A Thomas J. Watson Fellowship provides a one year grant of $40,000 for purposeful, independent study and travel outside the United States.
Graduating seniors, including U.S. citizens and international students, are eligible to apply. Prospective applicants are strongly encouraged to schedule a meeting with Jason Chan to discuss their interest as early in the process as possible.
- Intent to Apply Deadline: July 1, 2023
- Haverford Campus Deadline: October 1, 2023
- Watson Official Deadline: early November 2023
What is the Watson Fellowship?
A Watson Year provides fellows with an opportunity to test their aspirations, abilities and perseverance through a personal project that is cultivated on an international scale. The Fellowship offers college graduates a year of independent, purposeful exploration and travel—in international settings new to them—to enhance their capacity for resourcefulness, imagination, openness, and leadership and to foster their humane and effective participation in the world community.
Am I a Good Fit?
The Watson seeks candidates of “unusual promise” who have a genuine curiosity and long-standing interest in the question or topic they wish to pursue during their Watson year. Candidates should demonstrate the following qualities: leadership, imagination, independence, emotional maturity, courage, integrity, resourcefulness, and responsibility.
Applicants must also be willing to commit to a 4-5 month application process spanning approximately July through November.
How to Apply: Timeline and Process
Below is the recommended timeline for students interested in applying for the 2024-2025 grant year. Remember: early preparation is key to a strong Watson application!
Review the Watson website and watch the online webinar to familiarize yourself with the program. Check out the profiles of past recipients to get a sense of what Watson projects look like. (Learn more about Haverford’s past Watson fellows!)
Begin reflecting on why the Watson program may be a good fit for you, your learning, and your personal growth. These suggested reflection prompts may help jumpstart your thought process.
Explore potential host countries/cities and begin brainstorming ideas/themes for the Project Proposal and Personal Statement. Review the instructions for both statements so you know what you would need to include.
Meet with Jason Chan to discuss your project ideas.
July 1, 2023
Submit the “Intent to Apply” form so CCPA is aware you’re applying and can provide guidance, support, and updates throughout the application process. Submitting this form will also provide you access to the Watson online application portal and see what information the application is requesting.
Begin working on the Project Proposal and Personal Statement.
Research your proposed countries and travel locations, including potential organizations, communities, people, and events to connect with. Make initial contact with promising prospects.
Submit initial outlines/drafts of your Project Proposal and Personal Statement for review and feedback.
September 1, 2023
Submit revised drafts of your essays for review and feedback.
Request recommendation letters from two recommenders, at least one of which must be from a Haverford or Bryn Mawr faculty member. Provide your recommenders with the following link to the recommendation form:
October 1, 2023
Haverford’s Campus Application Deadline
Applications should be saved on the Watson online portal and include:
- Personal Information
- Project Proposal
- Personal Statement
- Activities and Employment
- Travel History and Language Proficiency
- Unofficial Transcript
- Budget and Contact List (use the “Supplemental Material” section to share a link to a Google folder)
Recommenders should submit their recommendations by this date as well.
Early October 2023
A campus committee of faculty, staff, and alumni reviews applications and selects candidates to interview.
If selected to interview, meet with the campus committee to discuss your motivations and qualifications for your proposed project and your fit for a Watson fellowship.
The committee selects four students as Haverford’s nominees for the national competition.
Late October 2023
If selected as a nominee, continue to revise your application based on feedback from the committee.
Early November 2023
Watson Official Deadline
Applications are due via the Watson online portal.
Nov. 2023 — Jan. 2024
Nominees will participate in an one-hour, on-campus interview with a representative from the Watson Foundation.
March 15, 2024