The Atlas Corps Fellowship is a 12-18 month Fellowship in the United States for the world’s top social change leaders. Fellows serve full-time at Host Organizations to develop leadership skills and learn effective practices through the Atlas Corps Global Leadership Lab professional development series and networking opportunities with other Fellows. Participants in this prestigious fellowship receive health insurance, flight and visa costs, and a living stipend to cover basic expenses (food, local transportation, and shared housing).
*Please note that Atlas Corps is only accepting applications for our Fellowship in the United States at this time.
Eligibility for the Atlas Corps Fellowship
— Two or more years of relevant experience
— Bachelor’s degree or equivalent
— English proficiency (oral, writing, reading)
— Age 35 or younger
— Apply to serve in a country other than where you are from (U.S. citizens are not eligible for the U.S. Fellowship)
— Commitment to return to your home country after the 12-18 month Fellowship
— Commitment to living on a basic stipend that only covers food, shared housing, and local transportation
For more explanation of these requirements, check out our Frequently Asked Questions page.
Atlas Corps considers applications on a rolling basis, though we encourage you to apply as soon as possible to be considered for Host Organization placements. The application is a multi-step process. Our Fellow Classes start four times a year: January, April, July, and October.
1. Application & Selection Board Review
Applicants are required to register for an account and save their login information through our online application system so that they can return to the application at any time.
The application includes a brief eligibility test to determine if applicants meet the basic requirements of the Fellowship. Once applicants pass that initial eligibility test, they will be asked to give information on their passport, travel/visa history, language skills, employment history, professional skills, and social issue areas. They will also be asked to complete three short essay questions.
The application also requires additional attachments:
A. An official transcript or diploma from previously attended universities.
B. Two Recommendations: Applicants are required to submit contact information for at least two recommenders who know them in a professional capacity. Applicants will need to send their requests directly through the application system. Their recommenders will receive an email that asks for a recommendation. More detailed instructions can be found in the online application form.
Applicants may submit the online application before they upload their transcript/diploma and before the recommenders complete their forms. However, applicants will not be able to proceed to the later steps of the selection process until the entire application is complete. At that stage, the Atlas Corps Selection Board will review applications to determine to select strong applicants to move on to the interview stage. The Atlas Corps Selection board includes the Atlas Corps staff and nonprofit sector, government, and business leaders from multiple countries.
2. Selection Board Interview (by invitation only)
Atlas Corps selects top applicants who have the potential to match potential Host Organization placements for an interview via Skype with the Atlas Corps Selection Board.
3. Host Organization Review (by invitation only)
When you apply for the Atlas Corps Fellowship, you’re not applying for a specific Host Organization or a specific start date. You are applying for the opportunity to be considered by Atlas Corps and potential Host Organizations for placements starting throughout the year. Applicants that pass the interview stage will be designated a Semi-Finalist which means they are eligible to be reviewed by potential Host Organizations for placements based on their interests and skillset and the organization’s needs.
Please note that we review applicants based not just on eligibility and quality of their applications, but also on how well they fit with the desired profiles our potential Host Organizations are looking for at any given time, so some applicants may advance more quickly through the process than others. In some cases, strong applicants may be selected for the Fellowship in as little as 3-4 months after they submitted their application. In other cases, strong applicants may be considered for multiple classes, potentially longer than a year, before matching with a Host Organization placement.
4. Host Organization Interview (by invitation only)
Host Organizations invite Semi-Finalists that best match their positions to conduct Skype video interviews with them, moving on to the Finalist stage. The Host Organization may ask for additional information from the Finalists, such as sample assignments.
5. Selection and Visa Process
Host Organizations will make their final recommendations to Atlas Corps, and Atlas Corps will notify the selected applicants. After being selected, Fellows will go to the U.S. Embassy in their respective countries to apply for a J-1 visa. Atlas Corps will provide support in obtaining this visa.
Semi-Finalists who are not selected by a Host Organization will be notified and may be given the option to keep their application on file for consideration for the next class of the Fellowship. Atlas Corps will continually reassess Semi-Finalists to determine if they are still in consideration for future Fellowship placements. Semi-Finalists MUST update their availability through their account every 2-4 months in order to remain in consideration for the Fellowship and to be eligible to have their application sent to prospective Hosts. Semi-Finalists will periodically receive a reminder email to do so.
Atlas Corps receives hundreds of applications each month. Each of the steps listed above may take approximately 1-3 months. The vetting process may take several months to complete. We prioritize applications that may be best suited to our available Host Organization Placements. Applicants will advance at different rates.
We recommend submitting your application as soon as possible to initiate the review process. You may apply at any time, so please do not wait for any deadlines. If you are accepted to the Fellowship, there may be a quick turnaround time between your acceptance and the beginning of the Fellowship.
Final decisions about each class of Fellows are made approximately 6-8 weeks before the class begins. Fellowship start dates are not flexible, and assuming your visa is approved, you must begin your Fellowship with the class to which you are accepted.