Phillips Fellowships for Students


Experiences in Global Learning

Application Deadline : 1 February by 11:59 PM 

  Click Here To Apply! 

Through the generous bequest of Charles F. Phillips, fourth president of the College, and Evelyn M. Phillips, the College offers students the opportunity to undertake fellowships in international and other culturally distinct settings. Inspired by the “purposeful, independent exploration” of the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship for graduating seniors, the goals of the Phillips Fellowship Program are to provide current Bates students with:

1) an experience of immersion in another culture,

2) opportunities for extensive research, community engagement, the arts, or career exploration, and

3) unique opportunities for independent intellectual and personal growth.

Phillips Student Fellowships support student-designed 8-10 week projects featuring community engagement, career exploration, volunteer work, arts practice, research, or some combination of these. Most projects are undertaken by individuals, but joint projects may also be considered. Fellowships typically take place during the summer for 8-10 weeks.

Most fellowships take place in international locations. Projects in the United States or in an international student’s home country are considered, but only if the project takes place in a setting that is culturally distinct from the student’s own background and previous experiences.

Recent Phillips Fellowships include: studies of gamelan music, dance, and West Javanese lifestyle through cultural immersion in Indonesia;

–examination of the development of Liberia as a state and its current path to stability;

–volunteer work for Unite for Sight in Ghana with training in global health practices and basic eye care diagnostics;

–production of a film on orangutan conservation and sustainable development efforts in Borneo;

–study of the Holocaust through family history in Poland and Germany

In order to apply, students must have completed at least two semesters and one Short Term at Bates before the Fellowship begins, and must have at least one semester remaining at Bates following completion of the Fellowship. Graduating seniors are not eligible. Joint applications may be submitted for a double award to two eligible individuals whose complementary abilities would enhance the potential of the project. Students must be in good academic standing to receive and carry out a fellowship.  Because the goal of summer grant programs is to contribute to a student’s academic success and persistence at Bates, all summer funding is contingent upon a student maintaining a G.P.A. of at least 2.0.

Grants range from $4,000 – $6,000 ($8,000 – $12,000 for joint projects). More information on preparing a budget is available in the Guidelines for Preparing a Proposal. The Committee will carefully consider and assess each proposal budget, so it is essential to have project costs carefully delineated and well documented.

Academic Credit
Academic credit is not granted for Phillips Fellowships.

Application Procedures
Students pursuing a Phillips Fellowship in Short Term, summer, or fall of next year should begin by discussing their ideas with a faculty member or staff member who can assess the feasibility of the project and the student’s qualifications to undertake it. Students may discuss their proposal with a member of the Selection Committee, but  committee members do not read, review, or edit draft application essays before they are submitted. Students may consult a writing specialist in the Writing at Bates Program for such assistance.

To apply, the student must submit an application form. In the application form, students must upload as a SINGLE combined PDF the following:

  • one-paragraph (NO MORE THAN 100 words!) abstract of the project
  • proposal of two – five pages (no more than 5 pages, double-spaced) describing the project in detail; the participating institutions or individuals, if applicable; the student’s qualifications for the project; the student’s goals for the fellowship; and an assessment of how the project relates to the student’s academic program, intellectual development, or personal transformation. It is important to explain how the proposed fellowship represents a new personal and intellectual challenge for the student. The narrative should also describe what the student will bring back to the campus from the experience. Students whose projects involve the use of animal or human subjects must indicate in the narrative if their project was subject to review by the Animal Care Committee or the Institutional Review Board, and if so, whether the project was approved.
  • complete and totaled budget including travel, housing and living expenses, materials, supplies, equipment, training, subject reimbursement, gratuities, plus an additional supplemental amount no more than  $400/week for up to 10 weeks, etc.
  • letter endorsing the proposal from the Bates faculty or staff sponsor who has been consulted in the process of developing the project. These letters can either be attached in the proposal application or sent separately by the faculty member to Alison Keegan ( 
  • (if applicable) an official endorsement from the site supervisor representing the institution or individual with whom the student will be working and whose approval of the proposal is critical to its success. The letter should describe in detail the role and activities of the student, and should indicate any compensation the student may be receiving from the organization or individual. If the fellowship involves volunteer work or service-learning, the letter of support must state how the agency itself will benefit from the proposed work.

