The National Fellowship Program supports outstanding scholars at leading institutions of higher education who are completing dissertations in United States politics, with an emphasis on historical and institutional analyses of politics, public policy, and foreign relations. 

National Fellows have the opportunity to connect with and be a part of the Jefferson Scholars Foundation’s interdisciplinary community of world-class Scholars, Fellows, and Professors at the University of Virginia.

How to Apply

Review requirements and apply to a National Fellowship.

Designated National Fellowships

Review the current Designated National Fellowships for this academic year.

Under the leadership of the Jefferson Scholars Foundation, the National Fellowship Program:

  • Funds up to four National Fellows per year to support dissertation research and writing
  • Awards each Fellow a stipend of $30,000 in their first year; $30,000 should they qualify for a second year
  • Pairs each Fellow with a renowned senior scholar in his or her field. These senior scholars serve as Mentors, suggesting relevant literature to frame the Fellows’ work, offering a critique of the Fellows’ writings, and providing general advice on research.
  • Supports Fellows in assembling collaborative research networks focused on their area of expertise as it concerns broader policy-facing publics. In addition to the Fellow, who is responsible for leading and maintaining the network, and the Mentor, who will assist in recruiting collaborators, networks may include former Fellows, Mentors, and faculty as well as graduate students of the University of Virginia.
  • Provides Fellows with training in skills relevant to leadership in academic research and institutions of higher education and policy-making more generally. Skills may include grant writing, data analytics, budgetary and statistical analysis, and public engagement (including social media curation, crafting op-eds and blogs, as well as expressing ideas through techniques employed by the digital humanities).
  • Provides up to $5,000 in research funds.

Note: Residency at the Hagley Library is required for the Louis Galambos National Fellowship in Business and Politics. National Fellows are expected to complete at least one extended (ca. 10-day) visit each year at the Foundation in Charlottesville, where they will consult with their Mentors and other research network participants. Galambos Fellows may elect to pursue their network activity at the Foundation in Charlottesville, at the Hagley Library in Wilmington, or some combination of the two, according to their preference. Subsequent network activity may take place at the Mentor’s institution, or special sessions of academic meetings (symposia, academic conferences, etc.). All Fellows, whether residing at the Hagley or visiting the Foundation, will participate in summer boot camps to cultivate advanced leadership skills.

National Fellowship Program History

The National Fellowship Program was launched in 2000 with the sole purpose of identifying and funding outstanding scholars at top institutions across the country who are completing dissertations in U.S. history, politics, public policy, and foreign relations. 

Since its inception, the Program has helped launch the careers of more than 190 National Fellows. Over 145 former Fellows have been placed at major universities, with more than 124 holding tenure or tenure-track positions. Other Fellows have forged successful careers in public service, the nonprofit sector, government, and other public-facing professions. Fellows have published over 153 books with major presses, and they regularly place op-eds related to their research in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and leading digital media. 

In August 2016, recognizing the unique scholarly value of the National Fellowship Program and its deep connections to the University of Virginia, the Jefferson Scholars Foundation agreed to assume full responsibility for funding, nurturing and sustaining the Program, beginning in the 2017-18 academic year.