The Harvard Guide to Postdoctoral Fellowships

The Harvard Guide to Postdoctoral Fellowships

The GSAS Postdoctoral Fellowships is a searchable database available to GSAS students.


One important step after consulting the fellowship summaries in this guide is to get further details on individual fellowship programs by going to the fellowship website.

After consulting the appropriate sources, you should compile a list of possible fellowships for which you can apply. Bear in mind that your selection process is closely related to how you formulate your intended research project. It is often possible to increase the number of relevant fellowships by formulating the project in different ways.

In addition to consulting printed and on-line sources, it is helpful to seek further advice from faculty advisors and colleagues in your field. Those who have gone through the process are a valuable source of information.

Once you have chosen appropriate fellowships, send for your own information and application forms as early as possible. The present guide is prepared well in advance, and may not have the most up-to-date information as to deadlines or other essential items.

Before applying, try to learn something about the selection criteria and number of awards for the fellowships you have chosen. This can be done in a number of different ways:

  • Contact the administrators of the relevant fellowship programs. These people are the "experts" and often are willing to give you further insights on preparing a strong application. In some cases, they will even read a draft before you submit a final version
  • As noted above, it is wise to consult faculty members and colleagues in your field who have gone through the process-they may well have applied for the fellowships that are of interest to you.
  • Next comes the application process. Most of the listed fellowships in this guide, as well as those in other guides, call for direct application. In some cases, however, a nomination is required.
  • The most important part of the application process is preparing a polished proposal. See Scholarly Pursuits, Chapter V, for advise on proposal writing, plus additional discussion in Chapter VIII on applying for postdoctoral fellowships.
  • When you have a draft completed, seek the advice of friends or colleagues in your field, as well as faculty advisors. GSAS students and alums may make an appointment with the GSAS Director of Fellowships (617-495-1814).
  • Bear in mind that if you are applying for a number of different kinds of fellowships, the drafts must also be adapted so that the proposal matches the individual fellowship guidelines as closely as possible.
  • A number of fellowships, especially in the sciences, tend to have more informal procedures. The research is often a continuation of a larger team project. Opportunities of this nature are publicized through one's department. If you know of a project that interests you, it is appropriate to make an unsolicited application.

For information on "Applying for a Postdoctoral Position in the Sciences", see Scholarly Pursuits, Chapter VIII.

Additional online fellowship databases are available; the following are some that you may wish to consult:

Office of Graduate Affairs at the University of Chicago, provides links to selected institutions that maintain fellowship databases

Cornell University Graduate School Fellowship Database

Notre Dame Graduate Fellowships Database


New York University Grants in Graduate Studies

Simon Frasier University Graduate Awards Database

UCLA Graduate and Postdoctoral Extramural Support

Please note: Many professional associations list postdoctoral fellowship opportunities in their job bulletins, along with job openings. Be sure to watch those listings for fellowships, especially new announcements.