|This article relies on references to primary sources. (February 2013)|
The Marshall Scholarship is a postgraduate scholarship available to American students and was created by the Parliament of the United Kingdom when the Marshall Aid Commemoration Act was passed in 1953. The scholarship serves as a living gift to the United States of America in recognition of the post-World War II European Recovery Plan, commonly known as the Marshall Plan, and is widely considered one of the most prestigious scholarships in the world. The first class of Marshall Scholars, who began academic study in the fall of 1954, consisted of eight men and four women selected from a pool of 700 applicants. Currently, there are approximately 1,500 Marshall Scholar alumni, most of whom reside in the United States.
Marshall Scholarships provide students with two fully funded years of study, with a possible third-year extension, at any university in the United Kingdom and applicable to any field of study. Approximately 40 Scholars are selected each year. The majority of Scholars choose to attend either Oxford, Cambridge, Warwick, University College, London (UCL), Imperial College London, London School of Economics, King's College London, or one of the other major London institutions, but Scholars have attended a wide range of universities throughout the UK, many of which are ranked among the best in the world. In addition to pure academic pursuits, the program aims to provide future leaders of America with insight into the "British ideals and way of life" and to strengthen the "Special Relationship" that exists between the United States and the United Kingdom. Each year, approximately four percent of university-endorsed applicants receive the scholarship, and applicants must have a GPA of 3.7 or higher to be eligible.
In a letter to the first class of Marshall Scholars, George Marshall echoed his own words in initially presenting his ideas for European recovery by saying, "A close accord between our two countries is essential to the good of mankind in this turbulent world of today, and that is not possible without an intimate understanding of each other. These scholarships point the way to the continuation and growth of the understanding which found its necessity in the terrible struggle of the war years."
The published objectives of the Marshall Scholarships are outlined as follows:
- To enable intellectually distinguished young Americans, their country's future leaders, to study in the UK.
- To help scholars gain an understanding and appreciation of contemporary Britain.;8
- To contribute to the advancement of knowledge in science, technology, the humanities and social sciences and the creative arts at Britain's centres of academic excellence.
- To motivate scholars to act as ambassadors from the USA to the UK and vice versa throughout their lives thus strengthening British American understanding.
- To promote the personal and academic fulfilment of each scholar.
Selection criteria 
Selection criteria have been established to select roughly 40 Scholars each year from an extremely competitive pool of America's top undergraduate students. The selection process is coordinated through the eight major British embassy/consulate regions in the United States (Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.). Selection committees in each region, consisting of former Scholars and other distinguished individuals, receive university-endorsed applications (including personal statements and essays) which are used to select a short list of candidates for interviews. Approximately one-sixth of endorsed applicants are interviewed. Each committee then interviews each of the regional finalists prior to making the final decisions on the year's awards. Although most of the responsibility for selecting the recipients is in the hands of the committees, a few formal guidelines have been outlined in the official selection criteria, most notably:
- "As future leaders, with a lasting understanding of British society, Marshall Scholars will strengthen the enduring relationship between the British and American peoples, their governments and their institutions. Marshall Scholars are talented, independent and wide-ranging in their interests, and their time as Scholars will enhance their intellectual and personal growth. Their direct engagement with Britain through its best academic programmes will contribute to their ultimate personal success."
- "In appointing Scholars the selectors will look for distinction of intellect and character as evidenced both by their scholastic attainments and by their other activities and achievements. Preference will be given to candidates who display a potential to make a significant contribution to their own society. Selectors will also look for strong motivation and seriousness of purpose, including the presentation of a specific and realistic academic programme."
Notable Marshall Scholars 
Marshall Scholars can now be found among prominent CEOs, Supreme Court justices, members of the United States Congress, members of the Presidential Cabinet of the United States, university presidents, Pulitzer Prize winning authors, and leaders in many academic and professional disciplines.
