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Frequently Asked Questions: The Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship

Please review the FAQs for the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship.  If after reviewing these pages you still have questions, you can contact the Teaching Fellowship staff by email or click here to schedule a call.

Click here for the five most common questions asked by WW Teaching Fellowship applicants.

General Information

Q: What is the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship?

A: The Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship offers recent graduates and career changers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) a stipend to complete a specially designed, cutting-edge master’s degree program, in exchange for a commitment to teach for three years in high-need secondary urban or rural schools. The Fellowship is currently recruiting in Pennsylvania and has prepared more than 1200 teachers in Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and New Jersey. In Pennsylvania, the program provides Fellows with a $32,000 stipend to help offset the cost of tuition and living expenses during a year of full-time master’s study and to help support Fellows in their preparation for teaching, including in-depth classroom experience, at one of several partner universities and their teacher education programs. Fellows attend classes and complete their clinical year as a cohort with other STEM Teaching Fellows.

Successful Fellows are eligible for teacher certification at the end of the second summer of full-time master’s coursework. Once certified, Fellows are able to seek employment in a high-need school. University partners provide mentoring and support throughout the three-year Fellowship period.

Q: What makes the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship different from other teacher certification programs?

A: The Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship features several components of effective teacher preparation, including these:

  • Immediate immersion and ongoing support.Fellows teach in schools with high-need student populations as soon as they begin their master’s study. From the start of the program, Fellows will receive mentoring and support from experienced teachers and teacher leaders in their schools or districts, as well as from their universities
  • Highly selective admission.The Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship seeks to increase the quality of teaching candidates entering the profession, not just the quantity. As a prestigious pathway to teaching for gifted undergraduates and accomplished career changers, the Fellowship will bring new talent into teaching, elevate the profession, and provide the preparation and ongoing support needed for success in the classroom.
  • Excellent, paid preparation. The Teaching Fellowship offers Fellows a stipend to pursue a high-quality master’s degree in teaching. Ideally, the stipend will allow Fellows to offset the cost of tuition, attendance, and living costs.
  • Skills to hit the ground running.By the time Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellows enter their own classrooms as full-time teachers of record, they have already spent an entire year in a classroom. During their year of master’s study and clinical practice, Fellows, observe and teach. The hallmark of being a Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellow is the preparation to hit the ground running it offers Fellows.
  • A launch pad for a lifetime teaching career. While Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellows make a three-year commitment to teach in high-need schools, the high-quality preparation and support that the Fellowship provides is designed to position Fellows for a sustained and successful career in teaching. The Fellowship is not intended as a short-term Peace Corps-like experience. Rather, it is a launch pad for development and professional growth that will help shape a new generation of outstanding educators and leaders in high-need classrooms.
  • An approach to improving teacher education.The Fellowship is more than a scholarship program. It simultaneously seeks to transform teacher education while preparing future leaders in the teaching profession. The program provides participating universities with resources to develop model programs that prepare teachers in math- and science-related fields. While there is no one Woodrow Wilson teacher education model, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation works with carefully selected universities on a broad range of areas, including redesigning curricula; improving clinical classroom experiences in schools to help teacher candidates succeed; and assessing candidates’ performance in the classroom. In the long term, this approach may lead to the adoption of more rigorous teacher education standards nationwide.



Q: Who is eligible for the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship’s

A: The Fellowship is open to college seniors, graduates, and career changers who:

  • • have majored in and/or have 30 or more college-level credits in a STEM field (science, technology, engineering, or math);
  • • demonstrate a commitment to the program and its goals;
  • • have U.S. citizenship or permanent residency;
  • • have attained, or expect to attain by Spring 2020, a bachelor’s degree from an accredited U.S. college or university or its international equivalent (Note: Undergraduate degrees earned outside the U.S. are accepted if an approved credential evaluator declares the degree equivalent to an earned U.S. bachelor’s degree.);
  • • a cumulative undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale is preferred (Note: Candidates who can demonstrate excellence through other avenues will also be considered. All applications are considered in their entirety and selection is based on merit.)

Questions about your eligibility? Email Anna Gallos, Program Assistant for Fellow Selection  ([email protected]).

Q: Do I need to have completed my undergraduate education in the state to which I apply?

A: No, but the three-year teaching commitment must be fulfilled at an approved in-state, high-need secondary school. In Pennsylvania, this means Fellows who attend the University of Pennsylvania or West Chester University must obtain certification and must teach in the School District of Philadelphia (SDP). Fellows who attend Duquesne University must teach in the Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS) or approved schools in the surrounding areas.

