James Madison Graduate Fellowship Program*

Gustavus Fellowships Office

Initial Gustavus Deadline: Late January
Tentative Campus Interview: N/A
Gustavus Final Deadline: Late February/Early March
Web site: www.jamesmadison.com
Campus Contact: Amanda Nienow, Fellowships Coordinator


Congress established the James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation in 1986 for the purpose of improving teaching about the United States Constitution in secondary schools. The Foundation offers Junior and Senior Fellowships. Junior Fellowships are awarded to students who are about to complete, or have recently completed, their undergraduate course of study and plan to begin graduate work on a full-time basis. Junior Fellows have two years to complete their degree. Senior Fellowships are awarded to experienced teachers who wish to undertake work for a graduate degree on a part-time basis through summer and evening classes. Senior Fellows have up to five years to complete their degree.

The Fellowships are intended exclusively for graduate study leading to a master’s degree. James Madison Fellows may attend any accredited institution of higher education in the United States. Each individual entering the James Madison Fellowship Program will be expected to pursue and complete a master’s degree in one of the following (listed in order of the foundation’s preference):

  • Master of Arts (MA) in American history or in political science (also referred to as "government and politics" or as "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);
  • 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.

The Fellow’s proposed plan of graduate study should contain at least 12 semester credits in constitutional coursework. Fellows are encouraged to choose institutions that offer courses that closely examine the origins and development of the U.S. Constitution, the evolution of political theory and constitutional law, the effects of the Constitution on society and culture in the United States, or other such topics directly related to the Constitution.


The maximum amount of each award is $24,000, prorated over the period of study. In no case shall the award exceed $12,000 for one academic year of study. Normally, Fellows receive less than these maximum amounts. Payments are made only for the actual costs of tuition, required fees, books, and room and board, and are made only for the minimum number of credits required for the award of the degree for which a Fellow is registered.


  • Applicants must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. national.
  • Applicants must be a teacher, or plan to become a teacher, of American history, American government, or social studies at the secondary school level (grades 7-12).
  • Applicants who already have a graduate degree must wait at least three years from the time that degree was awarded before applying for a Fellowship.
  • Applicants must either currently possess a bachelor’s degree, or plan to receive a bachelor’s degree no later then August 31 of the year in which you are applying.
  • See “More about the Selection Process” below for information about the selection criteria.


*Information derived from www.jamesmadison.com