How to Apply

The Jefferson Scholars Foundation encourages applicants from a broad range of disciplines, including, but not limited to, history, political science, policy studies, law, political economy, communications and media, and sociology. Applicants will be judged on the quality of their scholarship, their promise for intellectual and professional leadership as a rising junior scholar, their potential to shed new light upon contemporary developments in American politics, foreign policy, and America and the World. 

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An applicant must be a Ph.D. candidate who is either expecting to complete his or her dissertation by the conclusion of the Fellowship year or has outlined a detailed and workable two-year write-up plan that is persuasively documented. This is not a post-doctoral fellowship. Non-U.S. citizens are eligible to apply. Each Fellow will work with a Mentor to assemble a network of scholars focused on an area of her/his research expertise as it engages significant policy-facing questions. A meeting at U.Va., or the Hagley for the Galambos Fellow in the fall, will set the agenda for year-long collaboration and recruitment of additional network members, who may subsequently meet for virtual reading groups, workshops, conference panels, symposia, manuscript workshops, or similarly focused activities. Expenses for network events and activities are paid for by a dedicated budget for each Fellow.

Focused on-campus residential visits of up to two weeks at the Jefferson Scholars Foundation are required for all Fellows—with the exception of Galambos Fellows, who hold their residencies at the Hagley Library during the academic year but may also wish to spend up to two weeks at the Foundation for the purposes of building out their scholarly networks.

All Fellows will participate in fall workshops designed to cultivate skills valuable for advanced leadership in scholarly life, higher education, nonprofit or government work, and education- or policy-facing consulting and finance, and in a spring conference designed to showcase the Fellows scholarly research. Regardless of residency, Fellows are expected to participate in and contribute to the interdisciplinary community of the Jefferson Scholars Foundation.


The application consists of the following materials and must conform to the stated word or page limits:

  • Applicant information sheet
  • Project description (1,200 words) - describe your dissertation or book, state the thesis, explain how it contributes to or revises existing scholarship, and how or why you decided on this particular topic
  • Research plan (500 words, maximum) - outline steps by which chapters or articles will be drafted, and/or readied for publication
  • Network proposal (1,200 words, maximum) - identify scholars whose work is central to your own research agenda, with brief explanations of how they might fit into a working group that advances the links between their work and your ambitions for current and future work.
  • Op-ed or blog post (750 words, maximum) - a sample of public engagement, for instance, an op-ed or blog post that applies a major finding from your research to a current public policy problem.
  • A short statement of interest in professional development (500 words, maximum) which justifies new skills and competencies the applicant would like to cultivate during the Fellowship, with an explanation of why the requisite training would be likely to increase the impact of her/his scholarship and academic leadership.
  • Bibliography (3 pages)
  • Curriculum vitae (2 pages)
  • Writing sample (40 pages, maximum) - selected sample should consist of one chapter from your dissertation with a one-page introduction that situates the chapter in the broader project OR an accepted/published journal article
  • TWO letters of recommendation (one of which must be from your advisor). Letters of recommendation are initiated through the application process or may be sent to the Selection Committee at

Deadline and Selection

The deadline for application and letters of recommendation to the 2024-25 National Fellowship has been moved to February 1, 2024 - updated on January 11, 2024. No application will be read until all materials have been received, including letters of recommendation. 

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