Applicant FAQs

Eligibility

Q:  Is the University of Minnesota President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program open to UMN graduates?
A:  Yes, the program is open to UMN graduate students. Additionally, the University Partnerships for Faculty Diversity offers the program at other campuses: Carnegie Mellon University, University of Colorado, Boulder, University of Maryland, University of Michigan, The California Alliance (UCB, Stanford and CalTech), UC Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Programs, and the UC‐affiliated National Labs. As a UMN graduate, you may apply to any of these campuses as host institution.
Q: Do I have to be an underrepresented minority to apply for the President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship? 
A: No. The Program is open to all persons who meet the eligibility criteria without regard to race, gender, or ethnicity.
Q: I am not in a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) field , am I still eligible to apply to this program?
A: Yes. In this program, University of Minnesota offers postdoctoral research fellowships in all academic disciplines.
Q: Can I still be considered if I do not have U.S. citizenship or permanent residency?
A: Yes.
Q: Can I apply if I have a JD, MD, MFA or EdD instead of a PhD?
A: Yes, applicants with terminal degrees in their field may apply as long as they arepreparing for a career in university teaching and research.
Q: I’m an assistant professor. Can I apply?
A: No. The fellowship is designed to give new scholars an opportunity to become more competitive candidates for tenure-track faculty appointments. It is not a fellowship program for individuals already on the tenure-track to take time out for research with the intention of staying at their current institution. Candidates with tenure-track appointments are not favored in the selection process unless there is a clear explanation of how an award to the candidate would further the goals of the program.
Q: I received my PhD over 5 years ago. Am I eligible to apply for this fellowship?
A: Yes. You are still eligible to apply if you are preparing for a career in university teaching and research.
Q: I will finish my doctorate after July 1 next year. Am I eligible to apply this fall?
A: No. You must complete your doctorate before taking up the position. Potential applicants who expect to complete their doctorate after July 1 should apply the following year.

Finding A Mentor

Q: How do I find a faculty mentor?
A: Applicants are encouraged to identify potential faculty mentors through professional contacts in their field. You may also look for an appropriate mentor by reviewing the literature and searching university websites for faculty who are working in your area of interest. Applicants should contact faculty or department chairs/heads in the academic department best aligned with their scholarship.
Q: Are assistant professors allowed to be faculty mentors?
A: The program encourages applicants to select a tenured or tenure track faculty member as their mentor. However, in some cases assistant professors may be excellent prospective mentors.
Q: What are the expectations of the faculty mentors during the fellowship?
A: Please see the Faculty Mentor's FAQ page.
Q: May I select a faculty mentor from my current department or campus?
A: Yes. This FAQ only applies to current University of Minnesota PhD students, postdocs, etc. who are interested in applying to the University of Minnesota postdoc program; applicants from other institutions (i.e., not the University of Minnesota) should identify a mentor in the most appropriate UMN academic department.
Q: Can I select a retired faculty member to be my faculty mentor?
A: No
Q: Can a faculty member serve as a mentor for more than one applicant?
A: Yes. Faculty may serve as a mentor for more than one applicant for the Chancellor's Postdoctoral Fellowship Program.
Q: What should be covered in my faculty mentor’s letter of support?
A: Faculty mentors will be asked to address the following in their letter of support: Applicant’s planned research; Expected coursework, if any; Extent to which the applicant will participate in departmental and campus academic activity (e.g., seminar programs); Extent of applicant’s anticipated participation at national/international research meetings; Facilities and resources available to the fellow; and Mentor’s involvement in mentoring for other programs designed to increase access and opportunity in higher education.
Q: Do I need a letter of support from the department chair/head?
A: Yes. The University of Minnesota Provost’s Office, in concert with your proposed faculty mentor, will request a letter of support from the department chair/head. This separate letter should describe the department's level of interest in hiring the applicant into a tenure-track position and/or identify a potential fit with another University of Minnesota department, if that is appropriate.

Application

Q: May I apply to multiple PFPP programs?
A: Yes. Applicants may apply to more than one President's Postdoctoral Fellowship using the same application. However unique letters of recommendation and research proposals are required.
Q: If I am only applying to the University of Minnesota’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, do I need to provide information about a University of California mentor?
A: No. The online application may be used to apply to one or both programs. Those applicants who are applying only to the University of Minnesota’s Postdoctoral Fellowship program must identify a faculty mentor at the University of Minnesota but do not need to identify a faculty mentor at the University of California.
Q: Are there sample applications available for review?
A: No. There are many variations on successful applications. Applicants are encouraged to consult with their academic advisors about how to submit a competitive application.
Q: Should I send my graduate transcripts along with my online application?
A: No. The program does not require transcripts to be sent with the application. However, the program will request official graduate transcripts if you are selected as a finalist and will not offer the fellowship until official graduate transcripts are received.
Q: How will I know when my faculty mentor and reference letter(s) have been uploaded to my online application?
A: You will receive email confirmations from the online application system each time a letter is uploaded to your application. You can check the status of your application, including the arrival of your mentor and reference letters, using the username and password you created and returning to the application information page.
Q: What is the application deadline?
A: Please refer to the critical dates section of the program description on the website for current information regarding deadlines: faculty.umn.edu/presidentspostdoc
Q: When will final decisions be announced?
A: Finalists will be notified and awards announced close to April 1st each year. Please consider restraint when contacting the program office about the selection results. Successful candidates are notified first. Alternates are notified if awardees do not accept or if current fellows do not renew their terms. Additional fellowships are awarded to candidates on the alternate list through June, if resources become available. The program makes every effort to notify all candidates as soon as possible.

Review and Selection

Q: Who will review my application?
A: Applications will be reviewed by at least two faculty during the first round of review. If your file moves forward in the review process, it will be read and discussed by faculty from a range of fields in related disciplines.
Q: What criteria are considered by the selection committees when reviewing applications?
A: Review committees evaluate applicants in all fields according to their potential for success in an academic career with special consideration given to potential for contributions to the diversity and equal opportunity as described in our evaluation, selection and eligibility criteria.
Q: Should the research proposal focus on expanding on the doctoral work (i.e. turning the dissertation into a book) or should it reflect a new project or direction in research?
A: In general, selection committees prefer to see a proposal that includes a significant piece of new work. However, in some fields or for some individuals, a proposal to complete or expand upon previous work might be favorably reviewed. In such cases, the research proposal should be combined with a plan for making a significant start on a new project.
Q: I’m unable to relocate because of family reasons. Can I apply?
A: No. The program requires that you be in residence at the University of Minnesota.