Predoctoral fellowships will be awarded in a national competition administered by the National Research Council (NRC) 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, 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 Predoctoral Ford Foundation Fellowship

Predoctoral Eligibility

In addition to the general eligibility requirements, eligibility to apply for a predoctoral fellowship is limited to:

  • All citizens or nationals* of the United States regardless of race, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, or sexual orientation (must have become a U.S. citizen by November 14, 2012),
  • 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,
  • Individuals enrolled in or planning to enroll in an eligible research-based program leading to a Ph.D. or Sc.D. degree at a U.S. educational institution, and
  • Individuals who have not earned a doctoral degree at any time, in any field.

*The term “national of the United States” designates a citizen of the United States or a native resident of a possession of the United States. It does not refer to a U.S. permanent resident who is a citizen of another country.

Criteria 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

Eligible Fields of Study

Awards will be made for study in research-based Ph.D. or Sc.D. programs that include the following major disciplines and related interdisciplinary fields: American studies, anthropology, archaeology, art and theater history, astronomy, chemistry, communications, computer science, earth sciences, economics, engineering, ethnomusicology, geography, history, international relations, language, life sciences, linguistics, literature, mathematics, performance study, philosophy, physics, political science, psychology, religion, 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. The complete list of eligible fields of study supported at the predoctoral level of the fellowship program is available here: Predoctoral Fields (.pdf),

Individuals enrolled in the following practice-oriented programs will not be supported: business, management, administration, occupational health, nursing, consumer science, library and information science, speech pathology, audiology, personnel, guidance, social work, social welfare, public health, physical education, physical therapy, kinesiology, rehabilitation science, education, leadership, fine arts, filmmaking, and performing arts. 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.

Fellowship Institution

Fellowships are tenable at any fully accredited, nonprofit U.S. institution of higher education offering a Ph.D. or Sc.D. degree in the eligible fields 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 at the time of application.

Previous Graduate Study

Predoctoral fellowships are intended for individuals who are currently enrolled or plan to enroll in an eligible Ph.D. or Sc.D. program by the fall 2013 term. The 2013 predoctoral fellowships competition is open to the following individuals:

  • Undergraduates in their senior year who plan to be enrolled in their Ph.D. or Sc.D. program beginning with the fall 2013 term,
  • Individuals who have completed undergraduate study,
  • Individuals who have completed some graduate study, and
  • Individuals currently enrolled in a Ph.D. or Sc.D. program who can provide evidence that they have at least three years remaining as of the fall 2013 term before they would receive their Ph.D. degree and at least one of the three years is comprised of full-time course work.

Stipends and Benefits

  • Annual stipend: $20,000
  • Award to the institution in lieu of tuition and fees: $2,000
  • Expenses paid to attend at least one Conference of Ford Fellows
  • Access to Ford Fellow Liaisons, a network of former Ford Fellows who have volunteered to provide mentoring and support to current fellows.