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Elite scholarships help alumni thrive

1 February 2017
High achieving postgraduates have more options than ever

Sydney has a proud history of support of top scholarship organisations as well as a strong prevalence of graduate recipients across a number of prestigious programs. 

You may have heard of Monash, Rhodes and Fulbright scholarships before, but what are they, how do they differ and who is eligible? With plenty of options becoming available to our highest achievers, sometimes it’s hard to know what program is right for you.

Elite scholarship programs enable promising students to travel and complete postgraduate and postdoctoral studies at institutions with the best reputations in the field, creating specialists in Australia that will help to address future economic, social and scientific problems. These funded positions can sometimes be worth up to $120,000.  

Many scholarship programs draw upon relationships with other countries or universities. The John Monash Foundation however, is the first Australian organisation of its kind to offer the candidate the opportunity to travel to a leading institution of their choosing anywhere around the globe. With a 15-year history, the program is building a reputation for attracting our most exceptional future leaders, addressing issues across health, economics, agriculture, science and much more.

The University of Sydney has a proud history of supporting the academic endeavours of young Australians who have the ability to lead and teach others. In late 2016, the university demonstrated this by financially backing the Monash Foundation, confirming a yearly donation of $30,000 to assist in the remarkable work of the program.

Three Sydney alumni were awarded Monash scholarships in 2017. This brings the total number of Sydney affiliates to 20 – a significant proportion of the 147 members appointed throughout the organisations history, and one of the highest rates of alumni in the program.

Among this year’s scholars is Ida Whiteman who achieved a Diploma of Child Health at the University of Sydney and who will use her scholarship to travel to Oxford and complete a Master’s in International Health and Tropical Medicine. The scholarship program will enable her to work on public policies to improve indigenous health outcomes and instances of disease in regional communities.

Other alumni have opted to apply for prestigious scholarships through the Rhodes Trust due to the learning opportunities available directly through Oxford University. Sydney confirmed its eighth alumni recipient in the last decade (24 total) with Thomas Williamson, an economics graduate securing the 2017 NSW award. Showcasing the vast diversity of scholars across programs, Williamson’s studies will focus on examining how coffee farmers in Africa can increase their ties with Australia. Only one Rhodes scholarship is awarded per state each year, making it a highly competitive program, .

The University of Sydney has an equally rich history with the Australian-American Fulbright Commission which was founded in 1952 and promotes learning and leadership between the United States and Australia. Fulbright scholarships are valued at up to $40,000 and enable postgraduates to study for 8-10 months. There are 500 known Sydney alumni who have benefited from the program so far.

Yet another organisation to join the mix recently is the Westpac Bicentennial Foundation who in 2015 began offering the Future Leaders scholarship. Sydney University is a founding partner in the project with Westpac who are investing in the future of Australia by funding 100 scholarships each year. Recipients are supported through funding to complete graduate studies at one of nine universities within Australia, linking directly with domestic tertiary institutions unlike its international counterparts.  

The Westpac program places a significant emphasis on leadership and networking, setting it apart from other scholarships. This is achieved by offering a nine month bespoke leadership course as well as linking past and present recipients to create an alumni community. 2017 Sydney University recipient Isla Pawson touched on this stating one of the major benefits of the program was “being a part of a diverse, ambitious group of scholars”.

There are plenty of scholarships available to young, bright minds and we encourage all students and graduates to explore these options through discussion with our scholarships office. To find out more information about overseas and programs please click here.

Note: Applications for most 2018 programs will not open until May, 2017, however it’s important to plan ahead. Not just for alumni, there are also a number of study options available to undergraduates like the New Colombo Plan which aims to increase ties between Australian and the Indo-Pacific region.