How to Apply

How to Apply

The application period for 2019 Switzer Fellowships is now closed, but we encourage potential applicants for 2020 to read the Become a Fellow page in detail before applying. Students of color, first generation graduate students, and individuals from traditionally underrepresented communities in environmental graduate programs are encouraged to apply for Switzer Fellowships. We are interested in receiving more applications from qualified Master's degree students. We welcome your inquiries about these guidelines. 

All students applying for a Switzer Environmental Fellowship must submit an online application form (link to be provided in October 2019 for 2020 Fellowship applications). Applications for 2020 Fellowships will be due in early January, 2020.  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.)

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 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 your work 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 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 very helpful for one of the two letters to be from your academic advisor, a committee member, or academic colleague, especially for PhD applicants.  Your second recommender need not be from academia.  (Please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions in the Become A Fellowsection 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.  It is worthwhile to make sure your recommender will not be writing more than one other Switzer Fellowship recommendation letter, as multiple letters from the same recommender can dilute the effect that that recommender has on each application.  Recommendation letters must be uploaded in Adobe PDF format.

·         A current resume, including relevant work and volunteer 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 PhD students.  Please include the number of hours per week and number of months worked for each professional and volunteer experience noted.  Resumes must be uploaded in Adobe PDF format.

·         Most recent Graduate academic transcripts. An official transcript of your graduate study is required.  Applicants must upload a scan of an official transcript in Adobe PDF or JPEG formats.  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.  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.

·         A brief outline of the general course of study or research planned.  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, as well as estimated dates of written and oral presentations that will advance your degree.  This should not exceed four pages and must be uploaded in Adobe PDF format.

·         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.

Contacts for further information:

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

For technical assistance with online applications: Laine Kuehn, Administrative Coordinator
(207) 338-5654, 

"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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