Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

In order to better meet the challenges facing graduate students today and in response to changes in the landscape of higher education, the Jefferson Fellows Program will provide up to two years of dissertation completion and postdoctoral support for students pursuing Ph.D.s in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS).

The focus of the Jefferson Fellowship, developed in close partnership with GSAS administration, is designed to ensure that outstanding graduate students at UVA have the opportunity to complete ambitious dissertations, gain independent teaching experience, and launch distinguished careers in an increasingly challenging academic job market. Jefferson Fellowships will bridge the dissertation completion year and the postdoctoral year, choreographing the Fellows’ transition from graduate student to careers as faculty, professional researchers or public intellectuals.

Fellowship Overview

In year one of the program, Jefferson Fellows will:

  • Be relieved of departmental teaching requirements
  • Attend in-person course design workshops with the Engagements staff and other College Fellows 
  • Complete their dissertations

In year two, Jefferson Fellows will join the College Fellows as an Engagements Post-Doctoral Fellow. Post-Doctoral Fellows will:

  • Be responsible for developing two courses in one (or two) of the Engagement domains, teaching a total of six sections of these courses (2-credits each) in the 2024-25 academic year. 
  • Students in the lab sciences will continue to be paired with their disciplinary mentor during the second year; flexible accommodations will be considered for those who desire to combine their Engagements teaching with an active lab affiliation.

Applying for a Jefferson Fellowship

Review the information below to inform your application for a Jefferson Fellowship. All application materials are due by December 18.


An applicant must:

  • Be a Ph.D. candidate in the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences who has made substantial progress on their dissertation and can commit to completing the Ph.D. by the May graduation deadline of the initial fellowship year.
  • Be in their fifth year of financial support from GSAS offered upon admission. If you would like to apply on an earlier timeline, please contact the Director of Graduate Studies for your department regarding eligibility.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to knowledge discovery with a broader audience through achievements in teaching and academic outreach.

If you have any questions about the requirements to apply, please contact us.


The application consists of the following materials and must conform to the state page limits:

  • Statement from the department chair or director of graduate studies confirming that the applicant is on track to receive their Ph.D. by May of the initial fellowship year. Applicants applying in 2023 are confirming for May 2025.
  • Academic plan and timeline towards completion of dissertation.
  • Abstract from dissertation (one page single-spaced)
  • Transcript (which may be unofficial) of all graduate course work
  • Curriculum Vitae/Resume
  • Description for two proposed courses using the parameters listed below. Include a description of the course and a paragraph of rationale for offering the course, not a full syllabus:

    1. A departmental course that would be offered in the Spring term of the first fellowship year.

    2. An Engagements course that would be offered in the second year of the program as a Postdoctoral Fellow. Learn more about the Engagements Curriculum and the existing courses offered by the College Fellows and consider the scope of this program in your course design.

  • One letter of recommendation from a faculty member familiar with the applicant’s experience and potential as a teacher, and the strength of the dissertation research
  • Sample chapter from the proposed dissertation is strongly recommended, but not required

Deadline and Selection

The full application with supporting materials is due by December 18 (inclusive of recommendation letter). No application will be read until all materials have been received, including letters of recommendation. All applications must be submitted via the Jefferson Scholars Foundation website.

Applications will be reviewed by a committee of collegiate faculty, advanced degree holders, and subject matter experts in a variety of fields. A select group of applicants will be designated as finalists in the competition and invited to participate in a presentation and interview in late February. The results of the competition will be announced shortly after the interviews.

Apply Now

Access the portal to begin your application.