PREDOCTORAL FACT SHEET
This competition year the program will award approximately 70 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 in the U.S., 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
Eligibility to apply for a predoctoral fellowship is limited to:
- All U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, and U.S. permanent residents (holders of a Permanent Resident Card); individuals granted deferred action status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program;1 Indigenous individuals exercising rights associated with the Jay Treaty of 1794; individuals granted Temporary Protected Status; political asylees; and refugees, 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 in the U.S.;
- 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 no later than Fall 2021;
- Individuals who as of the 2021 fall semester require a minimum of three years of study2 to complete their Ph.D. or Sc.D. degree; and
- Individuals who have not earned a doctoral degree at any time, in any field.
1Eligibility includes individuals with current status under the DACA Program, as well as individuals whose status may have lapsed but who continue to meet all the USCIS guidelines for DACA.
2Individuals must be enrolled full-time and may not accept full-time teaching or research assistantships, other major fellowships, internships, or similar internal or external awards during fellowship tenure, and may not be concurrently enrolled in other degree granting programs.
Receipt of the fellowship award is conditioned upon each awardee providing satisfactory documentation that they meet all the eligibility requirements.
Positive Factors 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 National 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 positive factors for selection. 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. or Sc.D. study as of the 2021 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. Examples include: 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).
A list of eligible fields of study supported is available here: Eligible Fields of Study List
Individuals enrolled in the following programs will not be supported unless the applicant can document that the program of study is research-based, requiring a dissertation, and the applicant plans follow a career in teaching and research in academia: administration, audiology, business, consumer studies, curriculum development, exercise physiology, filmmaking, fine arts, guidance, human resource management, 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 joint/concurrent/articulated program.
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 an eligible field 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 nor have a chosen adviser 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 2021, 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 National Academies' Verification of Doctoral Degree Status Form, signed by the graduate Adviser or department Chair, must be uploaded to the online fellowship application before 5:00 PM Eastern Standard Time (EST) on January 7, 2021 to affirm this for those in a doctoral program for which Ford Foundation support is sought.
Stipend and Benefits
- Annual stipend: $27,000 for three years
- An invitation to attend the Conference of Ford Fellows
- Access to Ford Fellow Regional Liaisons -- a network of former Ford Fellows who have volunteered to provide mentoring and support to current Fellows -- and access to other networking resources
By accepting the award, fellowship recipients affirm that they plan to use a total of three years of support from the Ford predoctoral fellowship. Fellowship recipients must begin the first year of Ford Fellowship tenure on September 1, 2021. After the first year of fellowship tenure, Fellows may choose to defer funding for one or two years but must use all three years of support within the five-year period of eligibility. During Ford Fellowship tenure years, Fellows must remain on tenure full-time for the academic year.
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. Institutional supplementation of the Ford Fellowship stipend is encouraged. However, Fellows may not accept full-time teaching or research appointments, other major fellowships, internships, or similar internal or external awards during fellowship tenure.
Those who accept a predoctoral fellowship must agree to the stipulations in the Terms of Appointment for Ford Foundation Fellows that accompany 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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