First, be sure that you thoroughly review the information on the HGSE Financial Aid website, including need-based grant and scholarship awards, fellowships requiring application through the HGSE Financial Aid Office, and funds available through the Harvard Committee on General Scholarships. Most successful external scholarship searches focus on areas of personal or professional interest or connection. We recommend searching for opportunities through your social or professional networks rather than general open-ended searches. External scholarships often have varying application procedures and deadlines, so the earlier you begin identifying potential sources the better your chances at success.
HGSE External Scholarship Guide
The HGSE External Scholarship Guide lists several external scholarship providers, and is mainly geared toward U.S. citizens and permanent residents.
External Funding Sources for International Students
International students should review the International student section of this website, particularly the section on Outside Funding Sources for International Students. The International Scholarships site may also be a helpful resource.
Harvard's Subscriber Database Access
Harvard subscribes to the Sponsored Programs Information Network (SPIN) and Community of Science (COS) network databases for its students. The lists provide thousands of funding possibilities. (Harvard students must use Harvard computers. Out-of-town alumni and prospective applicants may be able to obtain permission for use of these and similar databases, e.g., IRIS, through nearby colleges, universities, or public libraries.)
One of the most accessible databases is the UCLA Fellowship Database. This large, well-organized list is easy to search and available to everyone.
Online Search Engines and Websites
Among the many online options, some students find it helpful to utilize search engines such as FastWeb. FinAid.org also contains a good amount of useful information and is a useful departure point.
There are many reputable and valuable online resources. Unfortunately, scams exist for fellowships and scholarships just as they do in other areas of the online world. You should never pay a fee in order to compete for a scholarship. Any group that asks for even a small payment is suspect.
Creative keyword searches online can be used in the same way the subscribed databases use them, and may provide listings of smaller or more specialized awards. To tailor a search to your academic or personal profile, use words that describe your research and writing interests and professional goals and skills, and, in a personal search, affiliations with organizations which may have funds to support students who share your interests and background. Consider who may benefit by the study or work you hope to do.
Try combinations of keywords (pre-dissertation, graduate fellowships, pre-doctoral grants and scholarships); use advanced search options to refine your ideas. Look up relevant professional societies; see if your undergraduate institution offers help. Consider and search your affinity groups (religious, ethnic, gender, racial) for opportunities as well.