Research Enhancement and Leadership (REAL) Fellows

The Research Enhancement and Leadership (REAL) Fellowship is awarded to outstanding doctoral and MFA students from historically underrepresented groups in the humanities and arts, social sciences, education, nursing and business. The fellowship provides four years of summer support in the form of a $5,000 fellowship each summer (two years for MFA students). Prospective students seeking admission to UMass Amherst graduate programs can be nominated by their Graduate Program Director or Admission Committee Chair.

REAL Fellows are included in a variety of programs, including informal, monthly mentoring dinners, professional development workshops, and other events designed to facilitate a cohesive community of young scholars. They are part of a vibrant and supportive community of graduate students, faculty and staff who are all committed graduate student success here at UMass Amherst. Currently, there are over 140 students in the REAL Fellowship Program.

Program Guidelines as a REAL Fellow:

  • Maintain continuous enrollment as a full-time student in your program and make satisfactory progress towards your degree.
  • Serve as a peer mentor for incoming fellows in your discipline/field after your first year.
  • Participate in community, mentoring and professional development programs hosted by the Graduate School Office of Inclusion and Engagement throughout the academic year.

REAL Fellows are eligible (but not guaranteed) to earn one Graduate Fellows Travel Grant (up to $500) per academic year

Mitia Nath

The REAL Fellowship ensures that I don't have to work multiple jobs during the summer, and can spend my time writing and researching. The program, with its student-mentorship project, conference support, and regular community dinners, is designed to foster community building among graduate students. The REAL community definitely helped to make the first year of graduate school less daunting.

Mitia Nath (PhD student, English)


Please contact the Office of Inclusion & Engagement.


Interested in nominating a prospective student for the REAL Fellowship?