North American Rolex Scholarship

Scholarship Provided by : Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society

Scholarship Amount

Various Amount

Application Deadline

January 31, 2016


Currently there are three Rolex Scholarships: North America, Europe, and Australasia. Each Rolex Scholarship provides a hands-on introduction to underwater and other aquatic-related endeavors for a young person considering a career in an underwater-related discipline. One scholar is selected from each of the three regions and each scholar spends approximately one year working side by side with current leaders in underwater fields. Each scholar travels primarily within his or her region, but may have opportunities throughout the underwater world. The range of experiences may include active participation in field studies, underwater research, scientific expeditions, laboratory assignments, equipment testing and design, photographic instruction, and other specialized assignments.

Scholars pursue activities in their chosen disciplines during the one-year period between Our World Underwater Scholarship Society® annual spring meetings. Experiences may last from a few days to over a month. At the conclusion of each experience, the scholar moves on to another, so the scholarship year involves extensive travel. Photo by Steve Freeman, New York Yacht Club 4/18/15 Left to Right: Stewart Wicht (CEO & President Rolex Watch USA), Michele Felberg (2015 North American Rolex Scholar), Danny Copeland (2015 European Rolex Scholar), Ben Buchan (2015 Australasian Rolex Scholar), Michael Emmerman (President OWUSS)
The scholar is literally on the road from spring-to-spring with very little time at a home base. Scholars spend most of the year with the society's friends, hosts, and coordinators around the world. The experiences vary from year to year depending upon the scholar's interests and the availability of expeditions and hosts' opportunities. These experiences make up the real heart of the scholarship. The opportunity to join a host's daily activities exposes the scholar to the realities of the host's special pursuits.

Each of the three Rolex Scholarships has a coordinator who organizes itineraries for his or her scholar - emphasizing breadth of experience, but tailoring the itenerary to the individual scholar’s background and interests. These itineraries include time with specialists in such areas as biology, hyperbarics, anthropology, and archaeology. Scholar hosts include scientists, engineers, filmmakers, and marine mammal researchers. Visits to dive store operations, classes in underwater photography, and working with conservation organizations are also typical experiences.

Photo by Steve Freeman, New York Yacht Club 4/18/15, Left to Right: Danny Copeland (2015 European Rolex Scholar), Ben Buchan (2015 Australasian Rolex Scholar), Michele Felberg (2015 North American Rolex Scholar)These experiences provide the scholars with a broad overview of careers in the underwater world. Scholars may spend varying lengths of time investigating:

Commercial and Research Diving
Ecological Activism
The global underwater community sees the selected North American, European, and Australasian scholars as individuals with the potential to make significant contributions to the underwater world even though they may not have yet chosen a specific career path. During the course of the year, exposure to a wide array of types of work and the chance to actually jump in and experience specific jobs provides scholars with invaluable career-deciding opportunities.

The scholarship emphasizes hands-on experience in activities that will contribute to a well-rounded education and a broad network of contacts.

The Our World-Underwater convention established the first scholarship in 1974 and until its sale in 1998 was the primary funding source to the Society. Today, the Society offers two Rolex Scholarships as well as a variety of internships and other educational opportunities.

The Rolex Scholarships are entirely funded by donations from Rolex Watch USA and Rolex-Geneva. The Society and its other educational programs are additionally funded by generous corporate sponsors and individuals including E.P.I.C, Mercury Marine, and many others.

The original amount of the scholarship was $5,000, and it has been raised in increments over the years. This amount is reviewed at the Board of Directors's annual meeting. The maximum cash amount for the North American Rolex Scholarship is $25,000, for the European Rolex Scholarship the amount is £16,000 and for the Australasian Scholarship Aus $30,000

Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society® funds are used for transportation and living expenses. The North American and European Rolex Scholars must submit a complete accounting for all expenditures. Logs, journals, financial reports, and other communications are mandatory and must be submitted monthly to the Scholarship Society for review by the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee.


The online application will be available to start accepting applications on October 1, 2015. Please complete the online application to apply for any scholarships and/or internships offered by the Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society®. Completed Scholarship applications must be RECEIVED via the online application no later than:

December 31, 2015 North American Application
(to be considered for the 2016 scholarship)

December 31, 2015 European Application
(to be considered for the 2016 scholarship)

January 31, 2016 Australasian Application
(to be considered for the 2016 scholarship)

Scholarship applicants are required to submit the following information within the online application:

1) Copy of dive scuba diving certification card(s)

2) Copy of dive logs for the last six months

3) Completed medical form signed by a licensed physician 

4) Four letters of recommendation: Two letters of recommendation from teachers or professors from whom you have taken classes and two letters of recommendation from persons in your community. Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society® can only accept recommendation letters directly from the referees. As a result, please request the 4 referees to email letters of recommendation directly to For more information, please see FAQ.

5) Statement from certifying agency (or school) or most recent scuba instructor regarding diving proficiency

6) Current resume including any extracurricular activities

7) Copy of Official Transcript or Unofficial Transcript. Finalists will be required to physically mail an official transcript to the appropriate regional office.

7) Personal biography (maximum 2 pages, double spaced) detailing relevant activities

8) Statements (maximum 2 pages, double spaced):
    1) What are your personal goals for the Scholarship year and how will the Scholarship help you to achieve them?
    2) How do you hope to contribue to the Underwater World from both a personal and global perspective?

9) Application fees: North American scholarships and internships are payable online via paypal or check in US currency mailed to the OWUSS office address. The North American Scholarship Application Fee is $50 and the North American Internship Application Fees are $25 per internship. Application fees for the European (50 Sterling) and Australasian(50 AUS Dollars) application should be made by sending a check to the respective addresses below.

A personal interview will be required of all scholarship finalists. Finalists will also be required to submit official transcripts directly to the correct regional office from your school’s registrar. Official transcript(s) must present grades through the most current semester. 


If you are having trouble viewing the online application, please email or write us at the address below and we will mail you an application. If you are having trouble accessing or using the online application, you may download and mail the Scholarship application or Internship application to the appropriate regional office. If an applicant is experiencing problems uploading documents onto their online application, please send all supplemental materials and documents via mail to the appropriate regional office by the scholarship deadline. It is the applicant's responsibility to confirm receipt of application materials sent via carrier. 

For North American Information:

Mailing Address:
Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society®
PO Box 6157, Woodridge, IL  60517
phone: (630) 969-6690
fax: (630) 969-6690

*Overnight services (Fed-Ex, UPS) can be mailed to:
Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society®
Att: Roberta Flanders
2446 A. Brunswick Circle, Woodridge, IL 60517

*make sure to mark the package "No Signature Required, Leave at Door".

For European Information:

Mailing Address:
Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society®
European Office
5 Valley Lane, Waringstown, Craigavon, Co Armagh
BT66 7SR N. Ireland
Phone/Fax (028) 3882 0462

For Australasian Information:

Mailing Address:
Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society®
PO Box 8
145, Sydney Rd
Sydney 2094
NSW, Australia
Phone/Fax (02) 99492953

Pacific Islander, Hispanic, Caucasian, Asian, American Indian, African American

Similar Scholarships

Academic Merit Scholarship
Amount: $2,500 | Deadline: April 06, 2017
Learn to Build an App Scholarship
Amount: $1,000 | Deadline: May 31, 2017
Bruce Lee Foundation Scholarship Program
Amount: $1,000 | Deadline: June 10, 2017
Alexia Foundation Student Grants
Amount: Various Amount | Deadline: January 31, 2017
Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship
Amount: $10,000 | Deadline: December 02, 2015