The Hart Fellowship

The Hart Fellowship is a 10-month postgraduate fellowship for recent graduates of Duke.

What is the Hart Fellowship?

The Hart Fellowship offers recent Duke University and Duke Kunshan University graduates ten-month fellowships with organizations that are facing complex social, political and humanitarian problems. This capstone experience helps fellows develop their own vision for ethical leadership as they move into professional life. Since its inception in 1995, 118 Hart Fellows have served community partner organizations in 41 countries across six continents.

Hart Fellows engage in research service-learning (RSL): they produce community-based research projects of tangible benefit to the organizations they serve, while engaging in structured, critical reflection about their work. Fellows are paired with experienced mentors within their host organizations, and gain direct experience working on global issues such as forced migration, HIV/AIDS, and youth-focused poverty alleviation. Fellows help to build organizational capacity, write grants and document programs.

The Hart Fellowship is designed to build fellows’ capacity for leadership outside of conventional professional knowledge. Working with community partners to address systemic issues in the field, Hart Fellows face obstacles in social attitudes and political will, and often must grapple with profound differences in values. They engage in the practice of critical reflection to analyze the implications of larger patterns and dynamics within sociopolitical systems, as well as to better understand their own skills, interests and leadership capacities. Their insights and observations form the foundation of the Hart Fellows writing program, which prepares fellows to develop their perspectives about the complexities of their work, and to communicate what they are learning to a public audience.

The Hart Fellowship is supported by a generous gift from the Muroff Fund.

Benefits of Participation

  • You will be of service to innovative organizations that are on the front lines of complex global issues.
  • You will develop your leadership capacity and confront policy issues on the ground with a prolonged immersion in a community where you will encounter diverse values and perspectives.
  • You will strengthen your self-reflection, writing, and analytical skills by completing a long-term writing project.
  • You will be able to design a community-based research project and gain ten months of experience with CBR methods.
  • You will enhance your research and critical reflection skills for exploring how policy design and implementation impact communities.


  • Conduct an intensive research project in collaboration with your community partner, and present your findings to your partner organization and the Hart Leadership Program at the end of the fellowship.
  • Participate in the Hart Fellowship writing program. Write monthly narrative essays (“Letters Home”), research updates, critical reflection addenda, a mid-term report and a final report.
  • Complete your fellowship from July to May. We strongly prefer that fellows remain in their fellowship site for the duration of the 10-month experience.
  • Attend a Hart Fellowship Orientation Weekend before your fellowship begins.

What We Fund

After Fellows are selected, we work with them to develop a budget that will support their work. Each budget is different, depending on the local costs of living. The Fellowship offers a stipend covering:

  • Housing, food, and cost of living
  • Health insurance in situations where feasible
  • Travel to/from fellowship site
  • Visa/residence permit expenses
  • Immunizations/medicines
  • Language training
  • Research-related expenses

Selection Criteria

Applicants must be recent graduates from Duke University’s undergraduate program or Duke Kunshan University’s undergraduate program who have been out of school for fewer than two years and have not yet earned an advanced degree.

Just as there is no typical Hart Fellowship experience, there is no typical Hart Fellow. Hart Fellows have a wide variety of interests, experiences and strengths. In general, Hart Fellows share the quality of having a distinct vision, mission or vantage point from which they engage the world. Fellows must be comfortable with forming relationships across social and cultural barriers, open-minded with opposing views and respectful in both professional and social settings. Many fellows have prepared themselves for work in social issues by taking advantage of opportunities in experiential learning and working directly with community organizations. In addition, they are reflective and thoughtful writers.

"My Hart Fellowship experience not only allowed me to make a difference at a nonprofit organization, but also transformed my perspective on leadership itself. My past leadership roles were primarily about organizing and distributing tasks.  However, I now recognize that leaders do not just assign duties, but rather inspire individuals to create change."

— Sujal Manohar, Hart Fellow '20-'21, Trinity '20

Hart Fellowship Support Team

Andrew Nurkin
Andrew Nurkin Hart Associate Professor of the Practice; Director, Hart Leadership Program
Kathryn Whetten
Kathryn Whetten Hart Fellows Research Director; Professor of Public Policy and Community and Family Medicine
Suzanne Katzenstein
Suzanne Katzenstein PEP Faculty Advisor; Hart Fellowship Writing Coach; Lecturer of Public Policy
Hy V. Huynh
Hy V. Huynh Hart Fellowship Research Advisor; Research Scholar of Global Health
Lee Edelblut
Lee Edelblut Program Coordinator

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