These materials must be submitted via the application web form no later than midnight on the due date stated above.

Transcript: The student applicant does NOT need to submit an official transcript. However, the Dean of the Faculty’s Office will request a transcript for each applicant from the registrar after the deadline, for review by the Phillips selection committee.

Application Signature Permissions: By signing the application form, the student grants permission to the Committee to review the transcript and other academic records pertinent to their decision-making.

Review Process
The Selection Committee reviews all proposals. The Committee reserves the right to request additional information or to contact references. Applicants may be interviewed. The Committee gives preference to proposals demonstrating the greatest student creativity and initiative, the richest international or culturally distinct experience, and the most significant connections to a student’s academic program, intellectual development, and personal goals. The Committee recognizes that students applying for the fellowship have different life experiences; the Committee supports those proposals that encourage intellectual curiosity and are most likely to be transformative experiences for the student.  Fellowship recipients are announced by April 15.

The Phillips Fellowship Committee members include Gina Fatone, Associate Professor of Music; Darren Gallant, Associate Dean and Director of Global Education; Gwen Lexow, Title IX Officer; Patrick Otim, Assistant Professor of History; and Robert Strong, Lecturer in English and Director of National Fellowships.

Fellows’ Responsibilities
 All fellows must submit an electronic abstract and a brief (two pages) final report to no later than two weeks after the completion of the project. Failure to do so will affect future funding from this office.

**Fellows are expected to present a short talk on their experiences to the College community upon their return. **

Guidelines for Preparing a Proposal

The best Phillips Student Fellowship proposals are thoughtful and concise. Your proposal should articulate the particular value to you of the project you propose. Group proposals should indicate the specific strengths and anticipated roles of each member of the group. To develop a strong proposal:

• It is ESSENTIAL that you meet with your academic advisor, department faculty, or any Bates faculty member or staff member with whom you have a good working relationship and who can help you develop your ideas. Discussion with a fellowship sponsor will also help the sponsor prepare a strong letter of support for you. The students who seek sound advice from a faculty or staff mentor usually develop the strongest proposals.

• One of the primary aims of the Phillips Student Fellowship program is to encourage students to take intellectual risks at whatever level is appropriate for the individual student. Proposals demonstrating creativity, originality, and strong student motivation are given preference by the Selection Committee.

• Students who propose to return to a country where they participated in an off-campus study program are generally not funded. Proposals to return to a study-abroad country must demonstrate that the fellowship experiences will be new and transformative.

• If you are working with an institution, government or private agency, corporation, or other organization as part of your project, you must secure a letter of support from that organization or individual, confirming that your activities and goals can be realized as the project is designed. You need to convey your plans to these site sponsors, solicit their reactions, and incorporate their suggestions into your final proposal.

Preparing the Budget
• Fellowships do not exceed $6,000 per person for projects undertaken during the summer (8-10 weeks). The committee carefully considers each proposal budget, and may make adjustments to funded project budgets.

• Equipment–equipment necessary to complete the Fellowship may include books, journals, data sets, maps, scientific equipment, field or data-gathering equipment, computer hardware or software, camera or video equipment, tape recorders, etc.

• Supplies–may include any consumable supplies, including film, paper, postage, etc.

• Air and Ground Travel–may include any air or boat travel; taxis; public transportation; car rental or car mileage. Secure accurate estimate of air travel.

• Lodging–may include hotels, dormitories, rooms, or apartments at project locations. Get as accurate an estimate as possible.

• Food–may include an estimate for meals per day at the project locations.

• Subject/Informant Reimbursement–some research involves consultation or activities with subjects or informants, who are normally paid a nominal fee for their time and effort. Please include the estimated number of subjects and each subject’s projected payment.

• Gratuities–in some cultures, the social custom is to present small gifts as tokens of appreciation or hospitality. Estimate the number and types of gratuities.

• Training–may include short course fees, training sessions, conference registrations, or private lessons.

• Admissions–may include admissions to tours, museums, historic or archaeological sites, libraries, archives, etc.

• Additional supplemental funds–up to $400 / week may also be available, subject to the expense budget .