Fellowships and Scholarships for Graduate Study

There are more fellowships and scholarships than you might think there are to help fund graduate or professional study. It’s helpful to be creative and persistent in your search, and in your applications.

  • Keyword searches will only get you a little way. They'll find the few things tagged with that keyword but will miss all the terrific opportunities out there with broader eligibility and selection criteria which might include that keyword and many others (e.g., why apply only for scholarships for women, and not for scholarships for people of any gender?). Don't miss out: comb through options, and you might be surprised what you turn up.
  • Did you know that our deadline listings are more comprehensive than any of the other lists of awards on our website, and that you can filter them by clicking on "Fellowship" to reveal options including "research/gradschool" and "international student"?
  • While one full-cost scholarship would be great, these are hard to win, so don’t overlook smaller awards which could perhaps add up to enough to make a big difference to your ability to afford graduate study.
  • If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again!


Plan ahead

Don’t wait until you’re accepted to a program to look for funding! Some scholarships and fellowships must be applied for at the same time as you’re applying for the degree program(s) of your choice — or even earlier — while others can be applied for while you’re enrolled as a graduate/professional student. Either way, it’s never too early to start searching for funding.

Generally speaking, spring is a great time to explore options and start to put together applications for postgraduate fellowships, most of which have deadlines during the summer, fall, and early in the new year (see the handy deadlines listings on our website: just click on "Fellowship" to reveal filters including "international student" and "research/gradschool"). For more advice about applying for graduate/professional degrees, find advice from Wellesley’s Career Education via our website.


Wellesley College Fellowships

Thanks to the generosity of alumnae and friends of the College, there are a number of Wellesley fellowships especially for graduating seniors and alumnae of Wellesley (from any country), including:

  • Wellesley College Graduate Fellowships — support graduate and professional study in any field (apply either in the same application cycle as you’re applying for graduate/professional study or while you’re enrolled in a graduate program, for funding during the following academic year).
    Applications typically due in mid-January.

  • Susan Rappaport Knafel ‘52 Scholarship for Foreign Study — one scholarship is awarded annually to a graduating senior at Wellesley, to support a year of study at a foreign institution, to pursue a specific subject that requires contact with foreign scholars, libraries or other resources
    Applications typically due in early February

  • Wellesley College Department of Art Mary Clothier Slade Graduate Fellowship — Two fellowships will be awarded annually to graduating seniors or alumnae of Wellesley College, one to support a graduate degree in Art History and one to support a graduate degree in Studio Art, with a preference for awards to go to those with Art Department majors and minors. Applications typically due in late February.

  • Peggy Howard Fellowship in Economics for financial aid for Wellesley students or alumnae continuing their study of economics. Administered by the economics faculty who may name one or two recipients, depending on the income available. Contact the Wellesley College Department of Economics for application and supporting material. Applications typically due in April.

  • Jacqueline Krieger Klein ’53 Fellowship in Jewish Studies to encourage graduating seniors and recent graduates in any field to pursue further education in the field of Jewish studies. Applications typically due in April.

  • Wellesley College Religion Department's Elisabeth Luce Moore ’24 Fellowships for Graduate Studies in Religion — Two fellowships will be awarded annually to graduating seniors or alumnae. Applications typically due in April.


External scholarships and fellowships

There are also all kinds of great opportunities offered outside Wellesley:

  • The first and perhaps best place to look for funding information is on the websites of the universities and degree programs which interest you, in addition to checking the Wellesley College fellowships listed above and the resources listed below.  Many scholarships, as well as financial aid and other funding options, are specific to individual universities and programs.
  • Do also try external databases like this helpful one at Illinois. There, try every search filter which might apply to you and/or to what you're hoping fund: with fellowships, a keyword search probably won't work (or at least will miss lots of great options), so you need to read carefully and be creative.
  • Don’t miss Wellesley Career Education advice about the health professions and for law, as well as resources for graduate school (students and alumnae may also book an appointment to talk over graduate and professional school with a Wellesley Career Community Advisor in their field/industry).
  • Did you know that our deadline listings are more comprehensive than any of the other lists of awards on our website, and that you can filter them by clicking on "Fellowship" to reveal options including "international student" and "research/gradschool" ?
  • International students and graduates might also try
    • the website of (the equivalent of) the ministry for education in their home countries to see what they may be able to turn up.
    • The Institute of International Education offers a searchable database for US study here.
    • Scholarships for Development is a great site for students from developing countries and/or anyone interested in studying development.
    • Students and graduates from the Middle East and North Africa might like to explore for9a.com.
    • You're warmly encouraged to book a Fellowships advising appointment for individualized advice: Kate has more than a decade of experience, did her own graduate work as an international student, and would love to work with you!


