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Are You Eligible?

Who Can Apply

Before Applying

Application Details

Graduating Seniors
At the time of your application, you must be eligible to graduate with a bachelor's degree from a participating institution by the end of that academic year. If awarded, you must graduate from that institution before your fellowship can begin. If you have any questions about your year of eligibility, please address your concern to your college's liaison officer, who will either answer your question or contact us.

A creative idea will take you into territory that is new for you. It can extend and build upon experiences that you have already had, but it is not a retracing or revisiting. What intrigues you? Where is it being studied, performed, made, etc.?

Consider budget, safety, visa regulations, availability of resources, and time constraints. Travel to any country under U.S. State Department Travel Warning or under U.S. Department of the Treasury Embargo will not be approved.

Personally Significant
A Watson project is something that you have wanted to do and dreamed about doing for a considerable period of time. You must want to do this so badly that when it is cold and rainy, and you have lost your passport, and your camera has been stolen, and you're sick, and your best friend is getting married back home, you will still want to stay abroad and pursue your project.

The proposal should describe your plan for the 12-month fellowship year, including a description of your proposed project and details as to how you intend to carry it out. In addition, you should include information about what it is that prepares you to undertake your project. The specific content of the proposal is up to you, but we require that it not exceed 1500 words.

Personal Statement
In your personal statement, you should discuss how your project is your project--and how it reflects your talents, concerns and commitments. It may include a description of your background, your college years, your professional goals and aspirations, and your reasons for seeking a Watson Fellowship to undertake your project. The personal statement is an opportunity to provide the Watson Fellowship Program with a sense of who you are, including how you would benefit from the unique experiences the Watson Fellowship permits and how you would embrace the challenges of immersing yourself in cultures other than your own for a year. The specific content of the personal statement is up to you, but we require that it not exceed 1500 words.

Your college, which has to be one of our participating institutions, must nominate you; individuals cannot apply directly. Your college liaison will explain the procedures for applying to be nominated.

At least one of the letters of recommendation should be from a faculty member, though the other may come from an off-campus source who knows about you and your proposed project. Letters of recommendation should address the nominee's personal qualities and academic abilities, as well as the suitability and feasibility of the proposed project.

Ask your Watson liaison what your local deadline is. Once nominated, all your materials must be submitted through our online application system by 3 p.m. eastern on Wednesday, November 5, 2014.

All nominees will be interviewed by a member of the Fellowship Program's selection committee for about one hour. The interview will occur between the first week in November and the last week in February and will be held on your campus. If you are off-campus on the interview day, then an off-campus interview will be scheduled.

Copyright 2014 The Thomas J. Watson Foundation