ESPN Fellowship

$35,000Award Amount
1Number of Awards
3/1/2023Submission Deadline

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Grade Level:

The fellowship program was created in collaboration with ESPN and American University enabling budding journalists to work in ESPN’s Investigative and Enterprise Journalism Unit while pursuing a Master’s degree. Both of them provide the ESPN Fellowship, which provides one permanent U.S. resident accepted to the AU MA in Journalism & Public Affairs with a scholarship of $35,000 each. For the 33 credits required for the MA in Journalism and Public Affairs degree, the holder additionally receives 18 credits of tuition reimbursement.

The AU fellow will be a part of the unit for the term of the fellowship in addition to working on investigative and enterprise journalism. The fellow will also have access to the roughly 50 journalists and managers in the unit and will interact with and learn from journalists in a variety of fields, such as sourcing, reporting, data journalism, freedom of information requests and challenges, and how to protect their health when dealing with difficult situations during reporting and after publication.

Graduate students will have the opportunity to conduct their research and reporting, and the fellow will gain knowledge of the processes involved in managing and preparing content for audio, digital, television, and streaming platforms. The goal of the foundation is to create a pipeline of well-rounded, imaginative, and diverse investigative journalists by training and developing upcoming leaders in the field and giving them the resources, chances, and experiences to do so.

Key Information of ESPN Fellowship

Study Details

Area of Study

  • Communications
  • Journalism

Country of Study

United States

Specific Schools

American University Washington, DC

Scholarship Details

Intended Level of Study


Award Amount


Number of Awards


ESPN Fellowship Timeline

January 2023

Application Opening Date

Applications open on January 1.

March 2023

Submission Deadline

The submission deadline is on March 1.

April 2023

Award Acceptance Deadline

The winner is announced by April 30.

Scholarship Eligibility

To be eligible to apply, applicants must meet the following criteria.

  • Eligible Grade: Graduate
  • Maximum Age: Any
  • Required GPA: Any
  • Geographic Eligibility: United States
  • Gender: Any
  • Race/Ethnicity: Any

Application Requirements

Here’s what you need to submits besides your application.

  • Recommendation letters
  • Portfolio
  • Essay
  • Present Work Experiences

How to ace the ESPN Fellowship


Highlight your strong investigative abilities

Make sure to mention any previous experience reporting on or background in sports; however, this is not strictly necessary given that ESPN's work in this unit extends beyond the sports business to include coverage of the government, politics, justice, education, and health. Additionally, show that you have the requisite multitasking skills, willingness to accept guidance, ability to operate in a team, and collaborative work ethic.


Use your recommendation letters to your advantage

Send letters of recommendation outlining your eligibility for the fellowship and how you might profit from it. Additionally, present yourself as a versatile, innovative, and well-rounded applicant. Last but not least, select referees who are well-versed in your print or digital investigative journalism expertise and accomplishments, and let them know ahead of time.


Stand out from other applicants

The selection committee strongly favors earlier work in or embracing reporting on systemic and social injustices. Pick work samples (include links to your samples in a single PDF document) that best demonstrate your commitment to reporting on systemic and social injustices. If you still have a few more years until you want to apply for the ESPN Fellowship, think about finding work that emphasizes this.


Make sure you review your application

ESPN Fellowships are competitive, so make sure your application doesn’t get dismissed because of careless mistakes such as typos, spelling mistakes, or grammatical errors. Take the time to ask a trusted family member or friend, teacher, or mentor to review your application before submission.

How the ESPN Fellowship is Judged

The Journalism Fellowship Partners evaluate applicants based on their applications, résumés, and two more letters of recommendation.

Why We Love the ESPN Fellowship


Scholarship recipients have access to mentorship

Numerous graduate and undergraduate students have been matched annually with successful alumni who can guide them along the path to a successful career. The alumni mentors are an invaluable resource for knowledge and experience, offering guidance on short- and long-term goals, sharing advice for enhancing your resume and portfolio, and helping you network your way into the communication field for internships and job opportunities.


Campus newsroom applicants are considered

Candidates from campus newsrooms may be taken into consideration if they have good investigative skills. This allows everyone to take part and increase their chances of obtaining the scholarship to ease the burden of paying for college.


Recipients can be employed

The School of Communication gives its students the chance to engage with cutting-edge tools and hone skills that are essential for success. This enables you to learn while also gaining experience, all while earning some extra cash to help you pay your bills.

5 Facts About ESPN Fellowship


Over 300 alumni served as mentors

More than 300 alumni have mentored students, many of them for five years or longer.


Investigative journalism is required

Candidates must have at least two to five years of high-caliber investigative journalism experience in print.


Digital media experience is required

Candidates, with no investigative journalism experience but possess two to five years in digital media or have similar experience in a different industry, are eligible.


Open to U.S. citizens or legal residents only

Applicants must be U.S. citizens or legal residents to be eligible.


Scholars have access to state-of-the-art equipment

Scholars get the chance to work with cutting-edge tools and hone skills that are essential for success.

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