USIP's Peace Scholar Fellowship program awards non-residential fellowships to PhD candidates enrolled at U.S. universities who are writing doctoral dissertations on topics related to conflict management, peacebuilding and security studies. Since 1988, the program has supported the dissertations of 408 scholars, many of whom have gone on to distinguished careers in research, higher education, and policy making.
This program partners with the Minerva Research Initiative to support additional fellowships. Currently, the program awards up to 18 fellowships per year, and awards support both research and writing stages of work on dissertations.
Applications from members of groups traditionally under-represented in the field of international relations, peace and conflict studies, security studies, and other related academic disciplines, as well as diplomacy and international policymaking, are strongly encouraged.
USIP seeks applications from Ph.D. candidates with high-quality, policy relevant research that will deepen understanding about conflict management, peacebuilding and other applicable security-related studies. USIP strongly prefers applications closely related to the USIP Issue Areas and/or research priorities of the Minerva Research Initiative.
Special consideration will be given to proposed research in the following areas*:
- Strategic rivalry
- Global shocks and fragility
- The American approach to peacebuilding
*See the USIP FY’24 Congressional Budget Justification for more information about the Institute’s key priorities and initiatives.
Registration and Application Process
Applying for the Peace Scholar Fellowship competition is a two-step process.
REGISTRATION: All applicants must have registered for this competition even if you have registered previously for another USIP competition.
APPLICATION: After completing the registration, applicants must prepare and submit a complete application. USIP does not provide status updates on submitted applications at any time.
- Registration opened: Thursday, September 7, 2023
- Registration closed: Thursday, November 16, 2023 at 4:00PM EDT
- Application deadline: Tuesday, November 28, 2023 at 4:00PM EDT
- Letters of reference due: Tuesday, December 5, 2023 at 4:00PM EDT
Applications will be selected based on the strength of the proposed research and its potential to make original contributions to the field by addressing one of the key initiatives or research priorities listed in the links above.
Applications that are not relevant to the priorities or issue areas of USIP or the Minerva Research Initiative will not be considered for the competition.
Peace Scholar Fellowship Details
USIP funds up to 18 Peace Scholars for a 10-month, non-residential fellowship. Peace Scholars receive stipends of up to $20,000 paid directly to the individual in three tranches. Peace Scholar awards may not be deferred.
Peace Scholars are required to participate in an annual workshop, in-person in Washington, D.C. in Fall 2024. The Peace Scholar is required to submit a copy of their completed and committee approved dissertation to USIP at PeaceScholarFellows@usip.org.
For more information, see the Peace Scholar Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). Please direct questions about usage of USIP’s online application system to PeaceScholarFellows@usip.org.
All application materials must be submitted on FLUXX.
The application includes the following sections:
- A confirmation of your eligibility, must be a Ph.D. candidate enrolled at a U.S. university.
- Your personal and contact information
- Letters of recommendation
- Curriculum Vitae
- Optional links to publications
Questions for the 2024-2025 USIP Peace Scholar Fellowship application
Applicants are required to complete the four sections below.
Contribution. What is innovative about the research? What unique contribution will the project make towards advancing the fields of conflict management, peacebuilding and related security studies? How does your research enhance USIP’s and/or Minerva’s understandings of the social, cultural, behavioral and/or political forces that shape the issues and dynamics of conflict? (2,500 characters)
Relevance. State how your dissertation intersects with the USIP mission, and/or the Minerva Research Initiative mission. Describe the relevance of your project to the theory, policy or practice of the fields of conflict management, peacebuilding and related security studies. Applications that are not relevant to the priorities or issue areas of USIP or the Minerva Research Initiative will not be considered for the competition. (2,500 characters)
Research Integrity. Explain how you will analyze the research evidence to test your hypotheses or answer your projects’ defining questions. Describe your methodologies. Describe how your research findings will be generalizable across time, geopolitical regions, and/or other socio-cultural domains. Will your findings have predictive value? What is the broader significance of your project and what will be the likely lessons learned? (2,500 characters)
Work Plan. Provide a timetable indicating the schedule of completion for your dissertation. Indicate which portions of your work (research, data collection, analysis, writing, etc.) are already finished, and which tasks remain to be completed. Please be as realistic as possible, considering the work that can be completed during the course of the fellowship. The Institute expects scholars to complete work described in the timetable or as agreed in subsequent consultation with the program staff. (2,500 characters)
Additionally, applicants must complete the following sections.
