The 2019 Harvard South Africa Fellowship Program (HSAFP) now open for applications from South Africans who went to university in South Africa.

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.

In 1979, Harvard University began awarding these fellowships for a year of study in one of its faculties or schools. These fellowships are supported through the resources at Harvard University.

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 would benefit from advanced training.

Worth of Award

  • The fellowship provides for payment of all tuition for the full period of enrollment at Harvard. The fellowship also funds the round-trip airfare between the fellow’s home and Boston, as well as a monthly stipend.
  • Fellows typically elect to stay 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 for other expenses such as medical and dental insurance, medicines, taxes, food, winter clothing, books and supplies.
  • Fellows are held personally responsible for the payment of all bills other than tuition fees and airfare.
  • Please be advised that Harvard will require fellows to purchase American medical insurance.
  • This insurance does not cover the range of services covered in South Africa.
  • Separate insurance must be purchased for dental coverage.
  • Charges for non-covered expenses and prescription drugs are very high.


  • 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.
  • 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. 

How to Apply

  • 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.
  • All applications must be made online through their online application system
  • As part of the online application, candidates are required to upload transcripts from all post-secondary institutions you have attended.
  • You are also required to submit two letters of recommendation. You will find the option to register your referees once you start the application


  • 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.
  • You are also required to submit a copy of your most recent resume/CV with your application through the “Uploads” tab on CARAT.
  • Deadline: To be considered for a 2019-2020 Fellowship cohort, please submit applications by: April 4, 2019(at 11:59 pm EST).


Click here to read more about the fellowship

Download this application form (to attach to your online application)

Click here to access the online application.

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