Columbia Grad Student Fellowships

The Graduate Fellowship Program offers Columbia University students an opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of research and practice in conflict resolution and social change. Fellows conduct interdisciplinary research projects or internships addressing conflict, violence, development and/or sustainable peace. Applicants can submit an individual or team proposal, and selected projects will receive financial award and the chance to present on their sponsored research or internship project at Columbia University in front of leaders, academics and activists in the peacebuilding and conflict resolution field.

Click on the interactive map to learn more about our fellows! 

Fellows’ Presentation at the Annual Peace Conference

This year AC4 will provide funding of up to $3,000 for individual projects, and one team of students for $6,000, to support interdisciplinary research or practice-based projects, including internships, addressing conflict, violence, development, and/or sustainable peace.

Selected projects include, but are not limited to: internships, doctoral dissertation research, master’s thesis research, or capstone projects.

Students from all disciplines are encouraged to apply! 


Photo: Kelsey Woodrick, 2016 Fellow, is an M.A. candidate at Teachers College pursuing a degree in International Educational Development. She hopes to continue exploring the intersection between peace and education in Burma, especially considering multilingual and multicultural approaches, with Karen youth at the core of her practice.

How To Apply

All current Columbia University graduate level students are eligible to apply. Applications should be submitted through AC4 Online Application Form.

The online application is now open. Applications deadline for 2020-2021 school year is was February 12, 2020.

Application Components:

  • A Proposal (up to 3 pages, single spaced, 12 point font, 1 inch margins), outlining the Who, What, When, Where and Why of what you are proposing;
  • Faculty Sponsor (Form), with faculty signature on approval form;
  • Estimated Budget (Form), itemizing how the funding would be used;
  • Letter of Recommendation, signed and on institutional letterhead;
  • Affiliation Letter for internship proposals only, on institutional letterhead; and
  • Brief CV or Resume (up to 3 pages).

Fellowship Faculty Approval Form must be signed by selected faculty who will serve as academic advisor on proposed project and submitted along with other application components.

Projected Budget Form is a suggested template for applicants to show the expenses that would be covered by the financial award for proposed project.

Fellowship Eligibility and Requirements are outlined, along with guidelines for applying, in this document; here.

Application Types 

Applicants can apply for only one type of award: Individual Research (Masters or Doctorate Level), Internship or Team Research.


  • Graduate student at any Columbia University school/department
  • For TC students, please note that your fellowship will not be dispersed through your respective Office of Financial Aid department. Instead, you will receive the payment by check or direct deposit. If you’re awarded the fellowship, you will need to a) submit your tax forms; and b) show proof of student visa status if you’re a non-resident. Payments to TC students will be dispersed 6 weeks after all required paperwork has been received and approved. Therefore, we kindly ask that you plan your travel and related expenses well after the award notifications have been sent.
  • Enrolled  through the duration of your proposed project / research; past December 2020
  • Approved Student Visa status: eligible to work or receive payment in the U.S. In addition, for all foreign students, depending on your citizenship status, you may be subject to an IRS withholding.
  • Scholarship / Fellowship status eligible to receive additional funding

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use my fellowship for an internship?

Yes; However, there are certain requirements for the internship proposals. Intern applicants should have 1) an internship already secured, with a letter of support/acceptance from the sponsor; 2) the proposal should include description of the projects and tasks that the intern will be performing, and demonstrating the link to AC4’s core pillar areas, and a budget of how funds will be spent.

Can I use my fellowship for…?

If you have a question about the relevance of a particular project, consult the AC4 website to see examples of previous fellowship winners, including the Reflections from Fellows in the Field, and read the rest of these FAQs thoroughly.  If you are still unable to locate an answer to your specific question, please email the Program Manager (contact info below).

What about sustainable development?

