Harvard South Africa Fellowship Program 2021/2022 for mid-career professionals (Fully Funded to study in Harvard, USA)

Application Deadline: April 15, 2020

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. 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.


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.

Fellows submit their applications directly to the Harvard South Africa Fellowship Program at Harvard University. A committee of HSAFP alumni, Center staff and the CAS Faculty Director will interview the short-listed applicants in South Africa. Successful candidates must then apply to and be admitted at the specific Harvard school where they intend to study.

Applicants should determine well in advance whether, if awarded a fellowship, they can be granted leave by their employers for Harvard’s academic year. They should generally plan to be in residence at Harvard from September until June. However, some programs require fellows to begin residence on July 1st. No candidate should accept an interview unless assured that such leave will be granted. The Center does not wish to assign fellowships to anyone who subsequently finds it impossible to use the opportunity.


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.


December 2, 2019 HSAFP application opens
April 15, 2020 HSAFP applications DUE (at 11:59pm EST)
May 1 – 31, 2020 Applications reviewed by program staff
Early June 2020 Applicants notified if they have been selected for an interview
July 16-17, 2020 (subject to change) Expected timing for interviews in South Africa
Early August 2020 Interviewed candidates are notified if they have been selected as a Harvard South Africa Fellow finalist
September 2020 – December 2020 Selected finalists apply directly to the Harvard program they are interested in attending
January 2021 – April 2021 Candidates typically hear about their admissions decision from the Harvard School to which they applied
Beginning July – August 2021 Most Harvard South Africa Fellows’ academic programs at Harvard begin
May 2022 Fellows at Harvard for one-year programs complete their academic year at the University

For More Information:

Visit the Official Webpage of the Harvard South Africa Fellowship Program 2021/2022



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