How to Apply

The Jefferson Scholars Foundation encourages applicants from a broad range of GSAS disciplines. 

Successful applicants will be those who have exhibited a capacity for the highest levels of scholastic achievement and who are completing ambitious dissertation projects that have the potential to transform their disciplines.

The strongest applicants will  demonstrate a commitment to sharing their knowledge discovery with a broader audience through achievements in teaching and academic outreach. Given that a core component of the fellowship experience will be teaching, the committee will rely heavily on the applicant’s course design and planned student engagement in a departmental course for the Spring semester of the dissertation year as well as the Engagements course proposed for the post-doctoral year.  Applicants are encouraged to investigate the Engagements Curriculum to help inform their course design.


An applicant must be a Ph.D. candidate in a Graduate School of Arts & Sciences department who has made substantial progress on their dissertation and can commit to completing the Ph.D. by the August graduation deadline at the conclusion of the initial fellowship year.

Students are eligible to apply through the final year of the financial support from the Graduate School that was offered to them upon admission.

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The application consists of the following materials and must conform with the stated page limits:

  • Statement from the department chair or director of graduate studies confirming that the applicant will be able to receive their Ph.D. by August of the initial fellowship year. Example: Applicants applying in November 2022 are confirming for August 2024.
  • Academic plan and timeline towards completion of the dissertation
  • Abstract from dissertation (one page single-spaced)
  • Transcript (which may be unofficial) of all graduate course work
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • 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 (do not submit 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 Post-Doctoral 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


The full application with supporting materials is due by December 19 (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.

If you have questions about the Jefferson Fellowship Program, please e-mail


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.