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Are You Eligible?

Who Can Apply

Before Applying

Application Details

The guidelines indicate that the Fellowship must involve travel to areas where I have not lived or studied for a significant length of time. Does this mean that I absolutely cannot go to places where I have lived or studied before? Or does it mean that at least some of the places where I propose to go must be new to me?

As with many questions about the Watson Fellowship, it depends. Some projects might be fashioned in such a way that they require you to spend part of your year in a familiar place. However, we would much prefer to see you challenge yourself by travelling to new and different places. In any case, most projects should involve travel primarily to places where you have not lived or studied for a significant length of time.

May I make a joint application with a friend?
No, the Watson Fellowship is an individual experience. If you are married, of course, your spouse may accompany you, but the project must still be yours.

May I return for holidays or graduate school interviews?
Unfortunately not. Your family may visit you, however.

May I apply if I am a foreign national?
Yes, but you may not return to your home country.

How will my student loans be repaid?
We will reimburse the equivalent of 12-months of payments on outstanding institutional and federally guaranteed (Perkins, Stafford) loans. The fellow is responsible for making the payments.

Is the Fellowship taxable?
Yes, but you can spread the taxes over two years by taking the stipend in two installments.

Can I make changes to my project after I receive the Fellowship?
If you are awarded a fellowship and discover compelling reasons to alter your project scope, you may propose changes to the program office.

Can I make changes to my itinerary?
Yes, of course, though we now require notification not written permission for major changes. Changes should, however, be true to the essence and focus of the project.

What about health insurance?
You must purchase your own health insurance. The Fellowship program offers a reimbursement for the purchase of health insurance.

With all the problems in the world, how can I justify taking this year for myself?
We are investing in you as a leader. As Thomas J. Watson, Jr. said, "I think that better leadership is what is going to bring the United States to a kind of realism as to what our problems are and how we may solve them." What we need are more leaders who are self-reflective, well-informed, and mindful world citizens.
Copyright 2014 The Thomas J. Watson Foundation