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Frequently Asked Questions


Yes, applicants with terminal degrees in their fields may apply as long as they are preparing for careers in university teaching and research.

No. All applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents at the time of application.

No. The Program is open to all persons who meet the eligibility criteria without regard to race, gender, or ethnicity.

Yes. In this program, the University of Maryland offers postdoctoral research fellowships in all academic disciplines.

Yes. You are still eligible to apply if you are preparing for a career in university teaching and research.

No. You must complete your doctorate on or before July 1 of the year following your application. Potential applicants who expect to complete their doctorate after July 1 should apply the following year.

The fellowship is designed to give new scholars an opportunity to become more competitive candidates for tenure-track faculty appointments. It is not a fellowship program for individuals already on the tenure-track to take time out for research with the intention of staying at their current institution. Candidates with tenure-track appointments are not favored in the selection process, unless there is a clear explanation of how an award to the candidate would further the goals of the program.

Finding a Mentor

The program encourages applicants to select a tenured faculty member as their mentor.

Yes, faculty may serve as a mentor for more than one applicant for the President's Postdoctoral Fellowship Program.

The program encourages applicants to select an active faculty member as their mentor. However, in some cases emeritus faculty who are still fully involved in their department and their research program are excellent prospective mentors.

Yes. The University of Maryland President's Postdoctoral Fellowship Program office, in concert with your proposed faculty mentor, will request a letter of support from the department chair. This separate letter from the department chair should describe the department's level of interest in hiring the applicant into a tenure-track position and/or identify a potential fit with another University of Maryland department, if that is appropriate.

Each applicant should identify a faculty mentor at the University of Maryland. Applicants are encouraged to identify potential faculty mentors through professional contacts in their field. You may also look for an appropriate mentor by reviewing the literature and searching university websites for faculty who are working in your area of interest.

The program encourages applicants to look for a mentor outside their current department and their home campus unless they can articulate a strong reason for remaining in the same academic location in their research proposal and/or education background statement. For the University of Maryland program, this FAQ only applies to current University of Maryland Ph.D. students, postdocs, etc. who are interested in applying to the University of Maryland postdoc program; applicants from other institutions (i.e., not the University of Maryland) should identify a mentor in the most appropriate UMD academic department.

Please see the Mentor guidelines page.

The e-mail sent by the application system to faculty mentors will ask them to address the following in a letter of support:

  • applicant's planned research;
  • extent to which the applicant will participate in departmental and campus academic activity (e.g., seminar programs);
  • extent of applicant's anticipated participation at national/international research meetings;
  • facilities and resources available to the fellow; and
  • mentor's involvement in mentoring for other programs designed to increase access and opportunity in higher education.


No. There are many variations on successful applications. Applicants are encouraged to consult with their academic advisors about how to submit a competitive application.

You will receive e-mail confirmations from the online application system each time a letter is uploaded to your application. You can check on the status of your application, including the arrival of your mentor and reference letters, by using the username and password you created and returning to the application information page.

No. The on-line application may be used to apply to one or both programs. Those applicants who are only applying to the University of Maryland President's Postdoctoral Fellowship program must identify a faculty mentor at the University of Maryland, but do not need to identify a faculty mentor at the University of California.

Yes. Applicants may apply to both the University of California and the University of Maryland President's Postdoctoral Fellowship programs with the same application provided they submit separate mentor letters and research proposals.

No. The program does not require transcripts to be sent with the application. However, the program will request official graduate transcripts if you are selected as a finalist and will not offer you a fellowship until official graduate transcripts are received.

The deadline for submitting the online application is November 1st this year. The deadline for faculty mentor and reference letters is November 1st this year.

You are required to submit the following materials:

  • Thesis abstract - one page;
  • Research Proposal - 700-1,000 words (not including references and citations);
  • Education and Background Statement - 500-700 words describing your personal background and contributions to diversity and equal opportunity through your academic career;
  • Curriculum vitae;
  • Writing sample - sample publication or unpublished paper, please limit to 35 pages (not including references and citations).

You are also required to find a mentor who will be willing to provide you with a letter of support, and who will be willing to request a letter of support from their department chair.

Finalists will be notified and awards announced close to March 1st each year. Please consider restraint when contacting the program office about the selection results. Successful candidates are notified first. Alternates are notified if awardees do not accept or if current fellows do not renew their terms. Additional fellowships are awarded to candidates on the alternate list through June, if resources become available. The program makes every effort to notify all candidates as soon as possible.

Review and Selection

The program requires that you are in residence and establish a presence at your mentor's campus, school or department. If you wish to propose continuing work where you completed your Ph.D., we recommend that you consider working with different faculty members or a different department.

In general, selection committees prefer to see a proposal that identifies a novel line of scholarship, extending the doctoral research in a new direction. However, in some fields or for some individuals, a proposal to complete or expand upon previous work might be favorably reviewed. In such cases, this should be combined with a plan for making a significant start on a new project.

Review committees evaluate applicants in all fields according to their potential for success in an academic career with special consideration given to potential for contributions to the diversity and equal opportunity as described in our evaluation, selection and eligibility criteria.

Applications will be reviewed by at least two faculty during the first round of review. If your file moves forward in the review process, it will be read and discussed by faculty from a range of fields in related disciplines.

Funding Support

No. It is expected that departments and faculty mentors will make appropriate arrangements for space and other necessary resources.