Carnegie Junior Fellows Award

History   |   Description   |   Eligibility   |    How to   |   Application   |   Recommendation  |  Checklist

History and Purpose

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is the oldest international affairs think tank in the United States. Founded in 1910 by Andrew Carnegie with a gift of $10 million, its charter was to “hasten the abolition of war, the foulest blot upon our civilization.” While that goal was always unattainable, the Carnegie Endowment has remained faithful to the mission of advancing cooperation between nations and promoting active international engagement by the United States. In 2007, a plan to create the world’s first global think tank was launched. Today, the Endowment staffs centers in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, as well as in the US. The Carnegie Endowment is known for excellence in scholarship, responsiveness to changing global circumstances, and a commitment to concrete improvements in public policy.

Description of the Carnegie Junior Fellows Program

Each year the endowment offers approximately ten one-year fellowships to uniquely qualified graduating seniors and alums within one year after their graduation. These “junior fellows” are selected from a pool of nominees from close to 400 participating colleges. Junior fellows are matched with senior associates – academics, former government officials, lawyers, and journalists from around the world – to work on a variety of international affairs issues at the think tank in Washington, DC. Current ongoing research projects include: Democracy, Conflict, and Governance; US Foreign Policy and Diplomacy; Nuclear Policy; Technology and International Affairs/Cyber Policy; Middle East; South Asia; China (Asia Program); Japan (Asia Program); Economics (Asia Program); Russia and Eurasia; Geoeconomics and Strategy. Junior Fellows may conduct research for books, participate in meetings, contribute to congressional testimony, and organize briefings attended by scholars, journalists, and government officials. The program is designed to provide a substantive work experience for students who have a serious career interest in the area of international affairs. All fellowships begin on August 1st and last approximately one year, with a salary of $36,000.00 and a full benefits package.

Eligibility Requirements and Rules for Nomination

Applicants must have/be:

  • graduating seniors or graduates within the last year who have not begun graduate study
  • of any citizenship
  • eligible to work in the US from August 1 through July 31 following graduation. Students on F-1 visas who are eligible to work in the US for the full year may apply
  • able to demonstrate strong writing, mathematic, or language skills in accordance with the fellowship position to which they are applying; presentation skills are also desirable
  • able to demonstrate through essays, related academic study and work/internship experience, grades, recommendations, and personal interviews that they are prepared to do research in the chosen program
  • be nominated by Mount Holyoke College; MHC may nominate up to two candidates per year
  • for some programs, special skills required. These include: Middle East Program-Strong Arabic skills; South Asian Studies-quantitative data manipulation skills and interest in military issues but language skills not required; China Studies-Mandarin Chinese a huge plus; Japan Studies-Japanese reading skills required; Southeast Asian Studies-strong economics background essential; Economics-Mandarin Chinese a huge plus and strong background in economics essential; Russian/Eurasian Studies-excellent Russian reading skills required.

How to apply

Applications are not available from the website. They are sent to the National Fellowships Advisor in early October. Students who wish to apply for the Carnegie must request an application from the National Fellowships Advisor and are encouraged to work with the National Fellowships Advisor on preparing the application. Applicants should also seek advice on Essay #2 from a faculty member in their major field. The National Fellowships Advisor submits the application to the Committee on Fellowships. The Committee, made up of four faculty members and chaired by the Dean of Studies, reviews applications, interviews each candidate, and decides which candidates will be nominated. The two nominees will then revise their application materials as suggested, and submit them to the National Fellowships Advisor who will then send them to the Carnegie Endowment. National Fellowships Senior Administrative Assistant Marianne Taylor maintains records, schedules appointments, and co-facilitates the application process.

Application components

  • application form - a one-page document where the candidate lists biographical data, choice of research program, language proficiency, availability (for interviews and work), and graduation date. Carnegie Junior Fellows Award Application.
  • Essay #1 Personal Statement (1 page or less, double spaced) on why the candidate wishes to become a junior fellow. Carnegie advises: Make it personal. Tell a story that reveals your personality and demonstrates something unique about yourself. Think of this statement as a jumping off point for a great conversation during the interview.
  • 1-2 page resume
  • Two recommendation letters from anyone who can best speak to your abilities as a potential Junior Fellow
  • Transcript of undergraduate records (may be unofficial; fellowships advisor can access the MHC transcript but all others – study abroad or summer study – must be ordered and sent to fellowships office
  • Essay #2 Issues Essay (no more than three double-spaced pages) on one of the topics listed in the application. Topics are intended to test skills in analysis, logic, and written expression. As such they are thought pieces, not research papers. Students should choose the topic related to their primary research interest, although Carnegie reserves the right to make an assignment to a different program or to more than one program. Prior to the October release of each year’s application, students may consult with the National Fellowships Advisor to learn what questions were posed in previous years.


Carnegie seeks the following in recommendation letters: Generally, Carnegie wants your assessment of the candidate’s intellectual capacity, their ability to write clearly, and to speak confidently and articulately. They want to know if the candidate is mature, reliable, and skillful as a researcher. More specifically, they want to know the breadth and depth of the candidate's background in the content area of their research (the applicant chooses one of several research areas) and how well-developed the candidate's quantitative or language skills are (if required). In short, if you would jump at the chance to have this student as your research assistant, tell them why. Read more about recommendation letters for national fellowships.

Format and submission: Please print your letter on institutional letterhead, including your contact information, and sign it. Then please send either a hard copy by USPS or inter-department mail, or scan the letter and send by e-mail attachment to the National Fellowships Advisor by Friday, November 30th (Address: National Fellowships Advisor, 300C Mary Lyon Hall, Mount Holyoke College, 50 College Street, South Hadley, MA 01075). If the student is endorsed by the College, the National Fellowships Advisor will send your letter to Carnegie along with the applicant’s other materials by the final deadline.

Campus Process and Checklist

Please note that for all deadlines, submission time is 12:00 noon

Timeframe Task(s) to Complete
 Fall Regularly read articles on the Carnegie Endowment website, as well as, current news reports on area of interest

Attend an information session or meet with the National Fellowships Advisor to discuss the Carnegie Junior Fellows Award; order Study Abroad transcripts and any transcripts from summer or other undergraduate study and send them to the National Fellowships Advisor; request application with essay questions from the National Fellowships Advisor; ask two faculty members in your field (or a faculty member and a research supervisor) if they will recommend you and notify them of early deadline

By Dec 2
  • Send application, essays, and all related materials (electronically) to the National Fellowships Advisor
  • faculty recommendations are due to the National Fellowships Advisor; may be sent electronically via email attachment
Dec 5-9
  • Interview with the Committee on Fellowships
  • selections are made following interviews
  • National Fellowships Advisor notifies candidates of selection decisions; nominees begin revising materials based on Committee recommendations
By Jan 9
  • Nominees submit final application materials to the National Fellowships Advisor (can be in electronic format)
  • recommendations should be printed on letterhead, signed and can then be scanned and sent to the National Fellowships Advisor
  • National Fellowships Advisor submits electronically to Carnegie by January 15th
February-March Carnegie Selection Committees invites to interview 3-4 applicants per position via Skype; MHC finalists have practice interviews on campus
By March 31 Decisions are made and candidates notified directly; please forward notification (email) to the National Fellowships Advisor
August 1 Junior Fellows begin Carnegie internship