The McDonnell International Scholars Academy at Washington University in St. Louis provides graduate and professional students from university partners around the world with an extraordinary educational experience at Washington University.

To ensure the highest quality program, the academy is focused and small, involving a limited number of scholars and university partners.

In creating an international network of research universities, Washington University intends to develop a cohort of future leaders in a global university system and promote global awareness and social responsibility.

The McDonnell Academy affirms the United States’ interest in attracting talented international and domestic students for advanced educational experiences and provides a means for the university to learn more about the global community.

Academy Goals

  • Provide an opportunity for talented international and domestic graduate and professional students to join the Washington University community
  • Provide an on-campus experience that assists scholars in understanding U.S. culture, history and politics as well as international issues
  • Build stronger ties between Washington University and leading research universities around the world
  • Strengthen relationships between Washington University and alumni, parents, friends, corporations and governments of the scholars’ countries


Scholars in the academy are important to the research effort at Washington University and enhance the educational experiences of domestic students by sharing their culture, history and the politics of their countries.

Scholars are selected on the basis of their promise to become future leaders in academia, government, the professions or the corporate world. The academy provides academic, cultural and social opportunities to help scholars develop into future leaders knowledgeable about the United States, other countries of the world and critical international issues.

Meet our current academy members and learn about their programs of study.

Learn about scholars who have successfully completed their studies through the academy.


A special feature of the McDonnell Academy is that each scholar has a mentor. Each mentor also serves as an ambassador.

The ambassadors are appointed by Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton to advise the scholars and charged to strengthen collaboration with the partner universities. Collaborative efforts engage faculty and students of the university and those of the partner universities in various activities that enhance scholarly interests and international understanding.

Learn about our academy ambassadors as well as their educational and career backgrounds.

Academy Sponsors

Select corporations with a commitment to higher education and to international programs serve as sponsors for a group of scholars known as corporate fellows. Each participating corporation arranges for the fellow it supports to spend time at one of its facilities in the U.S. or abroad.

See corporate, foundation and individual sponsors of the academy.

Special Programs for McDonnell Academy Scholars

One of the goals of the McDonnell International Scholars Academy is to create a global network of scholars and leaders. Such networks will be an increasingly important resource for addressing societal problems in the future, and they require distinctive forms of knowledge and leadership skills.

The McDonnell Academy organizes special seminars, retreats and other events. At these events, distinguished scholars, politicians and other analysts lead discussions on political, cultural and economic issues in the United States and the broader world.

A Community of Scholars

To help McDonnell Academy scholars develop a sense of community, Washington University offers them the opportunity to live together in two university-owned apartment buildings. Originally built for the 1904 World’s Fair, the two adjacent buildings are across the street and one block north of the Danforth Campus. The apartments are fully furnished and have up-to-date systems and amenities. Details about housing are available to those admitted to the academy.

Senior Scholars and Academy Fellows

In addition to programs for scholars at the graduate and professional degree level, the McDonnell Academy provides occasional opportunities for postdoctoral scholars and visiting faculty, especially from university partners. Proposals for senior scholars (postdoctoral level) and academy fellows (faculty) are considered on a case-by-case basis. In most cases the applicant must arrange funding.