The URI Campus Process for Prestigious National and International Postgraduate Fellowships (except Fulbright)

If you would like to explore applying for prestigious postgraduate fellowship awards to support graduate studies in the US, UK, Ireland, Canada, or China, contact the Office of National Fellowships to get started. National deadlines are at least a full year in advance of the program’s begin date and take months of preparation prior to that. Ideally, you will start drafting your application in the late spring and summer (of the calendar year prior to the program start date), so that it can go through multiple revisions and strong letters of recommendation can be obtained.

The first step involves assessing your fit to the mission of an award and how well you meet the selection criteria. You can use this overview spreadsheet to get started. There are also recorded webinars available on the websites of most programs, which can help you to get a feel of the program and fit.

The second step will be to determine which graduate programs at which institutions in which countries are a strong match to your interests and background, as well as your future plans. The Director of National Fellowships, Kathleen Maher, will guide you through these initial steps. Reach out to her at as soon as possible once you have reviewed the various awards and eligibility requirements.

Most of these awards require nomination/endorsement. The campus deadline for consideration is the last Monday in August each year. However, you are strongly encouraged to work with national fellowships advisor Kathleen Maher and faculty mentors throughout the summer.  A preliminary application to start the process, which is not mandatory but useful, should be submitted between April 1st and July 1st of the year in which you plan to apply.

A completed preliminary application consists of the following items:

      1. Online application
        • Includes contact information for up to eight possible references who could be called upon for future letters of recommendation. At least four should be academic faculty members, but we also encourage you to list several off-campus references of relevance (e.g. internship supervisor). Please do not list TAs or graduate students, however they are able to provide content to their supervisor/PI to include in their letter, or could co-sign a letter with the supervisor/PI.
        • The application includes two short-answer 400 essays: a statement of professional aspirations and a discussion of your proposed degree program.
      2. Resume/list of college activities and honors
        Include honors & awards, scholarships, research experience, international study, leadership experiences, offices held, athletic participation, extracurricular interests, presentations, publications and substantial activities.
      3. Printout of your URI Unofficial Transcript (available on e-Campus)
        • Transcripts from other institutions attended (copies ok)
        • A transcript is needed for any grade appearing as a “T”. Includes community colleges, transfer credits, study abroad, etc.
          Exception: No transcript is needed for Advanced Placement coursework.
      4. All applicants must also authorize release of their Student Conduct Records from the URI Office of Community Standards to the URI Office of National Fellowships by filling out a request at Final decisions regarding nomination/endorsement will not be made until records have been released. (In the event that you do not have a record, the Office of Community Standards will be able to confirm this fact.) As an institutional member of the National Association of Fellowships Advisors (NAFA), applicants are also required to review and adhere to the NAFA Code of Ethics.

After submission of the preliminary application, the Director of National Fellowships will meet with you to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your proposal and make recommendations for improvement and may suggest alternative or additional programs to explore or to delay application until a subsequent cycle.

If you are encouraged to proceed in this cycle, the required campus deadline for fully drafted applications for EACH award to which you are applying will be due the last Monday in August, including letters of recommendation. In the interim you should seek guidance and feedback from Kathleen Maher and your faculty mentors. Expect to go through many revisions prior to this deadline. In the case of the Rhodes and Mitchell Scholarships, note that we cannot provide any feedback on your essays, but can discuss other aspects of the application with you.

Following the campus deadline, the Prestigious Postgraduate Fellowships Committee will review application materials and interview candidates. Based on the interviews and application materials, the committee will finalize URI’s nominations to the Marshall, Mitchell, and Rhodes scholarships and prepare institutional letters of nomination. We will also provide guidance on any applications prepared for other awards (including, but not limited to, Gates Cambridge, Knight-Hennessy, NSF GRFP, Schwarzman, Soros, and Yenching), which do not require endorsement, as well as for the Fulbright, which has a separate campus process.

The final application deadline is determined by the funding agencies themselves.