Fellowship Application

The PKG Fellowships program funds students who are looking to engage in sustainable, culturally sensitive service work locally, nationally, and abroad. Through fellowships, students can take on projects ranging from piloting their own social enterprises to consulting or interning for a service-oriented organization.

Through fellowships, students can take on projects ranging from piloting their own social enterprises to consulting or interning for a service-oriented organization. Before beginning your application, please carefully review the program overview and information on eligibility, timeline, and the selection process.

Apply here

Application Checklist

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

  1. Complete an applicant information form
  2. Submit your project proposal (see guidelines below)
  3. Upload your resume
  4. Request a letter of commitment from your community partner
  5. Request a letter of recommendation from an MIT faculty or staff member

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

Application guidelines

Please read before you apply

The information below describes everything you need to include in your project proposal. You will need to enter this information in the online application system. 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.

Be specific in your application. Don’t just tell us what you are going to achieve, show us how you’re going to do it. There are suggested limits on your answer length, so make each word count. Provide concrete examples and clear connections between your work plan and your goals. And remember, we are probably not technical experts in your field, so write in clear language anyone would be able to understand.

Demographic information

  • First name
  • Last name
  • Project title

Project abstract (200 words)

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

Funding request total

How much money are you requesting from the PKG Center?

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)

What is the organization name (if you are partnering with a formal organization)?

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

Work plan (1–2 pages)

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 many weeks will you dedicate to this work during the PKG Fellowship season (IAP or summer)?

If you will be working in multiple locations or intend to extend the work beyond the standard PKG Fellowship times, outline your itinerary or timeline.

Skills and Experience (half page)

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.

Teamwork (half page, if relevant)

If you will be working with other people on this project, list each team member and their MIT affiliation (if any) even if the other people are not applying for a fellowship through the PKG Center. If any of the team members are applying for a fellowship or funding at the PKG Center, indicate this.

Describe each person's roles and responsibilities. How will your jobs intersect and support each other? Would you consider doing the project if not all members of the team receive funding? Tell us what sort of role you prefer to take in a team, and what sort of people you do and do not enjoy working with on a team.

Important! If you are applying with other people for a group fellowship, each group member must write and submit individual applications. 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.

Motivation and personal outcomes (half page)

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 (1 page)

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?


IAP Fellows are awarded $2,500. Summer Fellows committing 6-8 weeks will receive $5,000. Those committing significantly longer, including 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.

Letter of recommendation from MIT faculty or staff member

You’ll also be asked to give the name and email address of an MIT faculty or staff member. The online system will email them a request for a letter of recommendation. Your recommender should be in a position to vouch for your achievements, abilities, character, and motivation. Their comments must be pertinent to your ability to carry out the project(s) you are applying for.

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

Note! If you are applying for a group fellowship, each applicant needs a separate MIT faculty reference. The group may submit a single letter of support from your community partner as long as this letter mentions each group member by name and shows awareness of the full scope of the project.

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 website 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.

Don’t worry, we can help with all this!

For ESG applicants
If you are applying for the ESG-PKG fellowship, please indicate this in your materials, and make sure you read the ESG-PKG fellowship overview.

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