Amherst College Fellowships Overview

Application Deadline: Feb 10th

The Amherst College Fellowships are a collection of nearly 20 different funds established over the past 150 years by generous alumni donors of Amherst College. Overall, they support the pursuit of graduate degrees through full-time study. While some funds are earmarked for study in specific disciplines, others are open to all academic fields. Graduate degrees in the professions (medical, law, education) are included, however, 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 funding. A few funds support independent (non-degree-granting) training or study in the fields of music, dance, and theatre.  Most funds are awarded on the basis of academic (or artistic) merit as well as demonstrated financial need, but a few are awarded without regard to need.

Who may apply? AC Fellowships are open to graduating seniors, and to alums who have graduated within six years from Amherst College. Candidates may re-apply for up to three years of funding; the amount awarded from year to year may vary. 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. Applicants may be already enrolled in a graduate program, and applying for funding to continue, as long as they will be attending graduate school in the year that they are applying. 

How is academic merit determined? Academic merit is decided by the faculty Committee on Student Fellowships, and is based on the candidate's transcript(s), application essay, resume, and recommendation letters.

How is financial need determined? Financial need is decided by the Office of Financial Aid, based on financial information provided by the applicant and parents (if applicable). For applicants who are single and under 25 years old (as of February 10th in year of application), need is determined on the basis of their resources as well as those of their parents. Although an applicant may not be receiving assistance from parents for graduate school, the need determination is based upon the potential capacity of parents to assist with expenses. Applicants who are 25 or older (as of February 10th), married, or have dependent children need not provide parental information, but if married must provide financial information for their spouse. Applicants who wish to be considered for awards based only on academic merit need not supply financial information.

How much are the awards and how can they be used? Award amounts vary based on candidates' academic merit, financial need, available funds, and the size of the applicant pool. Typically, awards range from $3,000 to $5,000. Fellowships earmarked for certain fields such as chemistry, geology, history, religion, and philosophy, and for study at Cambridge, Oxford, or the Sorbonne, are sometimes substantially higher.  Fellowship awards are disbursed in two installments, one is provided by September 15, while the other is by January 15.  Funds are to be used for tuition, fees, books, equipment required for courses, and other educational supplies and are not intended for room and board, travel, optional equipment, or any incidental expense. The Office of Fellowships cannot advise on taxes related to fellowships. Please refer to the IRS Publication 970 - Tax Benefits for Education. For further questions, please contact your local IRS office. Award checks are issued in two installments - one in September, and the second in January. In order to collect their funds, applicants follow the procedures outlined under Accepting your AC Fellowship.

Fund Descriptions

While applicants may be interested to read brief descriptions of the funds here, they do not choose or apply for a particular fund. Instead, candidates complete one application and the Committee on Student Fellowships determines the appropriate fund source and amount of  award based on academic merit and, in most cases, financial need. (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.) A few awards are based solely on academic merit:

  • The Lloyd I. Rosenblum Memorial Fellowship in the fields of botany and biology in first year of graduate study.
  • The Rufus B. Kellogg University Fellowship is a substantial award conferred on candidates with the very highest academic merit without regard to need who will be pursuing a program that is at least three years long.  In 2018, one Kellogg will be awarded to a candidate pursuing a degree at a German university (~$20,000), and one to a candidate at any university (~$30,000). In 2019 and 2020, one open Kellogg will be offered in each year. These are renewed for up to three years, but the candidate must re-apply.
  • The George A. Plimpton Fellowship is awarded without any financial stipend to senior applicants of outstanding scholastic ability. It is a recognition of high academic merit.
How to Apply

Application is made through a two-step process described in detail on the AC Fellowships Application page. 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.  See the timeline below for application, award notification, and check release dates. 

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: Most 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 application. 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. 

Carter McClintock, Fellowships Specialist; 413-542-5079
Christine Overstreet, Director of Fellowships; 413-542-2536

Mailing address: Office of Fellowships, Amherst College, 212/213 Converse Hall, Amherst, MA 01002; Fax: 413-542-8555