PREDOCTORAL APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS
Application Opens: September 8, 2020
Application Deadline: December 17, 2020 at 5:00 PM Eastern Standard Time (EST)
Supplementary Materials Deadline: January 7, 2021 at 5:00 PM Eastern Standard Time (EST)
PLEASE NOTE: The application system will close promptly at 5 PM EST on the deadlines listed above.
Please take the time zone into account if you or your letter writers will be submitting your application or supplementary materials from a different time zone. Please also be advised that due to a large number of applications, as the deadline approaches, server traffic may slow the ability to upload and submit files. For that reason, we strongly recommend that you and your letter writers submit your materials well in advance
of the deadline. We cannot consider requests for extensions for anyone (applicants or letter writers) who is unable to submit by the deadlines stated above.
If you have further questions not covered by the instructions below, please visit the FAQ page
for more information regarding the fellowship and application process. General Guidelines and Advance Preparation
- Provide all information requested on the application web pages. Follow the instructions carefully.
- Prepare and upload essay documents.
- Essays must be the applicant's original work.
- Get feedback from advisers, mentors, and colleagues.
- Carefully proofread all documents.
- Avoid technical jargon.
- Contact potential letter writers to submit letters of recommendation by the Supplementary Materials deadline.
- Confirm the minimum Supplementary Materials required for complete application submission.
- Save as .pdf files prior to upload.
- Do not use long file names or special characters in file names.
- Double-space using a standard 12-point font.
- Set margins at 1" (top and bottom) and .5" (left and right sides).
- Do not exceed the maximum page limits.
- Do not exceed the maximum file size limit (4 MB).
- Do not include headers or footers (this includes titles and page numbers).
- Write all materials in English.
Each application will be reviewed by two to five reviewers. Not all reviewers will have specific technical expertise; therefore, applications should be written to provide informative detail without jargon and highly technical content.
Application Components (items in bold are required)
A complete application includes the materials described below. Failure to complete any part of the application, including not providing sufficient required information and/or uploading incorrect essays, uploading incorrect supplementary materials, and/or receiving an insufficient number of required letters of recommendation, will result in removal of the application from the competition. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that all uploaded documents are accurate, legible, complete, not password-protected or secured and that these documents comply with the formatting requirements listed above. Once the application is submitted and the deadline has passed, applicants will not be able to make changes to their application.
- Profile Information
Contact information, demographic information, education history (name, location, enrolled dates, degree received or currently pursuing, and research field for all undergraduate and graduate institutions attended or currently attending as of Fall 2020), employment history, honors, and awards
Education history (including current Ph.D. or Sc.D. institution, if applicable) must be entered here correctly. Entering incomplete or incorrect information may result in missing documents (transcripts and a verification form, if applicable).
Applicants are encouraged to enter any employment starting from the time period of their undergraduate studies. This may include unpaid work, internships, outreach efforts, or volunteer activities.
Note: Contact and demographic information is required for submission of the application but will not be shared with application reviewers.
Eligibility Checklist: citizenship, future career goals, Ph.D. or Sc.D. program enrollment, expected completion date, and current graduate school experience
The expected completion date must align with the eligibility requirements and the information entered on the Education page.
Confirm that your graduate school experience is correct. Information entered incorrectly may result in a missing verification form (if applicable)
Membership in Historically Underrepresented Groups: Indicate if you identify as one of the listed groups. This information is collected here for statistical purposes only and is not an eligibility requirement. Applicants who identify as a member of one of the groups should include that information in the Personal Statement.
Proposed Plan of Study: Dissertation Title or Proposed Title for Research Project, Proposed Institution, Department, Adviser/Mentor
For Predoctoral applicants who do not yet have a dissertation title, please enter a tentative title or more general topic of study. This should be a brief phrase describing an area of proposed research; it does not need to be exact or comprehensive of the full plan of the Ph.D. or Sc.D. program.
If you are applying to multiple Ph.D. or Sc.D. programs, enter your first choice of Ph.D. or Sc.D. institution. It is not required to list an Adviser/Mentor if you do not have one at the time of application.
Field of Study:
Primary Field of Study, Secondary Field(s) of Study. This information is used to match applications to appropriate review panels.
Keywords: Enter 3-5 keywords, one at a time. Click Assign new keyword and type the desired keyword in the search field. If your keyword appears, click on it from the list to update your keywords. If your keyword does not appear, click Add to update your keywords.
Essays (Citations are not required, but if used, they may be single-spaced and will be included in the total page count. Applicants should use a standard bibliographic format appropriate to their field.)
Personal Statement (maximum two pages, 12-point font, double-spaced) describing the applicant’s background, experience, and commitment to the goals of the Ford Foundation Fellowship Programs by addressing all of the following that apply:
the applicant's capacity to respond in pedagogically productive ways to the learning needs of students from diverse backgrounds
the applicant’s sustained personal engagement with communities that are underrepresented in the academy and ability to bring this asset to learning, teaching, and scholarship at the college or university level
the applicant’s likelihood of using the diversity of human experience as an educational resource in teaching and scholarship
the applicant's 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
Applicants should describe their past and ongoing community service efforts such as:
Tutoring and mentoring students in challenging environments
Participation in housing or public service projects
Leadership and organizational skills that benefit a larger community
Applicants should note anything in their background that speaks to their unique perspective:
Statement of Previous Research and Scholarly Productivity (one document, maximum three pages total, 12-point font), including a summary of previous research (double-spaced) and a list of publications and presentations (single-spaced)
Applicants should outline any previous research undertaken. If formal research has not been carried out, applicants should describe any activities they believe have prepared them to begin research.
