The Downing Scholarship

Important Deadlines

  • Preliminary Application: UK/Irish Preliminary Applications are due June 28, 2023. Preliminary Applications are located on SurveyMonkey Apply. Submit by the deadline to receive summer advising.
  • Downing Application Opens: Monday, September 25, 2023. All application materials (see below for details) must be submitted through SurveyMonkey Apply. Note that other fellowships for Cambridge for which Downing Scholarship applicants may be eligible have earlier deadlines; see especially the Gates Cambridge Scholarship with a mid-October deadline for U.S. citizens.
  • Downing Application Deadline: October 23, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. PDT. 


The Downing Scholarship supports a one-year educational exchange that brings one student who has been admitted to Downing College, Cambridge to Pomona for a gap year and sends two Pomona College graduating seniors for a master's degree or equivalent credential at University of Cambridge. The selected Downing Scholars live and participate as members in Downing College.

Programs Funded

For the selected Pomona College nominees, the Scholarship funds one year of study leading to the degree of Master of Philosophy or equivalent credentials (e.g. Part III of the Mathematics Tripos).  Consult faculty in the field you wish to study, read general course descriptions in the Cambridge University Graduate Prospectus and departmental websites for details on courses of study that interest you.  See also the Downing College website. The Scholarship covers tuition, fees, living expenses at Downing, and one round trip air ticket. The award also includes an allowance for books and other expenses associated with the year at Cambridge.


This is a special arrangement between Pomona College and Downing College, and only Pomona seniors are eligible. Graduating seniors with strong academic preparation in a subject area for which Cambridge offers a master's degree or the equivalent may apply.  

Selection Criteria

Applicants must demonstrate solid academic preparation in a field suitable for the pursuit of a master's degree or equivalent credential at Cambridge: potential to contribute to Downing College and Cambridge University during the year of study, the ability to represent Pomona College with distinction, and the value of the proposed program of study in view of future plans.

Application/Nomination Process

The Downing Application requires four items. Please submit all four items electronically to SurveyMonkey Apply.

  1. Two faculty references for graduate study: References must be collected through SurveyMonkey Apply and may be in draft form. If you have already applied for other British scholarships, you may request two of the letters that have already been written in support of your application.
  2. Two Personal Essays: One describing personal and intellectual interests and attainments and another detailing the proposed academic program. Essay prompts are linked here and below: Downing Application Essay Questions.
  3. Course of Study Essay: A research proposal for those applying for research courses, following the guidelines required by your department; OR a description of no more than 500 words of the taught course you prepare to undertake and the choices you might make within that course (e.g., modules you might choose, professors you might work with, possible dissertation topics, etc.).
  4. A copy of your current resume or CV.
  5. A copy of your unofficial transcript.

Please note that you do not need to apply to Cambridge before applying to the Downing Scholarship.

Award of the Scholarship is contingent on acceptance of the nominee's application to the University of Cambridge program of choice, and acceptance of the nominee as a member of Downing College. Check details and deadline for the University program to which you are applying, and whether supplemental materials are required. If in doubt about deadlines or anything else, please email the faculty advisors listed below.

Potential applicants are encouraged to explore the Gates Cambridge Scholarship, Marshall Scholarship, and the Churchill Scholarship, all of which support graduate study at Cambridge. The advisors for UK/Irish fellowships can advise you about the possibility of applying for more than one of these fellowships.

Researching British Universities discusses terminology used at British universities, types of programs, and related matters. Use these resources to explore degree programs at other universities in the UK.

Downing Application Essay Questions

Advisors 2023-2024

  • Jonathan Lethem
  • Jorge Moreno
  • Konstantine Klioutchkine