FAQ's - For UK Applicants


I am a non-UK citizen, but am currently resident in the UK for university education, am I eligible?
No, only UK citizens are eligible for a Thouron Award to study at Penn.

I graduated from my undergraduate degree from a university outside of the UK, but am a UK citizen, am I eligible?
No, applications are only accepted from candidates who have graduated or are due to graduate next summer with an undergraduate degree from a UK university.

I completed my secondary schooling outside of the UK, but am a UK citizen, am I eligible?
No, applications are only accepted from candidates who completed their secondary schooling, to include GCSEs and A-Levels, within the UK.

I have an application pending for UK citizenship. May I apply?
As long as you meet all other eligibility criteria and your UK citizenship is/will be granted by the time you apply for the Thouron Award, then yes you may apply.

I have dual UK nationality, am I eligible?
If you meet all the other eligibility criteria then you would be considered eligible.

Do I need a First Class degree to apply?
No you do not need a first class degree to apply for a Thouron award. Please note that these awards are highly competitive, and it is expected that your academic record will enable you to be accepted onto your chosen programme at Penn, so please ensure you check the qualification requirements for your chosen programme at Penn. Thouron Scholars are chosen both for their strong academic potential and their "ambassadorial qualities."

Application and selection process

How many applications do you usually receive?
We usually receive around 100 applications each year.

How many candidates are usually short-listed for interview?
The number of candidates short-listed for interview may vary, however, the approximate number tends to be 24 each year.

What questions are included in the application form?
Please see the Application questions document within the How to Apply section for details of the questions included within the online application form

Do I have to submit a separate application to Penn for admissions onto my chosen programme?
Yes, the application processes are completely separate and you must ensure that you submit all the required documentation for both processes by the stated deadlines. Please note that the deadline for your Penn admissions application will be different to the Thouron Award so you must comply with all deadlines regardless of whether they are different

Do I have to submit my Penn admissions application by the Thouron Award application deadline?
No, the Penn admissions deadlines are usually later than the Thouron Award application deadline. However, if short-listed for interview you MUST have submitted your the admissions application in advance of the interview date.

Are the decisions for the Thouron Award and admission to Penn linked?
No, these decisions are made separately and are not linked. Selected Thouron scholars are advised to contact Penn to inform them of their award application and outcome, so that this can be added to their admissions file.

What if I am successful in gaining a Thouron Award but then unsuccessful in receiving an admissions offer at Penn?
If you are not offered a place on your chosen programme at Penn, then unfortunately your Thouron Award will no longer be available to you as it is offered on the condition you gain admissions to Penn.

If selected for a Thouron Award, but am unsuccessful in being admitted to my chosen programme, can I apply for an alternative programme?
No, your Thouron Award application was considered and selected on the basis of a particular programme.

I am already enrolled on a Master's programme in the UK. May I apply for a subsequent one at Penn?
Yes. There are no restrictions on the number of Master's programmes taken prior to a funding application, however, as part of your application you will be expected to explain what benefits you will gain by undertaking an additional Master’s programme.

The Master's I would like is wrapped up within a PhD programme. May I leave after the Master's element?
You should only apply for the PhD programme if you genuinely intend to complete that degree.

I am interested in applying for a PhD programme at Penn, should I make contact with faculty in advance of applying?
Yes, if you are considering a PhD programme you are strongly encouraged to contact the relevant department and faculty at Penn to investigate options and appropriate supervisory support, as well as to determine whether the PhD programme is the most appropriate route for your circumstances and future plans.

When should I start planning my application?
If interested, you should start planning your application as early as possible. New application material is usually available approximately 3 months in advance of the Thouron Award deadline, and you will need to take into account what research you will need to do to help you to decide which programme you wish to undertake at Penn. Most applicants usually start this process during late summer prior to the deadline. Please also ensure you take into account the timescales involved in completing any standardised testing you are required to undertake as part of your Penn admissions application.

Who should I provide as my referees?
Please note that referees' contact details are a compulsory field on the application form and you should request permission of those whose details you give. However, candidates are responsible for ensuring that their chosen referees receive and submit the required reference report form (TA/03) by the deadline. Missing references will NOT be chased by the Thouron Award UK administration. It should be noted that applicants will be at a disadvantage if their application is not accompanied by the required references.

Suggestions for appropriate referees might include the following: i) University Dean of Faculty or Master of College, ii) Professor or Head of Department/School who can assess academic performance, iii) tutor/lecturer/class head or other person with personal knowledge of applicant's work, activities and other strengths, iv) supervisor/manager of any employment, paid or voluntary, permanent or temporary

Will you confirm receipt of my application?
If you successfully submit an online application an automatic message will appear onscreen confirming acceptance of your application. You will NOT receive a separate email confirming receipt of your application; however, you may be contacted directly by the UK administrator if there are any queries relating to, or documents missing from, your application. You will be contacted again in mid December with details of whether you have been short-listed for an interview or not.

Do I need to take the GRE tests?
Most schools and departments at Penn now require or strongly recommend that applicants submit scores from standardised tests such as the Graduate Research Examination (GRE) and General Management Admissions Test (GMAT). Visit http://www.fulbright.co.uk/media/pdf/PGStudy/GRE.pdf for information and access to practice material.

