Looking for support for graduate school?
We know it can be hard to find funding for grad school.
So each year we award up to 15 graduate fellowships to outstanding students pursuing advanced study in the humanities or social sciences. The fellowships range from $5,000 to $15,000.
However, applicants must intend to teach at the college level. As Richard M. Weaver observed, “A liberal education specifically prepares for the achievement of freedom.”
Over the past half century, ISI has helped more than six hundred graduate fellows to achieve their calling.
We invite you to join this distinguished company!
Graduate Fellowship FAQ
1. When is the application deadline?
Applications for the 2024–25 academic year are due January 19, 2024.
2. Can I apply online?
Yes! Applications will open in the fall.
Once applications are open, click "Applications For The 2024-25 Academic Year Are Open." Then, click "Apply Now" to submit the necessary application materials.
3. Can I submit transcripts and letters of recommendation online?
Yes, we accept electronic transcripts and letters of recommendation. Simply have your recommender or school email them to email@example.com.
4. If I was awarded an ISI graduate fellowship in the past, am I eligible to apply again?
No, ISI does not award grants to past fellowship recipients.
5. If I applied for an ISI graduate fellowship in the past, do I need to reapply?
Yes, all applicants must begin the application process afresh and submit all required materials again. But you may choose to resubmit elements of your previous application.
6. Do I have to be a U.S. citizen to be eligible for an ISI graduate fellowship?
Yes, applicants must be U.S. citizens who will be enrolled in a full-time graduate program for the academic year 2024–25.
7. If I attend a preprofessional school, such as business, divinity, medical, or law, am I eligible for an ISI fellowship?
No, only graduate students in the traditional liberal arts, education, or social sciences are eligible for an ISI fellowship.
8. What are the award amounts and how may they be used?
ISI graduate fellowships range between $5,000 and $15,000 each. They can be used at the awardee’s discretion for program-related expenses, including for tuition, living expenses, books, computers, software, etc.
9. Among the required application materials, what is the awards committee looking for in the “personal, philosophical, and professional autobiography” essay?
The personal, philosophical, and professional autobiography statement is one of the most important elements of the application package. It is your chance to let the awards committee know about the key influences that have shaped your thought and led you to commit to graduate study and ultimately to teaching. It is meant to be an “intellectual” autobiography, not your full life story. It should be a reflection on the development of your ideas about first principles, and how they were shaped by mentors, authors, books, conferences, friends and family, religious influences, coaches, work supervisors, and other important relationships. In short, it describes your intellectual odyssey.
10. Is the signed declaration to teach binding? What if I do not get a job teaching?
The declaration to teach is required but not binding. No one knows what the future holds, but we expect applicants to intend to teach in some capacity. The great majority of ISI fellows, more than five hundred of them, are teaching in the academy today. But many also work in public policy, are active in religious life, are entrepreneurs, are dedicated to family, or otherwise teach in a manner broadly conceived.
Note: Please write your declaration in your own words and sign it as part of your application.
11. Will I be required to participate in an ISI program if I am awarded a fellowship?
Yes, each year ISI organizes a weekend colloquium in partnership with the Liberty Fund, Inc., of Indianapolis, Indiana, for its newly awarded graduate fellows. It is a great chance to exchange ideas with and get to know your fellow ISI award winners, and you will be expected to join us. In the past, these seminars have been held at the Russell Kirk Center in Michigan on topics including Liberty and Liberal Education, the Scottish Enlightenment, and Plato’s Apologia and The Republic. ISI pays all expenses for you to be part of this unique conference, which many say is a highlight of their graduate and ISI experience.
12. Who are some alumni of ISI’s graduate fellowship program?
Some of the more than five hundred ISI fellowship alumni include:
• Economist James Gwartney at Florida State University
• Historian Wilfred McClay at the University of Oklahoma
• Philosopher Robert Koons at the University of Texas, Austin
• Historian Susan Hanssen at the University of Dallas
• Heritage Foundation founder and longtime president Edwin J. Feulner
• Weekly Standard founder William Kristol
• Director of the McConnell Center and politics professor Gary L. Gregg at the University of Louisville
• Economist Tyler Cowen at George Mason University
• Associate Vice President and Dean of Educational Programs Matthew Spalding at Hillsdale College
• Humanities professor Mark Shiffman at Villanova University
• Provost Kyle Harper at the University of Oklahoma
• Philosopher Molly Brigid McGrath at Assumption College
13. Will I be sent a copy of my application materials after submission?
No, copies of submitted application materials will not be sent to applicants. Application submissions are not kept on file after finalists have been selected. Please make sure to make copies of your materials for personal reference and future uses before submission.