How to Apply

APPLICATIONS FOR 2016 SWITZER FELLOWSHIPS WERE DUE JANUARY 11, 2016.  THE APPLICATION PERIOD IS NOW CLOSED. Guidelines for the program are below for people who are interested in applying in future years.

All students applying for a Switzer Environmental Fellowship must submit an online application form. Each applicant will be prompted to create an account before gaining access to the application form. This will enable applicants to save their work, make edits and track progress during the application review process. Specific application instructions are available on the application form. General guidance is provided here to help you prepare the necessary documentation.

It is imperative that applicants review the eligibility requirements and guidelines prior to applying. Applications take a lot of time and work to complete, and ineligible applications will not be reviewed.

APPLICATIONS WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED COMPLETE UNLESS ALL OF THE REQUIRED MATERIALS ARE SUBMITTED AS INSTRUCTED. We cannot allow any exceptions. (Please note that if you need to convert hard copy documents to digital format, the online application has a 'Fax to File' capability that you can use for this purpose, but it requires immediate proximity to a fax machine. Further instructions are available via the online application form.)

For the application, you will be required to submit a 2-3 page original essay. The essay is a critical component of the application screening process.  It is an opportunity for you to reflect on your accomplishments, how you contextualize your research and course work in society, and ultimately, your vision for your future leadership role in the environmental field, including the type of professional position you hope to pursue and the impact you hope to have.  You may describe your academic work and how it furthers your goals, but it should not be the sole focus of the essay.  Use the essay to talk about why your chosen field matters to you, to whom it is important, and how your background and personal experiences, combined with your academic course of study, will position you to be an effective leader for positive change.  In other words, how do you plan to use your academic experience for environmental impact?  Applicants should include examples of how you have been a leader or specifically contributed to solving an environmental issue or problem.  If you have limited leadership experience, you may describe the impact you hope to have.  You may also describe any  personal and professional challenges you have overcome to achieve your goals.  The word count of the essay cannot exceed 2,000.

The following materials are also required to be submitted with the application, as uploaded Adobe PDF documents.

  • Two professional letters of recommendation. (Recommendation letters must be submitted directly to the Foundation per the Recommendation Instructions.) These can be from your academic advisors or other colleagues who know you and your work well.  It is preferable to have at least one recommendation letter from your academic advisor, committee member, or academic colleague, especially for PhD applicants.  Only two letters of recommendation may be submitted.  You are responsible for ensuring that your recommenders send their letters by the application deadline, and that they carefully review the recommendation instructions to ensure they are giving us the information we need.  Recommendation letters without the appropriate information can have a negative impact on your application.
  • A current resume, including relevant work and volunteer experience. Please include the number of hours per week and number of months worked for each professional and volunteer experience noted.
  • Most recent Graduate academic transcripts. (Undergraduate transcripts are not necessary except in the case of applicants enrolling in one-year master's programs with no other graduate school experience.) PLEASE NOTE: if you are unable to access your official transcript by the application deadline, you may upload an unofficial copy to your application and send the official copy when it is available. Specific instructions can be found on the application form.
  • A brief outline of the general course of study or research planned. This can include a course list or (brief) summary of your research. Master's students should list courses to be taken, focus or concentration, and thesis topic. PhD students should include a summary or precis of their dissertation.  This should not exceed four pages.
  • Evidence of financial need where applicable. Although the Switzer Fellowship is merit-based, financial need may be considered when comparing equally qualified applicants.

Contacts for further information:

For eligibility and general questions:  Erin Lloyd, Program Director
(207) 338-5654; [email protected]

For technical assistance with online applications: Don Brackett, Administrative Officer
(207) 338-5654, [email protected] 

"My engagement with the Switzer Network has been very rewarding in that it has led me to new professional connections, a new collaboration, and a broader understanding of leadership."

Sarah Hameed

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