Zuckerman Fellows Program

For study at Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard Graduate School of Education, or Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The challenges we face in our public schools and public health systems, as well as in government at all levels, are too complicated to be solved without the insight and commitment of leaders with the highest-quality professional training. But for many who have a strong aptitude for public service, the opportunity costs associated with acquiring the necessary training are too high.

In response to this problem, the Zuckerman Fellows Program equips people from the fields of medicine, law, and business to provide leadership for the common good by making it possible for them to pursue public service degrees at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, or Harvard Kennedy School. The Zuckerman Fellowship provides recipients with full tuition and health insurance fees for one year plus a living stipend.


"CPL is one of the most innovative laboratories of public service at Harvard. From the day I arrived on campus, CPL became a home for me. Whether it is testing out a policy proposal on a legal education or honing a leadership skills such as public speaking, CPL is the place where the purpose of HKS comes together with practice."
-Josh Lipsky, MPA '15


Step 1: Apply to Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard Graduate School of Education, or Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Please see respective school websites for deadline information.
Step 2: Apply for the Fellowship: Application deadline for the 2017-18 Zuckerman Fellowship is Friday, January 6, 2017.

The fellowship application requires the following materials, and must be submitted to the Committee on General Scholarships (please see submission information below).

  • A completed and signed Fellowship Application Form
  • A résumé or curriculum vitae,
  • A statement of purpose, and
  • Two letters of recommendation.

Please review the guidelines document for important details about preparing and submitting your fellowship application.

Fellowship applications may be submitted via email to: zuckermanfellows@harvard.edu. If application materials are sent via email, they should be sent as one attachment and include the application form, resume or curriculum vitae, and the statement of purpose. Letters of recommendation should be sent separately by the recommenders.  Applications may also be submitted via regular/express mail or in person to:
Committee on General Scholarships
Harvard University
14 Story Street, 3rd floor
Cambridge, MA 02138


  • Candidates for the Zuckerman Fellows Program are individuals who have, or are pursuing, an M.B.A., J.D., or M.D., or D.M.D./D.D.S graduate degree from an accredited United States institution AND are seeking an additional degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, the Harvard Kennedy School, or the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.  Students who are working toward a business, law, or medical degree and wish to undertake an additional degree, including students who are applying to joint or concurrent degree programs at Harvard, are eligible for consideration.

  • Candidates must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

  • The fellowship application is separate from the candidate’s application for admission to the Graduate School of Education, the Harvard Kennedy School, or the Chan School of Public Health. Applications for admission must be submitted to the appropriate school according to the deadlines established at that school.  Fellows must be admitted to their programs at the Graduate School of Education, the Harvard Kennedy School, or the T.H. Chan School of Public Health in order to take up the Fellowship.

  • Fellows must be in their first year at the Graduate School of Education, the Harvard Kennedy School, or the School of Public Health during their fellowship year. Further, fellows are required to be enrolled full time for the entire academic year at the Graduate School of Education, the Harvard Kennedy School, or the School of Public Health during their Fellowship year.  There are NO exceptions to this policy.

  • Zuckerman Fellowships may not be deferred except in exceptional circumstances.

  • Fellows are required to participate fully in the co-curricular program during their fellowship year.


Finalists for the Zuckerman Fellowship will be asked to participate in an interview with members of the Zuckerman Fellows selection committee.  

Program Information

Zuckerman Fellows are selected on the basis of:

  • Outstanding leadership ability with potential for  significant impact to advance the public good,
  • Commitment to public service, and
  • Intellectual distinction and academic achievement.

While they are pursuing a master’s degree at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, or Harvard Kennedy School, Zuckerman Fellows also participate in an intensive leadership development program designed by the Harvard Kennedy School Center for Public Leadership including experiential learning opportunities; faculty and practitioner-led seminars on core leadership competencies; a renowned speaker series; and service opportunities to help fellows gain applied leadership skills, enrich their academic experience, and build lasting ties that help them become powerful forces for change. CPL’s leadership development program includes the following components:

  • Welcome Retreat: CPL Fellows establish leadership goals for themselves and their cohorts for the year and begin the process of supporting one another’s aspirations as leaders.
  • Leadership Seminars: Fellows participate in workshops on faculty taught core leadership competencies and engage with eminent practitioners and local and national leaders on topics of cross sector leadership.
  • Fellows–led Field Experience: Fellows plan a multi-day field experience trip in the continental United States and meet with local leaders in order to gain an understanding of deep rooted public policy challenges and innovative approaches to resolving them.
  • Experiential Cohort-based Learning:  Learning from and with their fellowship cohort is at the heart of each fellows’ leadership development.  Fellows have the opportunity to participate in Dream Trust Leadership Reflection exercises to explore a personal leadership challenge and gain specific, actionable advice from a trusted group of advisors.  Fellows also have the opportuity to organize their own sessions to explore particular issues and topics of public service leadership.

Connection with CPL and Zuckerman Fellows Network: Zuckerman Fellows have opportunities to engage with the full community of 100+ CPL graduate fellows along with CPL’s community of more than 600 fellowship program alumni.   Candidates for the Zuckerman Fellowship must have, or be working toward, a professional graduate degree in business, medicine, or law, and must also be interested in pursuing an additional degree in education, government, or public health at Harvard University.

Mort Zuckerman, the fellowship's donor, is himself a testament to the value of such a multidisciplinary approach. After earning degrees in law and business, Zuckerman taught city and regional planning at both Harvard and Yale. After working at the real estate firm Cabot, Cabot & Forbes, he cofounded Boston Properties in 1970. Today this real estate investment trust, which owns, manages, and develops first-class properties, is one of the largest and most respected firms in the sector.

Zuckerman is also the chairman and editor-in-chief of U.S. News & World Report and chairman and publisher of the New York Daily News. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Washington Institute for Near East Policies, and the International Institute for Strategic Studies, and serves as a trustee of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital in New York.

Zuckerman's career demonstrates that it is quite possible to achieve professional and business success while being deeply engaged in the most pressing issues our society faces. The fellowship he has established will help ensure that future generations of professionals will be able to explore and be enriched by the challenges of public service leadership.

Are applicants to the joint or concurrent degree program eligible?
Joint and concurrent degree students at Harvard are eligible to apply for a Zuckerman Fellowship. However, the timing of the Fellowship application should be discussed with the Committee on General Scholarships.

Applicants who plan to pursue joint or concurrent degrees should contact the Committee on General Scholarships at 617.496.5042 or zuckermanfellows@harvard.edu.

What is required of the fellows?
Fellows are required to be in full-time residence at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Harvard School of Public Health, or Harvard Kennedy School during their fellowship year. A Zuckerman Fellowship is awarded for one year only, even though some master's degree programs last for more than one year.

Fellows are expected to participate fully in the cocurricular program organized by the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard Kennedy School during their fellowship year.

How do I check the status of my application?
Candidates may email the Program Office to confirm receipt of their fellowship application at zuckermanfellows@harvard.edu. The office will not release any information about the selection of Zuckerman Fellows until the Fellows are selected in April. At that time, all applicants will receive written notice of the outcome of their applications.

The Zuckerman Program Office does not have any information about the status of applications for admission to Harvard graduate or professional schools.

For questions about the fellowship application, guidelines, or eligibility requirements of the Zuckerman Fellowship, please contact the Committee on General Scholarships at 617.496.5042 or zuckermanfellows@harvard.edu.

For questions about the cocurricular program, please contact the Center of Public Leadership at barbara_best@hks.harvard.edu or zuckermanfellows@harvard.edu.