The James Randi Educational Foundation
Critical Thinking Scholarship Awards

2008-2009 Academic Year Awards Winners

Pavel Petkov ($5000: Top Prize), Tamas Borbely ($2500) , Joseph Meyer ($1500) , Alan Jern ($1000) . For the full press release visit: latest-jref-news/2008-2009-jref-scholarship-winners-2.html

Note: Applications for the 2009-2010 Academic Year will be soon.
How to Apply and Criteria for Awards
The James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF), will award up to $10,000 in academic scholarships for use in the Fall semester of 2008 and beyond. The scholarships, in amounts of $5000, $2500, $1500, and $1000, may be awarded to deserving students in potentially any field of study, at the graduate or undergraduate level. A committee composed of a physicist, a retired philosophy professor, a physician, and a very senior member of the staff of Scientific American magazine will select the winners.


The criteria for awarding the scholarships will include the applicant’s academic potential, background, and most importantly, their plan for building critical thinking skills into their chosen field of study, reflecting the goals and values of the James Randi Educational Foundation. The James Randi Educational Foundation is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1996. Its aim is to promote critical thinking by reaching out to the public and media with reliable information about paranormal and supernatural ideas so widespread in our society today.

Persons interested in applying for the scholarships should download and completely fill out an application located on the JREF website at this link.

  • Each applicant must complete the application form, a transcript (unofficial is acceptable) from your college or university, or High School (if not yet in college), as well as scores on SAT, ACT, AP, LSAT, MCAT or other placement tests.
  • International applicants, or others without standardized test scores, should include as much information as possible in their applications about their academic records. Applicants will NOT be disqualified simply because they do not have current exam scores for such tests.
  • Applicants with academic transcripts and/or records from schools that do not use the US-standard A-F (4.0 – 0.0) scoring system must include an explanation of how their school’s particular grading system works. Explain clearly how your scores relate to the possible range of scores your school awards. For example, if you earned a grade of “E” for “excellent” please explain that clearly, as the grade could be confused with a failing grade by the Scholarship Committee.
  • Letters of recommendation are not required. If applicants wish to have letters submitted on their behalf, the letters MUST be sent directly from the writer, on appropriate letterhead, to the post office box noted below, and NOT included in the application package.
  • Please do NOT include additional materials beyond those required. For example, do not include articles you have written, chapters from dissertations, etc.

Attach a typed, double-spaced essay (500 words maximum) clearly and directly addressing this question:

-How do you intend to apply critical thinking skills to your chosen area of study, and how does your proposed study include the mission goals of the James Randi Educational Foundation?

Once completed, the application must be sent to:

Dr Raymond Hall
Department of Physics
California State University, Fresno
2345 E. San Ramon Ave. M/S MH 037
Fresno, CA 93740-8031

Applications must be received in hard copy form at the above address to be considered. Specific questions can be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

We are currently not accepting applications at this time.


  • Up to Four (4) scholarships will be awarded in the amounts of
    • $5000, $2500, $1500, $1000
  • Each winner will be given his or her award directly in the form of a check. The winners are solely responsible for proper accounting of the monies involved after the awards have been given.
  • Scholarships are awarded based on academic achievement, commitment to enhancing critical thinking skills, potential, the content and quality of the essay, as well as other factors.
  • Decisions of the Scholarship Committee will be final.
  • The committee will consider the totality of each applicant's skills, background, and career path, as well as the applicant's choice of university and field of research.
  • Scholarships may be awarded to students enrolled, or admitted to, colleges and universities at the graduate or undergraduate level in potentially any field of academic study, in the United States or internationally.
  • The Scholarship Committee reserves the right to evaluate quality of the school and the school’s academic reputation as part of the awarding criteria.
  • Scholarships are not based on financial need.
  • applicants must formally apply using the form downloaded from the JREF website, and mailed to the Scholarship Committee.
  • Employees and Senior Volunteers of the JREF, members of the scholarship committee, and their families, are not eligible.