Frequently Asked Questions - Prospective Applicants 


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

Yes. Successful applicants must present documents demonstrating that they are legally authorized to work in the United States. The University will not sponsor employment visas for this fellowship. Please note that in compliance with federal law, all persons selected will be required to verify their identity and eligibility to work in the United States and to complete the required employment eligibility verification upon hire. Information regarding citizenship, gender, race, and ethnicity is requested for statistical purposes only and will not be provided to the Selection Committee.  

Yes. Applicants with terminal degrees in their field may apply as long as they are preparing for a career in university teaching and research.

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. 

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.

Finding a Mentor

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 select a tenured faculty member as their mentor. However, in some cases assistant professors can be excellent prospective mentors.

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

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

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

President's Postdoctoral Fellowship mentors are tenured faculty who are expected to:

  1. Take an active role in helping the fellow to plan and achieve their research goals
  2. Assist the fellow in establishing a visible presence in the department
  3. Facilitate opportunities for the fellow to participate in national and international research meetings
  4. Encourage the fellow to focus full-time on research and avoid other commitments such as teaching or outside employment
  5. Assist the fellow in seeking opportunities to present papers or to interview for faculty positions at the other campuses,
  6. Attend program professional development activities such as an annual gathering of fellows and mentors 

Mentors are strongly encouraged to meet with their fellows at the beginning of the fellowship to discuss their working arrangements and consider appropriate long and short term goals for the fellowship. The mentor should not expect to meet all of the fellow's career development needs personally, but should provide an overall framework to ensure that the fellow has access to a broad academic network to support their work.

Mentors may also play an important role in advising fellows about the academic job market and making connections to related departments at The University of Arizona or other campuses that may be interested in the fellow for a faculty appointment.


You are required to submit the following materials:

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

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.

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;
  • Expected coursework, if any;
  • 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.

Yes. The University of Arizona President's Postdoctoral Fellowship Program office, in concert with the 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 Arizona department, if that is appropriate.

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. There are many variations of successful applications. Applicants are encouraged to consult with their academic advisors about how to submit a competitive application.

No. The program no longer requires 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.

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

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

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

Finalists will be notified and awards announced close to March 31st 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 & Selection

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.

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.

In general, selection committees prefer to see a proposal that includes a significant piece of new work. 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.

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 to work where you completed your Ph.D., we recommend that you consider working with different faculty members or a different department, if possible. If you wish to stay with your current department or faculty advisor(s), please explain your situation in your educational background statement.

No. The President's Office provides the salary, benefits, research stipend, professional development stipend, startup costs, and moving stipend. It is expected that departments and faculty mentors will make appropriate arrangements for space and other necessary resources.