Ford Foundation: Predoctoral Fellowships

Ford Foundation

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Next deadline: Dec 17, 2020 2:00pm PST (Pre proposal)

Later deadlines: Jan 7, 2021 2:00pm PST (Full proposal)

Grant amount: Up to US $81,000

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Applicant type: PhD Student

Funding uses: Fellowship

Location of project: Anywhere in the world

Location of residency: United States

Location of citizenship: United States

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About this funder:



NOTE: Application deadline is the "pre-proposal" deadline above. Supplementary materials deadline is the "full proposal" deadline above. 

This year the program will award approximately 65 predoctoral fellowships. These fellowships provide three years of support for individuals engaged in graduate study leading to a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or Doctor of Science (Sc.D.) degree.

Predoctoral fellowships will be awarded in a national competition administered by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine on behalf of the Ford Foundation. The awards will be made to individuals who, in the judgment of the review panels, have demonstrated superior academic achievement, are committed to a career in teaching and research at the college or university level, show promise of future achievement as scholars and teachers, and are well prepared to use diversity as a resource for enriching the education of all students.  

The awards will be made to individuals who, in the judgment of the review panels, have demonstrated superior academic achievement, are committed to a career in teaching and research at the college or university level, show promise of future achievement as scholars and teachers, and are well prepared to use diversity as a resource for enriching the education of all students.

Fellowship recipients must begin the first year’s tenure on September 1, 2017, and must remain on tenure full-time for the academic year. After the first year of fellowship tenure, fellows may choose to defer funding for up to two years. All three years of support must be used within a five-year period.

The following will be considered as positive factors in choosing successful candidates:

  • Evidence of superior academic achievement 
  • Degree of promise of continuing achievement as scholars and teachers 
  • Capacity to respond in pedagogically productive ways to the learning needs of students from diverse backgrounds 
  • Sustained personal engagement with communities that are underrepresented in the academy and an ability to bring this asset to learning, teaching, and scholarship at the college and university level 
  • Likelihood of using the diversity of human experience as an educational resource in teaching and scholarship 
  • Membership in one or more of the following groups whose underrepresentation in the American professoriate has been severe and longstanding: 
    • Alaska Natives (Aleut, Eskimo, or other Indigenous People of Alaska) 
    • Black/African Americans 
    • Mexican Americans/Chicanas/Chicanos 
    • Native American Indians 
    • Native Pacific Islanders (Hawaiian/Polynesian/Micronesian) 
    • Puerto Ricans

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • Eligibility to apply for a predoctoral fellowship is limited to: 
    • All U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, and U.S. permanent residents (holders of a Permanent Resident Card), as well as individuals granted deferred action status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program1, Indigenous individuals exercising rights associated with the Jay Treaty of 1794, political asylees, and refugees, regardless of race, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, or sexual orientation,
    • Individuals with evidence of superior academic achievement (such as grade point average, class rank, honors, or other designations),
    • Individuals committed to a career in teaching and research at the college or university level in the U.S.,
    • Individuals enrolled in or planning to enroll in an eligible research-based (dissertation-required) program leading to a Ph.D. or Sc.D. degree at a non-proprietary (not for profit) U.S. institution of higher education,
    • Individuals who as of the 2021 fall semester require a minimum of three years of study2 to complete their Ph.D. or Sc.D. degree, and
    • Individuals who have not earned a doctoral degree at any time, in any field.
  • Eligible fields of study:
    • American studies, anthropology, archaeology, art and theater history, astronomy, chemistry, communications, computer science, cultural studies, earth sciences, economics, engineering, ethnic studies, ethnomusicology, geography, history, international relations, language, life sciences, linguistics, literature, mathematics, performance study, philosophy, physics, political science, psychology, religious studies, sociology, urban planning, and women’s studies;
    • Interdisciplinary ethnic studies programs, such as African American studies and Native American studies, and other interdisciplinary programs, such as area studies, peace studies, and social justice;
    • Research-based fields of education are eligible if the major field of study is listed above and is used to describe the Ph.D. or Sc.D. program of the applicant (e.g., sociology of education, anthropology and education);
  • The complete list of eligible fields of study supported at the predoctoral level of the fellowship program is available here: Eligible Fields of Study List.
  • Fellowships are tenable at any fully accredited, non-proprietary (not for profit) U.S. institution of higher education offering a Ph.D. or Sc.D. degree in the eligible fields of study.
    • All arrangements for acceptance into a doctoral program at the chosen institution are the responsibility of the applicant.
    • An applicant need not be accepted by the chosen institution at the time of application.


  • Individuals enrolled in the following practice-oriented programs will not be supported:
    • administration, audiology, business, consumer studies, curriculum development, human resource management, exercise physiology, filmmaking, fine arts, guidance, kinesiology, leadership, library and information science, management, nursing, occupational health, performing arts, personnel, physical education, physical therapy, public health, rehabilitation science, social welfare, social work, speech pathology, and teacher education.
  • In addition, awards will not be made for work leading to terminal master’s degrees, the Ed.D. degree, the degrees of Doctor of Fine Arts (D.F.A.) or Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.), or professional degrees in such areas as medicine, law, and public health, or for study in joint degree programs such as the M.D./Ph.D., J.D./Ph.D., and M.F.A./Ph.D. 
  • This program does not support the Ph.D. portion of a dual-degree program.
  • Interdisciplinary areas of study that have major content in ineligible fields listed above will not be included in the competition.