Neale Silva Scholarship for Chilean Students

The Neale Silva scholarship is intended specifically for Chilean citizens who would like to attend UW-Madison for up to two years at the undergraduate or graduate level. The scholarship was created by Professor Eduardo Neale Silva, who forged a permanent and special bond between his homeland, Chile, and his adopted educational homeland, the University of Wisconsin-Madison. This scholarship specifies that beneficiaries should a) be involved in the practical fields of science and technology, and b) return to work in Chile to benefit the country.

See accordion panel below for information on how to apply.

Applications are due annually on April 1.

Please email the IRIS Awards Office ( with any questions about the program or the application process or check the Frequently Asked Questions tab below.

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Eduardo Neale Silva was born in Talca, Chile, in 1905. He entered the University of Chile in Santiago when he was 16 and graduated as an English major. At the age of 20, Neale Silva joined the then Department of Romance Languages at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he worked for 51 years. Professor Neale Silva recognized his good fortune in finding his way to Madison, but he also knew that hard work was required to build on this good fortune. He began to teach, and worked to complete his graduate studies at the same time. Professor Neale Silva wrote a number of textbooks and readers for undergraduate and high school classes that are used throughout the U.S. Proceeds from these books were invested, and the resulting income is now used for scholarships to bring Chileans to study at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Who is Eligible to Apply?

Scholarship recipients can either study at UW-Madison for one or two semesters as a non-degree/special student, or up to two years (four semesters) in a graduate degree program. The scholarship will support a full MSc degree, or two years of a PhD.

Non-degree/special student: Individuals who have completed at least three years of college or university studies are eligible to apply for one or two semesters of study at UW-Madison through the scholarship. Eligible individuals include those currently enrolled in a college or university, are in a graduate degree program, or are working professionals seeking academic professional development opportunities. All applicants must study science or technology fields to be eligible.

Graduate Program at UW-Madison: Individuals may apply for up to two years (four semesters) of financial support specifically to pursue a full master’s degree program or two years of a PhD program at UW-Madison. Individuals interested in pursuing graduate studies at UW-Madison must first apply directly to their chosen graduate program through the Graduate School. These deadlines are typically before the deadline for the Neale Silva scholarship. Deadlines and admission criteria vary by program and can be found on the specific program page.

The Neale Silva scholarship is intended to permit recipients to pursue studies in technological or scientific fields, not in the humanities. If you are not sure whether your field of study would qualify, please contact the IRIS Awards Office (

Terms and Conditions

In partnership with the University of Wisconsin Foundation, the Estate of Eduardo Neale Silva has established the Eduardo Neale Silva Scholarship Fund. The primary purpose of this fund is to provide scholarships to Chilean students, that is, residents of Chile of Chilean nationality, to permit them to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The terms and conditions of the Eduardo Neale-Silva Scholarships are the following:

    1. The scholarship may pay the following:
      • Round-trip transportation between Chile and Wisconsin (up to $2,000) (Recipients already in Madison will not receive airfare)
      • Tuition at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
      • Monthly stipend of $1,500 for living expenses
      • SEVIS fee
      • Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) insurance (for recipient only; not dependents)

No expenses of dependents shall be paid from this fund.

  1. Qualified recipients must be students in technological or scientific fields. Studies in the humanities/social sciences will not be supported.
  2. Recipients shall have completed at least three years of college or university studies. Alternatively, graduates of advanced technical schools may qualify if they are admissible as non-degree/special students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
  3. Scholarships shall be granted for a period of one or two semesters, or up to two years for a graduate program. Support cannot exceed two years.
  4. Recipients must possess sufficient command of English to participate in university studies. The goal of this grant is to support substantive coursework or research and not the study of English as a Second Language.
  5. Recipients shall be selected by a screening committee appointed by the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
  6. Individuals are not eligible to receive the scholarship more than once.
  7. The availability and method of application shall be made known to prospective candidates in Chile.
  8. Should there be insufficient income earned by the Fund, no scholarship shall be awarded in any given year.
  9. Funding does not support internship or research experience outside of the state, including abroad.


