How to Apply

Thank you for your interest in the Jennings Randolph (JR) Peace Scholarship Dissertation Program! The United States Institute of Peace is dedicated to supporting advanced research from top academics in a variety of fields that contribute to a wider understanding of how to manage conflict and build sustainable peace effectively. Each year the program awards approximately five to six Peace Scholar Fellowships. Fellowships last for 10 months, starting in September. Fellowships are open to citizens of any country.

Current Peace Scholar, Yelena Biberman, at a seminar on “Understanding Pakistan” with Indian and Pakistani scholars and government officials in Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.

Proposals from all disciplines and on a wide range of topics related to peacebuilding are welcome, but there are several criteria which, if met, that will strengthen proposals. First, please note that proposals should be consistent with the Institute’s Mission and present a research agenda with clear relevance to policy issues. Historical topics are appropriate if they promise to shed light on contemporary issues. Area studies projects and single-case studies will be competitive if they focus on conflict and conflict resolution and/or apply to other regions and cases around the world, or both. To be competitive, applicants must make persuasive links between theoretical, practical and policy orientations, and between their projects and the Mission and work of the United States Institute of Peace. Second, the Institute's annual strategic objectives for the next year include two major cross-cutting themes: 1) Addressing Fragility, Strengthening Resilience, within which there are three sub-themes of a) Inclusive Politics, b) Delivering Security and c) Access to Justice; and 2) Alternatives to Extremist Violence. While selected applications will not be limited to these themes, persuasive arguments that the proposed research will increase usable knowledge about one or more of them will strengthen the application in the eyes of reviewers.

Peace Scholar awards may not be made for projects that constitute policymaking for a government agency or private organization, focus to any substantial degree on conflicts within U.S. domestic society or adopt a partisan, advocacy or activist stance.

Profiles of current and past Peace Scholars and their projects are available.

For information or questions, contact the USIP Fellowship staff at: No phone calls please.

Eligible Candidates

Citizens of any country may apply. Applicants must be enrolled in recognized doctoral programs (for example, Ph.D., S.J.D., Ed.D., Th.D.) in accredited universities in the United States. Successful candidates must have completed all course work and examinations towards their doctoral degrees by the time their fellowship begins.

Selection Process

Peace Scholar applications are vetted through a rigorous, multi-stage review that includes consideration by independent experts and professional staff at the Institute. The final authority for decisions about Peace Scholar awards rests with the Institute’s Board of Directors.

Selection Criteria

In addition to the considerations listed above, selection of fellowship candidates is based on the following criteria:

  • Project significance: Does the project address an important topic of relevance to the USIP mission and the field of international peacebuilding and conflict management and analysis?
  • Policy and/or practitioner relevance: Does the project demonstrate links to policy and practice in the fields of conflict management, conflict analysis and peacebuilding?
  • Project Design: Is the project soundly conceived? Does it identify a key problem to be analyzed and does it have a clear methodology?
  • Potential as a Peace Scholar: What is the applicant’s record of achievement and/or leadership potential? What is the applicant’s capacity to benefit from and make professional use of the fellowship experience in subsequent years?

Terms of Award

Peace Scholar Awards are currently set at $20,000 per academic year and are paid directly to the individual. Peace Scholar awards may not be deferred. They generally may not be combined with any other major residential award or fellowship except with the written approval of the Institute.

Peace Scholars carry out their fellowship work at their universities or other sites appropriate to their research. They are expected to devote full attention to their work and provide periodic reports to the Institute. Peace Scholars may be invited to give a presentation at the Institute, to work with Institute staff to present their work on the USIP website via an interview with a USIP staff member or their own writing, and/or to participate in Institute workshops, conferences and other activities.

Please note that the Peace Scholarship Program has added a new requirement for awardees: each awardee of a 2017-2018 Jennings Randolph Peace Scholarship will be required to submit a short (2-5 pp) report on his or her research topic and the work completed during the fellowship year by May 31 of the fellowship year. The report should be written in a style that policy makers and the informed public can understand. The new requirement is a response to interest in the work of the Peace Scholars and how their dissertation topics can contribute to international peace and conflict management.

The 2017-2018 Peace Scholarship fellowship competition is now OPEN. The updated application deadline is Tuesday, November 22, 2016 by 6:00pm/18:00 EST. Please note that the application form is set to close precisely at that time. We strongly advise you to leave a substantial amount of time to prepare and submit your application. We cannot consider requests for late submission. To start the application, please click on the “Apply Now” button below:

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