Selecting the Rhodes Scholar

  • Education
  • Sunday, 17 Jul 2016

Sound investment: Kamarul says the scholarship supports exceptional students to study at the University of Oxford.

KNOWN as one of the most prestigious postgraduate scholarships in the world, Malaysia’s Rhodes Scholar will take his or her place at the University of Oxford in October next year.

Yayasan Khazanah managing director Kamarul Bahrein Sharif said the Rhodes Scholarship is more than just support for a degree.

“It is an investment in an individual’s potential. Rhodes House offers a comprehensive Character, Service and Leadership programme which includes workshops, speaker series and retreats,” he said.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said in May that Yayasan Khazanah, a foundation of Khazanah Nasional Bhd, will make an endowment of £5mil (RM26.4mil) over five years to sponsor three Malaysians a year, in perpetuity, to pursue full-time postgraduate studies at the University of Oxford.

Najib who is also Khazanah chairman, said this would be under the Rhodes Scholarship for Malaysia programme.

Kamarul said the Rhodes Scholarships are postgraduate awards supporting exceptional students from around the world to study at the University of Oxford, a cause Yayasan Khazanah is proud to support.

“The Rhodes is the oldest and perhaps the most prestigious international scholarship programme in the world, which aims to nurture public-spirited leaders for the world’s future. The Yayasan Khazanah scholarship programme is in itself a premier programme and the Rhodes Scholars from Malaysia will enjoy the support of both Rhodes and Yayasan Khazanah; both respected names in human capital development,” he added.

For the Rhodes Scholarship, he said one scholar will be selected per year.

On how scholarship recipients will be selected, Kamarul advised them to read the information about the scholarships applicable globally, and then proceed to the Rhodes - Malaysia page at

In broad terms, he said candidates will be required to have the following:

• Evidence of academic record/transcript (complete or in progress) of undergraduate degree and any postgraduate study;

• Curriculum vitae/resumé or list of principal activities;

• Personal statement or essay (including, crucially, a clear statement of what the applicant wishes to study at Oxford and why);

• Evidence of age/birth certificate/passport;

• English Language proficiency;

• Photograph (not visible to selectors until after short-listing); and

• List of referees (several are required) who can attest in confidential references to the character and intellect of the applicant, including academic, personal, extra-curricular and leadership achievements.

A short-list of potential candidates is then drawn up and invited to an interview with the Malaysian Rhodes Trust selection panel.

Kamarul said the Rhodes Trust focuses on four criteria which are used in the selection of scholars namely literary and scholastic attainments; the energy to use one’s talents to the full, for example through achievement in areas such as sports, music, debate, dance, theatre, and artistic pursuits, particularly where teamwork is involved; truth, courage, devotion to duty, sympathy for and protection of the weak, kindliness, unselfishness and fellowship; and moral force of character and instincts to lead, and to take an interest in one’s fellow beings.

On the Chevening-Khazanah Scholarship, Kamarul said up to five scholarships per year will be awarded to outstanding emerging leaders to pursue a one-year Master’s degree at top UK universities as approved by Yayasan Khazanah.

The first scholarship award will start in the UK academic year for 2017/18, he said, adding that applications will open in August this year.

Conditions for eligibility include candidates being Malaysian citizens who intend to return to Malaysia at the end of the period of study, having undergraduate degrees that permit entry into a Master’s programme at a UK university and with at least two years’ work, or equivalent experience, before submitting their Chevening application.

Applications for the awards will be made through the Chevening online application system. Once the application deadline has passed, he said the secretariat will prepare a list of eligible candidates in accordance with the eligibility criteria. The secretariat will invite shortlisted candidates for an interview.

“The interview will be an opportunity to discuss some of the information candidates provided in the application form. The panel will ask questions that will enable the candidate to fully explain his or her personal and professional aspirations and how Chevening can facilitate these goals for them,” he said. Their course choices will also be discussed during the interview.

For more information on the Chevening-Khazanah Scholarship, applicants can visit

On whether there are bonds for both scholarships, Kamarul said students are not bonded but they are expected to return to Malaysia upon completion of their studies. He advised those interested to apply for either the Rhodes or Chevening scholarships to visit

“The website will highlight the information for both these scholarships and provide a link for applications but this will only be available closer to the start of the application dates. Applications will open during the next few months,” he said.

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Education , khazanah , rhodes scholars


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