Pulitzer Center Global Health Fellowship

About the Experience

As a member of the Pulitzer Center’s Campus Consortium, the University of Iowa College of Public Health and School of Journalism and Mass Communication partner to offer a summer global travel grant (fellowship) to a qualified student. The fellowships are open to upper-level undergraduate and graduate students currently enrolled in the College of Public Health (CPH) or the School of Journalism. Two fellowships are available for the 2019 summer term with a placement reserved for a student from each discipline.

This fellowship offers students a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to further their understanding of a global health topic of their choice and develop high-level communications skills to publicize the significance of the issue to general audiences – a key factor in public health implementation and success.

The selected student will travel to the location of their choice, meet with key local personnel, and work with a world-renowned journalist mentor to report on their topic. The student will be advised by both University of Iowa and Pulitzer Center faculty and staff throughout the process. Students may produce their reporting using various media (articles, video, photography, etc). Past students have had their work published in many internationally known news-media outlets, including New York Times, NPR, Global Health Now, Foreign Affairs, and The Atlantic.

Students will be allowed to propose and write on the topic of their choice. The Pulitzer Center is interested in reporting projects that focus on topics and regions of global importance, with an emphasis on global crises that have gone unreported or under-reported in the mainstream American media. The term ‘crisis’ can be defined very broadly – it is not limited to interpersonal conflict reporting and can include systemic crises, such as environmental topics, women and children’s issues, resource struggles, or other public health topics. CPH requires that applicants choose a topic with significant public health impact.

The length of the program is determined by the needs of the project, but students typically go abroad for 3-5 weeks during the summer term. Students will be paired with a journalist mentor from the Pulitzer Center who can assist with media-related questions and contacts within the country. CPH students are also required to work with a UI faculty mentor for public health content support.

About the People

This program is sponsored by the Pulitzer Center and is only available through universities who are members of their Campus Consortium. The Pulitzer Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting in-depth crisis reporting and under-reported stories from around the global – many with a public health focus. They provide financial and organizational support for professional journalists and students around the world and many of their stories have had a significant impact through publications in the New York Times, PBS NewsHour, Time Magazine, National Geographic and more.

The University of Iowa joined the Pulitzer Center Campus Consortium in 2017 through a partnership between the UI College of Public Health (CPH) and the UI School of Journalism and Mass Communication. The Pulitzer Student Fellowship recipient is chosen from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication in even numbered years and from the College of Public Health in odd numbered years. During the 2019 summer term, two students will be selected – one from CPH and one from Journalism.

About the Location

Students should propose a country or location in their initial application. The location should be relevant to the proposed topic and of interest to the student. Students should also consider the relative safety of each location and may wish to consult with the U.S. Department of State website for information about current health and safety concerns when traveling in a given country. Consideration will also be given to the student’s level of past international travel experience when choosing a location with greater safety concerns.

Costs and Fees

The Pulitzer Center Fellowship includes a $3000 grant to cover the cost of travel. The costs of the trip are determined by the location and length of stay. Students should include an itemized budget with their proposal and may want to include the following items:

  • Housing accommodations
  • Airfare
  • Living expenses (food, toiletries, etc)
  • Ground transportation
  • Translation (if needed)
  • Research/reporting supplies (if needed)
  • Visa fees (if needed)
  • Required vaccinations (if needed)

CPH students should also consider applying for supplementary funding from a number of sources to cover additional costs beyond the $3000 provided by the Pulitzer Center Fellowship. Students may consider applying for the CPH Global Public Health Student Travel Grant or the UI Stanley Awards for International Research. Students are also encouraged to seek out funding opportunities from other on-campus and off-campus entities as needed.

How to Apply

All CPH and Journalism students are required to complete and submit a Global Pulitzer Center Fellowship application before applying directly to the Pulitzer Center website. The application can be submitted by clicking the button below.

The deadline to apply for the 2019 summer fellowship is Monday, October 15, 2018. Once you have been approved by the Pulitzer Center Application Review Committee, you will be asked to complete an application through the Pulitzer Center website. Students invited to complete the 2nd round of applications should work with the Global Public Health Coordinator or other staff members to polish their application and create a sufficient budget. The 2nd round of applications is due to the Pulitzer Center by Saturday, December 1, 2018.

An ideal application should focus on a relevant but under-reported topic in global health as well as demonstrating basic writing and communication skills and/or an interest to learn more about journalistic-style reporting. A complete application will include:

  • A meeting with the Global Public Health coordinator to discuss your topic idea and interest in the Pulitzer Center Fellowship. (To schedule a meeting, email cph-global @uiowa.edu.)
  • Applicant contact and student information
  • 250-word summary description of your proposed project
  • 250-word summary on the public health impact of your project and how it might inform future research and policy
  • A 500-word writing sample on the topic of your choice (may be sample from a previous project if relevant)
  • Sample of photography/video/podcast/other digital media, if you plan on utilizing these mediums (optional)

Optional: Students may propose a joint project topic if relevant to the topic. All joint projects proposals must include one public health and one journalism student. Joint projects with two students from the same department and college will not be considered.


The 2019 summer fellowship is open to all upper-level undergraduate and graduate students who are currently or will be enrolled in CPH or Journalism by the 2019 summer term.

  • Students must have a minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA.
  • Students must be able to obtain a passport and the appropriate visa documentation, if needed.
  • Students must be in good academic and disciplinary standing

Contact Us

All questions regarding this fellowship should be directed to the Global Public Health Coordinator.