Fellowships

What is a Fellowship?
Finding Fellowships
FAQs: Fellowships

What is a Fellowship?

While the term "fellowship" is used by a variety of different programs, generally fellowships:

  • are short-term opportunities lasting from a few months to several years
  • focus on the professional development of the fellow
  • are sponsored by a specific organization seeking to expand leadership in their field

Fellowship programs can be designed to support a range of activities including graduate study in a specific field, research to advance work on a particular issue, developing a new community-based organization or initiative, training and reflection to support the fellow's growth, opportunities to further explore a particular field of work

Finding Fellowships

Fellowships have traditionally been awarded to graduate and post-graduate students, but there are an increasing number of fellowships available to recent college graduates.

  1. Search fellowship sites such as:
  2. Search job listings - Do a search on "fellowship" while reviewing listings on sites such as Idealist.org. Also search for "internships" - some internships are essentially fellowships. 
  3. Talk to current fellows - Get the inside story. Most fellowship websites profile current and former fellows, many of whom are happy to speak with prospective applicants. 

FAQs: Fellowships

Why pursue a fellowship?

Experiential Learning

Fellowships are structured to provide significant work experiences, and fellows are often expected to take on a great deal of responsibility quickly. Generally, fellows are provided with unique experiences that are not typically available to someone starting out in an entry-level position. This experiential learning component varies depending upon the fellowship program.

Training and Professional Development

Fellowship programs are known for their commitment to the professional development of individual fellows and often include intensive training. Key elements of this training might include:

  • academic seminars to develop frameworks and apply theory
  • in-depth research and analysis of a particular issue area
  • a broad curriculum of skills development: leadership, community organizing, public speaking, grant writing, media relation

Will I get paid?

Compensation is often considered the biggest drawback of a fellowship. Although most fellowship programs do provide a living allowance or stipend, it is typically not comparable to the salary of a full-time job. This financial compensation varies greatly - stipends can range from $10,000 to up to $25,000 for a 9-12 month program.

Other incentives are often provided to fellows such as healthcare coverage, student loan repayment assistance, and housing stipends.

What is the application process?

Although eligibility requirements vary with the fellowship, most programs do look for:

  • motivation, self-direction and personal integrity
  • highly developed interpersonal and writing skills
  • demonstrated leadership and potential for continued leadership

Applications can be extensive and often include a resume, transcript, letters of recommendation and writing sample. Depending on the fellowship, there may be additional application materials required as well.

In addition, the application to most programs includes an interview, either a series of individual interviews, a single panel interview, or situational group interviews in which candidates work together to devise responses to a problem or question.