Apply for a Fellowship

Who can apply for a fellowship?

The Alicia Patterson fellowships are open only to U.S. citizens who are fulltime print journalists, or to non-U.S. citizens who work fulltime for U.S. print publications, either in America or abroad. Freelancers are welcome to apply. All applicants, including those being considered for the new Cissy Patterson fellowship for environmental or science topics, should complete the Alicia Patterson Foundation application.

The aim of the trustees who established the foundation was to improve the quality of U.S. print journalism. Foreign journalists seeking fellowship help may want to consult the updated list compiled by the Global Investigative Journalism Network, at Further resources for all journalists are listed at or the list compiled by the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at:

Cissy Patterson Fellowship for Science and Environmental Writers

Beginning with the 2016 fellowship class, an additional fellow specializing in either science or environmental journalism is part of the fellowship class. This fellow will be designated as a Cissy Patterson fellow, in honor of Alicia’s aunt, the publisher Cissy Patterson.

No special application is needed. All fellows apply for the Alicia Patterson fellowship and applications that deal with science or the environment will be considered for this additional fellowship. Science and environmental topics will continue to be awarded Alicia Patterson fellowships.

Apply On-line

If you cannot apply on-line, please contact us at so we can help with an alternative.
Your application must be completed by November 1.
Please send in your application early – Early submissions are much appreciated.

Applications need to include:

Fellowship Proposal

A complete, typed statement not to exceed three (3) single-spaced pages, on how you would use an Alicia Patterson Foundation fellowship, and why. A brief summary of the four articles you will be required to write as an APF fellow should be included as part of your statement. Each candidate may submit only one proposal. Two applicants may collaborate on one proposal, for example, a writer and a photographer.

Work Samples

Reporters and Writers

  1. Please submit three copies of three articles with publication date and place noted.
  2. Please don’t send books or chapters of books.
  3. Parts of series counts as one article, so it may be wise to choose only one part of a series and submit two other, unrelated articles in order to show diversity of topics.
  4. Please do not submit any more than three articles. The judges will see only three and we’d rather you make the selection. The content of the articles, rather than date or place or publication, is most important.


Please send three copies of four samples of work you have edited, using the guidelines above. Attach a statement regarding your contribution to the finished product. If you also write, you may substitute two of your own articles in the four sample total.


Please submit one set of 8 to 12 samples. These can be published or unpublished photographs.

All Applicants

You will have the option to select a 12 or 6 month fellowships. Note: judges on occasion have awarded a six-month fellowship for an applicant requesting a 12-month grant.


Have two (2) persons who are familiar with your work and your proposal submit a letter of recommendation directly to the Foundation by November 1. There is no set template for the letters; please ask recommenders to write about your talents, ability to overcome obstacles, etc. Please list the names and addresses of your references on the application form. Please have reference letters emailed to:

Emails are preferred but, if necessary, they can be mailed to:

The Alicia Patterson Foundation
1100 Vermont Ave. NW
Suite 900
Washington, D.C. 20005

Professional Autobiography

A statement, not to exceed two (2) single spaced pages, to include reasons for going into journalism, journalistic experience, and future plans.

Estimate Costs

A detailed budget statement, not to exceed one (1) page, to include two categories.

Projected fellowship Costs: Travel, books, short-term housing, etc.

Personal Maintenance: A broad estimate of living expenses for one year for yourself and your family (if any).

At the bottom of your budget page, please indicate what funds, if any, would be available from other sources in support of your proposal fellowship year.

Application Hints and Advice

The foundation does not match salaries. The fellowship stipend is $40,000 for twelve months and $20,000 for six months and must cover your travel and research costs. You also must pay taxes on this income, which most fellows do by submitting quarterly payments to the IRS, as many freelancers do.

We ask that you submit a budget to see how you would accomplish your proposal. Although our project and living expenses may add up to more than the stipend, the Foundation only can provide either $20,000 or $40,000 to each fellow. If you are employed, it is customary for news organization to make up the difference between the stipend and your salary. Many newsrooms require applicants so seek approval of a leave before applying in order to receive the paper or magazine’s financial support. Please check with your newsroom managers first. However, your employer’s ability or willingness to give you support does not affect the selection process.

Applicants selected as semi-finalists will be notified by the end of November. Winners will be chosen mid-December. There are typically 6 to 8 fellows each year. Winners are expected to begin their fellowships within the first three months of the calendar year.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. May I continue working if I win the fellowship?

A. Fellows may complete other freelance or part-time work, but fellows find they cannot teach full-time or hold down time-consuming jobs and do justice to their APF projects. We do ask that fellows are identified by any freelance outlets as an Alicia Patterson fellow.

Q. Who should I get to write letters of recommendation?

A. The judges are impressed by letters from people with a genuine knowledge of you and your work. Big names should not be sought for their own sake. Supervisors at work, journalism professors, editors, and experts in your field of inquiry are good sources. Letters from your agent, book editor and other with built-in conflicts aren’t recommended.

Recommender’s letters should cover items such as your talents, ability to work independently, meet deadlines and accomplish a project of the scope you’re suggesting. Please ask recommenders to get their letters to us by November 1st. The early rounds of judging begin just a few days after the deadline and judges only can evaluate the letters we have received. You are not penalized if your recommenders are a few days past November 1, but every year dozens of too-late letters are not seen by the judges.

Please have reference letters emailed to:

Emails are preferred but if necessary they can be mailed to:

The Alicia Patterson Foundation
1100 Vermont Ave. NW
Suite 900
Washington, D.C. 20005

Q. May two people share a fellowship and work on a project together?

A. Yes, but only a single stipend is awarded per project. Each person should be responsible for one of the two letters of reference: three copies of two clips (for an application total of four) and their own biographical essay and application form. The proposal and budget should be a joint effort. If a writer and photographer apply, the writer should submit three clips and the photographer 8 to 12 samples, as described above.

Q. Must the foundation receive my application by November 1st?

A. Your application must be submitted by November 1. Please send in your application early – Early submissions are much appreciated.

Q. Does the foundation fund book proposals?

A. The foundation is in the business of encouraging good print journalism – not underwriting books. However, we are aware that many fellows go on to write books about their fellowship subject. It is neither a plus or a minus to have a book contract or proposal before you apply, but we ask that you disclose the amount of any book advance in your budget. The main emphasis of your proposal to us should be the importance your topic has to the world of print journalism.

For any questions please contact:

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