Sustainable development is one of AC4’s core pillar areas.  We welcome projects that focus on an issue relevant to sustainable development, but it must have a clear link to one of our other areas of research – violence prevention, conflict resolution, or sustainable peace.  For example, a project that focuses on health outcomes in conflict zones would be eligible.  On the other hand, a project that focuses only on health and the environment would not be a strong contender.

Team grants – how many rec letters, faculty approval forms, etc.?

If you are applying as a team, we ask you to please submit one letter of recommendation that mentions all of the students on the team by name and demonstrates familiarity with the group’s work.  If this is not possible for some reason (i.e., all students involved are from different schools within Columbia) then team members should each submit a letter of recommendation from a Columbia faculty member. However, for the Faculty Approval Form, there should only be one form for each team.

What do you mean by interdisciplinary for the team grants?

Team grants may include students from within the same school or department at Columbia, but they must demonstrate an effort to integrate scholarly knowledge from more than one field of study.  For instance, if a team of political science students applies, they should try to draw a link between their project and research to psychology, anthropology or economics, that is relevant to AC4’s research areas and to the project being proposed.  We particularly encourage team applications of students from different departments and schools within Columbia.

I want to use my fellowship to fund a trip I’m taking soon, what should I do?

Please note that once the fellowship is awarded (i.e. March 2018), the process to transfer funds can take a while depending on a number of external variables.  If you want to take a trip or begin research before you are notified of the result of your application, you must do so at your own risk.  If you are awarded the fellowship in mid-March and plan to conduct fieldwork in late March, for example, you would probably have had to make those arrangements in advance.  In some cases, the fellowship can be used to reimburse you for research undertaken during the application period, but again this is a risk assumed by the candidate.

Can centers or institutes apply?

No, the fellowship is for graduate students.  Centers, schools and institutes can have multiple students apply and be awarded fellowships – applications are judged  by the Fellowship Selection Committee of Columbia University or AC4-affiliated professors and research scientists on the basis of the proposed project and its relevance to AC4’s mission.

Can I use my fellowship money on tuition?

No, the fellowship is aimed at research projects (see above). Also, please note that AC4 does not pay overhead for institutions in our fellowship program.

Can I apply more than once?

You can apply multiple times for the fellowship; however, the awards are given annually, and previous fellowship winners are ineligible to apply.

Can adjunct faculty or course instructors write letter of rec?

Yes, the letter of recommendation can come from anyone who has taught you in an academic capacity at Columbia.

What is the maximum number of students that can apply for the team grant?

Team grant applicants should keep their group to between two and five people.  With $6,000 any greater number of students becomes unwieldy and would not be an efficient use of funds.  Keeping the group small allows each team member to benefit from the grant and work closely with their fellow students.

What are my chances of getting team grant versus individual grant?

We cannot answer this question because the number of applicants changes every year. The AC4 Graduate Fellowship Program receives about one hundred proposals a year; for 2015, there were over 50 applications for the individual fellowship and about 15 for the team fellowship.  It is best to think about what project makes the most sense for you and the aims of the proposed study or project, and focus on putting together the best application you can.

Can my Faculty Adviser also write my letter of recommendation?

Yes. This will not be seen as a weakness in your application.

My professor would like to submit her/his letter of recommendation in confidentiality. Can I submit a password-protected letter?

Yes. Ask your professor to email the letter to the Program Manager (see contact below). Additionally, for the entry field in the online application, please upload a document that gives the name and contact of the recommender and that s/he is submitting it in confidentiality directly to AC4.

Does my Faculty Advisor have to sign on to IRB or research compliance policies?

No. They can do so if your project requires IRB approval, but that is not required as far as AC4 is concerned.

Do I need IRB approval to apply?

This is a determination that individual applicants must make with their departments and relevant faculty members. AC4 does not have its own requirements about IRB approval.

Who to contact with further questions?

Please email Rachel Kirk at for inquiries on project submissions and application or review process.

Also, to learn more about fellows’ fieldwork, read our Blog: “Reflections From the Field.”

AC4 Online Application

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