Eligibility and Criteria


 (L-R): Maha Bali, Dr. Ahmed H. Zewail, Khaled Harras, Provost Tim Sullivan (2001)

Selection Criteria and Eligibility

  • The applicant must be an AUC student in his or her final semester of undergraduate study (graduating seniors only)
  • The applicant must achieve an overall grade point average at the honors level (minimum GPA of 3.4), to be determined in the term preceding the semester of graduation
  • The applicant must have participated in outstanding extra-curricular activities
  • Finalists may be interviewed


Prospective candidates are evaluated by a select faculty panel on the basis of a 1,500-2,000 word essay on a sciences and humanities topic. The essay must be written specifically for the Zewail Prize and must not be merely a modification of work done for a class. The essay will be judged by the faculty panel for:

  • Originality
  • Multidisciplinary dimension
  • Language that is accessible to a wide audience
  • Creative thought
  • The essay should be properly sourced and cited and accompanied by a works cited page
  • All essays will be passed through turitin.com

Applicants are encouraged to write an original essay on any science and humanities topic that transcends the rigid boundaries of traditional academic disciplines and reflects a multi-disciplinary perspective on the chosen topic. The essay must combine elements of sciences and humanities based on the creative spirit of a liberal arts education.

Applicants are also welcome to write an original essay on a topic drawn from within the applicant’s own field or area of specialization by exploring new ideas and possibilities from outside disciplines and by utilizing a novel approach which reflects the applicant’s diverse intellectual interests.