Below you’ll find answers to the questions we get asked the most about applying to the McDonnell Academy.
- Eligibility & Applying
- Application Process & Requirements
- Letter of Recommendation
- Application Evaluation & Decisions
Eligibility & Applying
The McDonnell Academy accepts applicants from all countries! To be eligible to apply to the McDonnell Academy, you must be a graduate or professional degree candidate who has applied to an eligible Washington University doctoral or master’s degree program and also meets one of the following criteria:
- Partner Scholar – an international graduate or professional degree candidate who is a graduate of one of our Partner Universities; OR
- Global Scholar – an international graduate or professional degree candidate from a university outside the partner network; OR
- U.S. Scholar – a U.S. citizen who has spent most of their life and earned previous degrees in the United States.
Yes! If you are an international student who has spent most of your life outside the United States but received your undergraduate degree in the U.S., you are eligible to apply as a Global Scholar.
No. In order to qualify for the McDonnell Academy fellowship, graduate students must be entering their first year of an eligible doctoral or professional degree program.
Your next step should be to complete the online application before February 1.
Applying to a Washington University graduate or professional degree program and the McDonnell International Scholars Academy are separate application processes. It is required that you complete and submit applications to both your chosen degree program and the McDonnell International Scholars Academy to be considered for admission to the Academy. Please visit the website of your potential Washington University school for a graduate or professional degree program application. The McDonnell Academy application is available during application acceptance dates.
Yes, you should apply to the McDonnell Academy before the January 31st deadline. The McDonnell Academy makes its decisions with WashU graduate program decisions and deadlines in mind. The McDonnell Academy admissions committee interviews selected candidates during the evaluation period; however, final selections are not made until the graduate program releases its decision. Only those accepted into a graduate program are eligible for admission to the McDonnell Academy.
No. The McDonnell Academy requires only one application per applicant. If you have applied to multiple WashU degree programs, please email us at email@example.com to report additional programs. Please do not submit more than one application.
No. The McDonnell Academy graduate fellowship is only available to candidates accepted into eligible WashU graduate programs.
Application Process & Requirements
What is the application process?
The McDonnell Academy accepts applications beginning October 1st through January 31st every academic year via an online portal. You will be required to complete the following:
- Complete your profile
- Academic history
- Personal essay
- Video introduction
- Recommendation letter
Complete details can be found on the Application Instructions page.
Details such as your address and phone contact can be updated in your profile at any time. Your academic history, personal essay, video introduction and recommender contact information can be changed at any time before your application is submitted. After submission, the application data cannot be changed.
After you have begun the online application process, you can check the status of your application on your applicant dashboard. The dashboard provides the status of the different sections in your application (as you complete them prior to submission), and the status of your application after you have completed all sections and submitted the application. Until your application has been submitted, your application status will be “Incomplete”. This will change to “Pending” after you have submitted the application. As applications are reviewed, other status updates will appear to indicate where your application is in the process.
No. Only your completed application is necessary. The McDonnell Academy does not require you to submit CV’s, GRE scores, or other academic records as part of the McDonnell Academy Application.
Letter of Recommendation
Upon submission, your recommender will be sent a letter of recommendation request email which includes a link to upload the recommendation letter. Recommenders are given 14 days from receipt of the letter of recommendation request email to upload the letter of recommendation. The upload link provided to the recommender automatically expires after the 14-day period. The application deadline is January 31st, which means recommendations can be submitted until February 14th and still be considered on time. This 14-day grace period allows us to accept recommendation letters until 11:59 PM CST on February 14th.
The admissions committee reviews departmental recommendation letters included in your graduate program application (in consultation with the academic department). We ask candidates to provide a separate letter from the graduate degree program application because we want to learn about the leadership qualities rather than the academic credentials of our candidates. You may provide contact information for a recommender who has already written a letter for your graduate school application if that person can speak to your leadership skills, character, and potential. The recommender will need to write a separate letter to the McDonnell Academy addressing these attributes.
Have you submitted your application?
- No: The letter of recommendation request email will not be sent to the recommender until you have completed all required sections and submitted your application. Once you have submitted your application, an email with instructions will be sent to your recommender automatically. All instructions and requirements will be detailed in the email to your recommender.
- Yes: If you have indeed submitted your application, please review the “I have submitted my application but my recommender did not receive an email to provide a letter of recommendation” FAQ response below.
Upon application submission, your recommender will be sent a letter of recommendation request email from firstname.lastname@example.org, which includes a link to upload the recommendation letter. If your recommender has not received the letter of recommendation request email, please review the contact information you provided for your recommender and check their email address for errors. Changes to your application following submission are not permitted. If the recommender’s information requires updating, email the information you wish to update to email@example.com.
If you have verified that the contact information provided is correct, the email may have been blocked by the email host’s security protocols. Please ask your recommender to check their junk/spam folders. If your recommender has not received the email, please email us firstname.lastname@example.org for further instruction.
Your application is NOT fully complete without the letter of recommendation.
If your recommender’s link has expired, you may request to have another link sent. Please email us at email@example.com.
Yes, please email your new recommender’s name, organization, and email address to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may check the status of your letter of recommendation on your application dashboard. Your letter of recommendation status will be updated throughout the application process. Please review each status and its corresponding definition below:
Incomplete – Applicant has not provided all information (name, title, and email address) for the recommender.
Contact Provided – Applicant has provided and saved all contact information but application has not been submitted.
Request Sent – Applicant has completed and submitted the application. McDonnell Academy Admissions has sent an email request to the recommender.
Complete – Recommender has submitted a letter of recommendation for the applicant.
Expired – Recommender has not submitted a letter of recommendation by the due date. Contact the McDonnell Academy if your LOR status is expired.
Application Evaluation & Decisions
To check the status of your application throughout the review process, please log in and access your applicant dashboard.
The McDonnell Academy admissions committee reviews each application thoroughly; decisions are typically made by the end of March, and usually no later than mid-April. Please keep in mind that this can be a lengthy process and the timeline is subject to change.
After you have begun the online application process, you can check the status of your application on your applicant dashboard. Your applicant dashboard within the online application will be updated to reflect the decision that is reached regarding your acceptance. Accepted individuals will also receive an email notification with further information.
On average, there are between 20-25 Scholars admitted each year.