Proposed Plan of Graduate Study and Research and the applicant's long-range career goals (maximum two pages, 12-point font, double-spaced)
Applicants should prepare a document describing the proposed plan of graduate study. In general, the more academic experience the applicant has, the more sophisticated the proposal should be.
Description of the chosen area of study and the research issue of interest
Explanation of why the chosen institution is especially suited to the field of study and the type of study to be undertaken
Explanation of the relevancy of courses to be taken and how they relate to the proposed plan of study and research
Description of the research to be conducted including general methods and a timeline
Explanation of long-range career goals and how this fellowship will advance the applicant's career
Explanation of how proposed research relates to a larger community and society as a whole and why study will be useful
Applicants may wish to ask their adviser or a professor in their discipline to review the proposed plan (especially for substance, clarity, and organization) prior to submission.
- Supplementary Materials (required by the Supplementary Materials deadline)
References: Names and contact information of a minimum of three (maximum of five) individuals who will upload a letter of recommendation on the applicant's behalf.
While it is at the discretion of the applicant to select individuals to write letters on their behalf, it is recommended (not required) that the following letter writers be included in the application if applicable:
- At least one letter writer should be a faculty member whom the applicant has worked with in their present (or most recent) department.
- If the applicant has entered a new graduate program in Fall 2020, at least one letter writer should be the applicant's faculty adviser or other faculty member in the applicant's current department.
- If the applicant has participated in an undergraduate or summer research program, a letter from the adviser or mentor could be particularly valuable.
- Letters of recommendation from faculty members who know the applicant well are the most useful.
- Letters of recommendation from personal friends, clergy, medical doctors, and family members are not appropriate.
Requesting four or five letters is recommended to ensure the minimum number of three letters is received.
Applicants should provide each letter writer a copy of their essays and any other relevant information which will enable the writer to submit a strong letter on their behalf.
- Letters must be saved in .docx or .pdf format and must not exceed 4MB.
- It is the responsibility of the applicant to notify their letter writers through the online application system. Once applicants take this action, letter writers will receive an e-mail notification from NASEM-FO-NoReply@nas.edu with a link to instructions on the content of their letters. Letter writers must upload their letters via the online application module. The Fellowships Office will not accept hard copy letters or letters sent as e-mail attachments.
- It is the practice of the Ford Foundation Fellowships Program that letters of recommendation are not made available to applicants.
It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure the minimum number of letters are submitted by the deadline. Applications with fewer than three letters submitted by letter writers by January 7, 2021 at 5 PM EST will not be reviewed.
Transcripts and GPAs
Baccalaureate degree transcript(s) showing all undergraduate coursework completed or in progress as of Fall 2020, grades, and baccalaureate degree award date (if awarded) as well as GPA. (Note: If an institution does not calculate a GPA or the applicant prefers not to enter it, it is not required.) Transcripts for Associate degrees, non-degree coursework, or study abroad programs are not required.
Graduate school transcript(s) showing all graduate coursework completed or in progress as of Fall 2020 as well as GPA. (Note: If an institution does not calculate a GPA or the applicant prefers not to enter it, it is not required.) If an applicant does not have a transcript yet for a program started in Fall 2020, an unofficial grade report must be uploaded to show coursework in progress.
Unofficial transcripts or grade reports are acceptable for the review of applications. If offered a fellowship award, awardees will be required to submit official transcripts to verify the accuracy of the unofficial transcripts or grade reports.
Transcripts uploaded to the application should not be secured, password protected, or encrypted files as reviewers will not be able to view and evaluate these documents. To avoid locked versions of official transcripts, it is recommended that applicants first print and scan these documents prior to uploading them.
Transcripts issued in a language other than English must be accompanied by a certified translation into English and must include a description of the institution’s grading system.
Transcripts should not include Personal Identifying Information (PII) such as a Social Security number and date of birth (names are acceptable). Staff may delete transcripts from your application if these data are present. Applicants should redact, cover, or remove PII prior to uploading the document.
- It is the responsibility of the applicant to upload all transcripts and to ensure transcript legibility and degree attainment dates after each document has been uploaded. Transcripts sent via postal mail or e-mail will not be accepted.
It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that all transcripts include the most up-to-date information. Applicants re-applying to the program should note that uploaded transcripts from a previous application will carry over into the current application; however, if a transcript is outdated, the applicant must upload a current version of the document by the supplementary materials deadline. Note that any changes to the education record may result in loss of transcripts; it is the applicant’s responsibility to verify that all materials are included in the application at the time of the supplementary materials deadline.
Applicants must ensure that the Education History section is accurate, at the time of application, to ensure that all required transcript upload fields are available in the application.
Verification of Doctoral Degree Status (VS) Form
The VS Form is required for all predoctoral applicants who are already enrolled in a doctoral program as of Fall 2020. The applicant's graduate Adviser or department Chair must sign the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine's Verification of Doctoral Degree Status Form
confirming that the applicant has a minimum of three years of predoctoral study and research toward the Ph.D. or Sc.D. remaining as of the 2021-2022 academic year and will be able to use a full three years of fellowship support. The verification form for the current competition (applicants who are re-applying may not
use a form from a previous year) must be uploaded to the fellowship application as a .pdf document before the 5:00 PM EST deadline on January 7, 2021. Applicants must ensure that the Eligibility and Education History sections are accurate, at the time of application, to ensure that a verification form upload field is available, if required, on the Supplementary Materials section of the application. Note that applicants who are not currently in a doctoral program will not require a verification form.
All application materials become the property of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and will not be returned. Applicants should retain copies of all submitted application materials for their personal records.
Visit the Helpful Resources
page for more information regarding preparing an application.