A group photo of the 2022 Switzer Fellows, plus some staff and alumni. A group of 20 smiling people stand in a courtyard.
Photo: Olivia Smartt

How to Apply

The application period for 2023 Switzer Fellowships is now closed. Potential applicants for 2024 fellowships are encouraged to review the eligibility requirements and guidelines. Applications take a lot of time and work to complete, and ineligible applications will not be reviewed.

Students of color, first-generation graduate students, and individuals from traditionally underrepresented communities in environmental graduate programs are strongly encouraged to apply for Switzer Fellowships. We are also interested in receiving more applications from qualified Master's degree students. We welcome your inquiries about these guidelines (please see staff contact information at the bottom of this page). 

All students applying for a Switzer Fellowship must submit an online application form. (The link to the application form is at the bottom of this page.) 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 can be helpful to talk with a Switzer Fellow alum for perspective about the application process. Applicants may look in the Fellows Directory to find fellowship alumni from your school, or fill out this form by December 21st for help connecting with a past fellow. Answers to frequently asked questions are posted here


The following materials are required to be submitted with your application:

·         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 academics should not be the sole focus of the essay. Use the essay to talk about why your chosen field matters to you, to whom your work is important, and how your background, personal experiences, and 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? Include specific 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 essay field is limited to 10,000 characters in the online application. (This equates to approximately three pages, single spaced, at 12 point font.)

·         Two professional letters of recommendation. Recommendation letters must be submitted by your recommender directly to the foundation per the Recommendation Instructions. Letters can be from your academic advisors or close colleagues who know you and your work well, as we ask recommenders to relay specific information and examples of your work. It is helpful for one of the two letters to be from your academic advisor, a committee member, or academic colleague, especially for Ph.D. applicants. Your second recommender need not be from academia. (Please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions in the Become A Fellow section for guidance on choosing your recommenders.) 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 must be uploaded in Adobe PDF format.

·         A current resume, including relevant work experience. Your resume is an important part of your application.  Please do not include a CV - we are more interested in your overall work experience than a list of your publications and presentations, particularly for Ph.D. students. Please include a brief description of the various jobs and responsibilities, as well as the amount of time devoted to each position (e.g., full-time, part-time, intermittent, etc.). Resumes must be uploaded in Adobe PDF format.

·         Most recent graduate academic transcripts. A transcript of your graduate study is required (an unofficial version is acceptable if official transcripts cannot be obtained by the application deadline). Applicants must upload a scan of their transcript in Adobe PDF or JPEG formats. Undergraduate transcripts are not necessary except in the case of applicants enrolling in one-year master's programs with no other graduate school experience. Specific instructions can be found on the application form.

·         Evidence of financial need where applicable. Although the Switzer Fellowship is merit-based, financial need may be considered when comparing equally qualified applicants. Applicants will have the option to describe personal financial history or other personal information that may be relevant. The application will require all applicants to disclose information on graduate school expenses and anticipated sources of income.

Please contact Erin Lloyd (erin@switzernetwork.org) with any questions.

"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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