How to Apply

The Spencer Fellowship for Education Reporting is open to journalists, educators and education policy researchers who want to develop a long-form journalism project to advance the understanding of the American education system.

Three fellows will be selected for this highly competitive program, which combines coursework in residence at Columbia Journalism School and Teachers College, and hands-on advising from education writing experts.

Spencer Fellowship applicants are expected to submit the following for a complete package no later than Jan. 31, 2014. Successful applicants will be notified by April 1.

NOTE: You must use the online application. We cannot process applications that are submitted in any other form.

International journalists are invited to apply, but their projects must cover the American education system, and they must furnish a publication commitment that includes distribution in the United States.

The application includes:

  • A professional biography or resume.
  • Three examples of your work that demonstrate a passion for education research and writing, including newspaper and magazine clips, broadcasts, films, books, monographs, academic reports, or other writing samples. Applicants with reporting experience in covering American education or American educators who are interested in journalism are preferred. You must provide links to any work you submit. We cannot distribute the work to the judges without links.
  • An outline of a proposed project in education reporting, including projects currently in progress, must accompany the application, along with an essay explaining how a greater understanding in education research and expertise would materially enhance the project and your ability to cover education. Preference will be given to applicants who can show proof of publication of their work, either through a letter of commitment from a news organization or a book contract. The application should also include the commitment to cover education in the long term.
  • A brief essay on proposed areas of research you anticipate pursuing at Columbia University including courses and professors that may materially enhance your project.
  • An essay about an education trend you have observed. This trend does not have to be related to your project. It is geared to see how you are following education trends and policies.
  • At least three letters of recommendation, including one from the publication that has shown interest in the project.

There are no academic prerequisites. However, the applicant must have an interest in pursuing academic coursework in support of the project. Applicants are encouraged to propose a course work of study, including a list of experts at Columbia who could be enlisted to work with the fellow.

The fellows will work with Columbia Journalism School faculty members who will serve as project advisers. A curriculum specialist will coordinate the selection of the fellows’ academic courses, preferably in the fall semester, either at Teachers College, the Journalism School, or elsewhere at Columbia.

Applicants with a full-time job should provide the school with a letter that approves a leave of absence for the academic year. In turn, the candidate should produce a signed agreement that he or she will rejoin the organization with a finished or nearly finished project.

Each fellow will be awarded a stipend of $75,000, which does not include travel or living arrangements.

Classes begin the day after Labor Day, with orientation the week before.