Numerous fellowship programs actively recruit Master of Social Work students and recent graduates. Fellowships offer social work students and graduates an opportunity to advance their skills during or after graduate school, usually with a focus on mentorship and learning in action, with financial support. These opportunities allow students and recent graduates to gain invaluable work experience, build a professional network, and prepare for entering the field of social work when the fellowship period has ended.
Fellowships can be a great supplement to graduate studies, or an entry-level position upon graduation. There are many fellowship opportunities available that are specifically geared toward social workers, as well as some that accept a range of educational backgrounds that focus on issues and practice arenas relevant to social workers. The following is a list of fellowships related to the profession of social work as a starting point for those interested in pursuing a fellowship position.
A number of fellowships focus on issues of social justice. These fellowships usually accept a wide range of applicants, but their focus on social justice make them particularly suited to social workers.
The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship aims to foster leaders that will create change in their communities. Fellows are graduate students that design and implement community-level interventions focused on the social determinants of health. The fellowship provides its selected fellows “an experiential learning and leadership development program designed to increase and sharpen their skills and abilities to more effectively address the health needs of underserved people.”
The Soros Equality Fellowship “aims to support emerging mid-career professionals who will become long-term innovative leaders impacting the racial justice field.” This fellowship is ideal for recent graduates with a passion for racial justice. It provides fellows the opportunity to implement a racial justice project over the course of 18 months.
The NASW offers a number of different fellowship opportunities for social work students, primarily but not exclusively, at the doctoral level. Fellowships vary in focus from health services to research to welfare policy and practice. These fellowships are some of the most renowned and prestigious in the field of social work.
The Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University offers fellowships to graduate students to support classical liberal ideals and advance the principles of freedom. The Institute offers a fellowship program for students interested in pursuing doctoral education, as well as research fellowships.
Located in Montgomery, Alabama, the Equal Justice Initiative offers one fully-funded summer fellowship for recent Master of Social Work graduates. The Institute focuses on issues of criminal and racial justice, and the fellowship is “designed to offer specialized professional training in providing support services to a vulnerable population with unique and complex needs and to provide this training within an organization devoted to promoting social justice.”
Fellowships are competitive, but the rewards are great and long-lasting. These opportunities are well-suited to MSW students and graduates building a career in the pursuit of social justice.