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Robert W. Woodruff Scholars and Fellows Program

In 1980, Emory University established the Robert W. Woodruff Scholars and Fellows Program to recruit and reward students with exceptional character, scholastic abilities, and leadership qualities.

Each year, every college and division names incoming Woodruff Fellows. It is the highest accolade an incoming student can receive.

At Emory Law, Woodruff Fellows receive a scholarship covering all tuition and mandatory fees for their three years of study toward a juris doctor. Those students with external scholarship funding or military benefits will receive the difference between their other benefits and full cost of tuition plus mandatory fees. In addition, fellows receive a $5,000 stipend to assist in defraying the cost of books and living expenses.

Specifically, the fellowships are awarded to students who have demonstrated

  • qualities of forceful and unselfish character,
  • intellectual and personal vigor,
  • outstanding academic achievement,
  • impressive skills in communication,
  • significant leadership and creativity in school or community,
  • clear potential for enriching the lives of their contemporaries at Emory University, and
  • strong propensity to make a positive impact on the community as an Emory Law alumnus/alumna.

The Woodruff Fellowship is more than a scholarship. Becoming a Woodruff Fellow means joining a rich community of scholars who are leaders among the Emory Law community, the alumni association, and their greater communities. Our fellows are leaders both while they are students and after they graduate and join the practice in courtrooms, businesses, government, public service, and academia. The Woodruff Fellow designation signifies character and leadership.

All incoming three-year JD students are eligible to apply for the Woodruff Fellowship program.


The 2022 application period is now open.

The selection process for the Woodruff Fellowship is rigorous. The selection committee, composed of faculty, staff, and Woodruff alumni, looks for outstanding achievement in academics, leadership, and out-of-school activities as well as the potential to make a significant impact on the Emory Law community.

Two-Step Application Process

  • First, submit your application for admission to the three-year JD program through the LSAC website.
  • Second, have a professor, colleague, employer, or another person who knows you well submit a “Letter of Nomination for the Woodruff Fellowship” starting October 1. We do not recommend using one of your admission recommenders for this letter. 

Scholars Weekend

Each year, up to 15 Woodruff finalists participate in our annual Woodruff Scholars Weekend.

During this interactive, three-day event, finalists meet top Emory Law administrators, faculty, students, and alumni. Finalists participate in a special session with a distinguished faculty member, connect with current Woodruff scholars and alumni, learn about Robert W. Woodruff’s achievements, and experience the opportunities awaiting them at Emory Law and beyond. At the conclusion of Scholars Weekend, each finalist interviews with the Woodruff Selection Committee. 

Emory Law will cover all expenses, including travel, for Woodruff Scholars Weekend. (Finalists living abroad will have their airfare reimbursed up to $700.)