Fellowship Application Basics

A KSJ workshop on mobile video and photography. Photo: Duy Linh Tu.

The Knight Science Journalism Fellowship Program at MIT supports a global community of dedicated and thoughtful journalists specializing in science, health, technology and environmental reporting. KSJ@MIT is designed to recognize journalists who demonstrate a high level of professional excellence and accomplishment as well as a long-term commitment to their craft. Journalists from all countries compete on an equal basis and are encouraged to apply.

To be eligible for a KSJ@MIT Fellowship, applicants must:

• Be full-time journalists, whether on staff or freelance. Part-time writers or producers are not eligible.
• Have at least three full years of experience covering science, technology, the environment, or medicine.
• Be reporters, writers, editors, producers, illustrators, filmmakers, or photojournalists. This includes work for newspapers, magazines, television, radio, and digital media.

Application Process
The 2019-20 application cycle runs January 1, 2019, through February 28, 2019. Fellows are selected by a panel of distinguished science journalists. Semifinalists are chosen by the end of March. Ten finalists are notified of their successful fellowship status in late April. An announcement of the awardees is made in May.

Required Documents
KSJ@MIT uses an online application system via Submittable. The system will be available for use beginning January 1, 2019 Please read the guidelines and hit the “submit” button to begin your application. The final deadline for submission is February 28, 2019.

The following documents are required for 9-Month Fellowship applications:

  • Professional Autobiography: Provide a brief statement (500 word maximum) about why you want to participate in the Knight Science Journalism Fellowship Program at MIT and how it would fit with your professional goals.
  • Résumé or Curriculum Vitae: Be sure to include your education and work history. (Freelancers should include a list of freelance jobs in the last 12 months. Include each story, venue, and date of publication or broadcast.)
  • Research proposal: In consultation with the KSJ staff, Knight fellows will develop and produce a research project in a chosen area of science or science journalism, which should be designed to allow a fellow to explore a particular interest in depth. Fellows will deliver a formal presentation on their topic at the end of the fellowship year. All applicants should describe, in 500 words or less, a project to be developed during the desired fellowship.
  • Work samples: Five relevant work samples are required. Choose samples that best illustrate your interest and abilities. Please include a translation for any work not in English.
  • Professional references: Three letters of recommendation are required. Letters should come from individuals familiar with your work and should comment on your abilities and your commitment to journalism.
  • International applicants: If English is not your first language, we strongly recommend that you take a language proficiency test (such as TOEFL) and submit your scores as part of your application. This is an MIT requirement for visa processing. If you complete your application submission before receiving your TOEFL scores, you may email them directly to KSJ program administrator, Bettina Urcuoili, at bma@mit.edu. If you are not able to take the test in time, the KSJ staff will work with you on a possible waiver to that requirement. If so, do let us know your situation as soon as possible.

To be awarded a Fellowship, selected applicants must agree to the following requirements:

  • To reside full-time in the Boston/Cambridge area for the academic year: August 15, 2019, through May 25, 2020.
  • To attend field trips, seminars, and required training sessions arranged by the Knight Science Journalism Fellowship Program at MIT.
  • To develop a course of study that includes at least one science course per semester.
  • To produce a well thought out research project during the academic year.
  • To refrain from outside professional work during the Fellowship, unless written permission has been granted by the Director.
  • International candidates must obtain a valid visa from the U.S. State Department after being awarded the Fellowship; the visa is normally sponsored by MIT.

Semi-finalists for the Fellowship will be notified by email by April 6, 2019, and Skype interviews with program administrator Bettina Urcuioli will be scheduled for all those wishing to continue further in the process. All documents and the interviews will be reviewed by a panel of judges led by KSJ director, Deborah Blum, KSJ associate director, Ashley Smart, and Undark magazine editor, Tom Zeller Jr.

KSJ@MIT fellowship finalists will be notified of their selection in the first week of May 2018. For further questions, please contact Bettina Urcuioli at bma@mit.edu.