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 click the button at the bottom of this page 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 past 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.

Stipulations

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

  • Reside full-time in the Boston/Cambridge area for the academic year: August 15, 2019, through May 25, 2020.
  • Attend field trips, seminars, and required training sessions arranged by the Knight Science Journalism Fellowship Program at MIT.
  • Develop a course of study that includes at least one science course per semester.
  • Refrain from outside professional work during the Fellowship, unless written permission has been granted by the Director.
  • Produce a well thought out research project during the academic year. The research project may be a book proposal, but fellows may not sell the proposal during the fellowship year, nor may they arrive with a contract to write a book during the fellowship year.
  • 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. A language proficiency test (such as TOEFL) may be required as part of the visa process.

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.