Buckman Fellowships for Study Abroad

Initiated in 2003 by a generous gift from the family of Robert H. Buckman, the Buckman Fellowships for Study Abroad provide opportunities for outstanding students from any academic discipline to study abroad for a fall or spring semester, or for an entire academic year.  The purpose of this merit-based fellowship is to provide students with a stimulating academic experience in a setting outside of the United States.  In the context of that experience, it is expected that students will not only continue to develop academic competencies related to their particular field of study, but also gain a greater sense of cultural understanding, appreciation, and enrichment by living and studying abroad. 

The fellowship carries an award of $10,000.  The fellowships are coordinated by the Buckman Center for International Education in conjunction with several faculty members.  The coordinators are responsible for the selection of award winners. 

Characteristics of a Buckman Fellow
The Buckman Fellowship is highly competitive and merit-based.  While there is no single formula for winning a Buckman Fellowship, the successful Buckman Fellowship candidate should:

  • Demonstrate outstanding performance in the classroom (though scholarship selection is not based solely on the basis of GPA);
  • Choose a program which well complements their major (or minor) area of study and demonstrate how their program of study can be integrated into their academic program at Rhodes; 
  • Be able to articulate the reasons for program choice and demonstrate they are a good fit for the program both personally and academically; 
  • Understand current political, cultural, and economic debates relating to the host site;
  • Possess the willingness and ability to adapt to their new situation/environment and the flexibility to rise to unexpected challenges if such challenges present themselves; 
  • Maintain the ability to represent Rhodes as a study abroad student and serve as an ambassador for both study abroad in general and the Buckman Scholarship in particular.

In typical circumstances, the Buckman Fellowship will support students who have conveyed a compelling connection between their proposed study abroad program and their primary academic field of study at Rhodes.  However, in the event that applicants seek to pursue a study abroad program that does not closely fit with the student’s current program of study, applicants will be expected to clearly articulate how their interest and purpose in differing from their Rhodes course of study while abroad will contribute to their personal growth and new area of academic study.

Student Qualifications and Application/Selection Procedure
Qualified applicants will maintain sophomore, junior or senior standing (at the time the applicant plans to study abroad) with a minimum grade point average of 2.75.  They will also have familiarized themselves with all Rhodes policies regarding Off-Campus Study, including the Rhodes Travel Policy for countries on the Department of State Travel Warning List.

To be considered for the Buckman Fellowship, applicants must complete each of these items by the scholarship deadline: 
1. Buckman Fellowship Application through the Online Portal for Off-Campus Study  
2. Off-Campus Study Application through the Online Portal for Off-Campus Study
3. Application to the program provider (either for an Exchange program or an Affiliated Program)

Late and/or incomplete applications will not be considered.

Primary Faculty Sponsor and Faculty Reference

Buckman Fellows will designate a "Primary Faculty Sponsor" with whom the Fellows are expected to maintain a regular communication prior to and throughout the study abroad experience. This consultation is expected to be a mentoring type of relationship, meant to enhance both the study abroad experience as well as the Fellow′s presentation following their return to campus. 

A Primary Faculty Sponsor can be any member of the faculty (a professor, advisor, department chair, etc.), as long as he or she is able to write a strong letter of recommendation for the student.  The Primary Faculty Sponsor must also be willing to communicate with the Buckman Fellow during the off-campus program regarding the program and the Fellow′s Buckman Fellow Project. This should be someone who knows the applicant well, not only academically, but also outside the classroom.

Each Primary Faculty Sponsor will also be responsible for completing an evaluation of the Fellow′s experience in terms of the student learning outcomes espoused by the Fellowships Program.  This evaluation will be used to determine whether the Buckman Fellowship participant is ultimately awarded the distinction of "Rhodes Fellow."

In the Formal Letter of Interest, the student should:

  • Carefully explain why s/he has chosen the particular study abroad location, specific study abroad program, and program provider
  • Articulate the ways in which s/he has prepared for this particular off-campus program/experience up to this point in their Rhodes career 
  • Detail why s/he wants to be a Buckman Fellow, including an articulation of what s/he hopes to gain from the experience
  • Designate a primary faculty recommender and describe the nature of the communication with the faculty sponsor as it pertains to the study abroad experience. 
  • Application materials are available online via the Buckman Center for International Education.  The application deadline date is October 15 for spring semester study; February 15 for fall or academic year study. Interested students must make an appointment with a Buckman Center staff member well in advance of the application deadline.  Successful candidates will also have discussed their study abroad plans with both their academic advisor and their primary faculty sponsor for the purposes of studying abroad.

Candidates will be evaluated on the basis of both the written application as well as a subsequent oral interview with the Buckman Scholarship Selection Committee.  Since this is a highly competitive fellowship, not all applicants will receive an interview with the selection committee.  After the interviews are completed, all finalists will be informed in writing of the outcome of the selection process.

Expectations for Buckman Fellows
As part of the Buckman Fellowship, recipients will be expected to make contributions at several junctures of the study abroad experience, including prior to departure, while away studying in the host country, and upon return to the Rhodes campus. Buckman Fellows are expected to complete the following tasks:


  • Maintain a regular communication with the designated faculty sponsor both prior to and throughout the study abroad experience regarding the course of study.
  • Attend a pre-departure session led by a member of the Buckman Center staff to prepare for the study abroad experience. 

During the Study Abroad Period

  • Represent Rhodes College and themselves with the highest standards of personal and professional conduct and integrity.
  • Report on their study abroad experiences to the broader Rhodes community in either a one-time event such as video cast using Skype or on a regular basis by posting blog entries to the Buckman Center website.  Reports are intended to be reflective in nature, with the intention of helping the Buckman Fellow to articulate their ongoing inner reflection and interpretation of the host culture, courses, and experiences abroad.

During the Immediate Semester of Return

  • Make a scholarly presentation to the Rhodes community to convey one academic/scholarly aspect of the study abroad experience.  This presentation may occur during a regularly designated student presentation time or during the annual Rhodes Symposium.  The purpose of this scholarly presentation is to communicate scholarly findings pertaining to the student’s field of study to the broader Rhodes academic community.
  • Submit a 1,000 word written description of the academic experience encountered while abroad, related to the scholarly presentation described above.  These descriptions of the Buckman Fellow′s scholarly findings will then be compiled for archival purposes and made available to other students interested in studying abroad.
  • Participate in at least one promotional event for the Buckman Fellowship.  For instance, returning Buckman Fellows may make a presentation to visiting parents and families during Parent’s Weekend; to fellow students at the SACK fair; and/or to the entire Rhodes community during a specially scheduled study abroad informational program.  Unlike the scholarly presentation mentioned above, the purpose of the promotional event is to elevate campus awareness of both study abroad opportunities and the Buckman Fellowships for Study Abroad.
  • Serve as an ambassador for the Buckman Fellowship through willingness to speak with other students about the study abroad experience.

Buckman Fellowship Contacts
Dr. Erin HIllis, Director of International Programs
Buckman Center for International Education
Burrow Hall, lower level
(901) 843-3403

Dr. Katie White
Director of Fellowships
100 Clough Hall
(901) 843-3235