McKnight Doctoral Fellowships

Established in 1984, FEF's McKnight Doctoral Fellowship Program has awarded more than 1400 Fellowships and increased the number of African Americans and Hispanics who have earned Ph.D.'s in crucial disciplines where members of underrepresented groups have not historically enrolled and completed degree programs. The Program enjoys an impressive retention rate of over 88%, and our Fellows boast an average Ph.D. time-to-degree of 5.5 years.

McKnight conference

Up to 50 Fellowships (renewable for up to five years) are granted each year to students pursuing doctoral degrees at one of 9 participating institutions in the State of Florida. Each Fellowship consists of $17,000 per year in tuition, fees, and stipend.


The McKnight Doctoral Fellowship program is designed to address the underrepresentation of African American and Hispanic faculty at colleges and universities in the state of Florida by increasing the pool of citizens qualified with Ph.D. degrees to teach at the college and university levels. As a by-product, it is expected that employment opportunities in industry will also be expanded.

The Award:

Up to 50 Fellowships are awarded annually to study at one of nine participating Florida universities. Each award provides annual tuition up to $5,000 (tuition above this amount is waived by the participating institution) for each of three academic years plus an annual stipend of $12,000. (An additional two years of support at this same level is provided by the participating institution.) The award also includes a comprehensive system of counseling and professional development support.

Each annual renewal is contingent upon satisfactory performance and normal progress toward the Ph.D. degree.

Participating Universities:

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University
Florida Atlantic University
Florida Institute of Technology
Florida International University
Florida State University
University of Central Florida
University of Florida
University of Miami
University of South Florida

You may view each institution's resource person and eligible academic programs by clicking here.

Eligible Fields of Study:

Eligible fields of study include any field in the Arts and Sciences, Business, Engineering, Health Sciences, Nursing, or the Visual and Performing Arts. Fellowships are especially encouraged in, but not limited to, the following disciplines:

Computer Science
Marine Biology

No academic program that leads to a degree other than the Ph.D., including, but not limited to, the D.B.A., D.D.S., D.N.P., D.P.H., D.P.T., D.V.M., Ed.D., Ed.S., J.D., and M.D., will be covered by the McKnight Doctoral Fellowship.

Who May Apply:

An applicant must be African American or Hispanic, a U.S. citizen, and hold a minimum of a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university.

Since this program is intended to increase enrollment in Ph.D. programs, currently enrolled doctoral students are not eligible to apply.

General Eligibility:

The Fellowship will be awarded only to persons who intend to seek Ph.D. degrees in one of the disciplines in the Arts and Sciences, Mathematics, Business or Engineering. In those doctoral programs which require entry at the master's level prior to acceptance at the doctoral level, institutional verification will be required.

The Fellowships must be used at one of the participating Florida universities previously indicated and will be awarded only to those eligible individuals who have been accepted for graduate study at one of the participating universities.

Application Deadline:

All application materials must be submitted on line and/or postmarked no later than January 15th of each year.

The FEF strongly encourages all applicants to submit the MDF Application online via the Program's secure online application. However, if you do not have easy online access, paper application forms are available upon request. Please call FEF at (813) 272-2772 to request a paper application form.