DUSP-PKG Career Development Fellowship

Cosponsored by the Priscilla King Gray Public Service Center and the Department of Urban Studies and Planning

DUSP-PKG Fellowships are ideal for DUSP students planning a career in international development or public service. DUSP-PKG Career Development Fellowships are only available for the summer. We fund projects that focus on bringing about positive change for the community being served.

Apply here

If you are not a DUSP student, consider applying for the PKG Fellowship instead.

Focus Areas

  • Developing regions outside of the United States

You can propose projects tackling issues faced by developing regions around the world. However, check the MIT travel policy and travel warnings as travel to some locations is prohibited. You may also work on international development projects from within the United States.

  • Domestic

Domestic fellowships may be anywhere in the United States.


To qualify, you must be a continuing DUSP student who:

  • Will be working on a public service-focused project in the United States or a developing region
  • Plans to commit at least eight to twelve weeks to the project
  • Will be a registered MIT student in the semester following the Fellowship


DUSP-PKG Career Development Fellowships are only available for the summer.

Awards Requirements

By accepting the funding that we may offer you, you agree to:

  • Meet with us to confirm final plans and discuss risk management
  • While in the field, submit a weekly check-in to Fellowship staff that outlines recent work completed, plans for the following week, and learning goals accomplished.
  • Ensure that your community partner oversees your work and checks in regularly with Fellowship staff to report on project progress
  • Sign a contract and a liability waiver
  • Arrange for all necessary health, safety, and legal needs: e.g., passport and visa if needed, health insurance, vaccinations
  • After completion of the Fellowship, submit a short paragraph describing the overall experience, reflecting on its effects, and a short report on how the funds were spent
  • Give a professional presentation to DUSP peers and others, focusing on the service and career development outcomes of the Fellowship
  • Acknowledge the Priscilla King Gray Public Service Center and DUSP as sponsors
  • Participate in our evaluation process
  • Permit us to publicize your work through our website, print materials, and other publicity
  • Share photographs with us

What We Fund

  • International development and domestic public service projects that have a strong prospect of sustainable benefit for the community and career development potential for the student
  • Both new and continuing projects
  • Work with community-focused organizations such as non-profits, government offices, international aid agencies, schools, and grassroots groups
  • Work with for-profit businesses if the business is using a social-entrepreneurship model to address the needs of an under-served community

How to Apply

Apply here

  • Apply here: https://pkgcenter.smapply.io/prog/ and select the PKG Fellowships program.
  • On the first page of the application, in the section titled “Which of these are you applying for?”, select “DUSP-PKG Summer Career Development Fellowship ($6,000)”
  • Note that you will need to submit a request for a letter of commitment from your proposed Fellowship supervisor through the application website. Please do this well in advance of the application deadline.

Application Checklist

You will need to complete the following steps on the online application site:

  1. Submit your project proposal (see guidelines below)
  2. Upload your resume
  3. Request a letter of commitment from your community partner

Important! Your application will not be accepted until you press the Submit Your Application button. 

Application guidelines

Please read before you apply

These guidelines mirror what is asked for in the online application platform. We recommend that you prepare your text offline and then copy and paste it into the relevant sections online. You can save your work as you go and return to edit it before finally submitting.

Project abstract

Summarize your application. Be clear, specific, and jargon-free. Imagine that a friend who knows little about your work asks you to explain your proposal. How would you describe it to them?

Community challenge

Identify the community you hope will benefit from your work. Outline the challenge that you and your community partner(s) will address and explain why it is significant in this community.

Community partner(s)

Provide the partner organization’s name.

Who is your main partner and what is their role in the organization or community? How will you collaborate with them?


How many weeks will you dedicate to this work during the funding period (IAP or summer)? If you will be working in multiple locations or intend to extend the work beyond the standard Fellowship times, outline your itinerary or timeline.

Work plan

What are your key goals for this work? What will you do during your Fellowship to accomplish those goals? How long will the main steps take? What preparation do you need to do before your Fellowship? How will you evaluate your success in meeting your goals? 

If this is a team project and multiple team members are applying for PKG Fellowships, outline each person’s role in the project. (N.B. Each team member must write and submit their own application. The selection committee will award Fellowships based on applicants' individual merits, so there is no guarantee that people who apply together will be selected together.)

Describe your plan primarily in words, not charts.

How will your DUSP-PKG Fellowship contribute to your career development in urban studies and planning?


Skills and Experience

What skills and experiences will help you to make a success of this project? What, if any, courses or co-curricular opportunities (UROPS, MISTI Internships, etc.) will provide useful context for your work?

We will also read your resume, but we want you to explain how your skills and experience will help you to do the proposed work.

Language fluency

List the languages you know that will be useful in the community you will be working in. If you are working in a community whose primary language you do not speak, explain how you will communicate in your work and daily life.

Motivation and personal outcomes

What is driving you to take on this challenge? Do you have previous experience working on this issue or with this community? What do you want to learn or gain from this experience? Will the work advance your professional career?

Safety and cultural impact

What are the main safety issues in the location you will be working in? What steps will you take to prioritize your safety and what resources have you identified to help you stay safe? Does your project have any safety implications for the community you are serving. If so, how will you address these?

Help us to understand how the cultural context will affect your project. Tell us about any experience you have living and/or working with other cultures. How might you prepare yourself for living in the cultural context relevant to the project you are applying for?


DUSP-PKG Career Development Fellows, will receive $6,000.  Fellowship funding is intended primarily to support travel and living expenses.

Helps us to assess the suitability of these amounts for future cohorts by including a project budget.  Include what you need funding for and funds you've already secured.  If funds you have already secured can only be spent on certain types of expense, note this.  Also list any other funding for this work that you've applied for or intend to apply for.  

If you receive funding from other sources after applying to the Fellowships program, we require that you notify us of this and we may make appropriate funding modifications in consultation with you.

Letter of commitment from community partner

You’ll be asked to give the name and email address of a key community partner you will collaborate with. The online system will then email them a request for a letter of commitment for your project. 

This letter should outline the project idea, describe how you and your community partner plan to work together, and show the community partner's commitment to supporting you with project advice and local knowledge.

Important! Please make sure you have talked to your community partner before submitting this form and that they are expecting the request and familiar with your plans.

Committee on the Use of Humans as Experimental Subjects

If your fellowship involves human subjects research such as surveys, tests, observation of public behavior, or the study of instructional strategies, then you must apply for approval from the Committee on the Use of Humans as Experimental Subjects (COUHES) and complete an online human subjects training course. Visit the COUHES websiteThis link opens in a new window for details.

Service projects typically fall into the exempt category, which requires COUHES approval and passing the online course, but is a relatively fast and straightforward process. However, you should start working on this soon!

Note that the fellowships administrator, Alison Hynd, is authorized to sign exempt forms for fellows as the Faculty Sponsor. In contexts where it’s not realistic for community partners involved in the research to take the online training or equivalent, then you may instead propose a training session to ensure your community partners understand the fundamentals of ethical research with human subjects.

Email your letter to pscdusp@mit.edu. All letters will be treated confidentially and used solely for the selection process.

Email us for more information.