Arley D. Cathey International Graduate Study Fellowship

The Arley D. Cathey Fellowship supports international graduate study for undergraduates and recent alumni whose academic achievements, research, and civic commitments embody the University of Chicago’s highest ideals and values.


By enabling purpose-driven scholars to pursue advanced degrees abroad, the fellowship aims to equip them with intensive academic training and international experiences that are crucial to realizing their vision for improving our world.


Through investing in these future leaders and their capacity to enact positive change both globally and locally, the University of Chicago seeks to intensify the impact of their work on behalf of others and to thereby advance a better, more equitable future.

Our class of Cathey Fellows is growing! Read more about our  2021-22 inaugural fellows and 2022-23 fellows respectively. Left to right (2022-23 fellows): Amala Karri (AB, Political Science, MA, International Relations; MSc, Refugee and Forced Migration, University of Oxford); Isabelle Russo (AB, Political Science; MPhil, Environmental Policy, University of Cambridge); Donna Son (AB French Language and Literature, Political Science; (MA, History, Paris Institute of Political Science/Science Po)

Left to right (2021-22 inaugural fellows): Emily Chen (BS Chemistry; MPhil, Scientific Computing, University of Cambridge); Shree Mehrotra (BA Environmental Science; MPhil, Development Studies, University of Cambridge); Meera Santhanam (BA Political Science; MPhil, Race, Ethnicity and Conflict, Trinity College, Dublin)

Application deadline: Tuesday, February 28, 2023 


Program Description

Each year, the Cathey Fellowships will sponsor up to four of our most academically ambitious and socially committed students in their pursuit of an academic, non-professional Master's degree at an internationally renowned foreign research university, with funding to substantially offset  the cost of tuition, fees, and books.

Candidates will be required to secure admission to their chosen international graduate program as a part of the application process. The Cathey Fellowships will be administered jointly by the College Center for Research and Fellowships (CCRF) and Study Abroad.


To be eligible for a 2023 Cathey Fellowship, applicants must:

  • Be current fourth-year students in the College with an expected graduation date of June 2023, or recent alumni with a graduation date no earlier than June 2020.
  • Have obtained a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.7 on their transcript at the time of application. Rounded GPAs are not accepted.
  • Have applied to at least one full-time academic Master’s degree program, with a study duration of one to two years, at an internationally renowned research university outside the United States. Degrees leading to professional qualifications in medicine, dentistry, veterinary science and law are ineligible, as well as other professional degrees such as LLM, MBA, MPH, MPP. Programs in business, executive training, and management are also ineligible.
  • At the time of application, not have received a Master’s degree, or be enrolled in a Master’s program. Exempt from this rule are current fourth-year students who are enrolled in a combined four-year BA/MA program as well as alumni who have received their Master’s in the course of a combined four-year BA/MA program at the University of Chicago. 

Selection Criteria

Cathey Fellows are selected based on their ability to evidence the following qualities:

  • Purpose. Across their application, candidates must articulate the future impact they wish their work to have and how it will benefit others. 
  • Academic Merit. Through transcripts, letters of recommendation, and other experiences, candidates must show an outstanding record of academic achievement and research that demonstrates extensive, rigorous training in their chosen field(s) as well as their future promise for graduate study. 
  • Capacity for Leadership. We view leadership as taking a variety of forms, such as initiating change by applying pressure, speaking truth to power, advocating on behalf of others, forging consensus to address an issue, advancing knowledge through research, and more. Candidates must show what kind of leader they are, demonstrate their proven ability to effect change, communicate the purpose behind their efforts, and describe what they have learned about their leadership style. 
  • Ambassadorial Potential. Candidates must explain their cultural reasons for pursuing graduate study in the host country and evidence that they possess the requisite linguistic skills to engage in a culturally competent manner with their host-country communities. In addition, they must evidence their ability to work across boundaries and borders—e.g. disciplinary, cultural, national, and demographic—in order to facilitate mutually beneficial dialogue, find common cause, develop partnerships, build community, or advance knowledge. 
  • Preparation for the Proposed Program of Study. Candidates must explain why it is necessary to pursue the selected course of study both at their chosen institution as well as in the host country and demonstrate that they possess the requisite academic training to succeed in their program. Candidates must furthermore demonstrate that they are equipped with the linguistic competencies necessary for their formal academic and research activities.


The Cathey Fellowship application is comprised of the following components:

  • Cathey Fellowship Application Form, which includes providing information about no more than three international Master’s programs to which applicants will apply
  • Unofficial transcript
  • C.V., maximum of 3 pages
  • Three academic letters of recommendation from faculty of any rank; at least one letter writer must be from the University of Chicago
  • Proof of application to the chosen degree programs, such as application confirmation emails
  • Four essays:
    • Motivation Statement, maximum of 750 words
    • Proposed Academic Program Statement, maximum of 750 words
    • Leadership Statement, maximum of 500 words
    • Ambassadorial Statement, maximum of 500 words

Applicant Responsibilities

Students who wish to be considered for the Cathey Fellowship are required to apply for all institutional funding opportunities offered by their chosen universities. 

Candidates must inform the Cathey Fellowship immediately, via, if they have been accepted to any of the three grad programs listed in their applications.

Finalists for the Cathey Fellowship must demonstrate admission into one of their graduate degree programs and declare any other sources of institutional and/or external financial aid they have been offered.

Cathey Fellowships cannot be deferred or combined with nationally competitive fellowships, such as the Fulbright, British Marshall, Rhodes, Gates-Cambridge, Churchill, Yenching, Schwarzman, or full-funding offered through the individual institution.


A. Cathey Scholarship Motivation Statement, 750 words maximum:
Your motivation statement is the heart of your application and should provide the reader with a clear sense of what you care about and why, what major problems or issues motivate your work both inside and outside the classroom, and why you need to pursue your chosen degree program in light of your future vocational aims. It should give the reader a sense of what motivates you (not exclusively the motivation of your research or academic pursuits) and a sense of ways in which you are moving toward making a substantive difference in your field, and your local, national and international communities.

B. Proposed Academic Program Statement, 750 words maximum:
Describe your first-choice institution and proposed program of study, providing specific reasons why it is necessary to attend your program of choice and your preferred university. Provide evidence of your preparedness to succeed in this program, including relevant academic, research, cultural and linguistic competencies. If you intend to apply for a research-based degree (such as an MPhil), provide an outline of the proposed research you wish to undertake. As needed, conclude with a one-paragraph description of why you have chosen your second- and third-choice programs and institutions. 

C. Leadership Statement, 500 words maximum:
Please describe one recent, specific instance where you responded to a need for leadership. We are interested in learning about the following: 1) concrete outcomes you delivered, or what changed as a result of your intervention; 2) problem solving or creative thinking you employed; 3) how this example lines up with your own academic and professional plans, or other commitments; 4) what you learned about yourself as a leader and your ability to motivate others.

D. Ambassadorial Statement, 500 words maximum:
Provide cultural reasons for your decision to pursue graduate study in your chosen host country, discuss how you will benefit from immersing yourself in its culture, and share what you want to contribute to your host community and university. In addition to addressing your linguistic and cultural preparedness to engage with host-country communities, describe your capacity to work across boundaries and borders and share your plans for building upon this academic experience to forge future relationships and partnerships.

VIEW our our recorded Cathey Scholarship information session

APPLY HERE by 2/28/2024