The East-West Center (EWC) - Graduate degree fellowship

December 01, 2021

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Location (s):

  • United States of America


The East-West Center Graduate Degree Fellowship provides master's and doctoral funding for graduate students from Asia, the Pacific, and the United States to participate in educational, cultural, residential community building, and leadership development programs at the East-West Center while pursuing graduate study at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (UHM).


Undertaking degree studies at UHM through an East-West Center fellowship is not merely about receiving a financial aid scholarship. Since the basic purpose of the East-West Center is to build a sense of Asia-Pacific community and prepare for future leadership roles, EWC graduate student fellows live together and interact with each other in both intellectual and social activities. They are, from the very outset, an identifiable group committed to the notion of building an Asia-Pacific community. Through team-building activities, leadership development projects and internships, learning about the Asia Pacific region, cultural exchange, educational enrichment gatherings, community service and service learning projects, EWC graduate degree fellows establish friendships and lifelong ties to a network of people committed to positive change in the Asia Pacific region. 

The graduate degree fellowship covers the cost of tuition and fees, books, housing in an East-West Center dormitory, and partial funding toward meals, health insurance, and incidental expenses. Funding for field study and conference presentations is offered on a competitive basis during the fellow's period of study.

In addition to fulfilling degree requirements at the University of Hawai‘i, EWC graduate degree fellows enhance their degree studies by participating in the EWC community and its programs.

Fellowships are awarded annually in an international competition. The deadline for the 2021-2022 academic year competition has passed. The 2022-2023 competition will be accessible from August 16, 2021 through December 1. 

Opportunity is About:


Candidates should be from:

Description of Ideal Candidate:

The East-West Center Graduate Degree Fellowship invites applications from:

  • Citizens or permanent residents of the United States
  • Citizens of countries in the Pacific and Asia, including Russia 

Priority in the student selection process is given to applicants with a demonstrated commitment to the Asia Pacific region.

Individuals who are citizens or permanent residents of the countries listed below may apply for the East-West Center Graduate Degree Fellowship:

  • United States
  • Pacific Region: American Samoa, Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Northern Marianas, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Wallis & Futuna Islands
  • Southeast Asia: Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Vietnam
  • South Asia: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Iran, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka
  • East Asia: China, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, Russia, Taiwan

Bachelor's Degree and Grade Point Average

Before the start of the award, applicants for graduate programs must have obtained a 4-year bachelor's degree or its equivalent from an accredited U.S. college or university, or from a recognized institution of higher learning abroad. Generally, an applicant must have a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (4.0=A scale) or the equivalent, in the last four semesters or six quarters of the undergraduate record and in all post-baccalaureate work.


Deadline: December 01, 2021

Cost/funding for participants:

The East-West Center Graduate Degree Fellowship provides the following funding:

  • Full-time graduate tuition and fees up to the equivalent of the tuition charged for post-baccalaureate students at the University of Hawaii at Manoa toward master's or doctoral studies;
  • Housing in an East-West Center residence hall, based on single occupancy;
  • A stipend to partially cover food and incidental expenses;
  • An allowance for books, materials and supplies; and
  • Subsidy toward health insurance coverage.

All provisions above are subject to change.

Residency Starting in August

The East-West Center Graduate Degree Fellowship begins in early- to mid-August with the Community Building Institute that includes time for advising and registration at the University of Hawai‘i. All students on new awards are required to participate in this initial program, including those who are currently residing in Hawai‘i.


Recipients of the fellowship who are single or married with no accompanying dependents below 18 years of age are required to reside in Center dormitories. Individuals with minor dependent children cannot be accommodated in on-campus facilities and must reside off-campus. (Pets are not allowed in these dormitories.) Further information about the EWC residence halls may be found at our Housing Office website.

Length of Award

EWC Graduate Degree Fellowships are granted on an annual basis. These grants are made initially for twelve months but may be renewed an additional year, subject to funding availability, and timely and satisfactory progress toward completion of the degree and fulfillment of East-West Center requirements. The total award length may be less than 24 months, depending on the academic status of the student at the time the award is given and the time necessary to complete degree requirements.


