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Intercollegiate Studies Institute Essay Contest Rules

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Please read the fellowship FAQs.

ISI’s Graduate Fellowship Program is characterized by the observation of Richard M. Weaver that “a liberal education specifically prepares for the achievement of freedom.” After more than fifty years, the ISI graduate fellows program boasts some of the most distinguished figures in the academy and public life. Each year ISI grants Richard M. Weaver Fellowships to students who intend to use their advanced degree to teach, and Henry Salvatori Fellowships to students doing graduate work related to the American Founding. Each of these fellowships seeks to uphold the idea of academic excellence and the role of education in producing persons capable of making reasoned choices in favor of liberty.


For the 2018–19 academic year, ISI will grant up to 15 awards, ranging from $5,000 to $15,000 each.


  • Applicants must be U.S. citizens who will be enrolled in a full-time graduate program for academic year 2018–19
  • Those attending pre-professional (medical, law, divinity, business, etc.) programs are ineligible


  • An original, 1,250- to 2,500-word essay responding to the following question:

“What is the relationship between liberal education and a free society?"

  • One-page CV or résumé of prior education, awards, fellowships, and internships
  • Five- to ten-page personal, philosophical, and professional autobiography
  • Five- to ten-page academic writing sample
  • Two academic letters of recommendation 
  • Unofficial transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate work (if award is granted, official transcripts must be provided by the issuing institution or the applicant)
  • Brief responses to the following:
    • Why the applicant has chosen teaching as a profession
    • Why the applicant desires a fellowship
    • How the applicant learned of the ISI Graduate Fellowship Program
    • Signed declaration of intent to teach

(Personal philosophical statement and academic writing samples must be 12-point standard font and double spaced.)

The application period has closed. Please check back with us next year!


We will announce the 2018–19 ISI Graduate Fellows in April 2018. Applicants will be notified by e-mail.


Questions? For more information on the Graduate Fellowships, please