Important Deadlines:

  • Preliminary Application (optional): For summer advising on the Downing and other UK fellowships, please complete the Preliminary Application for UK/Irish Fellowships [docx] and submit it over email to no later than June 29, 2016.
  • Downing Application: All application materials (see below for details) are due over email to by October 28, 2016. Note that other fellowships for Cambridge for which Downing Scholarship applicants may be eligible have earlier deadlines; see especially the Gates Cambridge Scholarship with an October 14 deadline for U.S. citizens.


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 three items. Please submit all three items electronically to

(1) a first draft of Sections A and C of the Cambridge University application including any supplemental material required by the program to which you are applying (note: you do not need to apply to Cambridge before applying to the Downing)

(2) two confidential faculty references for graduate study which should be sent electronically and be in draft form: final versions on letterhead are required only for Pomona's nominee and alternates. Do not request hard copy letters now. If you have already applied for the Gates Cambridge Scholarship or the Churchill Scholarship, request two of the letters that have already been written in support of your Cambridge application.

(3) two essays, one describing personal and intellectual interests and attainments and another detailing the proposed academic program. Essay prompts are linked below.

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, email the Faculty Advisors listed below.

NOTES: The Cambridge application is available in online or paper format. The online application is recommended but if not submitted within 2-3 weeks after it is opened, it may disappear and work will not be saved. Therefore for purposes of application drafts we recommend using the paper version as a guide. The new application goes up in early September; it does not change much year-to-year so before that date use the previous year's application for drafts. Both versions are available through the Cambridge Board of Graduate Studies web.

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 Advisor for UK/Irish fellowships can advise you about the possibility of applying for more than one of these fellowships.

If you are applying for the Gates Cambridge Scholarship you will have submitted your University application to meet that deadline so there is no need for a new draft. Just submit a copy of your Cambridge application. If you are in the sciences, mathematics, or engineering, also look at Churchill Scholarship, which supports a one-year graduate degree at Cambridge.

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 [pdf]

Advisors 2016-2017: