What is a Senior Fellowship?

About the Program

The Senior Fellowship is considered to be a major and as such, is intended to be a culmination of a student’s academic trajectory. The fellowship year comprises three terms of registered enrollment, at least one of which must be spent primarily in residence. Senior fellows are not required to enroll in regular classes during their senior year nor are they required to complete a major. Students who plan to finish a major in addition to the Senior Fellowship should be aware that they must also complete their major department's culminating experience requirement.

Applicants for the Senior Fellowship propose an academic schedule for senior year as well as a plan for a fellowship project. Senior Fellowships involve projects for which the intellectual scope and breadth of imagination goes beyond that which can be accomplished by taking courses offered in the existing curriculum. 

The Senior Fellows program is supported by the Kaminsky Family Fund at Dartmouth College.

ORC Guidelines for Senior Fellowships

History of the program

The Senior Fellowship program was established in 1929 by Ernest Hopkins, 11th President of Dartmouth College. Although not an academic himself, he was a staunch advocate of academic freedom and envisioned the program as way for motivated students to push the boundaries of a traditional education.

"In order that added stimulus may be given to the genuine spirit of scholarly attainment in undergraduate life and that the cultural motives of the liberal arts college may be emphasized; and in order that the tendencies of the honors courses toward freedom from routine requirements may be carried to further development in the cases of men outstandingly competent to utilize such freedom; and further that illustration may be given in the undergraduate body that the acquisition of learning is made possible largely by individual search and in but minor degree by institutional coercion… That there be hereby established the Senior Fellowships of Dartmouth College."

Former Senior Fellows include:

Eligibility for Senior Fellowships

  • Minimum grade point average of 3.0 at the time of application.
  • All students must complete 35 credits in order to graduate. Senior Fellows earn up to six fellowship credits, graded on a credit/no credit basis, so Senior Fellows must complete 29 additional credits.
  • Senior Fellows must complete all distributive and related requirements by the end of the second term of the fellowship.
  • This is an academic program which is an alternative to a traditional major. Students who are seeking funding for large-scale projects that are not appropriate for academic credit should consider applying for a Stamps Scholarship.
    • Note that students are eligible for a Senior Fellowship even if they have been selected as a Stamps Scholar.



  • Applicants submit a budget for their proposed projects (expenses directly related to the project only).
  • Budgets are finalized and approved by the Committee on Senior Fellowships for students who are selected as Senior Fellows.
  • Senior Fellows may not use funds provided by Dartmouth College for personal gain.
    • For example, if the product of the Senior Fellowship is a book, a Fellow may not use Dartmouth College funds to print copies of the book to be sold for profit. The Fellow may, however, use other funds either during or after the Fellowship to print and sell the books.

Tuition reduction: Senior Fellows may opt for one of three plans. Fellows are strongly encouraged to consult with the Campus Billing office as individual financial circumstances will have an impact on these options.

  • Attending the final term without paying tuition
  • A graduate fellowship equal to one term's tuition.
  • The self-help package reduced by the equivalent of one term's tuition (for financial aid students).