Democracy Doctoral Fellowship

Applications for AY2024-25 are now closed. Applications for AY2025-2026 will open in September 2024.

Contact Info

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About the Fellowship

The Ash Center awards two dissertation research fellowships to Harvard Kennedy School Ph.D. candidates or other Harvard University students in related fields. This fellowship aims to support well-defined doctoral work from Harvard University students focused on innovations in public participation and political participation in democracies and non-democracies.

Pre-doctoral fellows join the Ash Center’s academic community and participate in our weekly democracy fellow seminar series. The fellowship affords doctoral candidates the time and space to work on completing their dissertations without the obligation of teaching at a critical time in their program.


Doctoral dissertation topics should relate to the Center’s current focus on innovations in public participation and political participation in democracies or non-democracies. Candidates should have an excellent academic record and well-defined research objectives. Preference is given to applicants whose projects have progressed beyond the conceptual stages of the research.

The Ash Center is a global and values-driven community that believes diverse perspectives are paramount to better understanding and addressing real-world problems. In fostering an environment of rigor, curiosity, and integrity, we value and respect different opinions, lived experiences, and diverse research and policy areas and approaches. We actively seek candidates who share our commitment and values.


Fellows will receive a stipend of $35,000 annually and a shared workspace at the Ash Center.

How to Apply

All Ash Center fellowship applications can be accessed through our universal fellowship application. You will be asked to create an account and log into the application. Once logged in, your progress is automatically saved as you fill out the application before submitting. You can revisit your application at any time on the “My Applications” menu item.

Access the Application

Meet the Current Fellows

Akshay Dixit
Headshot of Akshay Dixit

Akshay Dixit

Democracy Doctoral Fellow, AY2023-2024

Frequently Asked Questions

Are letters of recommendation required?

Each fellowship is different, some do require letters of recommendation while others simply ask for references. Please login and view each application for requirements.

I need to make a change to my application—can I edit it once submitted or re-submit?

Throughout the application process, the application will automatically save and you can revisit it at any time. If you an unsure of any response, we encourage you to wait (your application does autosave and you can revisit it at any time on the “My Applications” page) and only submit once you’re ready. You cannot change your application once it is submitted.

Can I confirm that my application was received?

On the “My Applications” page, the status of your application will be displayed. The status “Submitted” indicates it has been received.

Do you provide visa sponsorship for Ash Center fellowships?

Yes, Harvard University can provide J-1 visa sponsorship for eligible fellows.

When will I hear the final decision?

All fall applicants will be notified by early spring.

Will I be required to relocate to Cambridge to complete this fellowship?

Yes, we expect fellows to be in Cambridge to participate in required on-campus activities.