Pre-Graduate Fellows Program


The Duke Pre-Graduate Fellows Program is targeted toward advanced undergraduates or recent college graduates interested in applying to research-oriented Master's or Ph.D. programs in economics or a related field (e.g., political science, statistics, computer science, public policy, sociology).

The program is designed for students who — by their background, life experience and scholarship — can show they will bring greater diversity to the economics profession. We especially encourage applications from historically disadvantaged and underrepresented groups.

Applicants selected for the program will:

  • be named Duke Economics Pre-Graduate Fellows,
  • receive a financial award to assist with the costs of applying to graduate school
  • have access to an academic advisor
  • have access to faculty mentoring designed to assist with graduate school preparation and applications

The faculty mentoring committee includes Bocar BaJason BaronPatrick BayerCharles Becker, and Grace Kim.  We are also pleased to have the following mentors and external committee members in 2023-24: Marcus Casey, Associate Professor at University of Illinois-Chicago, and Quitze Valenzuela-Stookey, Assistant Professor at University of California-Berkeley. Quitze was a postdoctoral scholar at Duke in 2021-22, and Marcus was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Duke Economics from 2009-2011.


  • In 2023-24, the program will be limited to American citizens and permanent residents. In future years, we hope to be able to relax this restriction.
  • Our focus will be on students planning to apply to graduate school this year. In future years, we plan to expand to include students at an earlier stage of considering graduate school.
  • The fellows program is designed for students interested in pursuing a graduate degree in economics or a related field but not a professional degree program such as business, law or medicine.
  • The applicant is not required to apply to a Duke graduate program.
  • Those currently enrolled in (or who have completed) a Masters program who are planning to apply to a PhD program or another graduate program are eligible for the program.

Initial Award Funding Level

  • The financial award for 2023-24 will be $2,000.
  • We plan to name 15 fellows in 2023-24.

Application Process

Interested applicants should email (or have emailed) the following documents to

  1. Candidate materials, including:
    1. Short statement describing the applicant’s motivation for applying to graduate school and intended course of study (this could be a draft of a statement of purpose from a graduate school application)
    2. List of intended program applications
    3. College transcript(s) (unofficial is fine)
    4. GRE scores, if available (unofficial is fine)
    5. Resume
    6. Writing sample (optional)
    7. Proposal for grant application such as NSF, Ford (optional)
  2. A letter of recommendation should be emailed from a professor or other advisor able to comment on the applicant’s preparedness and motivation for graduate study.

Any questions about the program can also be emailed to

Key Dates

  • Deadline for submissions: November 3, 2023
  • Award decisions: November 17, 2023
  • Award payments: As quickly as possible after decisions are made
  • Introductory meeting for new fellows: Early December 2023 (via Zoom)



More details about the program can be found on the Duke Pre-Grad Fellows Program FAQ.