What are Doctoral Fellowships?


Doctoral fellowships are scholarships for graduate students. These are sometimes confused with post-doctoral fellowships and visiting fellowships, which are available to researchers with more senior positions. Some doctoral fellowships are quite generous. They pay for tuition, housing, and other living expenses.

Two types of doctoral fellowships are awarded: institutional fellowships and portable fellowships.

Institutional Fellowships

Institutional doctoral fellowships are associated with a particular school or network of schools, such as the University of Florida System. These help schools to attract and retain top students.

When you apply to graduate school, you may automatically be considered for its institutional fellowships. This is especially likely if you have an outstanding undergraduate record and/or fit a special fellowship program, such as one that’s been established for minority students.

Portable Fellowships

Portable fellowships, or external fellowships, are scholarships offered by government agencies and other organizations such as the Ford Foundation, Microsoft, and the American Association of University Women. These groups have a vested interest in promoting research excellence in particular fields and/or by underrepresented groups such as women, minorities, and the disabled.

Portable fellowships are awarded for both financial need and academic merit. Since they can be applied at virtually any university, portable fellowships give students the freedom to choose among graduate programs without being constrained by financial worries.

Here are some links to external fellowship programs sponsored by the US government:

External fellowship opportunities can be found through student counseling centers, in scholarship reference books, and online. Professional organizations related such at the American Psychological Association and the American Educational Research Association are also excellent starting points.

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