Neville Bonner Memorial Scholarship


In memory of the late Mr Neville Bonner AO, the first Indigenous Member of Federal Parliament

Neville Bonner's life is a study not only of courage, conscience and compassion in the face of extraordinary adversity, but also of personal and national reconciliation.

Established in the year 2000 by the Federal Government, The Neville Bonner Memorial Scholarship is Australia's most prestigious scholarship for Indigenous Australians to study Honours in Political Science (or related subjects) at any recognised Australian university. One Neville Bonner Scholarship may be awarded each year.

Political Science may be broadly interpreted to include such subjects as government, political geography, political history, political anthropology and political economics. The Selection Committee may also consider application from other subject areas (consistent with the broad aim of the Scholarship) where there is a political component to the proposed thesis.

Field of study

Political Science


To be eligible to apply for the 2017 Neville Bonner Scholarship, candidates must:

  • be Indigenous Australians of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent, who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander and are accepted as such by the Indigenous Australian community in which they live or have lived;
  • be Australian citizens; and
  • be currently enrolled (or have been enrolled) in a course of study leading to the award of a Degree of Bachelor with majors relevant to the enrolment in an Honours year in politics or political science (or related subjects) at a recognised Australian university.

Candidates must also have been offered a place in Honours in 2017 or have good reason to believe they will be offered a place.


The Scholarship is equivalent in value to the Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) in the year of award, paid over the period of the Scholarship, which is two consecutive academic semesters of full-time study (or pro rata over two years for approved part-time study). In 2016 the APA was $26, 288. The 2017 rate is to be confirmed. The scholarship also includes up front payments of the student contribution amounts relevant to the Honours year of study.

How to apply

Candidates must complete the Application Form and submit it with the requested documents (as specified in the Application Form) including their original academic transcript/s and a letter of acceptance into the Honours program.

Written evidence must be provided to confirm the candidate's status as an Indigenous Australian of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent. This may include a letter from an Indigenous community leader or Indigenous organisation or other documentation.

Candidates must also submit a personal statement of up to two pages in support of their application. This may include a description of their chosen honours topic, service to the Indigenous community and future aspirations.

Candidates may also include a brief resume (up to two pages). Please note that including a resume is not compulsory but if you have one, you can attach it to your application if you wish.

Additional Information is attached to the Application Form - including the Scholarship Terms and Conditions and some information on Neville Bonner.

Completed applications (including all required documentation) must be received by the Scholarship Administrator by the due date. Please do not submit additional information that has not been requested, as it will not be considered by the Selection Committee.


You need two academic referees who can comment on your suitability to undertake study at Honours level. Provide your academic referees with a copy of the Referee Report Form and write their contact details on your Application Form.

You also need one personal referee. This can be someone who is not related to you but who has known you for at least three years, who can write a letter on your personal qualities, extra-curricular activities, other interests and community involvement. Please refer to the Application Form for more details.

Honours admission

Acceptance into the Honours program at the relevant university is a prerequisite for the confirmation of the award of the Scholarship. An applicant who is not currently a student of the University at which he or she wishes to undertake the Honours program must apply separately and concurrently for admission to that university.

Selection process

The Selection Committee will take into account the academic achievement of the student, the suitability of the applicant for an Honours year of study as assessed by the referees, the relevance of the proposed Honours research project to the Scholarship objectives, the student's aspirations including expressed interest in service to the Indigenous community, and other criteria as included from time to time by the Selection Committee.

There are no interviews conducted for this scholarship. Selection is based on the information provided in the Application and supporting documentation (including University transcripts) and the referee reports.

The award of the Scholarship is conditional on the Scholar gaining entry into the Honours program.

Further information

For further information, please contact