Graduate Fellowships

“Our democracy will be sustained by America's bright, young leaders committed to public service and public policy.” - Donald Rumsfeld

We provide grants to exceptional graduate-level scholars who have an interest in serving the nation through public service or in policy-relevant fields.  The Graduate Fellowship Program provides financial support to students pursuing graduate and post-doctoral studies, as well as encourages their network of talented young professionals.

Fellowship Program

Some of the country’s most respected scholars in fields from economics to international relations help us to identify candidates of outstanding intellectual ability, integrity, moral character and leadership potential who will benefit from financial assistance. 23 professors currently serve as Advisers for our Program.

The Fellowship Program provides grants for Master's and Ph.D. candidates, postdoctoral researchers and graduate students pursuing public service-related internships. Fellowships are awarded to U.S. citizens through nominations by our confidential Advisers at universities across the country. Students may not directly apply for the Fellowship Program; they must be nominated. The Foundation does not accept outside applications.


The Program's current and former Fellows form an impressive collection of rising leaders active in significant posts and organizations at home and abroad that play important roles in shaping U.S. domestic and foreign policy. We support this growing network of scholars and practitioners and offer year-round events for their engagement and connectivity. These events include speaker series, weekend retreats, receptions and annual conferences.


2019 Graduate Fellowship Conference

Theme: Perspectives on Service- Leadership and Citizen Engagement

Sept 19-20, 2019 - Washington, D.C.

Fellowship by the Numbers



All of Donald Rumsfeld's
profits from the sales of his book,
When the Center Held,
will go to the Graduate Fellowship Program.


  • “I have already been strengthened and encouraged to see so many who have completed their educations to advance to meaningful careers, and I look forward to seeing how this network continues to work in support of each other.”
    University of Dallas Fellow
  • “In my initial letter to the Foundation, I wrote that I would like to continue public service through teaching after graduate school. My time as a Rumsfeld Fellow only confirmed that this is the career path I would like to take.”
    Hillsdale College Fellow
  • “Thank you so much for the Graduate Fellowship and for including me in this phenomenal network. This Fellowship has already proven incredibly valuable to me- far beyond the financial security I have to pursue my career dreams in D.C.”
    Syracuse University Fellow
  • “Thank you for all that the Rumsfeld network has done to facilitate completion of my doctoral degree. I'm truly grateful for the support, which made a world of difference and your network has already put me into contact with many terrific people.”
    George Mason University Fellow
  • “This Network has been vital part to my Ph.D. and far and away been the most important part of that.”
    Indiana University Fellow
  • “The Rumsfeld Fellowship has helped me reach higher and wider than I ever thought I would. I am humbled to have such a network of supportive and caring people in my corner. I look forward to joining the distinguished ranks of Rumsfeld Alumni and continue to bring praise and recognition through my accomplishments to the Rumsfeld Foundation Fellowship.”
    Syracuse University Fellow