Frequently Asked Questions

Dow Master’s/Professional Fellows Application Process

Can I apply at any time during graduate school?

No. If you are in a 2-year masters program, you must apply your first year because you need to be a student for the duration of the fellowship. If you are a 3-year dual-degree masters student, you may apply your first or second year.

Why does my application to my school/college look a little different than the final Dow Fellows application?

Each school/college has a specific process to determine the students they would like to nominate for the Dow Sustainability Fellows Program. Some schools/colleges require the same materials as the Dow Program guidelines.

How many students can be nominated by my school/college?

Each school/college may nominate up to 10 students.

How many letters of reference should I submit?

Two references need to be submitted. At least one reference needs to be from a U-M faculty member in your respective school/college and the other letter can be professors from another institution, supervisors, etc. All letters are confidential and submitted separately from other application materials provided by nominees. All letters and application materials must be submitted online. The application review committee will consider just two letters per applicant. All letters should be addressed to the Dow Fellows Application Review Committee.

Do I need to contact my references need to submit a letter?

If you are nominated by your school/college, contact your references as soon as possible to ask for a letter of support, including commenting on your work, scholarly and leadership potential, communication, teamwork, and interpersonal skills. On your full application (submitted online), list the names and contact information of no more than two references. They will be contacted and informed that you have listed them as a reference and provided the details to submit their confidential letter online. Applicants will not have access to reference letters, but the faculty review team will have access to the letters, as part of the full application package. Reviewers will only consider two letters for each applicant.

What is the duration of an appointment as a Dow Fellow?

January through December, with project activities continuing through the summer months. Program events and other meetings are scheduled during the Fall and Winter terms. Many events are scheduled on Monday evenings and some are scheduled for the weekend (Welcome Retreat & Symposium).

If I am chosen to be a Dow Fellow, will I receive the $20,000 stipend right away?

The $20,000 stipend is disbursed in increments of $10,000 per semester to the fellow’s school/college. Each student will receive $10,000 for the winter semester in which they begin the program. However, with the holiday break shortening the fund transfer timeline, students should work their school/college financial aid office to coordinate tuition support. Receipt of the second $10,000 is contingent upon sufficient progress to date and is transferred July-August. All fellow stipends are disbursed to students from the school/college.

Funds from the Dow Fellows Program will be disbursed directly to the fellow’s home school/college. Due to the annual end of year university closure, (between December 24 and January 1st) the funding transfer process and departmental posting of funds may be delayed. Also, the application review process may result in funding transfer delays.

We recommend that students contact their school/college financial aid office as soon as they are selected as a Dow Master’s Fellow if they wish to use their award for tuition and registration fees at the start of the winter term.

If I am chosen to be a Dow Master’s Fellow, how can I spend the $20,000 stipend?

The $20,000 is intended to be used as a tuition stipend. If a fellow wishes to use their stipend for another purpose, they should consult with their school/college financial aid officer and their academic advisor.

Do I need to have a specific project idea in mind when I submit my application?

Fellows are invited but not required to submit a project idea (pitch), related to one of the six Dow Fellows Program Sustainability Topics, including 1) food systems, 2) cities, 3) infrastructure, 4) mobility, 5) consumption, or 6) energy systems. Project teams are formed based in part on topical interest. All Fellows pitching a project idea must secure a client. Other projects will be proposed, including continuing projects that previous teams have worked on, and client-proposed projects with a specific need identified.