The APSA Diversity Fellowship Program (formerly known as the APSA Minority Fellowship Program or MFP) is a fellowship competition for individuals from underrepresented backgrounds applying to or in the early stages of doctoral programs in political science. The DFP was established in 1969 as the Black Graduate Student Fellowship to increase the number of African American graduate students in the discipline. In 1979, the Chicano Student Fellowship was established. Over time, the fellowship program evolved into the Minority Fellowship Program (MFP), expanding to include support for all scholars from traditionally underrepresented racial and ethnic backgrounds. As of Fall 2020, the program was renamed to the APSA Diversity Fellowship Program to better mirror language that reflects, encourages, and uplifts aspiring scholars of color and to acknowledge the current and projected demographic shifts in racial and ethnic populations in the US.
Since its inception, the APSA DFP has designated more than 600 fellows and contributed to the successful completion of doctoral political science programs for over 100 individuals.
In 2019, APSA celebrated 50 years of scholar support! Read reflections from our program alumni here.
The 2023-2024 Spring Cycle will is now closed. Fellows will be announced in early April.
Applications for the 2024-2025 Fall Cycle will open late September, 2023.
Spring DFP Application Fall DFP Application DFP Travel Grant
About the Fellowship
Each fall, the DFP awards between 12-14 funded fellowships in the amount of $5,000 over two years to students applying to doctoral programs in political science. Each spring, the DFP offers fellowships to graduate students in the pre-dissertation stage of their doctoral program. The Spring DFP is a one time award of $2000, depending on funding availability.
Additionally, some political science departments offer application fee waivers to students enrolled in APSA Diversity and Inclusion Programs. Students should inquire with the graduate program they are applying to about the possibility of an application fee waiver.
Why did the program name change from Minority Fellowship Program to Diversity Fellowship Program?
As of Fall 2020, the program was renamed to the APSA Diversity Fellowship Program to better mirror language that reflects, encourages, and uplifts aspiring scholars of color, and to acknowledge the current and projected demographic shifts in racial and ethnic populations in the US.
In many spaces, the term “minority” has become the default (instead of the term “underrepresented group”) to talk about any group that is non-white. The use of this term may serve to position groups of Black and Brown people in relation to non-Hispanic white people, who, according to the US Census, have historically been the majority racial/ethnic group. However, as the APSA Task Force Report on Political Science in the 21st Century (2011) states, by mid-century, the demographic distribution will look markedly different. In fact, the US Census projects that people of color, taken as a whole, will become the majority population in 2045. This demographic shift will come earlier for younger age cohorts. Despite these expected shifts, individual, historically marginalized racial and ethnic groups still represent a smaller proportion of the population than their white counterparts and they continue to experience disparate comparative outcomes in health, wealth and professional and academic outcomes—namely they continue to be highly underrepresented in the social sciences.
The term “minority” can also reinforce the incorrect notion that Black and Brown people are in some way “minor” and as such, the issues affecting their communities are less worthy of consideration and merit by scholars and policy makers than that of their white peers, which is not the case.
Finally, the update to the program name also helps to further align the program name with the approach and language used in APSA’s current organizational structure (e.g. the program is housed within the APSA Diversity & Inclusion Programs Department), and with APSA’s mission statement, and current strategic plan.