Program Requirements and Guidelines

Application Materials and Deadlines for the 2021 Cohort will be published at the end of August, in 2020. All application materials, including letters, must be submitted online.

The appointment of Dow Master’s and Professional Fellows is for 12 months (January-December). Fellows are expected to participate in a variety of program events, including but not limited to:

  • First or Second Saturday in January 2021 - Full-day Retreat: Masters and Doctoral cohorts are expected to participate in a welcome to the program, networking, and discussion retreat, and learn about program expectations. Masters Fellows will learn more about the interdisciplinary project, a major focus of the program. Fellows are encouraged but not required to propose a project before the retreat.
  • Monday Evenings (5:15 - 7:30 PM): Hold open this time during the winter and fall semesters for required skill sessions, cohort networking, and meetings with project teams and consultants.
  • Early December - Full-day Symposium: A culminating event, all Dow Fellows will present a summary of their work. 

The full schedule of Dow Fellows Program events, in addition to resources and key documents, are posted on a Canvas website (Access is granted, once accepted to the program). All events are designed to be Zero Waste, with efforts to reduce food and other waste.

Requirements and Responsibilities

All Dow Sustainability Master’s Fellows Must:

  • Reside in the Ann Arbor area for the duration of the academic year during the program period (May-August excluded). Reasonable absences for fieldwork may be allowed but must be disclosed to and approved by the Dow Fellows Program Leaders(Director or Manager) in advance. Awards may be revoked if the fellow fails to fully disclose and seek approval for absences.
  • Be enrolled and in good standing in a U-M, Ann Arbor, terminal masters or professional degree program throughout their participation in the Dow Fellows program.
  • Actively participate in the cohort and skill-building activities, including program workshops, skill sessions, and seminars. Fellows who are unable to attend a required program event for any reason must notify the Dow Fellows Program Leaders in advance. Key Events:
    • Seminars & Skill Sessions: Scheduled on Monday evenings, from 5:15 PM - 7:30 PM
    • Full-Day Events: 1) Retreat and Welcome in early January (Saturday); and 2) Annual Dow Fellows Symposium in early December (Saturday)
    • Meetings: Meetings with project teams, clients, stakeholders, and consultants are scheduled as needed and are incorporated into a project timeline.

    PARTICIPATION: Past Fellows consistently reflect on the interaction with an interdisciplinary cohort as being among the highest value program experiences. Full student attendance at required events is critical to program success. Toward this end, we set and communicate dates for key program activities significantly in advance so that students have adequate time to schedule other activities and avoid conflicts. The Dow Fellows Program has reduced the number of requirements overall and is allowing for greater flexibility in scheduling co-curricular events. These efforts are designed to reduce conflicts with program engagement. Please be advised that students who choose not to participate consistently in required events run the risk of losing Fellows funding and may not be able to continue with the program.

  • Manage an interdisciplinary team project, engaging a client, stakeholders, and consultants. Fellows form interdisciplinary teams (4-6 fellows each) to develop and execute a project for a client over the course of the year. Each Fellow should prepare to spend approximately 150 hours on an interdisciplinary team project, working in collaboration with a client or community external to the University of Michigan. Fellows teams work with a variety of local-global clients and communities. Teams are required to develop and submit a scope of work and a budget based on client needs. Teams create a comprehensive analysis of options focusing on the following six sustainability areas: food systems, cities, infrastructure, mobility, consumption, and energy systems. Project outputs include but are not limited to a written report available to the public, a summary and an oral presentation of project outcomes at the conclusion of the project. Other outputs include videos, infographics, photo essays, online applications, software, and other products/services. Teams will present their findings at the annual Dow Sustainability Fellows Symposium.
  • All Fellows project teams must:
  1. Submit a Project Proposal (scope of work and budget) and a project report to the Dow Fellows Program for review, and present a project summary at the Symposium.
  2. Engage their colleagues, advisor, and client throughout the project duration. Engagement with the full project team (Fellows, advisors and clients/stakeholders/partners) is essential to the success of an interdisciplinary and collaborative project and the overall Fellows Program experience.
  3. Abide by All Applicable U-M Policies (e.g., Academic Integrity, Conflict of Interest/Commitment Procurement and Expenses, and Research with Human Participants), including any non-academic codes and policies of their respective units and the academic integrity policy of the Program for the entirety of their engagement in the Dow Sustainability Fellows Program, all fellows. Failure to adhere to these policies may result in revocation of their fellowship.
  4. Ensure the materials produced during participation in the Dow Fellows Program are available to the public, including reports and summaries, recommendations, toolkits, applications, graphics, presentations, and other work. All project reports will be published on the Dow Fellows Program website.


Each Dow Masters Fellow receives up to $20,000, contingent upon satisfactory participation in the program. Award disbursement:

  • One $10,000 payment is disbursed to academic units prior to the start of the academic terms (December and August) for posting to student accounts.
  • These awards are intended to offset tuition, registration, and related fees.
  • Fellows should notify their financial aid office in their home unit as soon as they are selected that they wish to use their Dow Fellows award at the start of the winter term.
  • A fellow who would like to use the funds for any other purpose should consult with the financial aid office in their home unit to determine if payments can be posted as “refundable,” which may have federal and state tax implications for the fellow.
  • The University of Michigan’s Graham Sustainability Institute administers and supports the Dow Doctoral Fellows program. The Graham Institue manages the request for nominations process, disburses all stipend funds to departments, and oversees project and program expenditures.

Additional Support for Project Teams: Each project team may receive up to $5,000 in additional support for client/community engagement, contingent upon the submission and approval of a project proposal and budget. Teams and individual fellows may also apply for additional funds, as available. 

Academic Credit: Individual fellows are encouraged to work with their home schools or colleges and explore opportunities aligning their project work with degree requirements.

All unexpended funds remain the property of the Dow Fellows Program.

Acknowledgment of Support

Please use the following acknowledgment in reports, presentations, papers and with the news media: This work was supported by Dow and the University of Michigan (U-M), through the Dow Sustainability Fellows Program U-M.