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Frequently Asked Questions about the Fellows Scholarship


Who is eligible to apply for the Davidson Fellows scholarship?

To be eligible for the Davidson Fellows scholarship, an applicant must:

  • The 2024 deadline is February 14, 2023.
  • Applicants must be 18 or younger as of the application deadline to be eligible.
  • Be a U.S. citizen residing in the United States, or a Permanent Resident of the United States residing in the United States, or be stationed overseas due to active U.S. military duty.
  • Have completed a significant piece of work in one of the submission categories.
  • Two person teams are eligible.
  • Be able to demonstrate that the work is his or her own creation.
  • Be able to attend an in-person event, with at least one parent or guardian, or virtual awards ceremony.

Are group or team projects eligible?

Yes! Two-person teams are eligible to apply.

  • Teams may be no more than two people.
  • Both team members must be 18 or younger as of the application deadline of February 15, 2023.
  • Both team members must attend any in-person awards events.
  • Scholarship money will be split evenly between the two team members.
  • As with solo submissions, two nominators are required.

Are projects involving human or animal subjects/tissues eligible?

Applications involving human subjects or live vertebrates are NOT eligible.

Projects involving the following live invertebrates are eligible: C. elegans, Drosophila, Hydra. Additionally, projects involving zebrafish no older than 168 hours post-fertilization are eligible.

Tissue-related projects are eligible, if the applicant can demonstrate:

  • The materials were collected for other purposes;
  • No embryos were sacrificed; 
  • The student is collaborating with a qualified lead scientist; and
  • The lead scientist provides to the Institute documented approval from a recognized Institutional Review Board (IRB) or Scientific Review Committee (SRC).

Please submit documentation with the preliminary portion of the application which will be reviewed by the Davidson Institute, who, at its sole discretion, will determine eligibility. The Davidson Institute may, in its sole discretion, also require that other conditions be met before tissue-related projects will be further considered.


Is someone older than 18 eligible to apply for a Davidson Fellows scholarship?

No, applicants must be 18 or younger as of the application deadline to be eligible.

Is there a minimum age to apply to be a Davidson Fellow?

No. There is no minimum age for eligibility.

Is the Davidson Fellows scholarship for high school seniors only?

The Davidson Fellows scholarship eligibility is based on age, not grade level. Students at any grade level are welcome to apply provided they meet our Eligibility and Project Criteria requirements.


How can I obtain a Davidson Fellows application?

Category requirements can be downloaded from our How to Apply page. If you have questions, please email

What is required to apply for a Davidson Fellows scholarship?

Each category has different requirements. Every applicant must submit the required elements outlined within their category of choice, plus two nominator forms and all of the Attachments. Applicants and their parents also must sign a statement of commitment that, if named a Davidson Fellow, the applicant and a parent or guardian will attend the award reception.

What is the deadline for Davidson Fellows scholarship application?

The 2024 application deadline is February 14, 2024.

How do I submit my complete Davidson Fellows application?

Davidson Fellows application can be accessed through our online application system on the How to Apply page.

May I fax or email my application?


What is a visual model as stated on the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) and Outside the Box applications?

This model is the visual representation of your research and findings. The visual model can be as individual as your project. It may be photos, a PowerPoint presentation, graphs, diagrams, illustrations, etc.; your project will dictate how you present your work. We also suggest asking your nominators how to best present your research and findings.

Does the application upload have to be typed?

All application materials must be typed.

Does the work submitted as part of a Davidson Fellows application belong to the Davidson Institute?

Any intellectual property contained within the Davidson Fellows applications remains the property of the applicant.

Do I have to follow the exact instructions on the Davidson Fellows application?

Applicants must follow the stated directions. The instructions have been developed by past judges and are designed to allow the applicant the best opportunity to demonstrate his or her work. Failure to follow directions may result in disqualification.

Can I apply in more than one category?

No. Applicants may apply in only one category. The categories are: STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), Humanities (Music, Literature, Philosophy) and Outside the Box. The Outside the Box category is defined as a project that is university graduate level work or comparable, and completed with the supervision of an expert or experts.

Projects/Significant Piece of Work

What general level of work is the Davidson Institute looking for?

The Davidson Institute is looking for students whose projects are at or close to the college graduate level with a depth of knowledge in their particular area of study. This scholarship is not geared toward students at the novice level.

What is a significant piece of work as defined by the Davidson Fellows scholarship?

