Fellowships are competitive awards that generally do not require service (i.e., work) as part of the award. They are intended to fund your academic study and research. Fellowships may be offered by your department, the University, the federal government or private agencies.
Every fellowship has different provisions, so take note of what is offered. What is the length of the fellowship? What is the funding level? Does it include insurance or a tuition waiver? Does the funding come to you through the University, or are you paid directly by the sponsor? Are you permitted to accept other sources of funding simultaneously while receiving the award? We encourage you to communicate with your department and, if applicable, the Office of Student Financial Aid, about any award you receive.
Plan ahead, if you are interested in applying for a fellowship. Most fellowship competitions have deadlines six to 12 months prior to their award dates, and they usually require personal statements and letters of recommendation that may take several months to compile. Give yourself plenty of time to write, re-write and gather supplementary materials.
Fellowships are typically very competitive, and many students apply for several fellowships at one time. Some competitions require nominations from departments or a faculty members. When asking your department to consider nominating you, be prepared to provide documentation to justify your nomination.
After you receive a fellowship, remember it is your responsibility to ensure all requirements are met, such as enrollment or reporting to the funding agency. If you have questions, you may contact the graduate advisor in your department or the Graduate School’s Office of Fellowships and Awards.