Who Should Apply

Urban designers, public artists, developers, journalists, civic leaders, architects, landscape architects, urban planners, policymakers, and community development leaders.

We encourage applications from a wide range of practitioners whose work focuses on improving the built and natural environment. In short, people of exceptional skill who design, plan, preserve, and critique the places where we live, work, and play are eligible to apply.

The program is for people in mid-career, with a minimum of 5-10 years of experience in the field. We seek professionals who have leadership ability and who show the potential to take their capacities to higher levels. The opportunities presented by the Fellowship work best for those experienced enough to ask the hard questions, but with plenty of time left to make an impact. A typical Loeb class averages about 42 years of age.

The Fellowship is for practitioners. It is not an academic sabbatical program or an artist residency; there are many other programs for those purposes. The Loeb is unique in providing support for renewal and reflection in an active career.

Fellows take stock of what they have learned, expand skills in the midst of a great university and chart the next phase of their careers to become more effective agents of change.

We value a creative and motivated work history above more traditional credentials. A completed degree in higher education is not a requirement. Professionals with atypical backgrounds or unusual career paths who have demonstrated the capacity to make a difference in their fields are encouraged to apply.

How to Apply

The application for the 2020-21 Fellowship year is now closed. The 2021-22 application will be available in September, so please check back then.

Please read the following information and FAQs carefully before beginning your application and before contacting the office with questions. If your questions are not answered in our materials, feel free to contact the Fellowship office about the application process.

Application Process

We have an online application process. All candidates are required to submit an application, 3 letters of recommendation, and a resume. Supplemental materials are optional but highly recommended. If you are unable to access the online application, please contact our office.

Online Application

You will be asked to register in order to submit an online application. Please answer all questions on the application form, taking notice of the suggested length for answers.

Application Fee

There is an application fee of $45.00, payable by credit card.

Letters of Recommendation

Deadline for letters of recommendation is the same as the application close date.

During the online application, you will be asked to enter the names and contact information for 3 professional associates who will provide letters of recommendation. A request to your recommenders will sent to them immediately by the online system. Please alert your recommenders that the request will be from Slideroom and not from the Loeb Fellowship. (You do not have to complete the application process for the request to recommenders to be set in motion.) They will receive instructions to enter their recommendations into the system.

Letters from colleagues, clients, collaborators and individuals who are knowledgeable about your work will carry the most weight. Letters are confidential and are not available to the applicant.


You will be prompted to attach a copy of your resumé. Be sure that it includes dates of graduation, degrees received, and dates of your work history.

Portfolio and Supplemental Materials

During the online process, you will be asked if you want to submit your portfolio and/or supplemental materials, such as articles, books, videos, visual representations, lectures, or similar indicators of your work. The submission of supplemental materials is optional, however, we strongly encourage applicants to submit up to four documents illustrating their work.

Reapplication Process

If you were an applicant in a previous year, to reapply you must complete a new application through the online system, including contact information, forms, resume, portfolio, and/or supplemental materials. Your letters of recommendation from the previous year will be available to us, however it is advisable to obtain at least one new letter that reflects work during the intervening year(s).

Selection Process

A selection committee composed of three faculty members from the GSD, three alumni of the Loeb Fellowship, two outside practitioners, and the curator of the program will review all applications and select approximately 20 finalists by the end of February. Each finalist will have up to three separate interviews: one with the curator, one with a person with knowledge of the program and one with a member of the selection committee. The committee will meet in mid-April to select 9 or 10 Fellows. Fellows will be notified of their selection by the end of April.

How to Nominate

Many excellent candidates first come to our attention when nominated by others. Nomination by a third party is not required for application. However, if you know of someone in your professional circle who might be a good candidate, please use our Nomination Form to introduce them to us, and we will invite the potential candidate to apply.

The nomination process is anonymous unless you specify otherwise. You are encouraged to contact the nominee and discuss the Fellowship opportunity with them.

Email the completed Nomination Form to loeb_fellowship@gsd.harvard.edu.



Asked Questions


Q:  I am not a designer. Am I eligible for the Loeb Fellowship?

A: We have a broad definition of who is working to improve the built and natural environment and whose work has a broad social impact.  We have had a theater director, public artists, journalists, a documentary filmmaker, as well as architects, landscape architects and urban planners. If you are unsure about your eligibility, feel free to contact the program.

Q:  I am applying to the GSD as a student. Is your Fellowship available to students?

A:  No, it is for practitioners who have a minimum of 5 to 10 years of working experience.

Q:  I am an academic and will have a sabbatical next year. Am I eligible to apply for the Fellowship?

A:  Typically no, we are a program for practitioners. If at least 50% of your time is involved in practice and if you meet other requirements, you might be eligible. If you are not sure, feel free to contact the program.