To qualify for consideration as a Davidson Fellow, an applicant must contribute a work that is recognized as an outstanding accomplishment by experts in the field and has the potential to benefit society. A qualified work may be an exceptionally creative application of existing knowledge; a new idea with high impact; a unique application; an innovative solution with broad-range implications; an important advancement that can be replicated and built upon; an interdisciplinary discovery with the potential to effect positive change; or other demonstration of extraordinary accomplishment.

Is a community service project acceptable work for a Davidson Fellows scholarship?

No. At this time the Davidson Fellows categories for submission do not include community service projects. You may want to investigate the Davidson Gifted Database article, Community Service Scholarships, Grants and Other Opportunities.

What is the Outside the Box category for the Davidson Fellows scholarship?

The Outside the Box category is defined as a project that is university graduate level work or comparable, and completed with the supervision of an expert or experts.

Is an athletic accomplishment acceptable work for a Davidson Fellows scholarship?

No. At this time the Davidson Fellows categories for submission do not include athletic accomplishments.

Are dance, drama/performance art, photography, painting, film, fine arts or visual arts eligible to be considered for a Davidson Fellows scholarship?

No. At this time the Davidson Fellows Program categories for submission do not include dance, drama/performance art, film, photography, fine arts or visual arts. You may want to investigate the New York Foundation for the Arts free national database of funding sources for artists.

If my work has already won national or state recognition in another competition, or has been published, may I still use it to apply for a Davidson Fellows scholarship?

Yes. In fact, you may want to mention previous awards or publications relating to your Davidson Fellows project as part of the Attachments content.


Are two nominators required?

Yes, two different nominators are required. Family members may NOT serve as nominators.


What is the Davidson Fellows scholarship selection based upon?

The selection of Davidson Fellows is based on the following:

  • The scope and quality of the work submitted;
  • The level of significance of the work submitted, as deemed by experts in the domain area (or a related domain area);
  • The applicant’s depth of knowledge and understanding of the work and the related domain area.

What is the selection process for Davidson Fellows scholarship recipients?

Each application is examined for completeness and accuracy. Qualified entries are sorted and evaluated by category and reviewed by an independent team of judges comprised of professionals with expertise in related domain areas. The judges may, at their sole discretion, consult with additional experts to assist in evaluating the merits of any of the submissions. Based on the criteria specified, the independent team of judges selects the most extraordinary applicants to be named Davidson Fellows and determines the level of scholarship to be awarded: $50,000, $25,000 or $10,000. All applicants are notified on or before July 15 each year.

What is the Honorable Mention recognition?

The Davidson Fellows Honorable Mention is intended to recognize applicants who have displayed notable potential in their field of study and strongly encourage them to continue pursuing their efforts and talents. Not every applicant receives an Honorable Mention; they are featured on the Davidson Institute's website.

Scholarship Restrictions

Are there restrictions on the Davidson Fellows scholarship?

Each scholarship may be used only for qualified tuition and related expenses, as defined in the Internal Revenue Code §117(b) and related regulations. The Davidson Institute shall determine the time and conditions of payment of scholarships at its sole discretion. The Davidson Institute may specify the documentation required to assure the Davidson Institute that the recipient is following an appropriate course of study. If the recipient withdraws from school or the recipient's progress is unsatisfactory, and the recipient makes no alternate arrangements to pursue courses at the same or another educational institution, then, at its sole discretion, the Davidson Institute may terminate the scholarship. Scholarship money will be available for 10 years from the date of the award. After 10 years, unused monies will be forfeited.

Is the Davidson Fellows scholarship applicable at any school, college or university? Is there a list of certain schools that accept this award?

The Davidson Fellows scholarship must be used to further the recipient's education through attendance at an accredited institution of learning. The list of accredited institutions can be found at the Regional Accreditation Board based on the school's geographic area. The six regions are:

  • MSA-Middle States Association
  • NASC-Northwest Association of Schools & Colleges
  • NCA-North Central Association of Colleges & Schools
  • NEASC-New England Association of Schools & Colleges
  • SACS-Southern Association of Colleges & Schools
  • WASC-Western Association of Schools & Colleges

Do scholarship recipients have to major in the same subject category in which they applied for the Davidson Fellows scholarship?

No. Applicants can major in any field of study.


Is the Davidson Fellows scholarship offered annually?


Can I apply for the Davidson Fellows scholarship more than once?

Applicants who are not named as Davidson Fellows may reapply, provided they meet the eligibility requirements and submit a different or expanded significant piece of work for judging. Individuals who have been named Davidson Fellows are not eligible to reapply.

Is the Davidson Fellows scholarship part of the Davidson Young Scholars program?

No. The Davidson Young Scholars program and the Davidson Fellows scholarship are independent programs with different purposes and criteria for participation.