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Graduate School Exploration Fellowship (GSEF)

The Graduate School Exploration Fellowship (GSEF) funds fellowships that will provide approximately 280 students at ACM colleges with a robust set of mentoring, career development, and experiential research opportunities beginning in the fall of their junior year.

Meet the GSEF Fellows!

What makes them tick, what are they researching, and what have they learned so far? Learn more about the GSEF students in Cohort 1 and Cohort 2!

What Does the GSEF Program Include?

    • On-campus structured mentoring opportunities with faculty and staff at the students' home institutions during their junior and senior years, and
    • Following the junior year, a paid summer research internship on the campus of a Big Ten Academic Alliance institution or the University of Chicago, in which GSEF fellows work directly with graduate professors and/or graduate students in their field to give them firsthand experience with the benefits of graduate training.

Eligibility and Requirements 

The GSEF program is designed for students interested in pursuing study and research in the humanities, humanistic social sciences, and arts. Students at ACM colleges who are interested in applying for the fellowship should consult the GSEF Application Guide and their campus contact.

All qualified sophomores from underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply for the GSEF, including:

      • African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, other Pacific Islanders;
      • First-generation college students;
      • Individuals who have followed non-traditional pathways to college due to exceptional talent and motivation in the face of adversity, such as societal, economic, or academic disadvantages; and
      • Individuals with a demonstrated commitment to applying and including diverse backgrounds and perspectives to learning, scholarship, service, and leadership in the academy.

Applicants should indicate a strong interest in pursuing a doctoral degree in the humanities or humanistic social sciences, or a terminal master’s degree in the arts, and/or a genuine interest in academic research and/or teaching at the college level as a career. Please note that this does NOT include programs leading to professional degrees, e.g. medical school (M.D.), law school (J.D.), or business school (MBA).

Participation in Annual Summits

All GSEF fellows must attend two Annual Summits hosted by the ACM. Following the completion of the summer research opportunity at a Big Ten Academic Alliance institution or the University of Chicago, all GSEF fellows are also expected to present on their projects at this conference.

Read about the Annual Summits held in Chicago!


For questions about the GSEF program, contact Lilly Lavner, ACM Liaison for the Fellows Program to Diversify the Professoriate, or visit the FAQ page.

These fellowships and the Undergraduate and Faculty Fellows Program for a Diverse Professoriate are supported by a generous grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Go to:  
Undergraduate and Faculty Fellows Program for a Diverse Professoriate
Mellon Faculty Fellowships
ACM-Big Ten Academic Alliance meetings and workshops