Application Instructions

This page provides detailed instructions for completing an application for both the Research Ph.D. Fellowship and the Ph.D. in China Fellowship. It is important that you read this information carefully in order to understand what is required of the fellowship program to which you are applying.

In addition, the instructions below will override certain instructions the Embark application will give you on specific questions, and alert you to questions in the Embark application that you should disregard. In cases where there is a discrepancy between the Embark application instructions and the instructions below, the instructions below should be followed.

The link to the Embark application can be found at the end of this page. Please reference the instructions below as you complete the application.

The application deadline is February 15, 2016.

What Will I Need to Submit?

Your application will be submitted online through the Embark application program. Please note that the following items will need to be uploaded to the online application system in order for your application to be complete:

  • Unofficial copies of your transcripts uploaded to the Embark application
  • Hard-copies of official transcripts mailed to our offices in New York (Please note that transcripts must be received by the deadline of February 15, 2016, not postmarked by the date.)
  • A copy of your GRE score, unless your score is indicated on your graduate school transcript.
  • A letter from your prospective first-choice host university inviting you to apply to conduct research under the auspices of this fellowship.
  • A copy of your CV, which should include a list of any publications (including co-authored and those in review).
  • HSK Scores: Required for the Ph.D. in China Fellowship, with a minimum score of 5, although some universities, such as PKU, may require a higher minimum score; Note that the HSK is optional for the Research Ph.D. Fellowship, with a recommended score of 3. The HSK website provides information on registering for the exam. 
  • Ph.D. in China Fellowship: Abstract of your Master's Thesis

Opening an Application (Preliminary Questions)

Your application will begin on the Preliminary Questions page, where you will be asked to answer two questions.

  1. From the drop down menu on the preliminary questions page, please find "Confucius China Studies Program" and choose either "Research Ph.D. Fellowship" or "Ph.D. in China Fellowship."
  2. Choose "graduate" when asked which application you will need to complete.

Completing the Application

Once you open the application, you will be provided with instructions within each section. However, please refer regularly to this page as it will provide clarification and/or alternative instructions for certain sections and questions that supersede the instructions given on the online Embark application form itself.

The Application Form

While most of the questions in this section will be straightforward, please make special note of the following:

Question 11: Degree Objective
Please indicate "doctorate", regardless of the fellowship for which you are applying.

Question 14: Education History
Please indicate all schools you have attended, including high school. Your earliest institution of attendance must be your high school/secondary school. For "Major Field of Study", please write "general."

Question 20: Research
You will be asked to provide a brief summary of your research. You should provide the information requested, but note that this is not your actual application essay, which will be a separately uploaded document.

Question 25: Examination Results
If submitting HSK scores, please input your scores under "other test name." You do not need to indicate your percentile ranking for the HSK. Applicants to the Ph.D. in China applications will be required to provide HSK scores, with a minimum score of 5 in most cases, 6 in others. It is important that Ph.D. in China Fellowships applicants confirm the minimum HSK score of their prospective university in China. GRE scores will be required for both applications (if you took the GRE for admission to your home university), and score reports should be uploaded at a later stage of the Embark application.

Documents and Essays

You will need to upload several documents as part of your application for this fellowship. Please note the following additional instructions pertaining to specific application questions, and please note the details specific to the fellowship to which you are applying.

Question 28: Study/Research Objectives or Doctoral Research Statement
This should be an essay of no more than 1,000 words detailing your research plan for this fellowship. Please specify in the opening of your essay the Fellowship for which you are applying, either the Ph.D. in China Fellowship, or the Research Ph.D. Fellowship. You may not apply for both. If you are applying for the Research Ph.D. Fellowship, please specify the proposed start and end period (for example: fall 2016 - spring 2017.)

Applicants to the Research Ph.D. Fellowship will submit an essay detailing their study/research objectives. Applicants to the Ph.D. in China Fellowship will submit a doctoral research statement. You must have clearly defined research objectives, and provide a clear and detailed explanation of the feasibility of your research project and why your research must be completed at the institution(s) to which you have chosen to apply. Please read the overview of eligible research fields to familiarize yourself with the scope of this fellowship. Please disregard the instructions in the Embark application directing you to avoid mentioning the specific institution where you hope to enroll. This information SHOULD be included in your essay.

Question 29: Personal Statement
As with your research plan (question 28), this statement should be no more than 1,000 words.

Please note for questions 28 and 29: The Embark application system may ask you to limit your essays to 50 lines of text, which may not give you sufficient space. In order to work around this limitation, we recommend that you upload your essay as a PDF document, which will allow you to avoid the 50 line limit imposed by Embark's system.

Please make sure that your CV includes a list of your publications, including any co-authored and those in review.

Please upload scans of transcripts from all post-secondary degree granting institutions. The copies you upload do not need to be official, but you will be required to mail (or have mailed) OFFICIAL transcripts to IIE's offices in order for your application to be considered. For a transcript to be considered official, it must arrive in closed envelopes bearing your university's or registrar's office. It is acceptable for your to mail official transcripts yourself, as long as they are issued to you sealed and remain unopened. Transcripts should be sent to the following address:

ATTN: Steven Dale, Program Officer
U.S. Student Programs
CCSP Fellowships
Institute of International Education
809 United Nations Plaza
New York, NY 10017
Phone: +1-212-984-5346

Test Scores
Please upload your GRE scores (if you took the GRE for admission to your home university) and your optional HSK scores as one document on page 11 of the Embark Application. Please note, however, that if your GRE scores are indicated on your graduate school transcript, you will not need upload a separate score report. GRE scores that have expired are acceptable; you DO NOT need to retake the GRE.