- Graham Allison – Noted foreign policy expert and founding dean of Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government; former undersecretary of Defense
- Anne Applebaum – Pulitzer Prize winning author/journalist and columnist for the Washington Post
- Bruce Babbitt – Former Governor of Arizona and U.S. Secretary of the Interior for President Bill Clinton
- Daniel Benjamin Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Ambassador at Large State Department
- Mark R Bell – Senior fellow at Emory University's Center for Alternative Investments and investor
- Lael Brainard – Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs
- Rosa Brooks – Counselor to the Under Secretary for Policy, U.S. Department of Defense; Los Angeles Times Columnist and Georgetown law professor
- Stephen Brusatte – Paleontologist, co-creator of taxonsearch and discoverer of Carcharodontosaurus iguidensis.
- Bill Buford – Founding editor of Granta, The New Yorker staff writer
- Stephen Breyer – Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court since 1994
- William Joseph Burns – U.S. Deputy Secretary of State; former Undersecretary of State; former United States Ambassador to Russia
- Patrick M. Byrne – Chairman of the Board and President of Overstock.com
- Thomas Carothers – Vice President for Studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
- Ted Conover – Noted author, essayist and journalist
- Richard Cordray – Directory of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
- Drew Daniel – member of Matmos and professor at Johns Hopkins University
- Ray Dolby – Inventor of Dolby Sound and Chairman of Dolby Laboratories
- Mary E. Edgerton – Surgical Pathologist and Director of Biorepository Informatics at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
- Thomas Eugene Everhart – Physicist and former President of the California Institute of Technology
- Mark Filip – United States Deputy Attorney General
- Benjamin M. Friedman – American political economist
- Thomas Friedman – Multiple Pulitzer Prize winning author/journalist and columnist for the New York Times
- James K. Galbraith – Economist and journalist
- Jonathan Galassi – President, Farrar Straus and Giroux
- Jeffrey Gettleman – Pulitzer Prize winning journalist for the New York Times
- James F. Gilliam – biologist and ISI highly cited researcher
- Neil Gorsuch – Federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.
- Kelly Grovier – Poet and literary critic for The Observer and The Times Literary Supplement
- Alfred Guzzetti – Experimental and Documentary Filmmaker and Harvard University Professor
- Jenny Harrison – Mathematician and Professor, University of California, Berkeley
- Reid Hoffman – Founder of LinkedIn
- Edward Hundert – Educator, psychiatrist, and medical ethicist
- Stephen Jennings, Co-CEO, Monitor Group
- John Jay Iselin – Former president of Cooper Union, former president of WNET
- Marty Kaplan – Associate Dean for Programs and Planning of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and director of the Norman Lear Center for the study of entertainment
- Nannerl Keohane – Former President of both Duke University (1993–2004) and Wellesley College (1981–1993)
- Charles King – Georgetown University professor and author
- Derek Kilmer – U.S. Representative for Washington's 6th Congressional District
- Andrew Klaber – Orphans Against AIDS founder and Paulson & Co investment professional
- Michael Klarman – Bancroft Prize winner and constitutional law scholar at Harvard Law School
- Kris Kobach – University of Missouri–Kansas City law professor
- Harold Koh – Legal Adviser of the Department of State; former Dean of the Yale Law School
- Peter Kramer – Author of Listening to Prozac (1993)
- Nicole Krauss – Novelist, History of Love
- Melissa Lane – Professor of political theory at Princeton University
- David Laibson – Professor of Economics, Harvard University
- Seth Lloyd – Quantum Information Scientist
- Nancy Lublin – Creator and Founder, Dress for Success, and CEO, Do Something
- Scott MacIntyre – Musician and American Idol Season 8 contestant
- George Marcus - Anthropologist at the University of California, Irvine and Rice University
- Douglas A. Melton – Professor and chair of the Harvard University Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology and HHMI investigator
- Jeff Modisett – Former Attorney General of the U.S. State of Indiana
- Robert Oden – Former president of Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota and former president of Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio
- Joshua Oppenheimer – award-winning documentary film director.
