Graduate Fellowship Program

Important Note About the Spring 2021 Graduate Fellowship Program

KITP has extended the deadline for the Spring 2021 Graduate Fellowship Program to September 21, 2020.

Graduate fellows nominated for the winter-spring 2021 period will be appointed as graduate fellows for that specific period. They cannot postpone should in-person visiting be unavailable. Just as KITP did for fall 2020, fellows will be invited to participate in all KITP programs during the winter-spring 2021 period, even those which are solely on-line. 


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


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.


Since we wish to ensure that the students admitted are fully able to benefit from the program, and that it will not harm the normal progress of their graduate education, we require that the student's advisor nominate the candidate student. Students cannot apply to the program directly. Students who wish to participate should convince their advisors to nominate them.

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. Nominations can be submitted by completing this form.


Alternatively, submissions will be accepted by regular mail:

KITP Graduate Fellowship
c/o Lisa Stewart
Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics
University of California
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-4030

The nominator should describe the student, explain why she/he is suitable for such a program, and note how they may contribute to diversity at KITP. Please also acknowledge the minimum five month stay required in this program. Additional letters of support would be useful, but are not necessary.

Professor Lars Bildsten, Director
Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics
University of California
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-4030