Q: I already have some teaching experience (full-time, substitute, para-professional, private school, etc.). May I apply for the Fellowship?

A: Ideally, Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellows have an undergraduate major or a substantial number of college-level credits in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, or mathematics) discipline, and are seeking a master’s degree in STEM education and clinical (classroom) experience. Prior teaching experience does not exclude a candidate from eligibility; however, those who already have already earned their teaching certification in one of the STEM secondary education fields are not eligible for the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship. All applications are considered in their entirety and selection is based on merit.

Q: Do I need to be an education major or have taken education classes to apply? What academic preparation should I have?

A: The Fellowship program is looking primarily for applicants with an undergraduate major in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, or math) field. Those applicants with significant credit hours in a STEM-related field are also welcome to apply. Those already certified to teach and with a substantial amount of education-related coursework would not be eligible. All applications will be judged on their merits.

Q: If my field is one of the professions that draws heavily on science and math (such as physical therapy or accounting), or perhaps a social science with major STEM components (such as economics), may I apply?

A: You are welcome to apply. In the course of Fellowship selection, we will review all applicants’ transcripts to assess the work each candidate has already completed in STEM fields. Additional undergraduate coursework may be required by a partner institution if a candidate’s previous experience does not yet meet the institution’s minimum standard for content knowledge in a given area.

Q: I graduated from college a few years ago. Can I still apply?

A: Absolutely! Career changers of all ages are welcome to apply and can use professional accomplishments (for example, awards, professional certifications, service records) to demonstrate content mastery and potential. Partner institutions will work individually with candidates to certify that career changers selected as Fellows satisfy the requirements for demonstrated content knowledge.


Application Process

Q: What is the process for applying? Can I apply online? Do I need to apply separately to each institution in which I might be interested? When will I find out if I am accepted?

A: Applicants will apply to the Woodrow Wilson Foundation for the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship. Applications are currently available on the Woodrow Wilson application website.  The 2020 cohort of Teaching Fellows will be selected by late spring 2020, and will begin graduate studies in summer 2020. Applications will be accepted online only, and only through the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. You should not apply separately or submit any supporting documentation to the partner institution(s).

Q: What is the deadline for applying?

A: There are three application deadlines for the 2020 Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship: October 15, 2019, December 3, 2019, and January 30, 2020.

Q: Is there an application fee?

A: There is no application fee, and partner institutions have agreed to waive their application fees.

Q: What if I have a transcript from a foreign university/college?

A: Follow these steps to have your foreign transcript evaluated:

  • • Have your official transcript(s) translated (if necessary) into English.
  • • Send your transcript(s), course descriptions, and the English translation to a credential evaluation service that is a member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services. A fee is required. Be sure to request a “course-by-course/detail” evaluation.
    * Foreign transcripts which are already in English still will require a course-by-course/detail evaluation.
  • • Have an official copy of the transcript and translation sent to:
    The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation
    Teaching Fellowships
    5 Vaughn Drive
    Suite 300
    Princeton, NJ 08540

Q: Will I need to pay tuition?

A: Yes. Each campus will have its own tuition and financial aid arrangements for Fellows. To find out more, please review the chart of campus tuitions.

Q: Which schools qualify as high-need?

A: For a list of schools that qualify as high-need, please visit the Annual Directory of Designated Low-Income Schools for Teacher Cancellation Benefits.

The Annual Directory is updated in the fall of each year. For a comprehensive listing of high-need schools, you may check the previous year’s directory or periodically check the directory for the latest updates.

Q: When would I receive my Fellowship stipend?

A: Fellows will receive their stipends in two or three equal payments and may select the payment option that works best for them. Fellows will choose a payment schedule once they have been selected and have accepted a Fellowship award. Stipends will be processed for disbursement once confirmation of enrollment in coursework has been received.

Q: If I am not accepted for the Fellowship and choose not to pursue the master’s without it, can I apply for the Fellowship again in the following year?

A: Absolutely. We welcome your continued interest.

Q: Can I apply for the Fellowship in more than one state?

A: For 2020, the Fellowship is available only in Pennsylvania.

Q: Am I allowed to work at another job while I am studying for my master’s degree? While I am teaching?

A: Fellows have a very demanding coursework and clinical (in school) schedule. It should be clear that the Fellowship program is the equivalent of a full-time job. It is unlikely that a Fellow can remain in good academic standing while also attempting part-time and/or full-time work.


Required Tests

WW Teaching Fellowship candidates are required to pass the appropriate program admission and teaching licensure examinations for the state in which they would like to teach. In Pennsylvania, there are no required program admission tests. However, to receive licensure and become a teacher of record, Fellows must pass the required state licensure exams.