Fellows’ Obligations

Q:  What will be expected of me as a Fellow?

A:  Fellows must agree to step away from any significant roles with their employers and other professional responsibilities–like speaking engagements or conferences–during the Fellowship year. A fellow must audit a minimum of one course at the GSD per semester. Fellows also must remain in residence in the Cambridge area while classes are in session and participate in all Fellowship programs.

Fellows are expected to participate in planning and attending a weekly seminar with the curator and weekly dinners with invited guests. They are expected to accompany their group for the fall and spring study tours, retreats and other activities organized by the curator and staff.

Fellows are also expected to engage with students and faculty, participate in the life of the GSD, and in general take advantage of the resources Harvard University and MIT have to offer.

Q:  How will my schedule be determined?

A:  Each Fellow develops an individual work plan with input from the program staff. The plan is periodically updated during the year. At the end of the year a summary of the results of your work plan will be included in the final program report.

Application Questions

Q. How do I apply?

A. Read our guidelines and instructions first, then apply through SlideRoom.

Q. What is the deadline for submitting an application?

A. Applications for the 2021-22 Fellowship will be available soon through SlideRoom and will be accepted through January 6, 2021.

Q: I am having a problem with the SlideRoom application.

A: Consult SlideRoom Help to ask for assistance. This should be the first place to seek help with any technical questions. SlideRoom is very responsive.

Q. I have supplemental materials that are not possible to upload to SlideRoom. What should I do?

A: If you have supplemental materials that cannot be uploaded, such as a book in hard copy, mail it directly to the Loeb Fellowship at 48 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA 02138. Please be aware that only Loeb staff–and not the rest of the selection committee–will have the opportunity to review material mailed to us. If you want the material returned to you, be sure to include a Self Addressed Stamped Envelope.

Q: Is there an application fee?

A: Yes, the fee is $45.00 and is paid at the end of the process when you are ready to submit the application.

Q: The system would not accept my payment? What should I do?

A: Contact SlideRoom Help, and they will provide instructions on an alternative method for payment.

Q: Should I submit an academic transcript?

A: No, we do not review academic transcripts.


Q. What is the deadline for recommendations?

A: Recommendations are due on the same date that applications are due.

Q. Do you have suggestions about whom to ask for a recommendation?

A: Ask people who have worked with you, have a variety of perspectives, and can speak substantively about you and your work.

Q: Should I get an academic reference?

A: We are primarily interested in candidates for their accomplishments in practice. This is not an academic fellowship. References from academics may be appropriate if they are providing insight into your work as a practitioner.

Q: I entered the names and contacts of my references into SlideRoom but they have not been contacted for a reference.

A: The SlideRoom system sends a request to your recommender once you enter them into the system. Sometimes these messages go into a spam box. Alert your recommender to look for a message from SlideRoom. The request will not come from the Loeb Fellowship. If this continues to be a problem consult the Slideroom helpdesk.

Q. I am concerned that my recommenders will not get their letters in by the deadline. What should I do?

A. We encourage you to stay in contact with your recommenders to ensure they comply with our deadlines. You can enter their names into the SlideRoom system anytime. You do not need to complete the entire application process for the letters to be sent to your recommenders. Once the names and contact information is submitted to your recommender they will be contacted even if you have NOT completed the entire application. If you believe a reference will not submit a recommendation in time to meet the deadline, you may go back into your SlideRoom application and substitute another recommender.

Fellows with Families

Q: I have a family. Is it possible for them to be with me during the Fellowship year?

A: Yes, our resources enable us to support families of modest size, and many fellows bring their families. We find most family members enjoy the experience and benefit from the opportunities of Harvard and Cambridge.

Q: How does the program work if we bring school aged children?

A: The Cambridge Public Schools are accustomed to having graduate students and scholars with children. The schools have a lottery system for school selection. You should consult the Cambridge Public Schools website for additional information.

Important Dates

Q:  When does the Fellowship year begin?

A:  Fellows arrive in mid-August, a week before classes start in August. We have an orientation period of about 3 to 4 days, prior to the start of classes, and it is good to allow a little time to settle in. The exact dates depend upon the academic calendar in a given year.

Q:  When does the program year end?

A:  The program officially ends the day after commencement. However some people, especially families with children in the schools, stay through the end of the school year, which is typically the second or third week in June. You must leave your housing by June 30th at the latest.

After the Fellowship Year

Q:  What happens after the program year ends?

A:  The Loeb Fellowship is a lifelong connection. When a Fellow completes the Fellowship year, he or she joins over 450 alumni in an unparalleled worldwide network of professional colleagues. Fellows are alumni of the Graduate School of Design as well as the Loeb Fellowship and may participate in the GSD alumni community and events.


The application for the 2020-21 Fellowship year is now closed. The 2021-22 application will be available in late September, so please check back then.