Degree fellows who are not citizens or permanent residents of the United States are required to come to the Center on the Exchange Visitor (J-1) visa and are subject to all provisions of the U.S. State Department's Exchange Visitor Program.

The intent of the Exchange Visitor Program is to have participants return to their home countries upon program completion to share and apply the knowledge and experience gained during their program at the Center. Exchange visitors on East-West Center sponsorship are required to return to their home country for an aggregate period of two years after completing their exchange visitor program. Graduate degree fellows (except for those on ADB-JSP scholarship) are eligible to apply for post-completion academic training upon completion of their degree program. For further information contact the East-West Center Visa Office at

Funding for a Second Degree

East-West Center degree fellows who have completed either an undergraduate or graduate degree under other Center sponsorship may apply for another fellowship administered by the Center for which they meet the eligibility requirements. But please note: an individual can receive the Graduate Degree Fellowship for no more than a total of 24 months. Grantees who receive a one-year GDF award are eligible to apply for another one-year fellowship. They may however, have a lower priority during the selection consideration having already been supported by the Center for one degree.


The Graduate Degree Fellowship may not be deferred to another semester or year. Students are encouraged to reapply if they are unable to participate in residence at the EWC starting from early August of the year their fellowship is to begin.

Spouses and Dependents

The East-West Center Graduate Degree Fellowship does not provide support for spouses and dependents. No additional stipend payment or travel allowance is made on the basis of marital status and the amount received will not adequately support a family.

Degree fellows are required to come to Honolulu alone for the first semester of the award to become acquainted with the Center, the University of Hawai‘i, and the Honolulu community, before arranging to have their families join them from abroad.

Degree fellows who plan eventually to bring their families should be fully aware of the high cost of living in Honolulu, the limited availability and high cost of off-campus housing, and especially the difficulty in finding employment opportunities for spouses.

The Center provides limited assistance in the following ways:

  • During the period of the fellowship, the Center may arrange dormitory space for the spouse by providing a double room beginning the second semester of the award. The degree fellow is responsible for the additional cost of a double room beyond the single-rate room.
  • If a degree fellow is joined by dependent children below the age of 18, the family must reside off-campus as the Center's residence halls are not allowed to house minors. Beginning the second semester of the award, the degree fellow living off-campus with family is eligible for an off-campus housing allowance equivalent to the rate of the single room in the East-West Center residence hall.
  • The degree fellow is responsible for all other costs for the spouse and children.

Estimated Expenses Beyond the Provisions of the Fellowship:

  • Living expenses beyond the fellowship are estimated at $350 per month, or $4,200/year.
  • Cost-sharing for health insurance (if participant selects a health insurance plan that costs more than the health insurance subsidy).
  • Travel to and from home country and Honolulu.

Degree fellows are responsible for all personal and academic expenses not covered by the Center fellowship.

Students are encouraged to seek and obtain financial support for one or more of the above categories from other sources where possible. The availability of funding from other sources should be noted on the Cost-Sharing Form included in the application.

Policy on Work:  A student may request permission to work on campus to earn funds that can contribute toward meeting living expenses. Under certain circumstances, students may be eligible to work additional hours during official school breaks and school vacations.


All Graduate Degree Fellowship applicants are also considered for EWCA Alumni and Foundation scholarships. These awards are funded through privately-endowed scholarships from the East-West Center Foundation and may supplement a Graduate Degree Fellowship.

EWC Alumni and Foundation Scholarships:  Through the generosity of the Center's friends and alumni, supplementary scholarships have been established to assist East-West Center students. The Center may be able to make available a limited amount of supplemental scholarship support to Graduate Degree Fellowship finalists with financial need on a case-by-case basis.

Some of these awards may also be made to semifinalists in the Graduate Degree Fellowship competition who did not receive a Graduate Degree Fellowship. Recipients of these scholarships are required to live in EWC housing and to participate in the EWC community. The average amount of the scholarship is $9,000, which a student can use to pay for housing, tuition, books or living expenses. Foundation scholarship recipients are responsible for paying for tuition (at the discounted resident rate for EWC scholarship recipients), all housing costs and living expenses.

Travel Grants:  Subject to funding availability, funding for field study and conference presentations is offered to degree fellows on a competitive basis during their study period.

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