Personal Statement. Why are you applying to the USIP-Minerva Peace Scholar Fellowship? Tell us who you are and why you are a great candidate for this fellowship. What do you expect to accomplish after this fellowship? (2,000 characters)
Project Summary. Clearly and concisely state your dissertation’s hypothesis. Explain its potential contribution to the field of conflict management, peacebuilding and related security studies. Include the specific focus of countries or regions. The summary is a critical part of the application as it is the first item that most reviewers will read to determine the substance and relevance of the project. Avoid jargon. (2,000 characters)
If you have additional questions, please email PeaceScholarFellows@usip.org.
Who may apply for the Peace Scholar fellowship?
The competition is open to Ph.D. candidates enrolled at U.S. universities who have successfully completed all required classwork and comprehensive exams.
Are non-U.S. citizens eligible to be Peace Scholars?
Yes, non-U.S. citizens are eligible to apply. They must be Ph.D. candidates currently enrolled at a U.S. university. Students at international and satellite universities are not eligible.
I am not a Ph.D. candidate, but I would like to apply for the Peace Scholars Fellowship. Am I eligible?
All applicants must be Ph.D. candidates at the time of application. Master’s students or other students pursuing graduate coursework are not eligible to apply.
Is there an age requirement for the Peace Scholar competition?
There is no age requirement for Peace Scholars.
What research topics are eligible for the Peace Scholar Award?
This fellowship supports research that deepens our understanding of conflict management, peacebuilding and security studies. USIP strongly prefers applications closely related to the USIP mission and/or research priorities of the Minerva Research Initiative. Applicants are encouraged to consult USIP’s budget justification to Congress (PDF) where the Institute describes its key priorities and initiatives.
The fellowships cannot support research focused on U.S. domestic issues, however, research on U.S. foreign policy may be eligible for support. Fellowships will not be awarded for dissertation 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.
For examples of Peace Scholar research that USIP has supported in the past, please see the list of Former Peace Scholars.
What are the requirements of the Peace Scholar Fellowship?
Peace Scholar fellows carry out their fellowship work at their universities or other sites appropriate to their research. Peace Scholars are expected to devote full attention to their work and provide the following:
- Participate in-person at the annual Peace Scholar workshop in Washington, D.C. in the fall;
- Submit quarterly dissertation progress reports to be signed by the dissertation advisor;
- Submit updates for the USIP Peace Scholar seasonal newsletter;
- Participate in two virtual roundtable discussions;
- Submit a copy of your completed and committee approved dissertation to USIP;
- Submit copies of any other publications, including articles and books, resulting from the fellowship.
What is the timeline for the 2023-24 Peace Scholar Fellowship competition?
- Registration for the Peace Scholar competition opened on Thursday, September 7, 2023, and closed at 4:00 PM EDT on Thursday, November 16, 2023.
- Completed applications are due by 4:00 PM EDT on Tuesday, November 28, 2023. Applications submitted after the deadline will not be accepted.
- Letters of recommendation are due by 4:00 PM EDT Tuesday, December 5, 2023.
- Awards are announced by spring 2024.
How do I apply for the Peace Scholar Fellowship competition?
All applications and documents related to this competition must be submitted in FLUXX. USIP uses the FLUXX Award Application System to manage the Peace Scholar Fellowship competition.
Applying to the Peace Scholar competition is a two-step process.
1. Registering for a FLUXX account
Applicants must first register for a FLUXX account in order to access the application system.
- Open the FLUXX registration page.
- Click "Register for an account" on the right side of the page.
- Select "Peace Scholars" as the competition type.
- Indicate whether you would like to be considered for either a USIP-funded Peace Scholar fellowship or a Minerva-funded Peace and Security Fellowship, or no preference.
- After completing the form, select "Submit Request."
Within two business days, applicants will receive a FLUXX confirmation email containing a username and password.
