Funding your master's education and gaining practical experience

The following fellowships are available to help International Development students achieve their academic and professional goals while offsetting the financial costs associated with them.

Fellowship Opportunities

For applications and requirements for the following fellowship opportunities, please contact the ID Program Coordinator at

The International Development Program offers travel fellowships for the spring, summer, and fall for the purpose of assisting students involved in Substantial Research Paper or Thesis Research, Development Management Practica, or Internships. The number of awards available will depend on the quality of proposals submitted and the travel costs of the approved proposals. This fellowship is named in honor of Drs. Irene Tinker and Millidge Walker, former members of the International Development faculty whose generous support has helped make this program possible.

All currently enrolled students pursuing either the MA in ID are eligible to apply. Students should have completed at least 18 credit hours of the program by the time the proposed project is to begin.

Recently, students have used this fellowship to work with:

  • South Pacific Business Development (SPBD)
  • Tonga Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Haiti
  • Iracambi Atlantic Rainforest Research and Conservation Centre, Brazil
  • BRAC, Uganda
  • Reproductive and Child Health Alliance (RACHA), Cambodia
  • Peace Corps, Tanzania
  • ChildFund, Laos
  • People Against Suffering Oppression and Poverty (PASSOP), South Africa
  • Inyathelo, South Africa
  • Health Poverty Action and Movimiento de Mujeres Nidia White, Nicaragua
  • World Health Organization, Switzerland
  • Global Campaign for Education, South Africa
  • US Agency for International Development (USAID), Liberia
  • Population Services International, Rwanda (Malaria and Child Health and Planning)
  • Global Communities (formerly CHF International), Rwanda
  • Population Services International, Mali (Reproductive Health)
  • Thai Binh Foundation, Vietnam (Education)
  • International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Ghana (Agriculture)
  • International Rescue Committee (IRC), Ethiopia (Cultural Orientation for Refugees)
  • HOPE, Republic of the Congo (Microfinance)
  • United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Israel (Disability and Chronic Illness among Refugees)
  • ZOA Refugee Care, South Sudan (Food Security and Livelihoods)
  • Global Giving Foundation, Turkey and Armenia (Disability and Education)

This annual award is given to a student who has completed his/her first year of study in the IDP master’s program. The fellowship is for $5,000, to be used toward spring tuition. The awardee is selected from a pool of outstanding students chosen by IDP professors. The students may not have any other scholarship or fellowship.

The two main criteria are: academic excellence and a record of effective and active service to outside communities and/or relevant student organizations. The person’s "fit" with the ideals for which he stood is also taken into account.

About Walter Sherwin

This award is given in the memory of former faculty member Walter Sherwin, who spent his entire career working to improve the lives of people around the world through international development projects. He provided 27 years of dedicated service in USAID. Ten of those years were spent in West African countries helping to design and manage a wide range of projects such as health clinics, forestry, and cereals and livestock development. After his retirement, he served as a consultant on projects in Eastern Europe. He also volunteered for Reading for the Blind and Dyslexic and independently went to Senegal trying to mount a similar project for the many blind people there. Unfortunately, Sherwin passed away before he could realize this project. His strongest characteristics were an abiding idealism, persistence in the face of adversity, and a desire to fight injustice.

This award to honor Sherwin’s life and work was started in 2006 by his wife, Kitty Sherwin; his two children, Mark and Jennifer; and his sister, Sue Byrd. 

The Steven Arnold Innovative Small Grant Fund provides graduate students in the International Development Program with small grants for an innovative idea that is helpful to communities, to a student’s professional development, to the International Development Program, and/or the field of development as a whole. All currently enrolled students enrolled in the International Development Program are eligible to apply.

Recently, students have used this grant fund to work with a community in DC, the US or internationally; focus on a new area of development or use a novel method; cooperate through distance education/information technologies; attend and act upon a conference on a significant or new topic; organizing a workshop; travel for a capstone project; and/or using the fund as a catalyst for additional funding community, or having a multiplier effect on the program.

About Steven Arnold

Steve Arnold is the "father" of the International Development Program. He was co-founder and co-director, and for many years the sole director of the program. IDP alumni and faculty contributed to this fellowship in his name.

The Leon E. Clark Fellowship will encourage, enable, and challenge graduate students in the International Development Program to carry out original field research on the interconnection between culture and international development, with a preferred focus on Latin America, Africa, or Asia. The objectives are to provide a meaningful opportunity for primary field research focused on cultural themes; enhance appreciation and assessment of the complexity, richness and importance of culture in societies; raise the quality and sensitivity of development initiatives; and to better inform those in the United States who think about, plan, and implement development and foreign policies and programs. The award will be given once a year to a student in the International Development Program.

About Leon E. Clark

Professor Leon Clark was one of the earliest and most prominent leaders in initiating and ensuring that international development, in its very best form-ethical, just, respectful and people-focused-took hold and thrived at American University. He was the founder of the International Training and Education Program (ITEP), and an early and strong supporter of the International Development Program. He was also founder and principal editor of the World Cultural Series, the group of books that presented world cultures through the "eyes" of its own people. He carried out numerous assignments as an international development consultant in Africa and Asia. Throughout his career, he sought to promote greater understanding of the cultures of people in developing countries. He was also a journalist and international consultant for more than 40 years in Africa and Asia.

In addition to kind gifts from his friends, colleagues, and students, his wife Dr. Maria Donoso Clark, has made a very generous gift in his name to the International Development Program. The purpose is to celebrate Leon, his ideals, and contributions, most notably his emphasis on the importance of culture and cultural understanding.

The David Hirschmann Award is distributed annually to a second-year student from a developing country to take note of, reward, and encourage excellence in academic performance and community service. The fellowship amount is for $2,000, to be given to a student from a developing country who has completed their first year of study (at least 15 credits) in the International Development Program for use toward spring semester tuition. The awardee is selected from a pool of outstanding students chosen by the ID Program Director. Eligible candidates may not have any other scholarship or fellowship. 

The two main criteria are: academic excellence and a record of effective and active service to outside communities and/or relevant student organizations. The person’s "fit" with the ideals of the program will also be taken into account.

About David Hirschmann

The fellowship honors the life and legacy of the late David Hirschmann, who served on the faculty of the International Development Program (IDP) for more than 30 years and was IDP director for 11 years. He also served as faculty patron of the IDP Alumni Board for more than 25 years. David Hirschmann is from South Africa. Fellowship funds were raised by the IDP Alumni Board and from IDP alumni and faculty.