Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program View of the east entrance to the Main Quad at nighttest (Photo Credit: University Website) - Knight-Hennessy

Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program 2025 at Stanford University

The Knight-Hennessy Scholars program aims to cultivate transformational leaders with a strong cross-cultural perspective, a bold vision for the future, the ability to inspire others through actions and words, and a commitment to greater good. In addition to gaining deep expertise in their home departments, scholars are exposed to a wide range of disciplines and cultures within the Knight-Hennessy community. They participate in this global leaders program, designed to develop transformational leadership capabilities. Within KHS, scholars collaborate and begin addressing critical global challenges such as climate change, healthcare inequity, education’s future, and criminal justice reform.

Scholars participate in the King Global Leadership Program (KGLP), which includes workshops, lectures, projects, and experiences that strengthen transformational leadership capabilities. Through KGLP, scholars collaborate and prepare to address important challenges and opportunities facing the world, such as climate change, healthcare, government and policy, and education.

The KHS augments scholars’ academic work in their graduate programs. While pursuing graduate education, scholars develop a depth of knowledge in their chosen field. The KHS builds upon that expertise, preparing them to become leaders in their respective fields.

As Knight-Hennessy Scholars, individuals learn to communicate, collaborate, and innovate with fellow scholars from diverse disciplines. These relationships, breaking down traditional academic silos, are essential for developing new solutions to pressing global problems. Moreover, the KGLP develops scholars’ capacity for transformational leadership, enabling them to inspire and challenge themselves and others to achieve important goals.

The Knight-Hennessy Scholars program has created a leadership model that informs the programming they develop and deliver. This model emphasizes the importance of cross-cultural perspectives, bold visions, inspirational leadership, and a commitment to the greater good.

Financial Support for Cost of Attendance

As a Knight-Hennessy Scholar, you receive funding for up to three years for any graduate degree(s) at Stanford to which you are admitted at the time you are selected as a scholar.

After enrolling at Stanford, if you wish to enroll in an additional graduate program, you may apply to the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program to receive additional funding up to the maximum of three years. This additional funding is not guaranteed.

If a degree program exceeds three years — such as an MD or PhD program, or a Stanford dual- or joint-degree program — then your Stanford home department(s) will often fund the remainder of your education to the extent consistent with its standard funding commitment for that program. This standard funding commitment varies by department and school. Please contact the graduate program with specific questions about those commitments.

During each of the first three years of graduate study, Knight-Hennessy Scholars receive:

  • A fellowship applied directly to cover tuition and associated fees
  • Stipend for living and academic expenses (such as room and board, books, academic supplies, instructional materials, local transportation, and reasonable personal expenses)
  • A travel grant intended to cover an economy-class ticket for one annual trip to and from Stanford
  • NOTE: Knight-Hennessy Scholars also may access supplemental funds to support academic enrichment (e.g., conference travel).

Eligibility Criteria

Our eligibility requirements help you determine if you may apply to be a Knight-Hennessy Scholar.

The Knight-Hennessy Scholars program is a multidisciplinary and multicultural community. There are no restrictions based on age, college or university, field of study, or career aspiration. They encourage citizens and residents of all countries to apply.  This does not require applicants to seek endorsements from colleges, universities, or other institutions.

To be eligible for graduate study, you must 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.

There are two baseline eligibility requirements.

  1. First, in addition to applying to Knight-Hennessy Scholars, you must apply to, be accepted by, and enroll in a full-time Stanford graduate degree program. Each incoming Knight-Hennessy Scholar must be a newly enrolling student in a Stanford graduate program including, but not limited to, DMA, JD, MA, MBA, MD, MFA, MPP, MS, or PhD programs. There are no quotas by discipline or program. Note that they will give priority consideration to those who will spend at least two years studying at Stanford.
  2. Second, you must have earned, in January 2015 or later, a U.S. bachelor’s degree or its equivalent from a college or university of recognized standing.

Please note that a small number of Stanford graduate degree programs are not eligible for Knight-Hennessy Scholars.  Please see the Applying to Stanford Graduate Program page for examples.

Selection Criteria

The following criteria clarify what they seek in your application, help you assess your alignment with our values, and prepare you to demonstrate the criteria in your application.

There is neither a typical nor a prototypical Knight-Hennessy Scholar. Each cohort is diverse by design; no two candidates are equally strong across all criteria, and you may demonstrate different strengths in different ways. As they evaluate and select Knight-Hennessy Scholars, they look for evidence of these criteria:

1. Independence of Thought

They seek visionary thinkers who are curious, open-minded, analytical, eager for cross-cultural perspective. They must also be genuinely excited to boldly and creatively address our world’s important challenges.

  • Demonstrates mental sharpness and intellectual ability
  • Seeks out knowledge and new experiences
  • Full of original ideas
  • Makes sense of ambiguity
  • Can hold a contrarian or dissenting point of view

2. Purposeful Leadership

They seek courageous leaders who are ethical, decisive, resilient, driven to achieve meaningful results, and motivated to inspire others to effect positive change at scale.

  • Ambitious in service of a better world
  • Driven to improve self and others
  • Able to include and elevate others
  • Self-aware and adaptable
  • Persistent and resilient

3. Civic Mindset

They seek collaborative community members  who are humble, empathetic, trustworthy, oriented to act in service of others, and deeply passionate about contributing to the greater good.

  • Personally humble and kind
  • Supportive and accountable
  • Embraces difference
  • Concerned for and helpful to others


The Knight-Hennessy Scholars application deadline is October 9, 2024, 1:00pm Pacific Time.

For more details, you can also visit the Knight-Hennessy Scholars website here.

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