Application for Penn Graduates
Start planning early, to give yourself time to research which university programme you wish to undertake in the U.K. There are two key parts to the process: a Thouron Award application including transcripts and two references, and a separate application to the graduate programme you have selected in the U.K., which could require standardised testing. Explore our FAQs to help guide you along the way.
Thouron Award Application
Our application gives you an extensive opportunity to tell us about yourself. Include information about your accomplishments at Penn or since then. We want to learn about your academic achievements as well as extracurricular activities. This is your opportunity to demonstrate your suitability to act as a representative of your home country while being open to the different perspectives of undertaking an academic qualification in another country.
We care about your personal story. Please share your unique experiences, background, and perspectives including any triumphs and challenges.
Applications to British universities are made separately from the Thouron Award application process. Students intending to apply for an Award should contact independently those institutions to which they wish to apply for application forms and information about entrance procedures. Institutional addresses, information about degree programs, and a list of current and former Thouron Scholars who may be contacted for advice are available in the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships.
All eligible applications are initially reviewed by the Penn-Thouron faculty committee, including representatives from the College of Arts and Sciences, Wharton, Engineering and Nursing Schools. A short-list of finalists is invited to interview with a selection committee made up of past Thouron Scholars from the U.K. and the U.S., together with Thouron Family members.
Applicants are selected on the basis of scholarship, as well as clarity of purpose, contribution to community, and their ambassadorial qualities. Candidates must be able to show enthusiasm for their particular specialty. You will be asked to participate in the exchange of ideas and opinions in a variety of settings. Scholars are selected for their ability to engage with the world with the expectation that their experience overseas will increase their commitment to the scholarship’s founding principles of promoting cross-cultural understanding.
The final selection process is in three parts: the formal panel interview; the group discussions; and a personal interview with Rupert or Rachel Thouron and another committee member. Depending on the travel status of COVID-19 pandemic at the time of interviews, interviews may be conducted in-person or virtually. While academic criteria are important, given the nature of the Award in the context of graduate study, it is important to do well in all three aspects of the selection process. The three parts are designed to allow all members of the committee to gain a fair, overall view of the strengths and weaknesses of the candidates.
Who is eligible to apply for the Award?
The Thouron Award is available (1) for graduate study in the U.K., to graduating seniors, professional students, graduate students or recent graduates of the University of Pennsylvania and (2) for graduate study at the University of Pennsylvania, to final-year undergraduate students attending, or recent graduates of, any university in the United Kingdom. For Award winners (“Scholars”) the Award covers full tuition and fees for up to three years of study in most graduate degree-granting programmes offered in the U.K. and by Penn’s twelve graduate schools.
Funding for years beyond a Scholar’s first year of tenure depends upon annual confirmation of a Scholar’s satisfactory progress towards their chosen degree. In addition to tuition and fees, the Award also includes an annual stipend sufficient to cover living costs and to encourage entertainment and travel, and, for Scholars studying at Penn, health insurance.
In recent years, the Award has granted as many as ten Awards for study at Penn and a similar number for study in the U.K. As a general rule, the Award will not provide funding for a period longer than that requested in a Scholar’s Thouron application. Further, with regard to degree programmes that have a standard or expected period for completion (such as most Masters programmes), the Award will not provide funding beyond that period.
Does the Award provide funding to pursue a D.Phil. or Ph.D. Degrees in the UK?
A Scholar wishing to receive three years of funding to pursue a doctoral programme in the UK may expect to receive such funding if:
(1) They have requested three years of funding in their Thouron Application;
(2) (a) If the host institution allows direct admission into the relevant doctoral programme for U.S. applicants, they have applied for and been accepted into the programme, or (b) if the host institution does not allow direct admission to the doctoral programme (e.g., if candidates are admitted initially only as candidates for an intermediate graduate degree), they have successfully achieved the status of doctoral candidate within the time expected by the host institution, and
(3) Their supervisor provides (in addition to departmental confirmation of adequate progress at the end of the Scholar’s first year) written confirmation during the final term of the Scholar’s second year that the Scholar is making satisfactory progress toward the relevant doctoral degree.
