Harvard South Africa Fellowship Program 2020/2021 for mid-career professionals (Fully Funded to study in Harvard, USA)

Application Deadline:April 4, 2019

President Derek Bok established the Harvard South Africa Fellowship Program (HSAFP) in 1979 to address the needs of South Africans who were denied access to advanced education by the apartheid system. This program was established, and is still intended, for mid-career professionals educationally disadvantaged by past laws and resource allocations in South Africa. Under the current presidency of Drew Gilpin Faust, the HSAFP seeks to expand its reach to institutions and organizations across South Africa in a continued effort to draw the broadest possible range of candidates for the program. In addition, the University – reflecting the current South African constitution – has expanded its applicant pool to extend to all South Africans, regardless of ethnicity or race.

Fellows are selected because they have shown considerable skill in their chosen fields, and are expected to benefit from advanced training. Fellowships are for a year of study in one of Harvard’s Professional Schools or Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, with tuition waivers provided by the School once fellows are admitted. General administrative funds for program management, stipends, and airfare for the fellow are provided by the Office of the President, and administered by the Center for African Studies, under the directorship of Professor John Mugane. Since the inception of the Harvard South Africa Fellowship Program, the Center for African Studies has awarded over 200 fellowships.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • The HSAFP was conceived largely to provide educational enrichment for men and women in mid-career, that is, individuals in various occupations who have shown considerable skill in their chosen fields and leadership and are expected to benefit from advanced training.
  • Thus candidates who have just completed, or who have not yet completed, a first degree are not selected unless this degree has been pursued concurrently with, or subsequent to, experience in the workplace.
  • Fellows usually range in age from 30 to 45 years.
  • Fellows must be South African citizens.

Fellowship Worth:

  • The fellowship provides for payment of all tuition for the full period of enrollment at Harvard.
  • The fellowship also funds round-trip airfare between the fellow’s home and Boston.
  • A monthly stipend is provided to fellows, with the exception of those enrolled in the Executive Education Programs, to cover the cost of housing and other living expenses.
  • Housing is usually in university graduate dormitories. Please note that housing costs in the Boston/Cambridge area are extremely high, and the stipend only covers bare necessities.
  •  The monthly stipend must also be used to pay other expenses such as medical and dental insurance, medicine, taxes, food, winter clothing, books and supplies.
  • Fellows are held personally responsible for the payment of all bills other than tuition fees and airfare. Fellows should also be aware that their stipends will have a significant amount of taxes taken out before they receive the funds

Application Timeline:

December 1, 2018 HSAFP application opens
April 4, 2019 HSAFP applications DUE (at 11:59pm EST)
May 1 – 31, 2019 Applications reviewed by program staff
Early June 2019 Applicants notified if they have been selected for an interview
July 11-15, 2019 (subject to change) Expected timing for interviews in South Africa
August 2019 Interviewed candidates are notified if they have been selected as a Harvard South Africa Fellow finalist
September 2019 – December 2019 Selected finalists apply directly to the Harvard program they are interested in attending
January 2020 – April 2020 Candidates typically hear about their admissions decision from the Harvard School to which they applied
Beginning July – August 2020 Most Harvard South Africa Fellows’ academic programs at Harvard begin
May 2021 Fellows at Harvard for one-year programs complete their academic year at the University




  • Submit transcripts from all post-secondary institutions you have attended. Transcripts must be submitted through the « Uploads » tab on CARAT. Transcripts must show the grades and course titles for all your post-secondary coursework. Copies of diplomas are NOT required.


  • Two letters of recommendation must be submitted through the « References » tab on CARAT.


  • An academic essay and a personal statement must be submitted through the « Uploads » tab on CARAT.
    • Academic Essay: Briefly describe an important issue  relevant to your field of interest and South Africa, where possible. Propose a theoretical framework or strategy to address this issue. Applicants seeking admission into the Special Student or Visiting Fellow GSAS Programs should use this academic essay to describe their research and attach a description of their relevant coursework. Minimum 500 words, Maximum 1000 words.
    • Personal Statement: Tell us something about yourself – in particular, why you wish to study at Harvard University and how doing so connects with what you have done in the past and what you plan to do in the future with your career in South Africa. Applicants seeking admission into the Special Student program should use this personal statement to explain how coursework and research opportunities at Harvard University will strengthen their doctoral work and teaching at their home institution. Minimum 250 words, Maximum 750 words.
  • The Academic Essay and the Personal Statement should be typed in a standard font and font size (10 to 12 point).  Essays should also be double-spaced.
  • Include your full name on the top of each page and your signature at the end of the Academic Essay and the Personal Statement.


  • Submit a copy of your most recent resume/CV with your application through the « Uploads » tab on CARAT.


Please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions page.
Further queries about the Harvard South Africa Fellowship Program should be addressed to Lerato Motaung, Program Officer in the Africa office.



For More Information:

Visit the Official Webpage of the Harvard South Africa Fellowship Program 2020/2021


  1. I am highly ambitious to broaden my intellectual horizon and may need full time tuition scholarship to study abroad. I will be highly grateful if i will have assistance to have such opportunity that will help change the face of my country and my status.


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