Candidates for the scholarship shall be asked to submit the following documents (please provide originals and (unofficial or official) English translations):

  1. Application Cover Sheet
  2. Official academic records (transcripts) from university in Chile
  3. Three letters of recommendation from teachers or employers, or others familiar with professional development
  4. Statement describing professional objectives, a proposed and plan for study at Wisconsin, prior international study or travel experiences and a detailed plan for how this experience will be used to improve life for Chileans upon the recipients return there. Please include answers to the questions regardng how your studies at UW-Madison are connected to the work you have done or plan to do, how it’s connected to Chile, and how you expect your time and experience here to benefit Chile/Chileans upon your return thereafter the program. This portion of the application is strongly considered in the application review process.
  5. English Proficiency. UW-Madison requires strong English proficiency to attend our institution. You will need to provide your score from an English language test, and scores and tests will vary depending on the program to which you are applying. If you are applying as a non-degree/special student, you can find the requirements here. If you are applying to a graduate program, you can find the minimum requirements to apply to the Graduate School here, but please note that some program requirements are different and vary by program.
  6. If applying to graduate school at UW-Madison, candidates should abide by application deadlines for their potential program, which deadlines will be earlier than the application deadline for the Neale Silva scholarship, in most cases. If applying as a non-degree student, successful candidates will be directed to an application form later in the process.

Applications must be received by April 1 for awards beginning the following September or January. When appropriate to their educational situation and professional objectives, scholarship recipients may be affiliated with the UW as Honorary Fellows or trainees rather than students.

Applications can be submitted electronically (in a single pdf document) to the IRIS Awards Office at

The Neale Silva Scholarship Selection Committee is comprised of representatives from the College of Engineering and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Additional members may be invited to participate as needed to evaluate the applicants and their proposed programs.

The selection committee shall consider the following criteria in making awards:

  1. Academic ability of the applicant.
  2. Potential of the candidate and the proposed program to contribute to Chile’s scientific and technological development upon their return to the country.
  3. Compatibility of the student’s plan of study with programs available at UW-Madison.
  4. Application status at potential host department.
  5. Priority given to the student who has not had many opportunities to go outside Chile or come to the United States for study.

In addition, the Committee will consider favorably candidates from Chilean institutions with which the UW has formal or informal cooperative agreements in order to promote the University’s international mission. The Committee will recognize the intent of Eduardo Neale Silva to support students who would not otherwise be able to study at UW, but it will also attempt to increase the number of participants by providing partial support to qualified candidates who have other sources of partial support. Furthermore, it will strive to maintain a balance among various fields of study.

Application and Forms

Please complete the application and return it to the Institute for Regional and International Studies (IRIS) Awards Office at All documents in Spanish must be accompanied by an English translation.

If you intend to study at UW-Madison as a non-degree student for one or two semesters, please submit your application materials, and we will direct you to an online application form if you are awarded a Neale Silva Scholarship.

However, if you are applying to begin your career at UW-Madison as a graduate student, you must apply through the Graduate School as well as one of UW-Madison’s graduate programs. Note that you are responsible for meeting application deadlines for your department and the Graduate School, which may be earlier than the April 1 deadline for the Neale Silva Scholarship.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Should I provide specific documentation of my previous international study or travel experience?  

A: You don’t need to provide specific documentation of previous experience, just be sure to mention it in your CV/resume or statement. 


Q: Must every Spanish document submitted have a corresponding English translation included?  

A: Since English translations are required for your UW-Madison admission application, you should be able to use the same documents and translations you submitted for your admission application.


Q: Is the return condition to Chile enforced?  

A: There in no “enforcement” on the requirement to go back to Chile, but the spirit of the scholarship is to enrich the technical capabilities of Chile. 

Continued Support

  • Please email with any questions about the program or the application process.
  • Mario Mardones was a close friend of Professor Neale Silva. Scholarship recipients may contact him by phone. He can be reached at (608) 523-1944.
  • Also, you may want to contact the Chilean Student Association, a group that works to support Chilean students at the UW and to provide the UW community with opportunities to learn about Chile.