James Madison Fellowships were created by Congress to honor James Madison's legacy and Madisonian principles by providing support for graduate degrees that focus on the Constitution – its roots, its formation, its principles, and its development. The benefits of the fellowship program are manifold and lasting. While in graduate schools, Fellows will gain a deeper understanding of the principles of constitutional government, which they in turn transmit to their students. In the process, they form professional ties that can significantly influence their career aspirations. In this way, the James Madison Fellowships ensure that the spirit and practical wisdom of the Constitution will guide the actions of future generations of American citizens.
Fellowship applicants compete only against other applicants from the state of their legal residence except for some privately funded fellowships. To be eligible to apply for a fellowship, you must:
- Be a U.S. citizen
- Be a teacher, or plan to become a teacher, of American history, American government, or civics at the secondary school level (grades 7-12).
- Possess a bachelor's degree or plan to receive a bachelor's degree no later than August 31 of the year in which you are applying.
Professional Teaching Obligation:
After receiving the master's degree, each Fellow must teach American history, American government, or civics in grades 7-12 for one full year for each academic year of funding received under a fellowship, preferably in the state from which the recipient won the fellowship.
Financial Aspects of the Award:
The maximum amount of each award is $24,000, prorated over the period of study, and in no case shall the award exceed $12,000 for one academic year of study. Payments are made only for the actual costs of tuition, required fees, and books (as well as room and board if required to live away from your principal residence), and are made only for the minimum number of credits required for the award of the degree for which a Fellow is registered.
Failure to complete the study for which the fellowship is awarded, to attend the Summer Institute on the Constitution, or to teach qualifying subjects in grades 7-12 for the requisite amount of time entailed by the award will result in forfeiture of the fellowship and require the return of all funds paid under the fellowship, plus applicable interest under federal law.
Types of Fellowships:
The Foundation offers two types of fellowships:
Junior Fellowships are awarded to outstanding college seniors and college graduates without teaching experience who intend to become secondary school teachers of American history, American government, or civics in grades 7-12. Junior Fellows are expected to complete graduate study within two academic years of full-time study.
Senior Fellowships are awarded to outstanding current teachers who are required to complete graduate study within 5 calendar years of part-time study.
Choice of Graduate School and Degree:
Each Fellow will be expected to pursue and complete a master's degree from an accredited university in one of the following disciplines (listed in order of the Foundation's preference):
- Master of Arts (MA) in American history, political science, or government
- Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) concentrating on either American Constitutional history (in a history department) or American government, political institutions, and political theory (in a political science department). MAT degrees without required constitutional coursework will not be approved.
- Master of Education (MEd) or the Master of Arts or Master of Science in Education with a concentration in American history or American government, political institutions, and political theory. MEd degrees without required constitutional coursework will not be approved.