U.S. citizens who demonstrate a commitment to civic responsibilities and to professional and collegial activities and who qualify for admission with graduate standing at an accredited U.S. university that offers a qualifying master's degree program are eligible to apply. Applicants must be committed to teaching American history, American government, and/or social studies full time in grades 7–12.
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):
Yes. Please note, beginning with the 2014 application, individuals are no longer required to wait 3 years between receiving a previous graduate degree and matriculating into a proposed master’s degree under a James Madison Fellowship. As a reminder, individuals are required to fulfill their teaching obligations after completing their master’s degree under the Fellowship.
Applicants compete only against other applicants from the states of their legal residence. Applicants are evaluated on their demonstrated commitment to a career teaching American history, American government, or social studies at the secondary school level; demonstrated intent to pursue and complete a program of graduate study that emphasizes the Constitution and offers instruction in that subject; demonstrated devotion to civic responsibility; demonstrated capacity for study and performance as classroom teachers, and their proposed courses of graduate study. Applicants will be evaluated without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, political affiliation, marital status, sexual orientation or other non-merit factors.
Many outstanding educators submit applications, but not all applications are outstanding. See these tips to help you prepare an exemplary application.
An independent Fellow Selection Committee appointed by ACT, Inc., evaluates all valid applications and recommends to the Foundation the most outstanding applicants from each state for James Madison Fellowships.
Each year, the Foundation selects at least one James Madison Fellow, either junior or senior, from each state, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and, considered as a single entity, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Funds permitting, more than one fellowship may be awarded in jurisdictions with larger populations.
There are two types of fellowships to recognize the different challenges and circumstances between those without teaching experience and those currently teaching who seek to pursue graduate study. 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 social studies in grades 7–12. Junior Fellows must complete graduate study within 2 academic years of full-time study. Senior fellowships are awarded to superior current teachers who must be able to complete graduate study within 5 calendar years of part-time study.
James Madison fellowships cannot be used to support doctoral-level study or study for master's degrees in public affairs or public administration or law degrees.
If the school of employment grants a Senior Fellow a sabbatical, or if the Fellow takes a leave of absence, then the Fellow may pursue graduate study full time.
Examples of constitutional content courses include constitutional history; legal history; political science courses in federalism, presidency, Congress, the judiciary, American political thought, political and legal philosophy.
Yes, provided the proposed course of graduate study offers a qualifying master's degree program within the United States and allows at least 12 semester hours or their equivalent of study of the origins, principles, and development of the U.S. 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.
Thank you so much for the great gift you bestowed on me and my students.
— Christy Marrella-Davis, Fellow from New Jersey
The Foundation and staff are located in Washington, D.C. The program operations are conducted in Washington, including the administration of fellowships and the Summer Institute and the provision of services for alumni Fellows. The Foundation employs ACT, Inc., under contract, to assist with the recruitment and national competition process. The ACT office located in Iowa City, Iowa, distributes, receives, and evaluates applications.
The application must be completed online.
Completed applications must be submitted online no later than March 1 of each year. Transcript(s) must also be received at the Iowa City, Iowa, office address before or on March 1. Letters of recommendation must be submitted online. More information
The Fellow Selection Committee meets to recommend the appointment of Fellows to the Foundation in late March of each year, and James Madison Fellows are named by the Foundation and notified of their selection in April.
Fellows attending the annual James Madison Symposium lecture in the United States Senate
Each Fellow must make satisfactory progress toward the degree and remain in good academic standing and must complete the graduate degree study within the amount of time indicated above. Junior Fellows may not be engaged in gainful employment that interferes with the Fellow's studies. In addition, each Fellow is required to attend the Foundation's Summer Institute during the term of fellowship. The four-week Summer Institute is held in Washington, D.C., each summer. The centerpiece of the Institute is a graduate course, "The Foundations of American Constitutionalism." Participants also visit historic sites associated with the institutions of American government and the Constitution's framers.
Fellows are expected to attend the Summer Institute the summer after the year of their award and the commencement of their first year of graduate study. The four-week Summer Institute is held in July in Washington, D.C.
After receiving the master's degree, each Fellow must teach American history, American government, or social studies in grades 7–12 for one full year for each academic year of aid received under a fellowship, preferably in the state from which the recipient won the fellowship. Teaching during the term of the fellowship study does not count toward satisfaction of this obligation, nor does transfer into an administrative position or to college or university teaching. A Fellow's failure to complete the study for which the fellowship is awarded, to attend the Summer Institute on the Constitution, or to teach a qualifying subject 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.
The Foundation expects the teaching obligation to commence immediately after the award of the master's degree.
The Madison Fellowship is one of the proudest professional accomplishments of my career.
— Chris Cavanaugh, Fellow from Indiana