Are any programmes considered unsuitable for funding by the Award?
The Award does not fund dual degrees, executive MBAs or any other degrees that do not involve full-time study and regular, in person interaction for at least one year with a full cohort of students. In addition, the Award does not consider suitable for funding degree programmes that (1) provide the academic basis for admission to a licensed profession where such basis would ordinarily be an undergraduate degree in the country (U.S. or U.K.) from which the student is applying (e.g, the Penn J.D.) or (2) professional degrees whose anticipated duration exceeds three years (e.g., M.D degrees).
Any student who is uncertain about whether a degree they wish to pursue will be considered eligible for funding by the Award should contact us not less than sixty days prior to the deadline for submitting Thouron applications. The Executive Committee will review the desired course of study and will advise the student of whether an application to pursue it as a Thouron Scholar would be considered.
Are there any exceptions to these eligibility requirements?
The Executive Committee of the Award may, in its sole discretion, consider requests to waive or vary the foregoing rules relating to the funding and tenure of the Award, but will do so only in circumstances that it believes to be truly exceptional. In particular, the Executive Committee will not generally consider requests to change a course of study to a degree programme that would extend tenure of the Award beyond the period applied for.
Any Scholar who wishes, despite these guidelines, to apply for such a change, must submit their request to email@example.com such that it is received no later than December 31 of the academic year during which they would be expected to graduate in the programme originally applied for. Any such request must (1) be in writing (2) explain in detail the reasons for the request and why the proposed new programme was not applied for initially, and (3) contain letters from two faculty members familiar with the Scholar’s work that set out (a) the importance of the proposed change to the Scholar’s academic or professional goals, and (b) where applicable, the importance or significance of the work the Scholar would do if allowed to change programmes and any exceptional qualifications to do such work that the Scholar has demonstrated.
What is the minimum required GPA?
A minimum 3.5 GPA is required.
If I am already enrolled at a U.K. institution, am I eligible?
No, applications are only accepted from candidates who are not currently enrolled at a U.K. institution.
I have dual U.S. nationality, am I eligible?
Yes, so long as you meet all other eligibility requirements.
I completed my secondary schooling outside of the U.S. but am a U.S. citizen, am I eligible?
No, applications are only accepted from candidates who have completed at least four out of the final six years of their secondary schooling within the U.S.
I am a non-U.S. citizen, but am currently resident in the U.S. for university education, am I eligible?
No, only U.S. citizens, or those who have applied for citizenship and have documented confirmation of approval are eligible. Your U.S. citizenship must be granted by the time you apply for the Thouron Award.
Application & Selection
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 also receive an email confirmation. You may check the status of your application at any time by returning to the application portal. You may be contacted directly by the U.S. administrator if there are any questions 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.
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.
Is the application deadline ever extended?
Application deadlines cannot be extended for individual applicants and or to accommodate personal circumstances. On rare occasions, factors which may impact the entire applicant pool (eg. internet outage) may result in an extension of the deadline for all applicants.
How are applications reviewed and selected?
All eligible applications are initially reviewed by the Penn Thouron Faculty Committee, with representatives from the College of Arts and Sciences, Wharton, Engineering and Nursing Schools, who will select finalists for interview. Finalists are chosen by the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Selection Committee for interviews. And from among those finalists, the Thouron Selection Committee, consisting of past Thouron Scholars from the U.K. and U.S., together with Thouron family members will select the awardees.
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 when possible.
How long do the interviews last?
Interviews are conducted as part of a full day and will consist of a formal panel interview, group discussion, and a personal interview. For 2023, interviews will hopefully be in person depending on Covid 19 travel restrictions. Otherwise, virtual interviews will be conducted virtually (via Zoom) depending on travel restrictions in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Is it possible to make alternative arrangements for the interview?
Interview dates are fixed and published online in advance of the application deadlines; alternative dates are not possible. Interviews may be conducted in-person in 2023, depending on travel restrictions. Otherwise, interviews will be conducted virtually. If short-listed for an interview and you are not able to attend we would not be able to consider your application further.
