View the most recent (September 2023) Watson Informational Webinar

All graduating seniors at 41 participating institutions (including Carleton) are eligible for nomination by their institutions.


The Watson Fellowship Program seeks to give exceptional college graduates the freedom to engage in a year of independent study and travel abroad in order to thoroughly explore a particular interest, test aspirations and abilities, view their lives and American society in greater perspective, and develop a more informed sense of international concern. The Fellowship provides $40,000 to each recipient (more if traveling with spouse or dependents).

Selection Criteria: The Foundation seeks to identify individuals who demonstrate integrity, strong ethical character, intelligence, the capacity for vision and leadership, and potential for humane and effective participation in the world community. Feasibility of the project is also taken into account. Find out more about the Watson criteria.

View the recent film about the Watson experience.

Application Process

Rather than completing a pre-application form for the Watson Fellowship, we request that you contact Marynel Ryan Van Zee ( She will register you in the Watson Fellowship application portal (which opens in May of each year) and provide additional information about Carleton’s application process, including the password for Carleton’s 2024 Applicant Resources (see below).


  • As soon as you decide you are interested in applying:  Contact Director of Student Fellowships Marynel Ryan Van Zee ( to request access to the Watson Portal and the Watson Applicant Resources Page. Please note that the Watson Portal does not open until May of each year.
  • September 3, 2024, 11:59pm Central Time:  On-campus (optional) draft deadline (information on what is expected for this due date will be included in the resources you can access once you have contacted Marynel).
  • September 23, 2024, 11:59pm Central Time: On-campus selection process deadline. Instructions for meeting this deadline are provided on the Watson Applicant Resources Page.
  • Monday, November 5, 2024, Noon Central Time:  Final application deadline for nominees (hit ‘submit’ in the Watson Portal)

Watson Applicant Resources

Helpful guides and information for 2024 Applicants (password-protected)

Example Applications

Review the applications of past Watson recipients!

On-campus Adviser

Marynel Ryan Van Zee, Director of Student Fellowships, Laird 131, x4300.

Recent Carleton Recipients