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Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation Switzer Fellowship, USA 2024

Application is now open for the Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation Switzer Fellowship. Interested applicants are encouraged to send in their applications before the deadline date.

About Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation and Fellowship

Goals, Vision, and Principles Switzer Fellows at the Foundation Vision’s Fall Retreat in 2018 Recognized leaders promoting environmental transformation for the good of human and natural communities are Switzer Fellows. The Mission of the Foundation The Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation supports programs that directly and quantifiably improve environmental quality, and it seeks and develops environmental leaders who possess the capacity and resolve to have a major beneficial influence. 

Graduate students in New England and California with a concentration on environmental development who come from a variety of academic and personal backgrounds are eligible to apply for the one-year Switzer Fellowship. As an essential component of their environmental problem-solving skills, Switzer Fellows exhibit dedication to and proficiency in advancing social fairness in addition to leadership in their profession.


Leaders in science, policy, justice, health, economics, advocacy, planning, business, law, and other fields that impact the environment and social change are Switzer Fellows. Switzer Fellows are drawn from a variety of scholarly, social, and financial backgrounds. They are dedicated to collaborative leadership, applied outcomes, interdisciplinary efforts, and social equity. To see the variety of disciplines and areas of knowledge that the current Switzer Fellows represent, check out their bios.

Details about Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation Switzer Fellowship:

Scholarship Sponsor: Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation, USA

Scholarship Value: $17,000

Number of awards: 20

Study level: Fellowship

Host Institution(s): Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation, USA


A $17,000 unrestricted cash reward is part of the fellowship, and it is given out in two installments, in June and January. During their fellowship year, fellows take part in two multi-day retreats that emphasize networking, equity-centered leadership development, and cohort building.

Eligibility Criteria for Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation Switzer Fellowship

Applicants are advised to meet the following requirements to be eligible for the Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation Switzer Fellowship:

  • As defined by the US Department of Homeland Security, applicants must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, refugees, or asylees (foreign students are disqualified.)
  • The applicant must intend to be enrolled for the full 2024–2025 academic year at an accredited graduate program in California or one of the six New England states (NH, VT, MA, CT, RI).
  • Candidates must possess excellent academic credentials and have environmental betterment as their primary professional and academic objective.
  • Candidates for master’s degrees, including J.D. students, must be pursuing a master’s as their terminal degree and must have completed at least one semester or quarter of coursework to apply.
  • It is recommended that master’s degree holders who intend to pursue a doctorate wait to apply until they are enrolled in their doctoral program.  
  • Students enrolled in one-year Master’s programs are eligible to apply before they begin, but to be considered for a Switzer Fellowship interview (which takes place in May), they must be officially accepted into their program.
  • By July 1, 2024, Ph.D. candidates must have passed their qualifying exams or completed at least three years of doctoral studies. 
  • Students who are in the middle of their careers are welcome to apply, but they must be able to show how their academic program will improve their ability to lead in the environment.

Selection Criteria

Candidates for fellowships are assessed on their leadership skills and dedication to tackling environmental problems. A strong dedication to advancing social fairness as a crucial component of their environmental problem-solving skills is also displayed by successful applicants, who also clearly explain how their work impacts human populations.

Master’s and doctoral candidates are chosen by the foundation based on their ability to articulate a clear plan for applying their knowledge and expertise to real-world environmental problems. Candidates for doctorates should have a well-defined area of study and explain how their academic objectives will improve applied problems.

Applications are especially encouraged from Black, Indigenous, and students of color; first-generation college students; and members of groups previously underrepresented in environmental graduate programs. Applications from a broad range of universities—including state universities in California and New England—are encouraged. 

Applications are reviewed using the following measures. Please visit the evaluation rubric for more details on each of these criteria:

  • Collaboration and engagement
  • Social equity awareness and experience
  • Communication skills
  • Environmental Commitment
  • Applied focus
  • Innovative problem-solving
  • Leadership potential

Application Review Procedure

Twenty fellows are chosen annually from among hundreds of candidates. Applications from California and New England are considered independently, with 10 fellowships given out in each region. 

Alumni of the Switzer Fellowship, chosen to be generally representative of the Switzer Network in terms of race, gender, educational background, degree program, sector, cohort, and region, examine applications in two rounds. Involving alumni in this process allows the network to make decisions and brings in a variety of viewpoints. 

To maintain representation of traditionally underrepresented or marginalized groups in environmental graduate programs, such as Black, Indigenous, and students of color, first-generation students, and students who identify as transgender or non-binary, the foundation tracks demographic information at the group level throughout all stages of application review. Selected candidates convene virtually for a panel interview with representatives and fellows of the Switzer Foundation in May. Within two weeks following the interviews, all candidates who were interviewed were informed in writing of the award decisions.

Note: Virtual interviews take place around the middle of May. June is when award notifications are sent out.

Application Process for Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation Switzer Fellowship

Applicants should log in or register for the fellowship here. Please check all of the details on the application page before applying. You can also visit the Switzer Foundation website for further details.

The Submission Deadline is: Monday, January 8, 2024, at 11:59 PST

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