Sheila C. Johnson Leadership Fellowship

A full-tuition scholarship for a graduate degree program at Harvard Kennedy School of Government

The Sheila C. Johnson Leadership Fellowship program brings together diverse and talented emerging leaders working to address disparities in predominantly African American communities through efforts in health care, education, economic development, public policy, criminal justice reform, social entrepreneurship, and a variety of other fields. 

Up to ten recipients each year will receive full tuition, health insurance, and a $10,000 annual stipend during their full course of study at Harvard Kennedy School (one to two years).

Deadline Information

Harvard Kennedy School Admissions Deadline: Monday, December 4, 2017

Fellowship Application Deadline: Wednesday, January 24, 2018


Fellows will participate in a yearlong cocurricular program that includes weekly dinners, an annual retreat, and robust field experiences grounded in discussions with visionary leaders whose work has had significant impacts in marginalized communities. The program will also focus on strengthening core competencies that are central to public leadership, such as promoting strong moral character and ethics, mastering the arts of persuasion and negotiation, leading effective teams and organizations, and fostering sound decision making.

Eligibility Requirements

The Fellowship is open to all admitted degree program students at Harvard Kennedy School. Domestic students from underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply, as well as students interested in business, medicine, law, education, and public health.

Applicants will be considered based on their demonstrated interest in developing leadership skills with a focus on reducing disparities in African American and other underserved communities. Successful candidates will demonstrate excellent academic credentials and an understanding of diverse environments.

Award decisions will be primarily merit based but with a consideration of financial need as determined by HKS Student Financial Services.

Application Process

To apply for the Johnson Fellowship, please visit the Student Financial Services website.