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If you have been asked to submit a Letter of Recommendation or a Host Commitment Letter for an applicant to the Ford Foundation Fellowship Programs, please note that all letters must be successfully uploadeded via the online application module no later than 5:00 PM Eastern Standard Time (EST) on January 5, 2023. Please be sure to upload your letter well ahead of this deadline.

We request that letters do not exceed two pages. Letters must be saved in .pdf format and should be smaller than 4MB. Letter writers will not be able to successfully upload letters that do not meet these requirements.

For the best experience, we recommend using a current version of one of these browsers:

If the browser you use is not one of the ones we've listed, you may encounter some display problems or an error message when trying to upload your letter. If this occurs, please switch to one of the browsers listed above to upload your letter.

PLEASE NOTE: The application system will close promptly at 5 PM EST on the deadline listed above. You will not be able to submit a letter after this time, and applicants missing the required number of letters for the application will be deemed incomplete. Please take the time zone into account if you will be uploading your letter 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 files. For that reason, we strongly recommend that you submit your letter well in advance of the deadline. We cannot consider requests for extensions for anyone who is unable to submit by the deadline. Technical support will be available by e-mail at or phone at 202-334-2872, up until the 5:00 PM EST deadline on January 5, 2023. However, due to the volume of inquiries near the deadline, it may take up to 24 hours to receive a reply. 

Through its program of fellowships, the Ford Foundation seeks to increase the diversity of the nation's college and university faculties by increasing their ethnic and racial diversity, to maximize the educational benefits of diversity, and to increase the number of professors who can and will use diversity as a resource for enriching the education of all students. 

For more information on the selection criteria for the Ford Foundation Fellowship Programs, please review the Fact Sheet for the relevant fellowship below.

Predoctoral Fact Sheet
Dissertation Fact Sheet
Postdoctoral Fact Sheet


The following points should be addressed in the Letter of Recommendation:
  • Note how long and in what capacity you have known the applicant.
  • State how would you rate this applicant in comparison to other applicants in the same field who have had approximately the same amount of experience and training.
  • Describe, in detail, the applicant’s abilities and how these abilities will contribute to success in achieving their goals for graduate and postgraduate study.
  • Comment on the applicant’s knowledge in the chosen field, motivation, and perseverance toward educational goals.
  • Write about the applicant’s abilities in carrying out independent scholarship and collaborative work, in planning and conducting research, in oral and written expression, and in communicating with students, faculty, and other colleagues.
  • Comment on the following documents:
    • Predoctoral Applicants: Proposed Plan of Graduate Study and Research
    • Dissertation Applicants: Proposed Plan for Completion of Dissertation and Annotated Bibliography
    • Postdoctoral Applicants: Proposed Plan of Study or Research and Annotated Bibliography
  • Emphasize the capability of the applicant to achieve the goals outlined in the proposed plan.
  • Since Ford Fellows are expected to undertake a career that includes teaching at the college or university level, give your opinion of the applicant’s teaching potential or commitment to the goals of the program. If known, please comment on the applicant's diversity efforts.
  • Applicants should not be referenced with adjectives that do not directly pertain to their ability to complete the proposed work or research. It is appropriate, however, to provide examples of unusual persistence and ability to overcome obstacles.
Please do not submit a standard letter that does not address the items listed above.

It is the practice of the Ford Foundation Fellowships Program that letters of recommendation are not made available to applicants.


The following points should be addressed in the Host Commitment Letter:
  • Describe how the host mentor/institution will support the applicant’s Proposed Plan of Study or Research both intellectually and logistically, including information on the advantages that the chosen fellowship location will provide in facilitating the completion of the proposed work.
  • Confirm that the applicant has made the necessary contacts that will enable them to take advantage of the proposed research site, including any formal permission necessary to conduct the research.
  • State whether the host mentor/institution will provide the necessary facilities (including any requirements for space, equipment, etc.) or materials to assist the postdoctoral Fellow in the successful completion of their proposed project.
In some cases, the host is a close mentor of the applicant and will also submit a traditional reference letter; in this case, please follow the instructions above regarding letters of recommendation for the second letter. The letter writer will receive a separate notification for each letter to be submitted.

It is the practice of the Ford Foundation Fellowships Program that letters of recommendation are not made available to applicants.