What Is a Fellowship?

“Fellowship” is a generic term that encompasses globally and nationally competitive grants, scholarships, and similar funding opportunities. Typically, fellowships fund study, research, or teaching in the U.S. or abroad. Fellowships are an investment in your future, not a reward for previous work. They exist to help you develop yourself personally, professionally and academically. 

Learn more about the fellowships we most frequently support.

There is no perfect fellowship candidate.

Fellowships invest in people who show promise. But promise is much more than a GPA, a fancy internship or the university name on your transcript. Those are résumé achievements that reflect the past. Promise is about trajectory. It’s about the lessons you’ve learned from your achievements that you’re taking into your future. It’s your story of becoming. There are no perfect stories, just ones that are honest, rich and heartfelt. 

Read about past MU fellowship recipients.

You can start now.

Fellowships aren’t just for seniors. We have five awards that freshmen commonly apply for. Many are open to graduate students. Some seek students from specific disciplines. Many seek students from any discipline. Make an appointment with a fellowships adviser — or check Engage for an upcoming workshop — to find the awards that fit you and your goals. Even if can’t apply for the award you want for another two years, that will give you the chance to think and prepare. You’ll be stronger for it.

Everyone can win.

The sooner you start the fellowship process and the more deeply you engage in it, the more purposefully you will be able to shape your college experience and your academic and professional trajectory. The fellowships process helps students explore their interests, build their skills, articulate their goals and develop mentor relationships. That’s something everyone can win, even if they never receive a fellowship. Learn more about professional development and the fellowship process.

Ready?

Kobi Hamby stands in front of a small propellor airplane.
Kobi Hamby, a Gilman Scholarship recipient, studied abroad in Japan.