Watson Fellowship

The mission of the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship Program is to offer college graduates of unusual promise a year of independent, purposeful exploration and travel outside of the United States in order to enhance their capacity for resourcefulness, imagination, openness, and leadership and to foster their humane and effective participation in the world community.


Founded in 1968, the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship program provides Fellows with the opportunity to pursue focused and disciplined Wanderjahre of their own. Fellows receive a grant which enables them to immerse themselves in cultures other than their own for an entire year through independent study and travel abroad following graduation. The Foundation offers Fellows time in which to explore with thoroughness a particular interest and a chance to test their aspirations and abilities, view their lives and American society in greater perspective and, concomitantly, develop a more informed sense of international concern. It is hoped that a life-changing year spent exploring other cultures and following a passionate interest abroad will result in Fellows enriching academia, business, public policy, science, the arts, and other fields when they return home. Up to sixty Watson Fellows are selected each year from forty private colleges and universities throughout the United States.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Senior level college students.
  • Liberal arts graduates who demonstrate integrity, strong ethical character, intelligence, the capacity for vision and leadership and potential for humane and effective participation in the world community.
  • 2-3 Recommendations
  • A candidate’s academic record, while not of primary importance, is considered together with those extracurricular activities which reflect both initiative and a commitment to the candidate’s particular area of interest.


Please email Associate Dean of Faculty Gretchen Edwalds-Gilbert if you are planning to apply


Send all materials via e-mail by noon,  Monday, September 25th to fellowships@scrippscollege.edu 

The five member Scripps Watson committee will interview approx 5-10 Scripps semi-finalists. Date of interviews TBA


Application Information

For seniors who will graduate by May 2018, a 5 page (maximum) proposal description for your ideal Watson journey, and a 100 word autobiographical statement that connects your life story to your proposal, are due by email Monday, Sept 25 at noon.  No late proposals will be accepted. See the proposal guidelines here.

Additional Information

Visit the Watson Fellowship website.



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