The earliest deadlines

There are a few scholarships for which you’d need to apply as a junior, if you’re an American student who meets the eligibility requirements:

  • Beinecke Scholarships enable highly motivated students to pursue graduate study in the arts, humanities and social sciences, by providing funding for application expenses and tuition fees for graduate study in MA or PhD programs — including MFAs. Open to US citizens and nationals with a record of eligibility for need-based financial aid.
    Campus application deadline typically in December or early January.
  • Truman Scholarships provide funding toward senior year and graduate school for American juniors committed to careers in public service.
    Campus application deadline typically in November.


Scholarships for graduate/professional study in the US

Apart from checking the websites of the the universities and degree programs which interest you, it’s worth exploring awards like the following selected examples:

  • American Association of University Women educational funding and awards for international students and Americans. Applications due between November and January, annually, and vary according to program (see their website for full details)

  • American Council of Learned Societies Fellowships and Grants for scholars in the humanities and related social sciences, awards for international students as well as for US citizens at the doctoral and postdoctoral level. Most deadlines between late September and mid-November (see their website for full details).

  • Graduate Fellowships for STEM Diversity (formerly the National Physical Science Consortium Fellowships) support doctoral study in the physical sciences, mathematics, and related engineering fields. GFSD's goal is to increase the number of American citizens with graduate degrees in STEM fields, emphasizing recruitment of a diverse applicant pool. Eligible are all US citizens, regardless of race or gender, who are applying for or enrolled in eligible doctoral programs. 
    Applications typically due in mid-December.  (Did you know? Jennifer Chien '19 won GFSD in 2020-2021!)

  • Ford Foundation Fellowship Programs provide financial and professional support in order 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. Predoctoral, dissertation, and postdoctoral fellowships are available to US citizens, nationals, and permanent residents, as well as individuals granted deferred action status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, political asylees, and refugees, regardless of race, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, or sexual orientation. 
    Applications typically due in early December.

  • Hertz Foundation Graduate Fellowships support up to five years of graduate study in the applied physical, biological, and engineering sciences for US citizens and permanent residents at select universities in the United States. Apply for the Hertz as a senior applying to an eligible program, or during the first year of graduate study.
    Deadline typically in late October. (Did you know? In 2016-17, Alex Ferris, Wellesley class of 2016, won the Hertz!)

  • The Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program offers full support for any graduate or professional degree offered at Stanford and is open to citizens of all countries. Applications typically due in September. 

  • The James Madison Graduate Fellowships offer support for graduate work for U.S. citizens or nationals and who plan to become teachers of American history, American government, or social studies. Applications typically due at the beginning of March.

  • Established in 2020-21, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund Marshall-Motley Scholars Program represents a groundbreaking commitment to endow the American South with the next generation of civil rights lawyers trained to provide legal advocacy of unparalleled excellence. These very generous scholarships are open to those eligible to work in the United States who expect to begin an accredited law program in the fall of the calendar year of application. In return, the Scholars will commit to serving as civil rights lawyers based in the South, engaged in a law practice focused on achieving racial justice for 8 years following the conclusion of their fellowship. Applications typically due in mid-February.

  • National Institutes of Health Graduate Partnerships support a PhD or MD/PhD in the biomedical sciences at the National Institutes of Health and at one of the NIH university partners in the US or abroad. Eligible are US citizens and permanent residents applying for appropriate programs, or in some cases who have already begun their graduate training.
    Applications typically due in early December.

  • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships support graduate study in the sciences, including social sciences, for US citizens, nationals, or permanent residents who are applying for eligible graduate programs, or those in the first or second year of such a program. 
    Applications typically due in late October.

  • Samvid Scholars will provide up to $100K in tuition support over two years for US citizens in their first year of graduate school, who are pursuing a graduate degree in the US (PhD programs and one year programs are not eligible). Please see the program website for additional details.  Applications typically due in mid April.

  • Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans (for immigrants or the children of immigrants, see eligibility details here — but in the fall of 2016 eligible candidates, aged no more than 30, included among others green card holders, those granted US citizenship by virtue of adoption, and those granted DACA) — these scholarships support graduate or professional study in the US in any field. Applications typically due in early November.

  • Resources for undocumented students include lists put together by Immigrants Rising, and by Pre-Health Dreamers, an organization created by undocumented students interested in pursuing health and science careers.

  • Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Graduate Fellowship and the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Program (applications for both programs typically due in mid-September), for Americans hoping to pursue careers in the Foreign Service (apply in the same year that you’re applying for the master’s degree you need to do this). Did you know that JoAnn Jung '20 won the Pickering?

