Ph.D. Students, Apply for Fall 2022 Teaching on Purpose Fellowships

Applications are now open for Teaching on Purpose.

Deadline: June 17, 2022

Duke University doctoral students do you get excited about teaching undergraduates? Do you want them to lead lives of meaning and purpose in addition to gaining valuable knowledge and thinking skills? Do you wonder about how to connect your subject matter to the “big questions” that undergraduates are grappling with?

You can apply to be a Teaching on Purpose Fellow to develop greater clarity and confidence in your purpose as a teacher and to join a community of like-minded graduate students and faculty at Duke.

Faculty are also invited to nominate graduate students from their departments whom they believe are excellent candidates for this fellowship. To do so, please email Jesse Summers at

Applications are now open for the Fall of 2022! The deadline is Friday, June 17, by 11:59 p.m. Please review eligibility requirements and commitment before applying.


  • Discipline: Ph.D. student in any discipline taught at the undergraduate level (at Duke or other institutions)
  • Status: Must be ABD
  • No conflicts with other funding: Participation in this program must not conflict with policies of departmental or external funding sources.
  • Approval of DGS: Applicants must confirm at the time of application that their DGSs are aware that they are applying. The Purpose Project team will reach out to the DGSs of selected applicants to confirm approval of participation.


  • Weekly 2.5-hour sessions (Tuesdays, 12-2:30 p.m., lunch provided), September 6-November 29 (no session October 11)
  • Must be able to attend most sessions, with no more than 2 absences due to prior engagements (prior notification required).
  • Modest preparation outside of sessions, such as short readings and written reflections (~2 hours/week)


  • $3,000 stipend

Application Requirements

Short essays:

  • What do you find most rewarding about teaching undergraduates? If you have not had the opportunity to teach undergraduates yet, what would you most look forward to? (200 words max)
  • Why are you interested in the Teaching on Purpose Fellowship program? (200 words max)
  • If you could develop your own course on any topic, what would you love to teach? Write a brief course description. (150 words max)

You can also read an article about the program here.


Contact Katherine Jo ( or Jesse Summers (

Collaborate With Local Communities Through GradEngage


Deadline: November 28, 2021

GradEngage is a fellowship opportunity for graduate and professional school students to engage with Duke’s neighboring communities through projects with a community partner organization that seek to create social change. GradEngage is offered through the Kenan Institute for Ethics.

Graduate studies can be all-consuming, and it’s too easy to live your years at Duke inside a bubble, even when you are committed to being part of the broader community. GradEngage, a program of The Purpose Project at Duke, helps graduate students from any academic or professional field create space to deepen community relationships, work with a partner organization to develop solutions to address pressing social issues, and participate in reflective conversation with like-minded students.

Based on DukeEngage—Duke’s signature immersive community engagement program for undergraduates—GradEngage enables graduate and professional school students to integrate community involvement that promotes the common good into their educational experience at Duke. In addition to a stipend, the program provides a learning community where Fellows reflect together upon the challenges of community engagement, what it involves in practice, and its impacts on their own sense of moral purpose.


  • $2,000 honorarium for projects of 100+ hours


  • Eligibility: Any graduate or professional school student may apply.
  • Time period: Must spend 100+ hours on projects between December 15, 2021 and April 30, 2022.
  • Collaboration with partner organization: Projects must be developed and implemented in collaboration with a non-Duke community organization serving Durham or its surrounding communities and contribute to ongoing efforts to advance the mission of the organization.
  • Existing relationship: The applicant must have an existing relationship with the partner organization that has been established through prior involvement in a clearly defined capacity.


  • Training: Two-hour orientation before starting the project (Friday, January 14, 2022, 12-2PM)
  • Time on project: Must spend 100+ hours on projects between December 15, 2021 and April 30, 2022
  • Monthly lunches: February 11, March 11, April 8; 12-1:30PM. In person unless otherwise required by university policy. Short readings or other materials may be assigned.
  • Written reflections: Four blog posts over the course of the project


Deadline: Monday, November 28, 2021 (11:59PM)
Apply now


Learn more and contact Katherine Jo at

Funding Opportunity: Graduate Fellowships

Funding Opportunity: Graduate Fellowships

Deadline: July 11, 2016

Each year, competitive fellowships allow an interdisciplinary group of Duke University graduate students to deeply engage with the Institute and its work.

The Kenan Institute for Ethics selects up to 12 graduate student applications for the Graduate Student Fellowships each academic year. Students from any Duke graduate program may apply. Ideal candidates will be in the 3rd or 4th year of their PhD studies: finished all (or almost all) of their coursework requirements, but still developing new ideas and approaches for their dissertation research. The Fellows receive an award of $3000 that supplements their current funding. This Fellowship involves regular participation in a seminar (typically featuring an invited speaker) that meets approximately five times in each of the Fall and Spring semesters, on a Monday from noon-1:30 pm. In addition, there will be a half-day workshop during the pre-exam reading break at the end of each term. The seminar does not typically require extensive preparation in advance. The aim of the on-going discussion among the fellows and Institute faculty members in the seminar is to enhance everyone’s ability to contribute to debates involving ethical issues, and to do so in ways that engage scholars and others both within and outside of their own academic disciplines. Fellows will also be asked to participate in a one-day workshop early in the fall of their Fellowship year, and in two late-afternoon workshops – one late in fall and one late in the spring semester.

Alumni in good standing of the Fellowship program will have exclusive access to conference and research travel funds during their final years in the PhD program.

The only thing each cohort of Graduate Fellows has in common is that their dissertation research engages in interesting ways with significant normative issues. Some students – for example, from disciplines like philosophy, political theory, or theology – focus directly on fundamental ethical or political concepts and theories. Other fellows, from the sciences and social sciences, are trying to understand phenomena that are relevant to major, and often controversial, public policy debates. Still others are attempting to resolve debates in their areas of research that seem to be sustained by long-standing disagreements over both empirical claims and ethical or ideological commitments. Fellows are expected to be competent in either the empirical methods or normative theories of their home discipline.

The deadline to apply for the Graduate Fellowship at the Kenan Institute for Ethics for the 2016-2017 academic year is Monday, July 11, 2016. For further information, contact with “Graduate Fellowship question” in the subject heading.

Apply now – Download the application (docx)