Master’s Program

Q: What type of master’s degree will I receive?

A: Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellows will receive a master’s degree in education following successful completion of the partner institution’s master’s degree program. While the partner institutions offer degrees with slightly different titles, in all cases Fellows will receive a master’s degree and complete all the preparatory requirements necessary in order to take exams for teaching licensure.

Q: Am I able to choose where I will study for my master’s degree?

A: During the application process, candidates are asked to indicate, in ranked order, their top preferences among the participating universities. Every effort will be made to match a candidate with his or her first-choice institution.

Q: When will coursework begin?

A: Participating universities will begin coursework in June or July 2020. For further information, please refer to the individual Web pages for each of the partner universities.

Q: Will I get teaching experience?

A: Yes. All master’s degree programs include significant experience in public secondary schools. Both the master’s coursework and teaching experience will focus on providing the practical, subject-specific education needed to prepare Fellows to succeed with students in high-need schools.

Q: What grades and subjects will I be certified to teach after I receive my degree?

A: The Fellowship focuses on secondary teaching in STEM fields. However, each university emphasizes particular subjects and certification areas. Visit the partner institutions’ descriptions on the Woodrow Wilson Web site for more details. The area of certification will depend upon which program a Fellow enrolls in and/or which courses s/he takes.

Q: What if I still have specific questions about one or more of the university programs?

A: For any remaining questions, please contact the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowships team for more information. Alternatively, you may also contact the Program Director at the university you would like to attend.


University Admission and Support

Q: Do I get to choose where I will teach in the state?

A: Each university is partnered with several secondary schools in its area. While you are doing your master’s work, your clinical teaching placement will be assigned. After that, if you are a Fellow at UPenn or WCU, you may seek a job at any high-need school in the School District of Philadelphia (UPenn and WCU Fellows); if you are a Fellow at Duquesne, you make see at job at any high-need school in the Pittsburgh Public Schools and the surrounding areas.

Q: What about special circumstances that may limit how far I can travel to complete the master’s degree, or where I can be placed for my teaching assignment?

A: The application contains a section to note extenuating circumstances, which will be taken into consideration when your application is reviewed. However, Fellows will be expected to be as open and flexible as possible about future placement.

Q: Will I be on my own once I start teaching?

A: No. Along with your cohort of Fellows, you will receive support as you seek to secure your first teaching job after your master’s work, and you will also be supported throughout your three year commitment. In addition to in-person face-to-face mentoring sessions, Fellows can expect their university to continue to support them through classroom visits and whole group sessions. The result is a a community of support and learning within and across schools.

Q: Can I switch schools during my three-year teaching obligation? Or grade levels/subjects?

A: While it is preferred that a Fellow remain at the school where s/he begins his/her teaching career.  In some instances, a change of school is necessary.  Regardless, Fellows will have the full benefit of mentoring throughout their three-year commitment.


Teaching Commitment and Other Obligations

Q: How long must I teach to fulfill my commitment to the program?

A: As a Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellow, you agree to teach for three years in a high-need secondary school in the School District of Philadelphia (if you attend UPenn or WCU) or Pittsburgh Public Schools or the surrounding areas (if you attend Duquesne). In order to secure a teaching position and complete your commitment, you must complete your master’s degree program and attain your teaching license.

Q: Can I teach for only one or two years?

A: o. Fellows commit to teaching for three years when they accept the Fellowship. Fellows who do not complete the three-year commitment are expected to return the Fellowship stipend in full.


Program Completion

Q: What happens at the conclusion of the three-year teaching commitment?

A: While Fellows will be free to choose the future direction of their career, we believe that the high-quality preparation and support the Fellowship provides will position Fellows for a long and successful career in teaching. Once selected as Fellows, the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellows become lifelong members of a national network of intellectual leaders. Today’s nearly 27,000 Woodrow Wilson Fellows include 14 Nobel Laureates, 37 MacArthur “genius grant” recipients, 16 Pulitzer Prize winners, two Fields Medalists in mathematics, and many other noted scholars and leaders.

Q: What will be my involvement with the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship and future Woodrow Wilson Fellows after my commitment is complete?

A: Even after their teaching commitment is complete, Fellows remain part of a statewide network of Teaching Fellows, as well as the larger national network of 27,000 Woodrow Wilson Fellows.



Other questions that are not answered in the information posted on this site can be directed by email to the Woodrow Wilson Foundation or by calling 609-452-7007 ext. 141.


Changing the name of the Foundation

The Board of Trustees of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation has voted unanimously to rename the organization and to remove Woodrow Wilson from its name; a new name will be announced by early fall.

Full Statement

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