- Jonathan Orszag – former Clinton Administration economic advisor and Senior Managing Director of Compass Lexecon
- Peter Orszag – Director, OMB; former Director, Congressional Budget Office
- Jeffrey Rosen – Author, law professor, and legal affairs editor at The New Republic
- Jeffrey Rosensweig – Author, Director of Global Perspectives at the Goizueta School of Business of Emory University.
- Warwick Sabin – writer, politician, and editor "Oxford American"
- Lewis Sargentich – Professor at Harvard Law School
- Sandra E. Shumway – Research Professor, University of Connecticut; marine scientist
- A. Benjamin Spencer – Professor at Washington & Lee University School of Law
- John Spratt – Congressman for South Carolina's 5th congressional district
- Steven Strogatz – applied mathematician (complex networks)
- Kathleen Sullivan – Professor and former Dean of the Stanford Law School
- Roger Tsien – Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry
- Ed Victor – journalist and literary agent
- Mark Whitaker – Senior Vice President of NBC News, former editor of Newsweek
- Daniel Yergin – Pulitzer Prize winning author and noted economic researcher
- Kurt M. Campbell – Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
- Samuel Rascoff – Professor at NYU School of Law
- Distribution of Scholars: For the 2006-07 academic year, there were 100 Marshall Scholars in residence at British universities including those who were selected for the classes of 2004, 2005 and 2006. During this time, there were 36 Scholars at University of Oxford, 20 at University of Cambridge, 19 at London-based institutions, and the remaining Scholars attended several other universities throughout the UK. Of these 100 Scholars, 63 were studying Arts and Social Sciences while 37 were studying Science, Engineering or Mathematics. Of the 37 new Scholars named in 2008, the undergraduate source universities were private (50%), public (40%) and service academies (10%).
- Allocation of Scholars: During the period 1954 - 2007, multivariate analyses indicate that the most successful states in the Marshall competition were California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Georgia, North Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Connecticut. The least successful states were Nevada, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Mississippi, South Carolina, West Virginia and Hawaii. The ranking is based on a weighted average including (1) number of Scholars from the state, (2) Scholars per state population, (3) number of colleges in the state with Scholars, and (4) number of colleges in the state exceeding median Scholars per school based on nationwide data. The most successful source universities, based simply on the numbers of Scholars produced since 1954, are Harvard University, MIT, Princeton University, Yale University and Stanford University.
- Comparison to Rhodes Scholarships: Although the Marshall Scholarships share much in common with the Rhodes Scholarships (restricted to the University of Oxford), the major difference is a Marshall Scholar's freedom to attend any UK university, including the ability to attend a different university each year during a Scholar's tenure. Also, since its inception, the Marshall Scholarship has been open to both men and women, while the Rhodes Scholarship only became open to women beginning in 1977 following the passage of the British Sex Discrimination Act in 1975.
- Traveling to the UK: In the early years of the Marshall Scholarship, it was common for new Scholars to travel together to the UK via cruise ship, but now Scholars are usually flown to London from Washington, D.C. following a welcome program with top US and UK government and diplomatic officials.
- Marshall Medals: As part of the celebrations for the 50th Anniversary of the Marshall Scholarships, Marshall Medals were awarded to a group of distinguished Americans in recognition of their contributions to US/UK relations. The recipients were Justice Stephen Breyer (1959 Marshall Scholar), Dr. Ray Dolby (1957 Marshall Scholar), Thomas L. Friedman (1975 Marshall Scholar), President Nannerl Keohane (1961 Marshall Scholar), Christopher Makins, Senator George J. Mitchell, and U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell.
- "Marshall Scholarships 2012 Competition Statistical Report". Marshall Scholarships.
- The Association of Marshall Scholars
- Marshall Scholarship website
- Marshall Scholarships Annual Reports
- Marshall Scholarships Statistics
- Chuhta, J.D. "British Marshall Scholarships." Dec 2007.