dissenting or contrarian points of view, and can make sense of unclear situations
  • Completed the whole application process required by the graduate degree program of choice
  • Ambitious, self-driven, and ready to take risks
  • Humble, kind, respectful, altruistic, and with a low ego
  • Receive admission to and enroll in a graduate degree program at Stanford

Courses applicable

The Knight-Hennessy Scholarship is open to people who will pursue graduate degrees, master’s or PhD, at Stanford University. There is no quota for the programs in question. Applicants should have already received admission to most graduate degrees in arts, engineering, education, social sciences, and humanities. It is also open to professional degrees in the fields of business, medicine, or law.

The applicant must have an offer from any of the seven graduate schools at Stanford: Graduate School of Education, School of Engineering, School of Humanities and Sciences, School of Medicine, and Doerr School of Sustainability.

However, there are several programs that are not eligible for the scholarship. They are the following:

  • Doctor of Science of Law
  • Master of Liberal Arts
  • Honors Cooperative Program

Aside from these, the scholarship bars current Stanford students who plan to pursue coterminal graduate study. Current PhD students who plan to add an MS or MA degree in their discipline are not eligible either. Lastly, it is worth noting that the scholarship prioritizes those who are pursuing degrees of two years or longer.

How to apply for Knight-Hennessy Scholarship?

Here are the steps for application to the Knight-Hennessy Scholarship:

  1. Create an account on the online platform for the scholarship.
  2. Begin and complete the online application for admission. This requires filling in basic details about biography, demography, interests, and activities.
  3. Submit the documents listed below.
  • Self-reported or unofficial transcript of academic performance in previous degrees for every academic institution attended for at least a year. The transcript should come with the conferred degree and date of conferral.
  • A resume outlining the intellectual, professional, and personal accomplishments and background of the applicant. The application calls for a page per decade of experience after graduating from secondary school.
  • Two recommendation letters that reflect knowledge of the candidate’s qualifications, desire to support the candidacy, and strong endorsement of the applicant. They must detail the following:
    • How the writer knows and interacts with the applicant
    • Describe how the candidate shows intellectual creativity and curiosity in the face of challenges.
    • Describe the way the applicant has taken the initiative that bore valuable results and positive changes.
    • Describe the manner in which the applicant works in service of other people for the greater good.
    • Add anything that the panel must know regarding the applicant.
  • Essay with a maximum of 1,750 words. It must address the following topics:
    • How earlier influences have created the applicant into the person they are now
    • How do they plan to pursue their calling in life
    • How the Knight-Hennessy Scholarship can help them do this.
  • Short responses to the following prompts:
    • Share eight surprising facts about the applicant.
    • List three objectives the applicant is presently working towards.
  • Video story that does not exceed a duration of two minutes.
  • In-person assessment.

Documents required

Overall, applicants should gather these documents for the application:

  • Unofficial or self-reported transcript of academic performance.
  • Resume
  • Two recommendation letters
  • An essay that addresses the given prompts, maximum of 1,750 words
  • Brief answer responses to the given prompts
  • Video story, maximum of two minutes

Please keep in mind that all application materials for submission must be in English. Candidates must send them through the online application platform. The university does not accept materials sent by postal mail or email. 

Applicants should use the latest version of either Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome. This will ensure that the application goes through smoothly.

Official Website


1.Can I apply for the scholarship if I am a US citizen?

Yes. Anyone may apply for the scholarship regardless of citizenship as long as they meet the set criteria. According to the program, US citizens will receive approximately a third of the offers over time.

2.Am I still eligible if I already have an earlier graduate degree?

Yes, although you still need to meet the cut-off for the conferral of your first degree in order to apply.

3.Is it possible to defer the offer by Knight-Hennessy Scholars?

No. While it is possible to defer enrollment to certain graduate programs, the award does not allow deferral. In case you cannot enroll for the school year, you need to reapply again in the future.

4.Can I combine the Knight-Hennessy Scholars offer with other scholarships?

It depends on the other scholarship. You cannot combine the Knight-Hennessy Scholars award with the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity Graduate Fellowships, Stanford Graduate Fellowship in Science & Engineering, and Shoucheng Zhang Graduate Fellowship.