The James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation was established by Congress in 1986 for the purpose of improving teaching about the United States Constitution in secondary schools. The James Madison Fellowships honor Madison’s legacy and Madisonian principles by supporting graduate study that focuses on the Constitution, its history, and its contemporary relevance to the practices and policies of democratic government.

Eligibility Requirements

  • U.S. citizen or U.S. national.

  • Current teacher, or plan to become a teacher, of American history, American government, or social studies at the secondary school level (grades 7-12).

  • Bachelor’s degree or plan to receive a bachelor’s degree no later than August 31 of the year of application.

General Information

Applicants compete against other applicants from the state of their legal residence. Applicants are evaluated on their demonstrated commitment to a career teaching American history, American government, or social studies at the secondary school level; intent to pursue and complete a program of graduate study that emphasizes the Constitution and offers instruction in that subject; devotion to civic responsibility; and capacity for study and performance as classroom teachers and in their proposed courses of graduate study.

Each James Madison Fellow is expected to complete a master’s degree at an accredited U.S. institution in one of the following areas of study (listed in order of the foundation’s preference): Master of Arts in American history or political science; Master of Arts in teaching, concentrating on either American Constitutional history or American government, political institutions, and political theory; or Master of Education or the Master of Arts or Master of Science in Education, with a concentration in American history or American government, political institutions, and political theory. Fellows are encouraged to choose institutions that offer courses that closely examine the origins and development of the U.S. Constitution, the evolution of political theory and constitutional law, the effects of the Constitution on society and culture in the United States, or other such topics directly related to the Constitution.

The foundation offers two types of fellowships: Junior Fellowships, awarded to students who are about to complete, or have recently completed, their undergraduate course of study and plan to begin graduate work on a full-time basis (Junior Fellows will have two years to complete their master’s degree); and Senior Fellowships, awarded to experienced teachers who wish to pursue a graduate degree on a part-time basis (Senior Fellows have up to five years to complete their degree).

Each scholarship contains a maximum amount of up to $24,000, prorated over the period of study. In no case shall the award exceed $12,000 for one academic year of study. Payments are made only for the actual costs of tuition, required fees, books, and room and board, and are made only for the minimum number of credits required for the award of the degree for which a fellow is registered.

After earning a master’s degree, each Madison Fellow must teach American history, American government, or social studies in grades 7-12 for no less than one year for each full academic year of study under the fellowship.

Application Timeline

April 1, 2015  
The 2015 application is available online.

March 1, 2016  
Completed applications and supporting transcripts must be received by the James Madison Fellowship Program.

April 2016  
Recipients announced.