Apply Now for the 2024 Switzer Fellowships: Empowering Environmental Leaders


Introduction to the 2024 Switzer Fellowships

Applications for the 2024 Switzer Fellowships are now open. If you are a graduate student passionate about environmental improvement in New England or California, then the Switzer Fellowship could be your gateway to advancing social equity and making a lasting impact on environmental issues. This fellowship offers a unique opportunity for emerging leaders in diverse fields.

The Switzer Fellowship is a highly esteemed one-year program that aims to support and empower graduate students who are dedicated to improving the environment. The program is designed for students who have a strong focus on environmental improvement and exhibit exceptional leadership qualities. One of the unique aspects of the fellowship is its emphasis on advancing social equity as an integral part of the environmental problem-solving approach. Successful applicants are expected to be committed to the goal of creating a more sustainable future for our planet through innovative and effective solutions. The Switzer Fellowship provides a platform for students to gain the necessary skills, knowledge, and resources to become leaders in the field of environmental sustainability.

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 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.

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 or asylumee.
  • Be enrolled in an accredited graduate institution in California or New England.
  • Demonstrate strong academic qualifications with a focus on environmental improvement.
  • Master’s degree candidates must have completed at least one semester of coursework.
  • PhD 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.

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.

Fellowships 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 the Fellowships Fund:

  • 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 after the fellowship year.
  • An optional interim report will be 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 based on race, colour, gender, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, or national origin.

Application Deadline and Guidelines

Applications must be submitted by Monday, January 8, 2024, at 11:59 p.m. PST. Before applying, carefully review all the information provided below and on the application page to ensure a successful submission. Virtual panel interviews will be held in mid-May. Selected candidates will be sent notifications in June.

How to Apply

We invite graduate students who are eligible and driven to apply for the 2024 Switzer Fellowships. By becoming a part of this community, you will have the opportunity to contribute to the creation of a sustainable and fair future. To learn more about the application process and start your journey towards environmental leadership, please visit our application page (link below).

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