Master’s Degree Fellowships

The College Fund’s master’s fellowship supports tribal college and university (TCU) faculty accepted to or enrolled in a master’s degree program with a two-year award up to $25,000. The College Fund established this fellowship program to increase the number of TCU faculty with master’s degrees, thus supporting faculty members’ own educational goals and helping TCUs to meet accreditation requirements for qualified faculty.

The College Fund offers two master’s degree fellowships:

  • The College Fund Master’s Fellowship is funded by the College Fund and supports faculty pursuing a master’s degree in any field.
  • The STEM Master’s Fellowship was created with funding from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund. The fellowship supports faculty pursuing a master’s degree in the sciences, technology, engineering, or math.

Each fellowship provides up to $25,000 in funding over a period of up to two years. Award amounts are based on actual tuition and fees.

There is one application for both fellowships. That is, faculty in a STEM field will be considered for both fellowships and do not need to complete a separate application. Fellowships are highly competitive.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicants must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Be a current TCU faculty member, or a staff member who does not currently teach but has been asked to teach in the near future, at an accredited TCU that is a “regular” member of AIHEC. For fellowships, the definition of faculty member includes full-time faculty members, as well as adjunct instructors (including TCU staff and administrators) who teach at least one course regularly. Given the limited funding available, priority is given to full-time faculty members and staff who have been asked to teach in a high-need area.
  • Be admitted to or enrolled in an accredited master’s degree program.
  • Have a plan to complete their degree within two (2) years of starting the fellowship.
  • Obtain approval from their administrators to have flexibility to complete all requirements of the fellowship within two years. A full sabbatical is not required; however, fellows must have reasonable release time or flexibility to ensure successful completion of their program.


Requirements for Accepted Awards

Individuals who are awarded funds will be required to do the following:

  • Agree to continue teaching at a TCU for at least two (2) years after graduation.
  • Authorize regular progress reports and contact between the master’s degree-granting university and the College Fund’s Faculty Development Program Officer.
  • Learn from and collaborate with peers and mentors in the master’s fellowship program.
  • Complete their master’s degree within two (2) years of starting the fellowship.
  • Maintain regular contact with the College Fund’s Faculty Development Program Officer for the two years during and two years after completion of the master’s degree.


Application Checklist

Applicants must submit the following documents and information to receive full consideration during the committee review process. Please read the instructions for each document in the application portal before applying.

  • Application form
  • Personal statement
  • CV/resume
  • Two letters of reference: One from the TCU president or chief academic officer; one additional professional reference
  • Proof of admission to an accredited master’s program OR transcript of courses if already enrolled
  • Academic plan
  • Detailed budget


Selection Process

The College Fund and external reviewers will assess the quality of applications using the following criteria:

  • Potential of applicant to make significant and long-term contributions to their tribal college through teaching, research, and service.
  • Competence and writing ability as demonstrated in the personal statement.
  • Clarity and completeness of application materials.
  • Potential to succeed in graduate study and complete a master’s degree.
  • Demonstrated commitment to American Indian/Alaska Native higher education.
  • Quality of references and level of support from the applicant’s TCU administrator.
  • For staff members: the degree to which the TCU needs the staff member to become a faculty member and has created a plan for the staff member to teach once a degree has been earned.


Application Deadline

The spring 2024 application window is now open for fellowships that will begin in the summer or fall of 2024. If you qualify for both master’s fellowships, only one application is required and you will be considered for both. We are accepting applications through 4:00 pm PT on Friday, March 29, 2024. All application materials must be uploaded by that time, including your recommendation letters. 

If you are studying in a STEM field, you may be able to apply early and receive an early review. Please contact Heidi Normandin for more information. 

Click on the link below to be taken to our application portal. After creating an account (or logging in to your existing account), you will find further information about each required document and instructions for the people writing your recommendation letters. 

If you have any questions or technical difficulties, contact Heidi Normandin, Faculty Development Program Officer, at