There are countless opportunities for individuals seeking to pursue academic study and/or obtain additional professional experience at all levels to obtain financial support from private foundations, nonprofits, directly from academic institutions and from various governmental and intergovernmental agencies. In addition, there are a number of fellowships that provide funding for professional development opportunities, independent research/internships/language study (for some of these applicants need to be a current student). As part of developing increased field experience and opportunities, outside funding can be a wonderful opportunity to support work. It is not always easy to obtain a fellowship, as there can be significant competition for a limited number of fellowships. This guide is divided into four parts. The first is general suggestions how to obtain funding, the second is how to develop/write a successful funding application, the third is key funding/scholarship resources and the fourth is a list of key funding institutions.
OVERVIEW OF APPROACHES TO OBTAINING FUNDING
- Direct Funding from the University – A number of competitive universities at the BA (sometimes) MA (more often) level will offer partial (and occasionally full scholarships) directly to the most competitive students and especially at the Ph.D. level.
- From Institutions Supporting Professional Development/Opportunities in the Field – There are an increasing number of fellowship opportunities (particularly in the social entrepreneurship/social impact fields) that provide financial support for individuals with strong skills to do applied work with partners in the field. These include ProInspire, Atlas Service Corps, Frontier Market Scouts and others listed below.
- Outside Scholarships – See the resources on the this page for outside funding for academic (mostly graduate) study. There are many, many resources available to students depending on the location of study. For example, the Rotary World MA Peace Fellows (open to all, for study at six select universities. Applicants need to be over 25 and have at least a few years work experience in the peace/development field) or
- Government Agencies – Often select government agencies do provide funding opportunities. For example the US government provides Fulbright Scholarships and others. The German Government has the DAAD Agency. Check with the embassies of respective countries on their websites in your country or do some general searching.
- Friends/Family/Local Businesses – Sometimes through a combination of creative support from friends/family and local business there may be a way to piece together funding. However, investing some time in energy in researching and applying for appropriate opportunities can be invaluable. Below are some suggestions for how to write a successful funding application and information on several leading fellowships and key organizations.SUGGESTIONS FOR WRITING SUCCESSFUL FELLOWSHIP APPLICATIONS
ALSO PLEASE SEE THE GUIDE TO WRITING SUCCESSFUL SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATIONS
- Carefully Read the Funding Requirements and Goals of the Fellowship – This may sound like common sense, but it is critical to carefully read over the details of any funding opportunities. What are the goals of the funder? What are the administrative details (deadline, citizenship restrictions, etc.)? Many people do not take the time to educate themselves and frame their applications using the appropriate language to meet the goals of the funders. Alternatively, they may miss key logistical details that can cause an application to be disqualified.
- Frame Your Previous (and future) Experience as Part of a Coherent Narrative – One of the keys to writing a winning application is to demonstrate clearly how your previous academic and professional experience makes you qualified for a particular opportunity. Write a coherent narrative, demonstrating long-standing interest in a particular region, topic, explain how the fellowship will help you develop additional expertise and how this will be useful in the post-fellowship period in your career and for the larger society.
- Search out Multiple Fellowship Opportunities – Applying for fellowships can be very competitive. If possible, apply for several different fellowships at the same time. Consider that for many competitions there can be between 5-20 applicants per fellowship. Thus if you can identify various opportunities that are of interest and apply for several this will help increase your chances of having at least one (or more successful applications).
- Keep your Essays Focused, Clear and Logical – For most fellowship review processes, a single reviewer may read between 20-50 applications. Thus, it is important that in writing your essays that you provide clear, logical and easy to follow arguments. If it is a research fellowship, explain your research goals, questions, methods of research and intended outcomes. If it is a language fellowship, provide a clear plan of study and demonstrate your commitment to pursuing further language beyond this particular fellowship.
- Proofread and Peer Review – One method that can help ensure a quality application is to have your professors and/or colleagues read through the application. Ask if your essays are compelling, to assist with grammatical editing, etc. Sometimes working in peer groups where you might share your initial ideas with colleagues can help in further refining and developing your proposal.
- Learn from Rejection – Often applications may not be approved. You can take this a learning opportunity. Some donors will provide you with feedback about why you were not successful and perhaps encourage you to revise and resubmit in future years.
- Start Early – Many fellowship applications are due eight-12 months in advance. Thus you need to start research and exploring opportunities with sufficient time.
- What are other Suggestions? Please feel free to provide additional suggestions for writing successful scholarship applications?
KEY FELLOWSHIP/SCHOLARSHIP RESOURCES
There are many resources for finding scholarship opportunities and the list below provide some key suggestions.
