Graduate Student Fellowships


Fellows Presentation at AC4 Sustaining Peace Event

Application for the 2017 Graduate Student Fellowship will open in winter 2016.

For 2016, AC4 provided funding of $3,000 for 10 Columbia University graduate students and one team of two students for $6,000 that are conducting interdisciplinary research or practice-based projects addressing conflict, violence, development, and/or sustainable peace.

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

Learn more about fieldwork by reading reflections from current cohort: here!


 Students from all disciplines are encouraged to apply! 


Photo of Kolby Hanson talking with Naga village leaders (and a couple of NGO reps who he was traveling with).

Photo of Kolby Hanson, AC4 Fellow 2015, talking with Naga village leaders (and NGO reps who he was traveling with) in India.

How To Apply

Click here for the online application form to the 2016 Graduate Student Fellowship Program! All applications should be submitted through our online application form, which will open in the winter of 2016.

Application requirements are outlined here: AC4 Graduate Fellowship Eligibility and Requirements.

In addition to your proposal (no more than 3-pages), you are required to include a proposed estimated budget and also to receive and submit faculty approval on your proposed project. For the Faculty Approval and Projected Budget, please complete and submit the following forms in your application:

  1. Projected Budget Form (2017 will be available in winter)
  2. Fellowship Faculty Approval Form (2017 will be available in winter)

For further questions about the application process, keep reading! Please read through the FAQs below.

Additional Application Information

On the online application, applicants are asked to indicate which type of award they are applying for.  Students may only apply to one type of award: Individual Research, Individual Internship or Team Research.

Students planning to graduate in Spring 2017 are eligible to apply.

AC4 does not pay overhead for institutions in our fellowship program.

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 internship must be related to peace, conflict, and/or sustainable development; 3) the proposal should include description of the projects and tasks that the intern will be performing, and demonstrating the link to the aforementioned topics, 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 Research Coordinator (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 2016), 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 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).

Can I apply more than once?

You can apply multiple times for the fellowship; however, 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 your research interests and focus on putting together the best application you can.

Can my Faculty Approval adviser also write my letter of recommendation?

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

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

Yes. Ask your professor to email the letter to the AC4 Research Coordinator (see contact below). Additionally, you will still need to submit a file for this required component into the online application system; simply upload a document that indicates name of the recommender and that s/he is submitting it in confidentiality directly to AC4.

Does my faculty sponsor 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?

AC4 Research Coordinator, Meredith Smith, at: