The Center for Life Beyond Reed

Sperling Studentship

Apply through Reed Fellowships and Awards Committee

Internal Deadline: November 6th, 2019 at 12:00 PM
Liaison: Alison Crocker

» List of previous winners
» Internal application instructions


John Sperling '48, founder of the University of Phoenix and an alumnus of both Reed College and Cambridge University, committed funds to support Reed graduates in the pursuit of graduate studies at Cambridge University, King's College. Sperling, whose degree from Reed was in history, earned a master's degree in political history at the University of California at Berkeley and a Ph.D. in economic history from Cambridge University.

Cambridge University's King's College and Reed College seek applications from Reed graduates for the Sperling Studentship. Students may apply for either a one-year MPhil or a three-year doctoral fellowship at Cambridge University. Students applying for the MPhil may apply the following year to continue on to doctoral studies. The Studentship will cover tuition, college and university fees, and room and board. Doctoral students at Cambridge are expected to work closely with specific tutors and to move quickly into their own area of research.


Reed graduates from 1995 to the present (all classes graduated since the inception of the award) are eligible to apply for the Sperling Studentship through Reed's Committee on Fellowships and Awards. Reed may nominate up to three ranked candidates to King's College. The nominees apply directly to their chosen programs for admission. The highest-ranking nominee admitted to the academic program and to King's College is awarded the scholarship. Applications will be considered in all graduate fields at Cambridge University except medicine. In most cases, Cambridge University expects applicants to have a GPA of at least 3.5.

The three-year doctoral programs require superior academic training and performance. Most of the programs require a master's degree for admission; thus a Reed graduate who does not have graduate experience comparable to a master's degree should consider applying for the MPhil. It is virtually impossible for an applicant to be admitted to a Cambridge doctoral program without the explicit endorsement of the student's potential adviser; thus applicants should be well informed about the program to which they are applying, and in contact with the future adviser.

Application Procedure

Potential applicants should review the internal application instructions. Internal applications are due by the internal application deadline and must include detailed information about the program to which the candidate wishes to apply. The Cambridge University Graduate Prospectus can be found online. Applications for the Sperling Studentship are reviewed by Reed's Committee on Fellowships and Awards. Reed students and graduates interested in the Sperling Studentship should also consider the Gates Cambridge Scholarship program. Contact CLBR Fellowships with any questions.

For additional Reed-specific commentary on study in the UK, including Cambridge, visit Ken Brashier's site on this topic.

Advice from Ken Brashier