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The Knight-Hennessy Scholars program is designed to be open to a broad set of qualified applicants. As such, there are no restrictions based on citizenship, age, field of study, career aspiration, etc. — nor are applicants required to seek endorsements from institutions.

Beyond eligibility for your graduate program, the eligibility factor is the year you received your undergraduate degree. Please use the guidelines below to determine whether you are eligible to apply to the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program for autumn 2022 enrollment. Eligibility requirements are subject to change.

Unsure if you are eligible to be a Knight-Hennessy Scholar at Stanford University? Answer a few simple questions and we can guide you.


Who is eligible to apply?

Applicants from All Countries Welcome

We encourage applications to Knight-Hennessy Scholars from residents of all countries as we expect Knight-Hennessy Scholars to have global impact.

We expect that over time about one-third of our scholars will be from the U.S., and about two thirds will be from countries outside the U.S. Those numbers will fluctuate from year to year, since our goal is to admit the world’s very best students, regardless of location.

Any Academic Discipline in any of Stanford’s Graduate Schools

You are eligible to apply to the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program if you are applying to enroll in a full-time graduate program(s) at Stanford (for example, but not limited to, DMA,  JD, MA, MBA, MD, MFA, MPP, MS, or PhD) or if you plan on pursuing one of Stanford’s many joint- and dual- graduate degree options (for example, but not limited to, MD+PhD, JD+MA, MBA+MS).

While we are excited to build a cohort that reflects the breadth of excellence at Stanford, there are no allocations or quotas by discipline or program.

Please note, however, that we will give priority to applicants who will spend at least two years at Stanford. We do not believe one year is sufficient to form the community we envision and benefit from the leadership platform we are developing.

Rooted in the year you received your undergraduate degree

You are eligible to apply to the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program if you received your first/bachelor’s degree in 2015 or later. That means:

  • You must have graduated in January 2015 through September 2022 to enroll at Stanford in autumn 2022.
  • U.S. military (active or veteran) applicants: You receive a two-year extension of eligibility due to longer service commitments. You are eligible if you earned your undergraduate (bachelor's or first) degree in 2013 or later.

If you are still in college studying for your first/bachelor’s degree, you are eligible to apply as long as you will complete your first/bachelor’s degree before you enroll as a graduate student at Stanford.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q: What if I graduated from an institution outside the U.S.?  What are the eligibility requirements for me?

A: To be eligible for graduate study at Stanford University, you must meet the requirements of the graduate program(s) that you wish to pursue and hold the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor's degree from a college or university of recognized standing. See Stanford's guidelines for minimum level of study for international applicants. (The Office of Graduate Admissions, not the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program, sets these policies.)

Q: If I graduated in 2014 or before, can I still become a Knight-Hennessy Scholar?

A: If you graduated with your first/bachelor's degree more than six years before applying (in 2014 or earlier, for the autumn 2022 intake), then you are not eligible for consideration as a Knight-Hennessy Scholar. This applies even if you have earned an additional degree in 2014 or later. The good news is that you still may apply to the Stanford graduate program of your choice, and there are many other options for funding your graduate education at Stanford.

Q: I am an undocumented student. Am I eligible to apply?

A: Undocumented students are eligible to apply for the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program, but must meet eligibility for the graduate program, including any work requirements. For more information, please visit

Q: I have a graduate degree already. Am I eligible? 

A: If you have earned a graduate degree, you remain eligible to enroll in 2022 as long as you earned your first/bachelor's degree in 2015 or later.

Q: I am an enrolled Stanford graduate student. Can I apply for the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program?

A: If you enrolled in a graduate degree program at Stanford in 2021 or earlier, you are ineligible for consideration as a Knight-Hennessy Scholar for your current degree program.

Q: I am a Stanford graduate student applying to a different program at the university. Am I eligible?

A: You are welcome to apply for the 2022 Cohort of Knight-Hennessy Scholars if you either defer enrollment to 2022, or if you apply for a new graduate degree program at Stanford that starts in Autumn 2022.

Q: Can I defer my Knight-Hennessy Scholars offer? 

A: No. Deferral of enrollment to a graduate program is the purview of that department. Most Stanford programs do not offer deferrals, though some - especially in the professional schools of business, law, and medicine - allow deferrals. Regardless of the graduate program's policy, the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program does not defer scholar offers. If you are selected as a Knight-Hennessy Scholar and are unable to enroll, you would need to reapply for admission for the year you intend to enroll. We consider exceptions to this policy only under rare and unforeseen circumstances that are beyond your control (e.g., delayed separation from the military, health issues).

Q: Will I be at a disadvantage if I reapply at a later date after I declined an offer from Knight-Hennessy Scholars?

A: There would be no stigma to declining admission in favor of reapplying in a future year, but neither would there be a guarantee of selection for a future cohort.

Q: What if I was accepted this year to Stanford but want to defer my enrollment in the Stanford graduate program until next year.  Can I apply fo Knight-Hennessy Scholars for the following year?

A: If you defer enrollment to a Stanford graduate program, you may apply to start as a Knight-Hennessy Scholar for the year that you enroll in that graduate program. For example, if you have been admitted to the Stanford MBA Program and deferred enrollment to September 2023, then you could apply to the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program in 2022 to enroll as a Scholar in 2023 — thus aligning your initial enrollment in the MBA Program and as a Knight-Hennessy Scholar. If you already have admission to one of Stanford's graduate departments and are enrolling in 2022 or later, you may apply to be a Knight-Hennessy Scholar. Simply apply for the year that you would enroll in your graduate program.


Eligibility requirements subject to change. Last updated October 15, 2020


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