The selection processes and criteria for Jefferson and National Fellows are tailored to meet the needs of each program.

Jefferson Fellowships

Jefferson Fellowships are offered at three different graduate schools within the University. While the selection process for each school culminates in an interview of the candidate, it varies significantly from one school to the next.  

Darden School of Business

Candidates are nominated by Darden and identified by an at-large process consisting of a comprehensive review of GMAT test results, professional achievements, and academic excellence. Those who attain candidacy are invited to attend a selection competition conducted in late fall, which includes formal interviews conducted by Darden faculty and alumni.

Competitve candidates must demonstrate scholarly excellence, sound and decisive judgement, strong and effective leadership, and a track record for putting ideas into action.  

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Any graduate student in an Arts & Sciences department who has advanced to doctoral candidacy during the current academic year, or who has a faculty-endorsed plan for achieving candidacy prior to the Fellowship period, is eligible to apply for a Jefferson Fellowship in the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.

Competitive applicants must exhibit capacity for the highest levels of scholastic achievement and must demonstrate they are prepared to pursue ambitious dissertation projects that have the potential to transform their disciplines. Successful applicants will also possess a commitment to sharing their knowledge discovery with a broader audience through achievements in teaching and academic outreach.

Graduate School of Engineering and Applied Science

No one may apply for a Jefferson Fellowship at the Engineering School. Candidates are nominated by the School of Engineering and Applied Science and then invited by the Foundation to attend a selection competition conducted in late February, which includes formal interviews conducted by Engineering faculty and alumni.

Competitive nominees must exhibit exceptional ability and potential in scholarship. They must also demonstrate commitment to research, a passion for teaching, and a desire to contribute to the intellectual life of the University community and the public beyond.

National Fellowship 

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 are judged on the quality of their scholarship and on their potential to shed new light upon contemporary developments in American politics, foreign policy, and America and the World.



Distinguished Professorships

Learn more about the Foundation’s Professorship Program.

Read more


The Jefferson Scholarship and the Walentas Scholarship are the premier undergraduate scholarships at the University of Virginia.

Read more


The Foundation supports world-class graduate students through Jefferson Fellowships and National Fellowships.

Read more