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Thank you for taking the time to write a letter of recommendation for a nationally competitive scholarship application. Yours is a valuable contribution to this formative process and we appreciate your advocacy on behalf of the applicant.

Please be aware, it is a matter of NCS policy that applicants must waive their right to see your letter of recommendation. We also cannot accept letters authored by applicants; the endorsement must be from the letter-signer.

At any time in the process, from brainstorming the first draft to finalizing your letter, we are delighted to help. Please contact if you would like to discuss further or for questions or concerns.



  • Strong commitment to a research career in the natural sciences, mathematics and engineering,
  • Academic excellence: effective display of intellectual intensity in the sciences, mathematics and engineering, and
  • Potential for a significant future contribution to research in their chosen field

Endorsement required?

Yes. This is a multi-stage process.
Number of Recommendation Letters3


Application Timeline
Endorsement Application DeadlineNCS will convene a faculty committee to decide which applicants will go forward to compete at the national level.November 1
Endorsement Decisions Announced Early December
National DeadlineOnce endorsed, your applicant will enter your information into the application platform and you will receive a link to upload your letter to the national foundation website.January 27



The Goldwater Scholarship is designed to encourage research careers, not clinical careers. As such, they expect students who plan an MD/PhD career to see their career as primarily research oriented.

Yes.  Goldwater makes no distinction between an academic or industry-centered career.

For the Endorsement Round: Submit your letter by email to

For the National Round: You will receive a link by email from the national foundation (check your spam folder) and must submit the letter online by the national deadline. No exceptions are made for late materials. It should be a signed PDF on letterhead.

Please address your letter to the “Goldwater Selection Committee”

  • How does the applicant meet the Goldwater criteria?  What is outstanding about their scholarship, leadership, and/or character?
  • How does their study plan fit into their future ambitions?
  • What examples can you share that illustrate your strong endorsement for the candidate?
  • How does this applicant compare to other people you have taught/supervised?

Applicants are instructed to let you know as soon as they learn the decision of the campus endorsement committee. Endorsements are usually made by NCS before the end of the fall semester.