Undergraduate Fellowships

The Edmond J. Safra Undergraduate Fellowship Program welcomes applications from Harvard College sophomores and juniors from any concentration who are pursuing research and writing with an ethics dimension, and who wish to develop their talents in modes of inquiry that are essential to tackling critical moral issues in public life. Established in the spring of 2013, the Program invites eight to ten fellows each year to join a university-wide community of faculty and scholars from the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and the professional schools at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics.


The Undergraduate Fellowship program seeks to provide students with the opportunity to engage in an informed analysis of values in their own areas of inquiry that will lead to the completion of a senior thesis. In pursuit of this goal, Undergraduate Fellows complete an ethics seminar with the director of the program, participate in an ongoing ethics research workshop, and attend lectures and dinners hosted by the Center. In addition, Undergraduate Fellows are offered a wide range of opportunities to interact with faculty, fellows, and graduate students affiliated with the Center.


Spring Semester 2019: Undergraduate Fellows will enroll in the interdisciplinary seminar with Professor Arthur Applbaum, Government 94saf: Safra Undergraduate Ethics Fellowship Seminar, which meets Thursdays from 12:00 to 2:30 p.m. Undergraduate Fellows also will attend the annual Lester Kissel Lecture and Workshop and at least one other lecture sponsored by the Center.

Fall Semester 2019 and 2020: To help prepare for their senior theses, Undergraduate Fellows will participate in an informal semester-long weekly research workshop in the fall of each year that they remain at Harvard. The research workshop will include discussions of assigned readings, presentations of the students’ own work, and reflections on the Center’s distinguished lecture series.

Spring Semester, Senior Year: Undergraduate Fellows will submit to their respective departments a senior thesis on an approved topic that has a normative dimension.  

A suggested timeline for undergraduate fellowships can be found here.


Students in the fall of their sophomore or junior year, with a GPA of at least 3.0, are invited to apply. Applicants should have completed, or be currently enrolled in, two courses in ethics, moral or political philosophy, or political theory. A non-exhaustive selection of suitable courses is listed in the Center’s Ethics Course Catalog. Suggested timelines for sophomores and juniors to plan for the Undergraduate Fellowship in Ethics can be found here.


Undergraduate Fellows receive a one-time book fund of $500, and may apply for summer funding through the Lester Kissel Grants in Practical Ethics. These grants support research and writing that make contributions to the understanding of practical ethics, and normally will be awarded in the summer prior to the student’s senior year.  

How to Apply for a fellowship beginning Spring 2019

1. Complete and submit an online application form.
2. As part of this web application form, upload .pdf versions of the following documents:
    (a) One-page statement describing your interest in ethics and purpose in applying for the
          fellowship program;
    (b) Curriculum Vitae;    
    (c) Unofficial transcript (fellowship recipients will be required to furnish an official transcript).


Ethics Course Catalogue 

General Education: Ethical Reasoning
[ETHRSON 11: Human Rights: A Philosophical Introduction]
[ETHRSON 21: Protest, Politics, and Perception]
[ETHRSON 30: The Just World]
[ETHRSON 36: Institutional Corruption]
ETHRSON 38: The Meaning of Life
ETHRSON 43: Ignorance, Lies, Hogwash, and Humbug
[ETHRSON 39: Money, Markets, and Morals]
[ETHRSON 41: Economic Justice]

GOV 10:     Foundations of Political Theory
GOV 63:     Topics and Resources in Political Theory
[GOV 1052: History and Freedom in German Idealism]
GOV 1060: Ancient and Medieval Political Philosophy
GOV 1061: The History of Modern Political Philosophy
[GOV 1074: Political Thought of the American Founding]
GOV 1082: What is Property?
GOV 1510: American Constitutional Law

PHIL 3: The True and the Good
PHIL 6:       Ancient Ethics and Modern Morality
[PHIL 13:    Morality and Its Critics]
PHIL 14:     Morality and the Good Life: An Introduction to Ethics
PHIL17:      Feminist Political Philosophy
PHIL 108: Aristotle's Ethics and Politics
[PHIL 132:   Marx and Marxism]
[PHIL 157:  Philosophy of Action]
PHIL 168:  Kant's Ethical Theory
PHIL 171:  Well-Being
PHIL 173:  Metaethics
[PHIL 173x: Practical Reasons]
PHIL 174a: Animals and Ethics
PHIL 177:   Educational Justice: Proseminar
[PHIL 178s: Responsibility]
PHIL 178z: Inequality
[PHIL 179:  Race and Social Justice]

PSY 1750: Free Will, Responsibility and Law

Social Studies
SOC STD 10A: Introduction to Social Studies
SOC STD 10B: Introduction to Social Studies