- Consult Your University – Often your academic advisors, study abroad offices and other university divisions can be a wonderful source of information about fellowship opportunities. Also when you’re applying to academic institutions for study, inquire about specific funding that may be available if you’re admitted.
- KEY RESOURCE SITES FOR FINDING FUNDING/SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITIES
- PCDNetwork There are hundreds of scholarship and fellowship opportunities posted on our platform. You can find these opportunities in the forums on Fellowship Opportunities as well as some in the job board. A useful way to identify opportunities is to search by keywords such as fellowship, scholarship, graduate, Ph.D., “Call for Applications”, etc.
- SEE THE GUIDE TO WRITING SUCCESSFUL SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATIONS
- See Ashoka U’s Guide to Social Innovation Fellowships
- See the Association of Professionals Schools in International Affairs Guide toFellowships and Scholarships.
- The Chronicle of Higher Education – Provides information some advanced (usually post-doc) fellowship opportunities.
- Idealist, one of the leading nonprofit career sites has recently developed the Public Service Graduate Education Resource Center. This is a terrific site that has key information for individuals seeking to pursue graduate programs related to social change. The resources includes tips for how to select a program, how to write an effective application, application procedures, identifying funding and more.
- H-HET – Website network that provides information on numerous fellowship opportunities related to academia.
- American Political Science Association Funding Resources– – Maintains a wonderful list of fellowships and grants for undergraduate, graduate, post-doc and research opportunities
- Rotary Peace Fellowships – The fully funded Rotary Peace Fellowship increases the capacity of current and emerging peace leaders to prevent and resolve conflict through academic training, field experience, and professional networking. Up to 100 fellows are selected every year in a globally competitive process based on personal, academic, and professional achievements. Fellows earn either a master’s degree or a professional development certificate in peace and conflict studies at one of the Rotary Peace Centers, located within seven leading universities around the world.
- Echoing Green’s Fellowship Program – Echoing Green awards two-year fellowships to emerging social innovators. Annually, we award fellowships to individuals with innovative ideas for creating new models for tackling seemingly unsolvable social challenges. These fellowships offer them the opportunity to develop and test their ideas.
- ProInspire – develops leaders at all levels for organizations addressing the world’s greatest challenges.
- Atlas Corps– develops leaders, strengthens organizations and promotes innovation through an overseas fellowship of skilled professionals.
- Fulbright Fellowships – Offers fellowship for US students and faculty to study and conduct research/teaching abroad and for international students and faculty to pursue opportunities in the US.
- Schwarzman Scholars – is a highly selective, one-year master’s program at Tsinghua University in Beijing that is designed to prepare the next generation of global leaders for the challenges of the future.
- United States Institute of Ph.D. Fellowships – Peace Scholar Dissertation Fellowships (open to Ph.D. students studying in the US). These fellowships are intended to support the research and writing of doctoral dissertations addressing the sources and nature of international conflict and ways of preventing or ending conflict and sustaining peace.
- The Davis-Putter Scholarship Fund (US) The Davis-Putter Scholarship Fund provides grants to students actively working for peace and justice. These need-based scholarships are awarded to those able to do academic work at the university level and who are part of the progressive movement on the campus and in the community.
- The Herbert Scoville Jr.Peace Fellowship (US) The Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellowship invites college graduates (Graduate Student or Ph.D./M.D./Other Professional) to apply for full-time, six to nine-month fellowships in Washington, District of Columbia. Outstanding individuals will be selected to work with nonprofit, public-interest organizations addressing peace and security issues.
- National Security Education Program – The National Security Education Program (NSEP) provides a unique funding opportunity for U.S. students (undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate) to study world regions critical to U.S. interests (including Africa, Asia, Central/Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America & the Caribbean, and the Middle East). NSEP was designed to provide Americans with the resources and encouragement they need to acquire skills and experiences in areas of the world critical to the future security of our nation in exchange for a commitment to seek work in the federal government.
- Thomas Pickering Fellowship (Graduate and Undergraduate). The goal of the fellowship Graduate Fellowship program is to attract outstanding students who enroll in two-year master’s degree programs in public policy, international affairs, public administration, or academic fields such as business, economics, political science, sociology, or foreign languages, who represent all ethnic, racial and social backgrounds and who have an interest in pursuing a Foreign Service career in the U.S. Department of State. The Pickering Undergraduate Foreign Affairs Fellowship seeks to recruit talented students in academic programs relevant to international affairs, political and economic analysis, administration, management, and science policy. The goal is to attract outstanding students from all ethnic, racial, and social backgrounds who have an interest in pursuing a Foreign Service career in the U.S. Department of State.
