Who Can Apply?

Scholarship Eligibility Requirements

  • Minimum age of 21 and maximum age of 26 at the time of the application deadline (15 January 2025 for all regions)
  • Citizenship for the relevant Scholarship region (North America, Europe, and Australasia)
  • Applicant has not yet earned a graduate degree (i.e. Masters, Doctorate or similar) by June 1st of the scholarship year, and has not yet chosen a clearly defined career path
  • High academic standing
  • Fluency in English
  • Certification as a Rescue Diver or equivalent with a minimum of 25 scuba dives logged in the past two years
  • Evidence of adequate health insurance for duration of scholarship year
  • Submission of a completed diving medical history form (which is found in the application). A full diving medical evaluation will be required for all scholars.
  • If you are chosen as a scholar, you will be required to pass a NOAA or equivalent physical.


Scholarship applicants will be scored based on the following criteria:

  1. Dive History: Does the applicant have enough experience to safely dive into the year? Does the statement from their DSO or dive instructor indicate that they are a safe, confident, and comfortable scuba diver and able to safely participate in the wide variety of diving experiences they may be exposed to during the scholarship year? If the applicant does not have Rescue Diver certification, is there equivalent training and experience, or other relevant factors that should make them eligible for an exemption?
  2. Experience: Does the applicant have experience with fieldwork, diving for professional purposes, research (lab or field) or other relevant experience that would prepare them for the scholarship year? In contrast, are they early enough in their career that they would still benefit from the experiences offered during the scholarship year? Would the scholarship make a meaningful impact on their career trajectory, or have they already had access to most or all of the experiences they might encounter during the scholarship year?
  3. Communication Skills: Did the applicant communicate effectively in their statements (taking into account if English is not their first language or if they have an additional support needs)? Based on their statements, do they have the potential to excel at communicating during the scholarship year? (e.g. publich outreach, blogs, videos, presentations).
  4. Leadership & Impact: Does the applicant show leadership potential and the ability to drive change in their field or the underwater world more broadly? Do they demonstrate the capacity to represent the Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society™?
  5. Recommendations & Potential: Does this applicant come highly recommended by a diversity of referees (e.g. academics and non-academics)? Are there examples provided in the letters of recommendation, resume, statements and elsewhere that show they have the potential to excel during a challenging year of travel, educational experiences, and public outreach?
  6. Contributing New Perspectives: Does this applicant bring valuable insights, experiences, worldviews, perspectives, interests, or background that aren't currently well-represented in the Scholarship Society and/or the field?

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement:

The underwater world connects us all—we are as dependent on the oceans as we are on each other. As a global organization, the Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society™ celebrates the extraordinary human diversity of the planet as we seek to provide educational opportunities that help young leaders develop their full potential to engage in an ever more inclusive, sustainable, and equitable world. We aspire to be an organization that leads with its values, and embraces diversity, respect, and collaboration as vital to our learning culture.