Cornell University

Fellowships FAQ

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What are fellowships?

Fellowships, sometimes called scholarships, fund study or research. Awards are made on a competitive basis, usually with no regard for financial need. Fellowships are designed with specific goals in mind and are not generally used for exploratory purposes.

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What kinds of fellowships are available?

Fellowships are as various as the foundations and individuals who create them. Generally, however, they are for one of several purposes:

  • undergraduate or graduate study in a given field
  • study in a particular geographic location or research facility
  • professional development¬†
  • dissertation research

Eligibility may sometimes be limited to:

  • members of specific racial, ethnic, or gender groups
  • residents of a particular region
  • members of specific groups or organizations
  • applicants with specific career plans

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Who should consider applying for fellowships?

Consider applying for a fellowship if your plans after graduation include:

  • graduate school
  • professional school
  • study abroad
  • professional development

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What sort of academic record do you need to qualify?

The competitiveness of fellowships varies. Usually GPA is a significant factor in the application process. If you have contributed in some tangible way to Cornell, to your field of study, or to your community, you may be a strong candidate. Seek out the fellowships that value your strengths and goals.

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When should I apply?

If you want to receive fellowship funding beginning the fall after graduation from Cornell, your application timetable would be something like this:

Junior Year

  • Conduct reasearch to identify appropriate fellowship.
  • Approach faculty for advice and letters of recommendation.
  • Consult with the Fellowship Coordinator if the fellowship requires university endorsement.

Senior Year

  • Prepare and submit application.
  • Interview, if required.
  • Receive award notification.

Generally you should expect to apply in the fall of the year preceding the year you would receive funding.

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What can the CCS Fellowships Program offer me?


  • Discovering Fellowship Opportunities
    To bring this talk to your department or student organization, contact the Fellowship Coordinator, Beth Fiori at
  • Information Sessions on the Truman, Rhodes Scholarship, Marshall Scholarship, Churchill Scholarship, and others.
  • Workshops on assessing your candidacy for particular fellowships and on specific application strategies.


  • Advice on application strengths and weaknesses
  • Interview preparation

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