Where applicable, candidates will be asked to confirm whether they have complied with this requirement prior to attending a Thouron interview, therefore please ensure you take into account the timescales involved in completing your GRE / GMAT tests. Without these scores you may not be considered for an admissions place at Penn which in turn could jeopardise your application for the Thouron Award. It is essential that these test results are submitted with your Penn application as early as possible so that Penn admissions tutors can make an informed decision when reviewing your application.

I will not hear about my Penn admissions application until late March. Will this affect applying for a Thouron Award?
No, it will not. Most candidates will not have received a firm offer of a place at the interview stage. If you are interviewed and are successful, you will be offered an award on condition that you are offered a place at Penn. The Thouron Award process is separate to the Penn admissions process.

What exactly do you mean by extra-curricular activities?
Include as much information as possible about all the things you have done or achieved while at university or since, for example if you were active in your Student Union, founded a society, represented your university/College at an external event or mentored younger students. Include all work experience, paid or voluntary, that may be relevant to this application, and/or demonstrates leadership skills and initiative. For candidates already in a profession, please include any activities outside of your employment e.g. involvement with a social action group, either within the UK or overseas, organising sporting activities, etc.

What do you want to see in my Personal Statement?
The Personal Statement is your opportunity to explain to the selection committee why you want to go to the US and in particular why you want to undertake your chosen programme at Penn, and how this will fit with your long-term career goals, as well as describing your academic /personal goals and objectives in relation to your chosen programme of study. This is also your opportunity to demonstrate your suitability to act as a representative of the UK while being open to the different perspective of undertaking an academic qualification within the US.

I will be out of the UK during the listed interview date(s). Is it possible to make alternative arrangements, for example a telephone interview?
No, interview dates are fixed and published online in advance of the application deadlines; alternative dates are not possible and we are unable to conduct telephone interviews due to the nature of the interview format. If short-listed for an interview and you are not able to attend we would not be able to consider your application further. Please check on the ‘Interview process’ link within the How to Apply / For UK Applicants page.

How long do the interviews last?
Interviews are conducted as part of a full day, from 9am to approximately 6pm, and will consist of a formal panel interview, group discussion and a personal interview.

How long after the interview do I have to wait before I am notified whether I've been successful or not?
Typically, interviewees will be notified by 1 February where possible.

How are applications reviewed and selected?
All eligible applications are initially reviewed by academics knowledgeable of the broad subject areas covered by the Thouron Award, following this pre-selection stage, the Chair and Deputy Chair of the UK Thouron Award selection committee short-list candidates for interview. The UK Thouron Award selection committee is made up of past Thouron scholars from the UK and US, together with Thouron family members.

Is the application deadline ever extended?
Application deadline cannot be extended for individual applicants and/or to accommodate personal circumstances. On rare occasions, factors which may impact the entire applicant pool (eg. a significant postal strike) may result in an extension of the deadline.

Can you provide me with specific feedback and/or reasons why I was or was not selected for a Thouron Award?
No. It is the policy of the Thouron Award not to give to individual applicants, to others inquiring on their behalf, or to the public generally, the specific reasons for selection or non-selection of applicants for awards.

The award

What does the scholarship provide / cover?
Up to two years of support for postgraduate degree programmes at Penn. The award covers tuition fees and provides a monthly stipend which covers living costs, and such extras as entertainment and travel. The value of the award is adjusted annually, with the current annual stipend for UK Thourons set at $30,800.

The Thouron Award is sufficiently generous to allow for vacation travel. Students are expected to use much of their vacation times to explore their host country

What if my course I longer than 2 years?
With the exception of those undertaking a PhD degree programme, students would need to seek alternative funds to cover the additional years, as the Thouron Award cannot be extended beyond 2 years.

I am interested in undertaking a PhD programme at Penn, what are the benefits of applying for a Thouron Award, if the department will cover my costs anyway?
The department may ask that the Thouron Award cover the first year or two, with the department picking up the remainder, and therefore costing the department less. The other benefits relate to being part of the Thouron 'network / family'

What makes the Thouron Award different to other US scholarship schemes?
The distinctive quality of the Thouron Award is its sense of family. The Thouron family are actively involved with the selection process and maintain continuing contacts with current and former Scholars, and there are frequent reunions - formal and informal - on both sides of the Atlantic, and all scholars are considered part of the wider Thouron family network. Scholars are chosen for their strong academic potential as well as their "ambassadorial qualities", and all aspects of a candidates 'career' to date are taken into account during the selection process. The award is also generous enough to allow for travel throughout the US during its tenure and scholars are actively encouraged to seek out experiences within the US outside of Penn academia.

Can I defer the scholarship to the following year?
No. You will have to reapply.

Further advice

How can I find out more about the award?
Please review our website in detail as all relevant information has been included. You are also welcome to attend any of the Student presentation receptions held at a number of universities across the country, please see 'Events' page for further details. If you wish to discuss your application in person, please contact the UK Thouron Award administrator to arrange a convenient time, either over the phone of in person.

Is there someone who can advise me?
You are welcome to contact the UK Thouron Award administrator - Jennie Eldridge - with your queries or to discuss your application in more detail. For contact details please see our contact us page.