If you do not receive login credentials within two business days, please email PeaceScholarFellows@usip.org.
2. Starting and submitting an application
Once an applicant receives login credentials, they may begin the Peace Scholar application.
- Open the FLUXX application page.
- Enter the username and password sent in the FLUXX confirmation email.
- Click "Draft Applications" in the left toolbar to create a blank draft application.
- Begin entering information in the draft application.
- FLUXX does not auto-save so be sure to save your work often.
- Check your work before submitting your application. Once an application has been submitted, it cannot be edited or changed.
How do I reset my password?
Click the "reset or create password" button on the FLUXX login page.
How many recommendation letters are required?
Two letters of recommendation must be attached to your application in the FLUXX system. One letter must be from your dissertation advisor, and one from a current professor.
When are letters of recommendation due?
Letters of recommendation are due within one week of the application deadline. All letters of recommendation for the 2024-25 Peace Scholar competition must be submitted by 4:00 PM EDT Tuesday, December 5, 2023.
How are letters of recommendation submitted?
Letters of recommendation must be uploaded directly by the applicant’s advisor and professor (recommenders). However, the applicant must send a letter of recommendation request to their references through the FLUXX system. See instructions below.
To send a FLUXX link to thereferences, click the green "+" under the "Reference Letters/Letters of Recommendation" section of the application. Enter the name and email address of each reference. An email with an upload link and instructions on how to submit the letters of recommendation will be sent to the refecerences.
If you or your references experience technical difficulties with FLUXX, please email the Fellowship team at PeaceScholarFellows@usip.org.
Is there a deadline to send the letter of recommendation link to my recommenders?
Applicants should send the letter of recommendation link to their dissertation advisor and professor as soon as they begin their application.
Does the link to submit recommendation letters expire?
No, the link does not expire. We recommend contacting your recommenders as soon as you enter their names and email addresses in your application in FLUXX.
If my references encounters difficulty while submitting their recommendation letter, who should they contact?
If your reference is not able to upload their recommendation letter to the application, they may email the letter, in PDF format, to PeaceScholarFellows@usip.org. The name of the applicant should be included in the subject line of the email.
Can I submit my application before my advisor or professor has submitted the recommendation letter?
Yes, applications may be submitted before the recommendation letters are submitted.
How many Peace Scholar Fellowships are awarded each year?
USIP awards up to 18 Peace Scholar Fellowships each year.
What is the duration of the Peace Scholars fellowship?
The Peace Scholar Fellowship last for 10 months, starting on September 1 of each year, and ending on June 30 of the following year.
What is the amount of the award?
Peace Scholar fellows receive a stipend of up to $20,000, paid directly to the fellow in three tranches.
Can this award be combined with other fellowship awards?
A combined amount of $50,000 is the maximum total that a Peace Scholar can receive in fellowship funding from USIP and other funders during the 10-month USIP Peace Scholar Fellowship period. The intent of the fellowship award is for the Peace Scholar fellow to work on their dissertation.
Is it possible to defer the Peace Scholar Fellowship to another year?
No. The fellowship cannot be deferred. It must be used for the year it is awarded.
What is the difference between the USIP Peace Scholar Fellowship and the Minerva Research Initiative Peace and Security Fellowship?
The fellowship requirements, timeline and stipend amount are the same. The only difference is the source of the funding. On your application form please indicate the funding source for which you would like to be considered:
- The USIP Peace Scholar Fellowship,
- Minerva Research Initiative Peace and Security Fellowship, or,
- No preference.
Where can I find more information on the Minerva Research Initiative?
More information about the Minerva Research Initiative can be found at https://minerva.defense.gov.
What is the difference between the Peace Scholar Fellowship program and the Jennings Randolph Senior Fellowship?
USIP's Peace Scholar Fellowship program awards non-residential fellowships to PhD candidates enrolled at U.S. universities who are writing doctoral dissertations on topics related to conflict management, peacebuilding and security studies. The Jennings Randolph Senior Fellowship is an eight-month residential fellowship for senior experts across various disciplines.
Visit the list of current Peace Scholars.
Visit the list of former Peace Scholars.