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2016 Ford Foundation
Fellowship Programs
competition is NOW OPEN and accepting applications.

2016 Predoctoral application deadline:
November 20, 2015
(5:00 PM EST)

2016 Dissertation and Postdoctoral application deadlines:
November 13, 2015

(5:00 PM EST)

Supplementary Materials receipt deadline (all levels):
January 8, 2016
(5:00 PM EST)  




The 2016 Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship competition is NOW OPEN and accepting applications. 


This year the program will award approximately 60 predoctoral fellowships. These fellowships provide three years of support for individuals engaged in graduate study leading to a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or Doctor of Science (Sc.D.) degree.

Predoctoral fellowships will be awarded in a national competition administered by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine on behalf of the Ford Foundation. The awards will be made to individuals who, in the judgment of the review panels, have demonstrated superior academic achievement, are committed to a career in teaching and research at the college or university level, show promise of future achievement as scholars and teachers, and are well prepared to use diversity as a resource for enriching the education of all students. 

 Click on the links below to learn more about each aspect of the Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship


Predoctoral Eligibility

Eligibility to apply for a predoctoral fellowship is limited to: 

  • All citizens, nationals, and permanent residents (holders of a Permanent Resident Card) of the United States, as well as individuals granted deferred action status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, regardless of race, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, or sexual orientation,
  • Individuals with evidence of superior academic achievement (such as grade point average, class rank, honors, or other designations),
  • Individuals committed to a career in teaching and research at the college or university level,
  • Individuals enrolled in or planning to enroll in an eligible research-based (dissertation-required), program leading to a Ph.D. or Sc.D. degree at a non-proprietary (not for profit) U.S. institution of higher education,
  • Individuals who as of the 2016 fall semester require a minimum of three years of study to complete their Ph.D./Sc.D. degree, and
  • Individuals who have not earned a doctoral degree at any time, in any field.
Receipt of the fellowship award is conditioned upon each awardee providing satisfactory documentation that he or she meets the eligibility requirements. 

Criteria for Selection

The following will be considered as positive factors in choosing successful candidates:

  • Evidence of superior academic achievement
  • Degree of promise of continuing achievement as scholars and teachers
  • Capacity to respond in pedagogically productive ways to the learning needs of students from diverse backgrounds
  • Sustained personal engagement with communities that are underrepresented in the academy and an ability to bring this asset to learning, teaching, and scholarship at the college and university level
  • Likelihood of using the diversity of human experience as an educational resource in teaching and scholarship
  • Membership in one or more of the following groups whose underrepresentation in the American professoriate has been severe and longstanding:
    • Alaska Natives (Aleut, Eskimo, or other Indigenous People of Alaska)
    • Black/African Americans
    • Mexican Americans/Chicanas/Chicanos
    • Native American Indians
    • Native Pacific Islanders (Hawaiian/Polynesian/Micronesian)
    • Puerto Ricans
Applications will be evaluated by panels of distinguished scholars selected by the Academies. The panels will use academic records, essays, letters of recommendation, the application itself, and other appropriate materials as the basis for determining the extent to which candidates meet the eligibility requirements and the selection criteria. Review panels may also look at additional factors such as the suitability of the proposed institution for the applicant's plan of graduate study and the likelihood that they will require a minimum of three years to complete their Ph.D./Sc.D. study as of the 2016 fall semester.    

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Eligible Fields of Study

Awards will be made for study in research-based Ph.D. or Sc.D. programs that include the following major disciplines and related interdisciplinary fields: American studies, anthropology, archaeology, art and theater history, astronomy, chemistry, communications, computer science, cultural studies, earth sciences, economics, engineering, ethnic studies, ethnomusicology, geography, history, international relations, language, life sciences, linguistics, literature, mathematics, performance study, philosophy, physics, political science, psychology, religious studies, sociology, urban planning, and women’s studies. Also eligible are interdisciplinary ethnic studies programs, such as African American studies and Native American studies, and other interdisciplinary programs, such as area studies, peace studies, and social justice. Research-based fields of education are eligible if the major field of study is listed above and is used to describe the Ph.D. or Sc.D. program of the applicant (e.g., sociology of education, anthropology and education).

The complete list of eligible fields of study supported at the predoctoral level of the fellowship program is available here: Eligible Fields of Study List.

Individuals enrolled in the following practice-oriented programs will not be supported: administration, audiology, business, consumer studies, curriculum development, education policy, human resource management, exercise physiology, filmmaking, fine arts, guidance, kinesiology, leadership, library and information science, management, nursing, occupational health, performing arts, personnel, physical education, physical therapy, public health, rehabilitation science, social welfare, social work, speech pathology, and teacher education. In addition, awards will not be made for work leading to terminal master’s degrees, the Ed.D. degree, the degrees of Doctor of Fine Arts (D.F.A.) or Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.), or professional degrees in such areas as medicine, law, and public health, or for study in joint degree programs such as the M.D./Ph.D., J.D./Ph.D., and M.F.A./Ph.D. This program does not support the Ph.D. portion of a dual-degree program. Interdisciplinary areas of study that have major content in ineligible fields listed above will not be included in the competition.

Fellowship Institution

Fellowships are tenable at any fully accredited, non-proprietary (not for profit) U.S. institution of higher education offering a Ph.D. or Sc.D. degree in the eligible fields of study. All arrangements for acceptance into a doctoral program at the chosen institution are the responsibility of the applicant. An applicant need not be accepted by the chosen institution at the time of application.

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Previous Graduate Study 

Predoctoral fellowships are intended for individuals who have enrolled or plan to enroll in an eligible Ph.D. or Sc.D. program no later than fall 2016, including:
  • Undergraduates in their senior year,
  • Individuals who have completed undergraduate study,
  • Individuals who have completed some graduate study, and
  • Individuals already enrolled in a Ph.D. or Sc.D. program who provide evidence that they can fully utilize a three-year fellowship award. A valid Academies Verification of Doctoral Degree Status Form, signed by the adviser or other authorized official, must be uploaded to the online fellowship application before 5:00 PM ET on January 8, 2016 to affirm this for those in a graduate program for which Ford Foundation support is sought.


Stipend and Benefits


Fellowship recipients must begin the first year’s tenure on September 1, 2016, and must remain on tenure full-time for the academic year. After the first year of fellowship tenure, fellows may choose to defer funding for up to two years. All three years of support must be used within a five-year period.

Conditions of the Fellowship

Predoctoral fellows are required to enroll full-time in a program leading to a Ph.D. or Sc.D. degree in an eligible, research-based (dissertation-required) field of study. Students enrolled in a terminal master’s program are not eligible. Those who accept a predoctoral fellowship must agree to the stipulations in the Terms of Appointment for Ford Foundation Fellows that accompanies the award notification. In addition, Ford Fellows must agree to participate in regular updates of the Directory of Ford Fellows, as well as periodic surveys designed to demonstrate the impact of this program.

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Continue to Predoctoral Application Instructions 

 Back to How to Apply