  • Morris K. Udall and John S. McCain III Native American Graduate Fellowship in Tribal Policy recognizes outstanding Native American and Alaska Native graduate students who are currently pursuing advanced degrees in health care fields—including, but not limited to, health administration, health education, public health, medical practice, policy, research, or related-degrees—and who have demonstrated a commitment to Native health care.  Applications typically due in May.

  • USAID Donald M. Payne International Development Graduate Fellowship - open to US citizens, this program supports a master’s degree for those preparing for careers in the USAID. 
    Applications typically due in late October. Did you know that Mai Yer Xiong '14 won the Payne?


Scholarships for graduate study outside the US

Apart from checking the websites of the the universities and degree programs which interest you, it might be worth exploring awards like the following selected examples:

  • The Australian government offers information about scholarships, including those for international students hoping to study in Australia

  • The Canadian government offers information about scholarships for Canadians and for international students hoping to study in Canada. The Vanier Scholarships, for example, support Canadians and other students doing doctoral work (nominations typically due in early November but universities will have earlier deadlines for those seeking nomination). Don't miss the new McCall MacBain Scholarship, for graduate study at McGill (applications due in September; initially only for Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and those with refugee status in Canada, this award is expected to be open to citizens from around the globe by about 2022).

  • The Schwarzman Scholars Program (applications due in June or September) and Yenching Academy Scholarship (applications typically due in November) for master’s degrees in China (and both open to citizens of any country)

  • The Michel David-Weill Scholarship supports master’s degrees at Sciences Po, for seniors who are Americans applying for eligible programs - applicants for degrees in Economics are especially encouraged (campus application deadline typically in November) - and don't miss the Emile-Boutmy Scholarships for international students at Sciences Po; and the Harriet Hale Wooley Scholarship, for Americans hoping to pursue graduate study in Paris, France, in the visual fine arts or music (applications typically due in late January)

  • The DAAD scholarships for graduate study/research in Germany, for postdocs and more, open to graduates of North American colleges/universities (note that US citizenship is not required and applications are typically due in early November)

  • The Japanese government offers scholarships for study in Japan

  • Various scholarships for graduate degrees in the United Kingdom and Ireland, including the Rhodes (open to citizens of any country), Marshall (for US citizens), Mitchell (US citizens), Gates-Cambridge (open to citizens of any country outside the UK), Oxford funding (including the ClarendonErtegun, and the Pershing Square for the 1+1 MBA program, all open to citizens of any country), Commonwealth Scholarships (open to citizens of Commonwealth countries), Chevening Scholarships (international students only!), NIH Ox-Cam (for Americans applying for doctorates in biomedical fields at Oxford or Cambridge), and many more... Check out resources offered by the British Council!

  • The Fulbright US Student Program is known for offering research awards, but did you know that in some cases Fulbright supports graduate degree study? See the list of Graduate Degree Grants and then check the relevant country pages for awards open to US seniors and graduates (without any age restrictions!)  - Note: the Wellesley Fulbright committee supports applications from students and alumnae (read how to apply for the Fulbright through Wellesley here; campus application deadline typically in late August).

  • The Blakemore Freeman Fellowships offer US  citizens and permanent residents who are seniors or recent alumnae support for a year of advanced level language study in East or Southeast Asia (applications typically due in late December).

  • The Eisenhower Global Scholars Program sends four American university graduates, who are US citizens, abroad annually for an academic year of postgraduate studies at two prestigious European universities, leading to a Master’s Degree in Public Policy with an emphasis on international diplomacy at the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford or a Master’s Degree in International Relations with an emphasis on the global economy and entrepreneurship at the School of Global and Public Affairs at IE University in Madrid (applications typically due in mid April).

  • And there's much more out there!


Can’t find what you’re looking for?

The resources and selected fellowships listed here are just the beginning: there’s much more out there. You might try external databases like this helpful one at Illinois (which allows you to search for scholarships open to international students, who might also want to see our resources). In the Illinois database, try every heading which might apply to you and/or to what you're hoping fund, and try running searches with different filters applied: with fellowships, a keyword search probably won't work (or at least will miss lots of great options), so you need to read carefully and be creative in your search.

Email fellowships@wellesley.edu or call Caitlin Roberts at 781.283.2347. 

Whether or not you need to apply through Wellesley, we gladly offer application advice. You can to book a Fellowships advising appointment via Handshake to talk with Kate.  She has worked with students and graduates from around the globe on a wide variety of fellowships for more than a decade, and would look forward to talking with you about what you’re hoping to do, how to put forward the strongest application, the best way to prepare to do a great fellowship interview, and why applying for fellowships can be valuable — whether or not you win an award.

Cannot find an appointment via Handshake? Drop in virtually or in person to Fellowships Pop-Up Advising: no appointment required, just check our Events listings for details.