The Hart Fellowship Program (HFP) 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, 110 Hart Fellows have served community partner organizations in 41 countries across six continents.

Hart Fellow Andrew Tan-Delli Cicchi poses with his colleaguesHart 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 Program 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 Program is supported by a generous gift from the Muroff Fund.


  • 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 covers:

  • 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’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.

Latest HFP Stories

Announcing the 2023-24 Hart Fellows

The Hart Leadership Program has announced the 2023-2024 Hart Fellows: Sophia Chimbanda, Ayesham Khan and Quinn C. Smith. All three will engage in a self-designed fellowship experience, conducting their own […]

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Announcing the 2022-23 Hart Fellows

The Hart Leadership Program is proud to announce the 2022-23 Hart Fellows. Since 1995, the Hart Fellows Program has provided recent Duke graduates with the opportunity to partner with community-based […]

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Announcing the 2020-21 Hart Fellows

From an outstanding pool of applicants, two graduating seniors — Tyler Kopp and Sujal Manohar — were selected as this year’s Hart Fellows.

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HFP Pages