Application period: May 5, 2021 to November 3, 2021
Initial internal deadline: October 1, 2021 (8:00 a.m. PT)
Internal interviews: October 2021 [TBA]
Final internal deadline: October 29, 2021 (8:00 a.m. PT)
National deadline: November 3, 2021 (9:00 a.m. PT)
Watson Foundation interview of Whitman nominees: November 2021 to January 2022 [TBA]
NOTE: Internal nomination process

Eligibility requirements:

  • Seniors only
  • International students eligible
  • Nomination by Watson internal (Whitman) committee

Award summary and conditions: The Thomas J. Watson Fellowship program offers college graduates of unusual promise a year of independent, purposeful exploration and travel outside of the United States to enhance their capacity for resourcefulness, imagination, openness, and leadership, and to foster humane and effective participation in the world community. The stipend for the fellowship year is $36,000. The Foundation will reimburse the equivalent of 12 months of payments on outstanding institutional and federally guaranteed (Perkins, Stafford) loans. Fellows are responsible for payments.

Applicants should seriously consider the following questions before beginning the application process:

  • Do I want to carry out an independent project entirely on my own for a year?
  • Do I want to be away from home and loved ones for a year?
  • Do I have the self-reliance and focus to complete this project?
  • Am I self-reflective?
  • Am I flexible? Am I willing to leave behind familiar structures and cultures?
  • Will my project allow me to delve into a culture other than my own?
  • How will a Watson year challenge me?
  • Is a Watson year realistic for me?

Application process: online 

Application materials:

  • Application form
  • Project proposal 
  • Personal statement
  • Personal photo
  • Transcript(s) uploaded by applicant
  • Recommendations (2 only). Watson recommendations are not conventional hard-copy letters but rather responses to prompts. Recommendations are due by the internal deadline. At least one recommendation must come from a Whitman faculty member.

Campus liaison: Keith Raether

Internal committee: Yes

Internal interview: Yes

Internal nomination required: Yes, Whitman may nominate up to four nominees.

National committee interview:  All nominees are interviewed at Whitman by a member of the Watson selection committee. Interviews are one hour.

Announcement date: March