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Graduate Fellowships FAQs

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When is the application deadline? Do I send a hard copy of my fellowship application or is the application fully online?

The application deadline is February 1, 2019, so your application materials must be postmarked by February 1, 2019. Send hard copies of the required materials to the following address: 

Attn: Jeffrey Nelson
Intercollegiate Studies Institute
3901 Centerville Road
Wilmington, DE 19807-1938

If I was awarded an ISI graduate fellowship in the past am I eligible to apply again? Do I need to reapply?

Yes, grants are awarded but not guaranteed to past fellowship recipients. And, yes, you will need to begin the application process fresh and submit all the required materials. However, if you choose you may re-submit elements of your previous application.

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 academic year 2019–20.

If I attend a pre-professional 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.

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.

Among the required application materials, what is the awards committee looking for in the 5-10 page “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 the applicant’s chance to speak directly to the awards committee to let them know the key influences that have shaped the applicant’s thought and led them to commit to graduate study and ultimately to teaching. It is meant to be an “intellectual” autobiography, not your full life story with all its ups and downs, successes and failures. But 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 impactful relationships. In short, your intellectual odyssey.

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, or have the commitment to teach in some fashion. The great majority of ISI fellows are teaching in the academy today, more than 500. However, many also work in public policy, are active in religious life, are entrepreneurs, are dedicated to family, or who otherwise teach in a manner broadly conceived.

Is there a requirement to participate in an ISI program if I am awarded a fellowship?

Yes, each year ISI organizes one 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 it is expected that you will make time to join us. In the past, these seminars have been held at the Russell Kirk Center in Michigan on topics ranging from liberty and liberal education, the Scottish Enlightenment, and Plato’s Apologia and The Republic. All expenses are paid to be part of this unique conference, which many say is a highlight of their graduate and ISI experience.

Who are some fellowship alumni now working either in the academy or public policy?

Some of the more than 500 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 editor 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 Flynn at Assumption College.