Udall Undergraduate Scholarship

Is it for you?

The Udall Undergraduate Scholarship Program honors the legacies of U.S. Congressman Morris Udall and U.S. Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall, whose careers had a significant impact on Native American self-governance, health care, and the stewardship of public lands and natural resources. The Scholarship covers eligible expenses for tuition, fees, books, and room and board, up to a maximum of $7,000. It also pays for each scholar to attend a five-day orientation in Tucson, AZ to meet with other Scholars, elected officials, environmental and tribal leaders in early August. Juniors are eligible for one year of support; sophomores may be re-nominated during their junior year and compete for a second year of support.

What are the key dates?

The 2023 application has closed. For the timeline to apply in 2024, please check here for updates late in the 2023 fall semester.

Essay workshop: TBD for 2024 (January; to be scheduled with prospective applicants)

JHU nomination deadline: TBD for 2024 (usually early February)

Official deadline: TBD for 2024 (usually early March)

Are you eligible?

Candidates for the Udall Scholarship must:

  • be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
  • have demonstrated their commitment to addressing environmental challenges or to issues impacting Indian country through public service and leadership (with an emphasis on civility and consensus building).
  • intend to pursue careers in an environmental field, or in a health-related field or working on policy issues in Indian country.

How do you work with the NFP?

JHU nomination is required through a campus selection process (JHU may nominate up to four candidates in the environment category and four in the Native American category). Udall applicants work closely with us, following the steps below, for the duration of the application process.

The timeline gives an overview of the application process and when to reach out to us. In preparation, see “have a closer look” below for more resources about the Udall.

early December – January
Contact NFP and join applicants’ Canvas course
January – early February
Attend essay workshop; work on application materials; upload complete drafts to Blackboard for feedback
Meet JHU campus deadline; JHU may nominate up to 8 candidates
mid-February – mid-March
Revise applications (for nominees)
mid-MarchMeet official Udall deadline

Are you competitive?

About 50 scholarships are awarded each year. Applicants first submit their materials to a campus committee for review. JHU chooses up to eight students as nominees to the national Udall Scholarship competition. The campus committee offers the nominees advice on how to improve their materials for final submission. Selection decisions (both on-campus and at the national level) are based on the following criteria:

  • Career path: Candidates must demonstrate a strong commitment to pursuing a career related to improving or preserving the environment -OR- for Native American or Alaska Native candidates, a strong commitment to pursuing a career in any area of health care or tribal policy. Students should demonstrate such commitment through their academic program and extracurricular activities.
  • Potential for significant future contribution in the student’s chosen career field: Selection committees judge the student’s potential by looking at performance in relevant coursework and level of contribution to public service and community activities related to the student’s stated career interest.
  • Academic record: Outstanding academic achievement is necessary. While no stated minimum GPA is required, selection committees are looking for steady achievement or an upward trend.
  • Three letters of recommendation: Recommenders are asked to comment on the student’s motivation and potential for a career in the chosen area, as well as academic performance. One letter should highlight your academics/research, another your leadership, and the last your service. Choose recommenders who know you both academically and personally. Strong letters focus on your potential ability to make an impact on public policy and cite specific examples of maturity and initiative.
  • Essay: This 800-word analytical essay must focus on a significant public policy statement, public speech, or legislative act by Congressman Morris Udall or Secretary of Interior Stewart Udall and its impact on your field of study, interests, and career goals. This critical analysis should come from the viewpoint of the student’s discipline and examine how this issue has changed through time (politics, cultural contexts), comparing when he wrote it to the environment that you’re working on today. How does this speech/issue influence how you work?

Have a closer look:

Visit the Official Website

Udall Foundation

Explore JHU and NFP Resources

All interested applicants are enrolled in JHU’s Udall Canvas site, which contains, among other resources, the JHU Udall Guidelines. These provide in-depth advice for completing the application and a snapshot of the entire process. Contact NFP in the fall/winter to be added to this Blackboard site.

Hear from JHU Recipients

Peer Testimonial from Raychel Santo, 2012 Udall Scholar