SNF Agora Academy Predoctoral Fellowship

The SNF Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University invites applications for a one-year predoctoral fellowship to join the SNF Agora Academy during the 2023–2024 academic year. The Academy is hosted by the SNF Agora Institute, an academic and public forum at Johns Hopkins University dedicated to strengthening global democracy through civic engagement and informed, inclusive dialogue.

Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in any field awarded no earlier than 2021 and must not have started a PhD program. We encourage applications who intend to pursue a PhD in political science or sociology. 

The program strongly encourages applications from scholars from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in graduate education, including but not limited to individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups (including individuals who identify as Black/African-American, Hispanic/Latinx, American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander); individuals from a limited-income background or an economically or educationally underserved community; and individuals with disabilities. In addition, we are looking for students who are interested in questions and topics directly related to the institute’s mission. The SNF Agora Academy seeks fellows who would engage actively with and benefit from a multidisciplinary scholarly community, academic and professional mentorship, and research development opportunities. 

SNF Agora Academy Predoctoral Fellows will be paired with two faculty mentors and one graduate student mentor. Fellows will have access to events and opportunities across campus and be expected to work/learn 40 hours per week pursuing multidisciplinary learning. Fellows will develop their own schedules, with hours divided between:

  • Research experience (50%)
    • By working as a research assistant for two faculty mentors .
  • Intellectual engagement (25%)
    • By participating in the bi-weekly Agora Fellows colloquium, and
    • Attending the SNF Agora Institute monthly seminar and one other workshop or seminar series of their choice.
  • Scholarly preparation (25%)
    • By taking one course each semester that will help the student develop knowledge and skills they’ll need for graduate school.

One of the central goals of the SNF Agora Institute is to foster conversations and collaboration that don’t happen elsewhere. We welcome applications from students across disciplines, and while we expect predoctoral fellows to have a strong academic record, we are seeking individuals who may not have prepared to go straight into a graduate program.

This fellowship will provide an opportunity to nurture future graduate students’ interests and turn their curiosities into research questions. Applicants should want to pursue a doctoral degree, but also be excited about being part of a community that is not simply made up of academics, whether that helps them integrate other perspectives into their scholarship, employs their scholarship to help strengthen democracy in tangible ways, or both. We strongly encourage applicants to think creatively about how their future research could interact with scholars in other disciplines and efforts to strengthen democracy in the world and, thus, support the SNF Agora mission. Getting your work into the public domain is not the same as having an impact. How do you hope to have an impact? Are there civic and political entities, including movements, parties, governmental organizations, media, etc., that you are interested in working with? Do you have ideas that could contribute to public debates around democracy as well as academic ones?  

Fellows will be appointed for a one-year term. In addition to the duties listed above, they’ll complete their graduate school applications with support from faculty, graduate students, and campus resources. Our goal is for each fellow to be able to enter a PhD program the following year. Fellows will receive a stipend and a modest relocation budget. In addition, the SNF Agora Institute will cover the cost of graduate school applications, sending official transcripts, the GRE (and test preparation), and English language exams for international students.



Applicants to the fall 2023 program must have a bachelor’s degree in any discipline, received no earlier than 2021.

Application Instructions

Documents include:

  1. An up-to-date CV or resume; please use “LASTNAME_FIRSTNAME_CV.pdf” format.
  2. A short (no more than 250 words)) statement of interest explaining why you would benefit from being part of a multidisciplinary community of scholars and practitioners engaged with democracy. Applicants are encouraged to include relevant research interests, skills, and work experience (broadly defined), as well as reflect on how specific coursework and/or your personal background has shaped your interests. At the end of the statement, please list 3-5 faculty at Johns Hopkins who you are interested in having as mentors. (Look at SNF Agora, Sociology, and Political Science websites.)
  3. A writing sample that can be a paper from a course, an undergraduate thesis, or a piece of public writing like a news article or blog post. The purpose of the writing sample is to demonstrate both your writing abilities AND your interests.
  4. A 250-word response to one piece of scholarly work that has shaped your interest in researching democracy. This can be a work you liked OR one you disliked. Tell us why this work stuck out to you, what you find interesting about the author’s questions or research methods, and if there are any questions you would ask the author.
  5. One letter of recommendation from someone who can speak to your work ethic. This does not have to come from a faculty member. We welcome letters from university administrators, coaches, mentors, bosses, etc.