Question 37: References
You will be required to submit three references (two academic references, and one reference addressing your Chinese language ability). Please note that your must register your recommenders online through the Embark application, and they must submit their recommendations online through this system. You should thus disregard the PDF recommendation forms found on the "Supplemental Forms" page.

Your academic references must be able to provide insight into your intellectual capacity and your preparation for continuing your dissertation research in China. Letters that are no more than character references are insufficient, as these will not provide us with the information we need to assess your abilities as a scholar at the graduate level.

In addition to two academic references, you must provide a third reference assessing your Chinese language ability. Your language references writers must attest to your ability to work in Chinese at the level necessary to successfully conduct your dissertation research.

Question 41: Most Highly Preferred Institutions
Please only list two universities you are most interested in attending. You will be asked to upload a letter of invitation from the institution you indicate is your first choice.

Important note for applicants to Peking University (PKU): If you are applying to PKU, you will need to complete a separate PKU application, which must be submitted online, in addition to completing the online Embark application through IIE's website. You are responsible for meeting PKU's deadline for the submission of their application. Note also that PKU requires a minimum HSK score of 6 for Ph.D. in China Fellowship applicants. Other schools may require a higher minimum score beyond the standard score of 5, and so it is important that applicants confirm their host university.

PKU applicants are encouraged to review information for international students on PKU's website.

Questions 42 and 43: Other Institutions
Please disregard these questions. We will not take this information into consideration when assessing your application.

Additional Documents
Please note that the following additional documents will need to be uploaded before you submit your application:

  • Signature Form: This document can be printed off from the "Supplemental Forms" page. Once you have printed it, sign it, scan it, and upload it to page 10 (Additional Upload Page) of the Embark online application.
  • Invitation Letter: The final document you will upload is the letter of invitation, on university letterhead, from the professor who will guide your research at your first choice university in China. This document must be in English, or accompanied by an English translation provided by the host university. If originally written in Chinese, both the original letter and the English translation must be uploaded as one document into the Embark application. Please scan and upload this letter as a PDF document to page 12 (Program Specific Questions) in the Embark online application.
  • Abstract of your master's thesis (Ph.D. in China Fellowship applicants ONLY): Please upload this document to page 12 (Program Specific Questions) in the Embark online application. You will need to combine the invitation letter and your master's thesis abstract as a single PDF document in order to upload it successfully to this page.

Submitting the Application

Please review your application carefully before submitting it, and please ensure that you have followed the instructions in this document along with the instructions given in the Embark application itself. As a reminder, not all questions and documents included in the Embark application are required, and note that the following items are not needed:

  • Report of English Proficiency
  • Academic Records Information
  • Transcript Release Form
  • The recommendation forms found on the Supplemental Forms page; your recommendations will be submitted electronically, and so these forms will not be needed or accepted

You may access the Embark application here

Students currently enrolled at a U.S. institution must apply through the IIE website. The following are required:

  • An online application
  • A letter of invitation from your first choice host university in China
  • 2 letters of recommendation
  • Language Evaluation
  • Research proposal related to your doctoral area of study
  • GRE scores
  • One set of official transcripts from all post-secondary degree granting institutions
  • HSK score report (required for the Ph.D. in China Fellowships, optional for the Research Ph.D. Fellowship)
  • Master's thesis abstract (Ph.D. in China Fellowship applicants only)

We recommend that applicants for the Research Ph.D. Fellowship take the HSK and receive a score of 3 or higher. Applicants for the Ph.D. in China Fellowship are required to take the HSK and must receive a score of at least 5. The HSK main page from the program's sponsor provides information on test dates and locations. Your HSK scores should be uploaded into your Embark online application by the deadline. Applicants who are unable to receive their scores until after our deadline should plan to submit their scores as soon as possible after they are available. All other components of the application must submitted by the application deadline. If you are applying for the Research Ph.D. Fellowship and do not submit HSK scores, your application will still be considered and will not be at a disadvantage. We will use the Foreign Language Evaluation Report as a substitute to evaluate your Chinese language proficiency.

As part of the application process, applicants will be asked to indicate their first and second choice from among the Chinese universities participating in this program. Every effort will be made to accommodate your first choice, but we recommend that students be prepared for placement at their second choice institution.

With the exception of Peking University (PKU), the application for this fellowship constitutes the application to the host institution. Applicants to PKU will need to submit a separate online PKU application in addition to the IIE application.

Learn more about participating institutions.

We are now accepting applications for 2016. The deadline is February 15, 2016 for awards beginning in the fall of 2016. The application must be COMPLETED by the deadline. Students will be notified of the results of their application in April for awards beginning in the fall of the same year.

Recipients of this fellowship will be expected to attend a pre-departure orientation in New York City during the summer prior to the start of their award. IIE will cover the cost of this orientation.

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