How to Apply for a Watson Nomination

Here is a step-by-step guide to the Watson Fellowship application process at the University of Puget Sound. Be reminded that fellows may travel to countries rated Level 1 or 2 by the State Department, however, in some cases there are specific travel restrictions on regions within countries. Fellows may not travel to countries rated Level 3 or 4.

Step 1: Get Informed

Learn all you can about the Watson Fellowship. It is a unique opportunity that is totally different from other prestigious fellowships. Explore the web resources provided here. It is also very important to attend the information meetings that are scheduled mid-April and early September of each year.

Step 2: Make Contact

The first step in the application process is to contact Kelli Delaney and express your interest in this opportunity. The sooner you take this step the better. Ideally, potential Watson Fellowship applicants should make contact by the end of their junior year and file their Initial Interest Form with the Fellowships office.

Step 3: Come to the Meetings and Workshops

Be sure to attend the Watson Fellowship information meetings that are scheduled in April and during the first two weeks of the fall semester and the Personal Statement Writing Workshop in collaboration with the Center for Writing, Learning, and Teaching.

Step 4: The Campus Application Materials

If you think you have the passion and commitment to be a Watson Fellow, then complete the campus application materials below. These application materials are provided solely for the use of students at the University of Puget Sound. No other use is permitted.

Watson Campus Application Materials Checklist

Your completed application packet must include the original and 1 copy of the following items. 
Application materials must be submitted to the Fellowships Office in Howarth 114J by noon on October 5, 2017. Late applications will not be accepted.

  1. National Application - You will receive a link to the application once you are entered into the Watson system by the fellowship office. You will have the ability to print the application as a PDF directly from the Watson website. 
  2. A college transcript (an unofficial transcript may be obtained from the Registrar's Office)
  3. Personal Statement (five double-spaced pages or 1500 words) that explains what you propose to do during your Watson year and why.
  4. Project Proposal (five double-spaced pages or 1500 words) should describe your plan for the 12-month fellowship year, including a description of your proposed project and details as to how you intend to carry it out.
  5. Two recommendations sent directly to the Fellowships office, CMB#1074, or delivered to Howarth 114 by the individuals writing them. At least one should be from the university (can be a professor, staff, coach, etc.). You should ensure that your recommender is well acquainted with your project. You should send this recommendation form via email recommendation form to each recommender and they can complete and send them to us via email to
  6. Resume

Step 5: The Campus Interview

All completed applications will be read and interviews will be scheduled with the students who appear most likely to succeed in this competition. (Applicants who are studying abroad during the Fall term will be interviewed via conference call during normal campus business hours.) The committee may select up to four nominees based upon the essay, interview, transcript, and recommendations.

Step 6: The Final Application

The four nominees then have time to revise their essays and work closely with a faculty mentor. Members of the GFAC committee will offer guidance and feedback during this process, but the nominees bear the ultimate responsibility for their applications.

If you are nominated, you will need to be able to devote a good deal of time to this process of writing your final application and preparing for your interview. Previous successful nominees say that writing a good Watson application and preparing for the interview takes at least as much time as an academic class, so be prepared for this increase in your workload.

Step 7: The Watson Interview

A representative of the Watson Fellowship office will visit campus for one-on-one interviews with each nominee. Interviews are usually scheduled for late in the Fall term or early in the Spring semester.

Step 8: The Waiting Game

After the Watson interview, nominees must wait until the third Monday in March to learn if they have received a Watson Fellowship.

Step 9: Getting the News

Of the approximately 200 finalists, up to 50 receive fellowships. Another five are named alternates and are offered a fellowship if one of the fellows declines to accept the award for some reason.

Step 10: Getting Practical

Now the real work begins. Students selected as Watson Fellows must begin the practical work of making their wanderjahr happen.

Step 11: Your Year Begins

Watson Fellows begin their year of foreign travel in June or July (August 1 at the latest).