Watson Fellowship

Program Website

Description: The Thomas J. Watson Fellowship is a one-year grant for purposeful, independent exploration outside the United States, awarded to graduating seniors nominated by one of 40 colleges including Wesleyan University. The Watson Fellowship allows fellows to engage with their deepest interest on a global scale. Fellows create and develop original projects and embark on the journey for a year. Fellows decide where to go, who to meet, and when to change course. The program aims to produce a year of personal insight, perspective, and confidence that shapes the arc of fellows’ lives. Each year Wesleyan may nominate four candidates.

Award: A stipend of $36,000 for one year. The foundation provides health insurance (through reimbursement) and the equivalent of 12 months of payments on outstanding institutional and federally guaranteed (Perkins, Stafford) loans.


  • Graduating senior nominated by one of 40 partner colleges
  • All citizenships 
  • All majors and fields of inquiry

Application Materials:

  • Online application, including:
    • Personal Statement - What has convinced you to apply for the Watson? What do you hope to benefit from the year? (1,500 words)
    • Project Proposal - Your project must sustain your interest amidst the highs and lows of a year in unfamiliar places. What is your plan for the 12-month period? What opportunities and challenges are unique to your project? (1,500 words)
  • 2 Recommendations
  • Transcript 

Selection Criteria: 

  • Leadership
  • Imagination
  • Independence
  • Emotional Maturity
  • Courage
  • Integrity
  • Resourcefulness
  • Responsibility