DUSP-PKG Summer Fellowships

DUSP-PKG Fellowships are ideal for DUSP students planning a career in international development or public service.

If you are a DUSP student in the process of lining up a summer internship or looking for funding to support efforts on a project, consider applying to the DUSP-PKG Fellowship program.

The PKG Center funds projects that focus on bringing about longstanding positive change for the community being served.

The deadline to apply for DUSP-PKG Fellowships for summer 2023 is Wednesday, April 12, at noon.

DUSP PKG Fellowships fund International and domestic public service projects that have a strong prospect of establishing long-term, sustainable benefits for the community and fellows alike. Projects should focus on the unique challenges and needs of the community as well as the career development for the student(s) involved.

Funding is available for new and continuing projects that seek to work with community-focused organizations that include: non-profits; government offices; international aid agencies; schools; and grassroots organizations.

Note: Funding is also available to work with for-profit businesses, provided that the business is using a social-entrepreneurship model to address the needs of an underserved community.

If this sounds like a good fit for you and your project, and if you are currently enrolled as a DUSP student at MIT, learn more about the application process, program requirements, and program commitments here.

Wondering how the DUSP-PKG Fellowships differ from PKG Fellowships? Here’s how:

  • DUSP-PKG Fellowships have a minimum time requirement of 8 weeks and a flat funding amount of $6,000 – PKG Fellowships have a minimum of 6 weeks, and the funding is $6,000 or $7,000, depending on time commitment.
  • DUSP-PKG Fellowships require a significant element of career development – PKG Fellowships do not, though many of the projects include career development elements.
  • DUSP-PKG Fellowships are only for continuing DUSP students – PKG Fellowships are open to all currently registered full-time students, including graduating students.
  • DUSP-PKG Fellowships are available only for the summer. PKG Fellowships are available for summer and IAP.

Application guidelines

  • Project Abstract: Summarize your application. Be clear, specific, and jargon-free. Imagine that a friend who knows little about your work asks you to explain your proposal. How would you describe it to them?
  • Community Challenge: Identify the community you hope will benefit from your work. Outline the challenge that you and your community partner(s) will address and explain why it is significant in this community.
  • Community Partner(s): Provide the partner organization’s name. Who is your main partner and what is their role in the organization or community? How will you collaborate with them?
  • Timeframe: How many weeks will you dedicate to this work during the funding period? If you will be working in multiple locations or intend to extend the work beyond the standard Fellowship times, outline your itinerary or timeline.
  • Work plan: What are your key goals for this work? What will you do during your Fellowship to accomplish those goals? How long will the main steps take? What preparation do you need to do before your Fellowship? How will you evaluate your success in meeting your goals? If this is a team project and multiple team members are applying for PKG Fellowships, outline each person’s role in the project. (N.B. Each team member must write and submit their own application. The selection committee will award Fellowships based on applicants’ individual merits, so there is no guarantee that people who apply together will be selected together.) Describe your plan primarily in words, not charts.
  • Career Development: Describe how your DUSP-PKG Fellowship will contribute to your career development in urban studies and planning.
  • Skills and Experience: What skills and experiences will help you to make a success of this project? What, if any, courses or co-curricular opportunities (UROPS, MISTI Internships, etc.) will provide useful context for your work?
  • Language Fluency: List the languages now that will be useful in the community you will be working in. If you are working in a community whose primary language you do not speak, explain how you will communicate in your work and daily life.
  • Motivation and Personal Outcomes: What is driving you to take on this challenge? Do you have previous experience working on this issue or with this community? What do you want to learn or gain from this experience? Will the work advance your professional career?
  • Safety and Cultural Impact: What are the main safety issues in the location you will be working in? What steps will you take to prioritize your safety and what resources have you identified to help you stay safe? Does your project have any safety implications for the community you are serving? If so, how will you address these? Help us to understand how the cultural context will affect your project. Tell us about any experience you have living and/or working with other cultures. How might you prepare yourself for living in the cultural context relevant to the project you are applying for?
  • Funding: Funding is a standard $6,000 per student. Help us to assess the suitability of these amounts for future cohorts by including a project budget.  Include what you need funding for and funds you’ve already secured.  If funds you have already secured can only be spent on certain types of expense, note this.  Also list any other funding for this work that you’ve applied for or intend to apply for. If you receive funding from other sources after applying to the Fellowships program, we require that you notify us of this and we may make appropriate funding modifications in consultation with you.
  • Letter of Commitment from Community Partner: You’ll be asked to give the name and email address of a key community partner you will collaborate with. The online system will then email them a request for a letter of commitment for your project. This letter should outline the project idea, describe how you and your community partner plan to work together and show the community partner’s commitment to supporting you with project advice and local knowledge. Important! Please make sure you have talked to your community partner before submitting this form and that they are expecting the request and familiar with your plans.
  • Committee on the Use of Humans as Experimental Subjects: If your fellowship involves human subjects research such as surveys, tests, observation of public behavior, or the study of instructional strategies, then you must apply for approval from the Committee on the Use of Humans as Experimental Subjects (COUHES) and complete an online human subjects training course. Visit the COUHES website for details. Service projects typically fall into the exempt category, which requires COUHES approval and passing the online course, but is a relatively fast and straightforward process. However, you should start working on this soon!


We are happy to answer questions and discuss project ideas prior to application. Please email Alison Hynd at the PKG Center hynd@mit.edu and Mary Jane Daly at DUSP daly@mit.edu.