Graduate Fellowship Program

Purpose

The purpose of the Graduate Fellowship Program is to offer a unique opportunity for a select group of physics doctoral students to spend a minimum period of 5 months (and up to 6 months) at the KITP, participate in KITP research programs, and broaden their pursuit of theoretical physics in areas of current research.

Graduate education in physics has suffered in recent years from over specialization. Students often concentrate very early in their studies on a particular field of physics, to the exclusion of other fields. Even within a given field, they often concentrate on a very narrow direction of research, centered on the interests of their advisor and the topic of their thesis. Having completed the thesis, the new postdoc must specialize even more in order to publish and not to perish. Many physicists have decried this tendency towards specialization and called for efforts to broaden graduate education in physics. They, and we, believe that broadly educated and trained research physicists are necessary in a rapidly changing scientific world.

We believe that the KITP can play a significant role in the effort to broaden graduate education in theoretical physics. To this end we support up to seven graduate students at a time to spend either the period of our fall programs (July through December) or the period of our spring programs (January through June) at the KITP, participating in our programs and broadening their knowledge of physics in many areas at the frontiers of research. There is some slight flexibility in starting and ending dates, but participants are expected to stay for the entire period for which they have been accepted.

Suitably prepared graduate students can, in a semester at the KITP, significantly broaden their knowledge of physics and meet many research physicists working at the frontiers of knowledge. 

The KITP is committed to hosting a diverse group of scientists as graduate fellows.

Application

There are two ways to be considered for a KITP Graduate Fellow. A candidate can apply directly or a candidate can be nominated. In either case, the candidate will provide KITP with a CV and 500 word essay that answers the question: "How will working at KITP during the 5 months of this Graduate Fellow appointment advance my development as a physicist?" The candidate's adviser will provide a letter of recommendation.

As the Graduate Fellow remains a paid employee of their home institution, they will only be provided support from the KITP in the form of reimbursement for local expenses (lodging and meals) up to a maximum of $2200/month. Some assistance with round trip travel between the Fellow's home institution and the KITP can also be provided. 

Deadlines

For participation in the winter/spring term, applications or nominations must be received by September 21 of the previous fall. For participation in the summer/fall term, applications or nominations must be received by March 1.