Scholarships •

April 4, 2023

Complete guide to the Watson Fellowship

The Watson Fellowship is a unique program that helps cover the costs of travel and worldly education after you graduate.

Watson Fellowship Logo

This guide will cover the essentials of the Watson Fellowship, including eligibility requirements, how to apply, and how much financial support you can receive.

We’ll also discuss some similar scholarships you might be eligible for.

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What is the Watson Fellowship?

The Watson Foundation was founded in 1961 in honor of Tom Watson, one of the early CEOs and chairmen of IBM. 

The Foundation created the Watson Fellowship to provide graduating college students with a year to "explore with thoroughness a particular interest, test their aspirations and abilities, view their lives and American society in greater perspective, and, concomitantly, develop a more informed sense of international concern.”

Thomas J

The scholarship gives awardees a 1-year stipend of $36,000, provides health insurance, and handles payments on student loans for 1 year. During the year after the recipient graduates, they spend a year traveling outside of the United States, attending fellows’ events, and submitting reports to the Foundation.

How to apply for the Watson Fellowship

Here, we’ll cover what you need to know to apply for the Watson Fellowship.

Eligibility requirements

Before you submit an application, make sure you meet these eligibility requirements.

  • Be a US Citizen or international student

  • Apply in the year you’re receiving your degree

  • Receive a nomination from one of the Foundation’s 41 partner institutions

The application

If you plan to apply for the Watson Fellowship, you’ll have to work with your campus advisor.

The application consists of these stages:

  • Ensure eligibility

  • Meet with your campus advisor

  • Complete the application, including:

    • Your Personal Statement - What has convinced you to apply for the Watson Fellowship? How do you hope to benefit from the year?

    • Your Project Proposal - Your project must sustain your interest amidst the highs and lows of a year in unfamiliar places. What is your plan for the 12-month period? What opportunities and challenges are unique to your project?

  • Obtain 2 Recommendations

  • Provide transcript

  • Complete the campus selection process

Nominees will also complete a 1-hour interview with a Foundation representative. This is a very important part of the process, so make sure to be prepared so you can do as well as possible in the interview.

Important dates to remember

These are the essential dates to remember for the Watson Fellowship.

  • Applications open: Varies based on your school

  • National selection begins: November

  • Awards announced: Mid-March

Other scholarships like the Watson Fellowship

The Watson Fellowship is a very unique opportunity that lets students travel the world and learn in the year after they graduate. If you’re a top student and looking for programs with similar visions and missions, consider these other awards.

  • Barry Goldwater Scholarship

  • The Truman Scholarship

  • The NHS Scholarship

Mos can help you get started applying for both government financial aid and scholarships, like the Watson Fellowship. Join us now.

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