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Watson Fellowship


Application period: May to November 2024
Initial Campus deadline: Sunday, October 6, 2024
Campus interviews: October 18 or 19, 2024 (TBD)
Final campus deadline: Wednesday, October 30, 2024
National deadline: Wednesday, November 6, 2024 (9:00 a.m. PT)
Watson Foundation interview of Whitman nominees: November 2024 to February 2025 (TBD)
NOTE: Campus nomination process

Eligibility requirements:

  • Seniors only
  • International students eligible
  • Nomination by Watson campus (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 $40,000. The Foundation will also 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
  • Budget
  • Recommendations (2 only). Watson recommendations are not conventional letters but rather responses to prompts that are provided by the Watson Foundation. Recommendations are due by the internal deadline. At least one recommendation must come from a Whitman faculty member.

Campus liaison: Director for Fellowships and Grants

Campus committee: Yes

Campus interview: Yes, 25-minutes in length

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

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

Announcement date: Mid-March

Fellowships and Grants
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