Rhodes Scholars who have been heads of national governments, heads of state, or representatives of the Queen at the national level include:

Norman Manley (Jamaica & Jesus 1914), Prime Minister of Jamaica;
Dominic Mintoff (Malta & Hertford 1939), Prime Minister of Malta;
John Turner (British Columbia & Magdalen 1949), Prime Minister of Canada;
Bob Hawke (Western Australia & University 1953), Prime Minister of Australia;
Wasim Sajjad (Pakistan & Wadham 1964), twice interim President of Pakistan;
William J. Clinton (Arkansas & University 1968), President of the United States;
- Tony Abbott (New South Wales & Queen's 1981), Prime Minister of Australia, and
- Malcolm Turnbull (New South Wales & Brasenose 1978), Prime Minister of Australia.

Rhodes Scholars to have served as representatives of the Queen at the national level include:

- Roland Michener (Alberta & Hertford 1919), Governor-General of Canada;
- Arthur Porritt (Lord Porritt) (New Zealand & Magdalen 1923), Governor-General of New Zealand; and
Sir Zelman Cowen (Victoria & New College 1941), Governor-General of Australia. For tributes to Sir Zelman on his death in December 2011, click here.

Other Rhodes Scholars have been leaders at regional and provincial levels, and these include:

Sir James Gobbo (Victoria & Magdalen 1952), Governor of Victoria 1997-2000
- Richard Celesete (Ohio & Exeter 1960) – Governor of Ohio, 1983-1991
- David Boren (Oklahoma & Balliol 1963) – Governor of Oklahoma 1975-1979
- Bob Rae (Ontario & Balliol 1969) – Premier of Ontario, 1990-1995
- Bobby Jindal (Louisiana & New College 1992) – Governor of Louisiana, 2008 –
- Danny Williams (Newfoundland & Keble 1969) – Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador
- Geoffrey Gallop (Western Australia & St John’s 1972) – Premier of Western Australia, 2001-2006
- Allen Blakeney (Nova Scotia & Queen’s 1947) Premier of Saskatchewan, 1971-1982