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 U.K. and in particular why you want to undertake your chosen program, 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 program of study. This is also your opportunity to demonstrate your suitability to act as a representative or an ambassador for the U.S. while being open to the different perspective of undertaking an academic qualification within the U.K..
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 Penn or since, for example, if you were active in your Student Union, founded a society, represented Penn 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, organizing sporting activities, etc.
I will not hear about my U.K. program admissions status until after Thouron interviews at the end of January. Will this affect my application?
No. Most candidates will not have received a firm offer at the time of the interview stage.
Do I need to take the GRE tests?
GRE scores are not required for the Thouron Award, nor for many U.K. graduate programs. You are responsible for verifying whether your graduate programs of interest require any standardized test scores.
Who should I provide as my references?
Two references are required. One must come from professors with whom you have studied at Penn, and it is preferred that the Penn professor is from your major department. Please note that references’ contact details are a compulsory field on the application form. Candidates are responsible for ensuring that their chosen references receive and submit the required reference form by the deadline. Missing references will NOT be chased by the Thouron Award administration. Applicants will be at a disadvantage if their application is not accompanied by the required references
May I apply to two programs or joint programs?
No. The Thouron Award is limited to students who will pursue a single degree program or its equivalent at one U.K. educational institution.
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 program you wish to undertake in the U.K. Most applicants usually start this process during late summer prior to the deadline. Please also ensure you take into account that most U.K. degrees do not require standardized testing, so check with each individual program coordinator.
What if I am successful in gaining a Thouron Award but then unsuccessful in receiving an admissions offer at a British University?
If you are not offered a place on your chosen program in the U.K., then, unfortunately, your Thouron Award will no longer be available to you as it is offered on the condition you gain admissions to one of your stated university programs.
The Thouron Award will fund up to two years of study, but what if the best program for me is a PhD?
You should only apply for the PhD program if you are able to secure other funding for your third (or more) year(s) of study in the U.K..
I am already enrolled in a Master’s program in the U.S. May I apply for a subsequent one through the Thouron Award?
Yes. As part of your application, however, you will be expected to explain what benefits you will gain by undertaking an additional Master’s program.
Do I have to submit a separate application to U.K. graduate schools for admissions into my chosen program?
Yes. Applicants are advised to apply to their top two U.K. graduate programs by mid-January of the application year. Application deadlines vary so please verify your program specifications.
What questions are included in the application?
Questions include past and current educational information and a set of short essays. A CV, personal statement, two referrals, and a current photograph are also required in the application.
How many candidates are usually short-listed for an interview?
The number of candidates short-listed for interview may vary, however, the approximate number tends to be 14 each year. The number of finalists to be interviewed and the number of awards to be made is at the sole discretion of the selection committee.
How many applications do you usually receive?
We usually receive around 70-100 applications each year.
What is the application deadline?
15 October 2022.
What if I am awarded another scholarship in addition to the Thouron Award? Do I keep both awards in full?
No. If a recipient has accepted another award, they will not be considered for the Thouron also.
Can I defer the scholarship to the following year?
If Covid 19 restrictions either in the U.K. or the U.S. require a change in tenure, the Executive Committee will make a decision to change the deferral practice, but as of now, we do not foresee any deferrals being allowed.
What distinguishes the Thouron Award from other scholarships?
The distinctive quality of the Thouron Award is its sense of family. The Thouron family is actively involved with the selection process and maintains continuing contact with current and former Scholars. 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 U.K. during its tenure and scholars are actively encouraged to seek out experiences within the U.K. outside of academia.
I am interested in undertaking a PhD program, 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 if my course is longer than 2 years?
With the exception of those undertaking a PhD degree program, students would need to seek alternative funds to cover the additional years, as the Thouron Award cannot be extended beyond 2 years.
What does the scholarship provide/cover?
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 U.S. Thourons for 2023-24 at £23,275 outside London, £26,275 in London plus a $2500 travel stipend. Students are expected to use much of their vacation time to explore the U.K.