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 the last six years from Amherst College. Candidates may re-apply for up to three years of funding. 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 following academic year. ACF awardees who are more than six years removed from graduation may apply for renewal only if both their graduate study and status as an ACF awardee has been continuous.

How is academic merit determined? Academic merit is assessed 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 assessed by the Office of Financial Aid, based on financial information provided by the applicant and their parents (if applicable). For applicants who are single and under 25 years old (as of February 10th in the 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. They may also vary from year to year. 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. The first is provided by September 15th, and the second by January 15th. 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

Applicants 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 from which to draw. Some funds are restricted by field of study and others by the place of study. Almost all of the funds require that the applicant has demonstrated financial need, with a few being offered without regard to need. There is at least one funding source for every field of study at Amherst College. Visit our AC Fellowships Descriptions page to learn more about the funding sources.

How to Apply

Applications are submitted 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. 

Dates ACF Deadlines and Important Events
Amherst College Fellowships Timeline
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 the 1st check - half of the award
DEC Office requests confirmation of mailing address
JAN Check requests sent to Controller
JAN Awardees receive the 2nd check - half of the award
FEB 10 Application for renewal due
For Recommenders

Content: Most AC Fellowship applicants are applying for funding to support the 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 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 Specialist
cmcclintock@amherst.edu; 413-542-5079
Christine Overstreet, Director of Fellowships
coverstreet@amherst.edu; 413-542-2536

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