Amherst College Fellowships Overview

History and Purpose: The Amherst College Fellowships are a collection of nearly 20 different fellowships established over the past 150 years by generous alumni donors of Amherst College. They are generally intended to encourage and support graduating seniors and alums of up to six years from graduation to pursuit of graduate degrees through full-time study. Some funds support independent (non-degree-granting) creative training or study in the fields of music, dance, and theatre. Most funds require that recipients not only demonstrate academic or artistic merit, but also financial need. 

Fields of study: Acceptable fields of graduate study include all traditional academic disciplines as well as the professions including law, medicine, and education. Medical residencies, law clerkships, post-baccalaureate programs, professional certification programs, and similar positions are not considered full-time degree granting graduate school and are not eligible for an Amherst College Fellowship. Some funds are earmarked for particular fields or seek candidates with certain personal characteristics; others value exceptional academic merit, or financial need. While applicants may be interested to learn about the details of the funds here, they need not identify funds for which they meet the criteria. Instead, candidates complete one application and the Committee on Student Fellowships determines the source and amount of the award based on the candidate's academic merit and, in most cases, a financial need assessment determined by the Office of Financial Aid. Note that although the Amherst-Doshisha Fellowship is listed above among the Amherst College Fellowships, it is awarded through a separate application process with different criteria.

Two fellowships are awarded without regard to financial need. The Lloyd I. Rosenblum Memorial Fellowship is awarded solely on academic merit in the fields of botany and biology. The Rufus B. Kellogg University Fellowship is a substantial award conferred on three candidates with the very highest academic merit without regard to need. It is traditionally awarded once every three years and will be awarded again in the 2017-2018 application year cycle. Candidates who wish to be considered only for these awards need not complete the financial aid forms. An additional award - the Plimpton - is awarded without a financial stipend to candidates with outstanding academic ability and promise but no financial need.

Award amounts: Award amounts vary based on candidates' academic merit, financial need, available funds, and the size of the applicant pool. Typically, awards range from $4,000 to $5,000. Fellowships earmarked for certain fields such as chemistry, geology, history, religion, and philosophy, and for study in the United Kingdom, can sometimes be substantially higher. Funds are to be used for tuition, fees, books, equipment required for courses, and other educational supplies and are not intended for incidental expenses, such as room and board, travel, and optional equipment. Please refer to the IRS Publication 970 - Tax Benefits for Education. For further questions, please contact your local IRS office. Awards are renewable for up to three years, but candidates must apply each year and the amoutn awarded from year to year may vary. 

Eligibility: All Amherst College seniors and alums within six years of graduation are eligible. There are no citizenship requirements, and applicants may be planning to attend graduate school in any country. They must apply in the year in which they plan to attend graduate school, but do not need to know at the time of application whether or not they have been accepted. They must be planning to study full-time in pursuit of a degree (not continuing education). The only acception to the full-time/degree requirement is for creative training in the arts.

How to apply: Application is made through a two-step process described in detail on the AC Fellowships Application page. See the timeline below for application, award notification, and check release dates. An Amherst College username is needed in order to access and submit applications, as well as to accept the award once it has been granted. Late applications are considered and funded only after those submitted by the deadline. In recent years there have been no funds remaining for late applicants. Note that unlike for national fellowship competitions, the Office of Fellowships does not provide essay feedback for this application as the awarding process is all internal.

Funding process & timeline: Award checks are issued in two installments - one in September, and the second in January. In order to collect their funds, applicants must follow the procedures outlined under Accepting your AC Fellowship. A detailed timeline is provided below.

AC Fellowships Timeline

The process of awarding AC Fellowships involves coordination with offices, faculty, and staff across the College, and managing nearly 200 applications annually. Deviations from the timeline below can sometimes be made by request, but only for special circumstances.

DEC 15 Application opens in AC Student & Postgraduate portal
FEB 10 Applications due
FEB 17 Financial Forms & Recommendation Letters due
MAR Committee on Student Fellowships determines awards
APR 15 Trustees approve awards; notifications sent
MAY 1 Awardee response forms due; AC Catalog prepared
JUNE Awardees continue sending proof of acceptance
JULY 1 New fiscal year begins (no awards sent until)
AUG Check requests sent to Controller
SEPT Awardees receive 1st check - half of award
DEC Office requests confirmation of mailing address
JAN Check requests sent to Controller
JAN Awardees receive 2nd check - half of award
FEB 10 Application for renewal due

For Recommenders

Content: The overwhelming majority of AC Fellowship applicants are applying for funding to support pursuit of a graduate degree. Letters for these candidates may be the very same letter you have written to support the candidate's graduate school admission. If you are composing a new letter, please discuss how you know the applicant, the nature and quality of the their work with you, preparedness for graduate study, fitness for the chosen graduate program(s), and any other comments you wish to make. A few applicants will be pursuing independent study in the arts. For such candidates, please address their artistic preparedness for the project/process they intend to pursue and the qualities that make you confident they can accomplish independent work. Your letter will be read by the faculty Committee on Student Fellowships.
Format and Submission: By FEB 17th, please upload a pdf of your letter to the AC Student and Postgraduate Application Portal in response to an email generated when the applicant enters your contact information in the portal. 

Questions?
Carter McClintock, Fellowships Coordinator, cmcclintock@amherst.edu
213 Converse Hall, 413-542-5079
Christine Overstreet, Director of Fellowships; coverstreet@amherst.edu                  
212 Converse Hall; 413-542-2536                                     
Mailing address: Office of Fellowships, Amherst College, Amherst, MA 01002; Fax: 413-542-8555