How to Apply

About the Fellowship

The Maguire Center, with financial assistance from the Irby Family Foundation, awards summer fellowships to SMU students who wish to devote time to public service or ethics research. Over the past 20 years, we have awarded summer fellowship stipends totaling over $400,000 to nearly 200 SMU students for public service and research in ethics. We have supported volunteers in more than 150 agencies across 18 states, 25 countries, and 5 continents.

Maguire Public Service Fellows have volunteered in a vast number of diverse internship placements. Through such opportunities, students gain concrete information about others' needs, as well as differing perspectives on how to resolve them. Drawing on their university education and personal talent, Fellows hone their skills and gain both humility and self-confidence to become bold, curious and creative leaders.

Who is eligible to apply?

All full-time SMU undergraduate and graduate students with a GPA of 3.0 or better are eligible to apply. Students must be returning to campus for the fall 2024 semester. Fellows must complete at least 200 hours of service during the course of the project.

How to apply

The application consists of four parts: the standard application form, a biography and fellowship proposal document (2-4 pages), a letter of acknowledgement from a sponsoring organization, and a SMU faculty or staff letter of reference/recommendation. 

The application consists of four parts:


Submit Application

  • Biography

    • Please provide a brief biography that includes relevant personal, academic, and work background.Feel free to elaborate on the following aspects:
      • Personal background and experiences that have shaped your interest in ethics and public service.
      • Academic achievements and coursework related to ethics, public policy, or relevant fields.
      • Relevant work experience, internships, or extracurricular activities that have prepared you for a public service fellowship.
      • Any community service or volunteer work you have been involved in.

  • Fellowship Proposal
    • In your fellowship proposal, please provide as much detail as possible on the work you would like to be sponsored for this summer. Your proposal should include the following components:
        • Overview of Your Summer Project:
          • Provide a concise summary of your proposed project, including its goals and objectives.
      • Relevance to Ethics and Public Service:
        •  Explain how your proposed service project or research is related to ethics or what ethical and public service issues you will be addressing.
      • Fellowship Placement:
        •  Specify the name and location of the agency where you intend to work.
      • Project Details:
        • Describe the specific tasks and responsibilities you will be undertaking during the fellowship.
        • Highlight the needs or issues your project aims to address.
      • Stipend Justification:
        • Explain why you are seeking this stipend. Discuss any financial constraints or challenges that make this funding essential for your participation in the program.
  • Sponsoring Organization Letter

    • The letter should be from the person who would serve as your supervisor for the summer service project/fellowship. This should be an individual who is intimately familiar with your proposed project and your role within the organization.
    • The letter should confirm that you have discussed the project and the specific tasks you will be performing during your fellowship at their organization. It should include details about the project's goals and how your role contributes to those goals.

      The supervisor should explicitly confirm their willingness and ability to supervise you for a minimum of 200 hours over the summer.  

      • The letter should briefly outline the organization's expectations and how they plan to support your professional development during the fellowship.
      • If you anticipate any challenges in obtaining the letter by the application deadline, please notify the Maguire Ethics Center in advance to discuss alternative arrangements.


  • SMU Faculty or Staff Reference Letter

      • The letter should be from the SMU faculty or staff reference whose name you listed earlier. This should be a faculty or staff member who can speak to your academic strengths, aptitude for the chosen project, and your commitment to ethics and public service.
    • The faculty or staff member should discuss your ability to apply academic knowledge to practical situations, particularly as it relates to the project you plan to undertake.
    • The letter should address your character and dedication to ethical values and public service, citing any relevant experiences or coursework that highlight your commitment in these areas.
    • It should confirm that the faculty or staff member endorses your application for the Maguire Ethics Center Public Service Fellowship and believes that you are well-suited for the program.
    • The letter should provide an assessment of your academic qualifications, including specific courses or experiences that demonstrate your preparedness for the proposed project.