- Donald Payne International Development Fellowship Program – seeks to attract outstanding young people who are interested in pursuing careers in the Foreign Service of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
- Gates Cambridge FellowshipThe Gates Cambridge Scholarship is a merit-based scholarship established by the Gates Cambridge Trust in order to give students from around the world the opportunity to study at Cambridge in one of three programs: a second Bachelor’s degree, one-year postgraduate course leading to a Master’s degree, or research and work leading to a Ph.D. (scholars are funded for a period of 1 to 4 years). The Gates Cambridge Scholarship provides University tuition, a stipend for living expenses, and one return airfare.
- Chevening Scholarships – are prestigious awards available to international students for post-graduate study in the United Kingdom. They are available in more than 130 countries and around 1000 new Chevening Scholarships are awarded globally each year. Chevening scholarships offer an ideal opportunity for young, high-flying graduates not only to study their chosen subject, but also to meet and network with their peers in the unique learning atmosphere that the UK provides. The ultimate objective is to build a network of friends of the UK, who will be future leaders in their countries.
- Kathryn Davis Fellowships for Peace for Summer Language Study at Middlebury College – The Davis Fellowships are merit-based and intended for exceptionally qualified individuals with demonstrated interest in one or more of the following areas: international, global, or area studies; international politics and economics; peace and security studies; and/or conflict resolution. Individuals in other fields, including working professionals, are also encouraged to apply if their field of expertise requires them to study one of the critical languages listed supported by the program which include Arabic, Chinese, Hebrew, Japanese, Portuguese, and Russian.
- Reagan-Fascell Democrcy Fellows Program National Endowment for Democracy, enable democratic practitioners, scholars, and journalists from around the world to deepen their understanding of democracy and enhance their ability to promote democratic change. Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows maintain full-time residence at the International Forum for Democratic Studies, NED’s research arm located in Washington, D.C.
- Open Society Fellowship – to support individuals pursuing innovative and unconventional approaches to fundamental open society challenges.
KEY FUNDING INSTITUTIONS
Many of these institutions sponsor and/or administer a number of fellowship opportunities. Therefore spending some time on each organization’s website to explore given opportunities can be invaluable.
- Soros Foundation/Open Society Institute – Offers a number of fellowship and scholarship opportunities for students and professionals around the world.
- International Institute for Education – Offers a number of fellowships for students and non-students. Most notable include Fulbright Fellowships (which are often open to non-students), National Security Education Program for Undergraduates and Graduates (study abroad program), and many others. They also maintain a wonderful site on Scholarships for US and International Students, see http://www.fundingusstudy.org/StateSearch.asp
- American Association of University Women – One of the world’s largest sources of funding for graduate women including support for international studies seeking to pursue graduate or postdoctoral studies in the US.
- International Research & Exchanges Board – Offers several fellowship opportunities for graduate students and faculty to conduct field research abroad (short-term and long-term)
- Social Science Research Council – SSRC fellowship and grant programs provide support and professional recognition to innovators within fields, and especially to younger researchers whose work and ideas will have longer-term impact on society and scholarship.
- American Council of Learned Societies – CLS offers fellowships and grants in over one dozen programs, for research in the humanities and humanistic social sciences at the doctoral and postdoctoral levels.
- AMIDEAST – Administers a number of private, institutional, and non-U.S. government scholarship programs for students and professionals from the Middle East and North Africa, most of which are for study at U.S. universities.
- The Organization for Social Science Research in Eastern and Souther… (OSSREA) is a regional membership-based and donor-supported research and capacity-building organization whose mission is to promote dialogue and interaction between researchers and policy-makers in Eastern and Southern Africa with a view to enhancing the impact of research on policy-making and development planning. Its headquarters is based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. They offer several research fellowships each year.
- German Academic Exchange Council – DAAD offers a wide range of opportunities to students, scholars, for study and research in Germany
- Netherlands Fellowship Programmes (NFP) – The NFP are demand-oriented fellowship programmes designed to promote institutional development. The NFP target group consists of mid-career professionals who are in employment. They offer MA, Ph.D. and short-course fellowships for applicants from select countries to study in the Netherlands.
- Irish Department of Foreign Affairs Scholarships in Conflict Resolution (only open to EU Citizens) – This Scheme will offer opportunities for suitably qualified women and men to pursue one of the following post-graduate degrees at a recognised higher education institution in Ireland which include MA and Ph.D. Degrees at select institutions that are research based.
- Other Suggestions?