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Accepting Applications for the 2024 Switzer Fellowships: Empowering Environmental Leaders ($17,000 Cash Award)

Are you a graduate student passionate about environmental improvement in New England or California? The Switzer Fellowship could be your gateway to advancing social equity and making a lasting impact on environmental issues. We are thrilled to announce that applications for the 2024 Switzer Fellowships are now open, offering a unique opportunity for emerging leaders in diverse fields.

Application Deadline and Guidelines

Applications must be submitted by Monday, January 8, 2024, at 11:59 PST. Before applying, carefully review all the information provided below and on the application page to ensure a successful submission.

About the Switzer Fellowship

The Switzer Fellowship is a prestigious one-year program designed for graduate students with a focus on environmental improvement. Successful applicants exhibit leadership qualities and a dedication to advancing social equity as an integral part of their environmental problem-solving approach.

Fellowship Highlights:

  • Cash Award: Receive an unrestricted $17,000 cash award, distributed in two installments in June and January.
  • Leadership Training: Engage in leadership training to enhance your skills and capabilities.
  • Professional Development: Access opportunities for professional development and grants throughout your career as part of the dynamic Switzer Network—a community comprising over 700 fellows selected since 1986.

Switzer Fellows: Leaders in Diverse Fields

Switzer Fellows are change-makers in various domains, including science, policy, justice, health, economics, advocacy, planning, business, and law. They come from diverse backgrounds, demonstrating a commitment to social equity, interdisciplinary work, applied results, and collaborative leadership. Explore the current Switzer Fellows to witness the breadth of expertise and disciplines represented.

Fellowship Benefits and Expectations

Retreats and Networking:

  • Attend two multi-day retreats focused on cohort-building, networking, and equity-centered leadership and skills development.
  • Join the vibrant Switzer Network for ongoing professional and personal support.

Career Support:

  • Access career coaching and leadership guidance during and beyond your fellowship year.
  • Explore other grant programs for continued professional development, including Leadership grants and Professional Development Fund grants.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for the Switzer Fellowship, applicants must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, DACA recipient, or refugee/asylee.
  • Be enrolled in an accredited graduate institution in California or New England.
  • Demonstrate strong academic qualifications with a focus on environmental improvement.

Additional Eligibility Details:

  • Master’s degree candidates must have completed at least one semester of coursework.
  • Ph.D. candidates must have completed three years of doctoral work or plan to pass qualifying exams by July 1, 2024.
  • Mid-career students are encouraged to apply, demonstrating how their academic program enhances their effectiveness as environmental leaders.

Fellowship Guidelines and Deadlines

Selection Criteria:

Applications are evaluated based on:

  • Environmental commitment
  • Applied focus
  • Innovative problem-solving
  • Leadership potential
  • Collaboration and engagement
  • Social equity awareness and experience
  • Communication skills

Application Review Process:

  • Twenty fellows are selected annually from hundreds of applicants.
  • Applications in New England and California are reviewed separately, with ten fellowships awarded per region.
  • Alumni play a crucial role in the selection process, ensuring diverse perspectives.

Important Deadlines

  • Applications due: Monday, January 8, 2024, 11:59 p.m. PST.
  • Virtual panel interviews: Mid-May.
  • Award notifications: June.

Fellowship Award Requirements

Attendance and Engagement:

  • Attend two in-person retreats in September and March.
  • Actively engage with the Switzer Network, participating in events and activities.

Use of Fellowship Funds:

  • Utilize the grant for tuition, living expenses, or education- and research-related costs.
  • Failure to use funds for these purposes may result in tax liability.


  • Submit a brief written report at the conclusion of the fellowship year.
  • Optional interim report invited in January.


  • Employees and trustees of the Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation and their family members are not eligible.
  • The foundation does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, or national origin.

We encourage eligible and motivated graduate students to apply for the 2024 Switzer Fellowships and become part of a community dedicated to shaping a sustainable and equitable future. Visit our application page for more details and to start your journey toward environmental leadership.