Application Deadlines and Procedures

Details for 2021 Recruitment will be posted by mid-August 2020.

Submit Letter of Intent to Apply Online (mid-September)
All eligible doctoral students must submit a Letter of Intent to Apply, after securing the endorsement of their faculty advisor. All letters must be submitted online at and include the following:

  1. Student name and contact information
  2. Name of a faculty advisor
  3. Name of at least one additional recommender
  4. Letter of Intent (PDF)

The short letter of intent (250 words or less) should include the items listed above, and a short description of how you are devoted to developing and implementing innovative ideas in pursuit of sustainability, and how you are actively pursuing interdisciplinary research addressing critical sustainability challenges in any U-M department, interdisciplinary program, school or college with an approved doctoral program.


  • Each faculty member may endorse only one doctoral student advisee per year.
  • Home units have the option to remove students from consideration at any time during the application process.

Submit Full Application Online (early October)
Eligible doctoral students who have submitted a Letter of Intent by the deadline must submit all required fellowship application materials online using the link emailed to them with their Letter of Intent submission confirmation email.

Applicants must submit their full application as a single PDF file that includes a research statement, critical thinking essay, CV and transcripts in accordance with the following guidelines:

  1. The research statement, limited to 1,000 words, should clearly describe for a broad audience the nature of the applicant’s doctoral research, and specifically how it:
    1. addresses one or more critical sustainability challenge;
    2. summarize work that is applied and engaged in the real world; and
    3. research efforts that are interdisciplinary, multi-sectoral and collaborative.

    Note: Scholarly references are not included in the word limit.

  2. The critical thinking essay, limited to 250 words, and should answer the following question: In what ways does fostering a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community affect pathways to sustainability?”
  3. The curriculum vitae should include the following information:
    1. Educational background
    2. Relevant work history
    3. Major awards and honors received
    4. Membership in professional organizations
    5. Complete list of publications and presentations (accepted, submitted, etc.)
    6. Notable outreach and engagement efforts
  4. Transcripts of all graduate and undergraduate coursework must be included. Unofficial transcripts are acceptable.

Recommendation Letters

Recommendation Letters Due (early October)
Students do not submit letters of recommendation as part of their application package. The Intent to Apply submission triggers an email request for a U-M Faculty Advisor and one additional recommender (U-M or other institution faculty) to submit a supporting letter on behalf of the student. Please do not seek more than two recommendation letters, including the U-M Faculty Advisor letter of support (required).

What to Ask Recommenders

  • Explain why this doctoral student is a strong candidate for the Dow Sustainability Fellows Program.
  • Comment on the doctoral student's research productivity, communication, teamwork, and interpersonal skills.  
  • Also, see the Selection Criteria.

All applications will be handled confidentially.


The Graham Sustainability Institute administers the Dow Sustainability Fellows Program.