FPI Scholarships

FPI offers scholarships for field courses and other field training programs. We offer several full scholarships to our programs in field biology and conservation for three principal reasons: 1) to ensure that there are opportunities for attending our courses and field programs that do not depend on payment of the course fee; 2) to ensure a more diverse student body that enriches the experience for everyone; 3) to provide opportunities for field training and networking to residents of the various countries in which we operate.
Applications for 2021 are currently closed.
Scholarships for our Summer 2022 programs will open January 2022.

Three Scholarship Types:


Awarded to persons of color regardless of nationality who are pursuing studies in biological sciences or conservation.

The Future Black Scientists scholarship is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Roger Arliner Young, the first African-American woman to receive a doctorate in zoology. You can read about her here


Awarded to an individual with nationality and current residence in the country where a given field program is taking place.

Local Opportunity scholarships are dedicated to the memory of Dr. Tab Rasmussen, noted anthropologist and beloved mentor to many of us. You can read about him here.


Awarded regardless of age, nationality, socioeconomic status, religion, or any other aspect of an individual’s personal identity.

Global Studies scholarships are dedicated to Dr. Robert Sussman, pictured above with his book on the dangers of racist thought in history and today. You can read about him here.

The Application Process

  • Before submitting a scholarship application, please make sure that you satisfy the eligibility requirements for the course. If you submit an application and pick a scholarship you are ineligible for, we will have no choice but to cancel your application.
  • How to determine eligibility: Whether you are a local or global scholarship is dependent on your citizenship status. For example, if you are a US citizen and you pick a Local Opportunity Scholarship for a program in Peru, we will have to cancel your application because you are not a Peruvian citizen. Simply put, local scholarships are afforded only to citizens of the country in which the program is happening. 
  • All scholarship applicants will be notified of the scholarship committee’s decision approximately 2 months prior to each field program. At that time, winners will be contacted by phone to confirm their fluency in English and their ability to accept the scholarship for the relevant field program.
  • All scholarships are contingent on the programs actually making minimum enrollment. We will notify you once it is safe to purchase your plane tickets.
  • Please note that you are only able to receive one scholarship per year.

The Review Process

  • Essays are evaluated by a blind committee, with no reference to your name or any other personal information.
  • Applicants answer the same essay question and are scored on the same rubric by the FPI scholarship committee. 
  • It is the essay alone that determines an applicants score (applicants are not judged based on their CVs, financial backgrounds, or motivations). The content of an essay, its originality, passion, factual rigor, and logical prowess are our focus. 
  • Essays must be written in English, but we make considerable allowances for grammatical and stylistic errors or choices in order to remain unbiased against non-native English speakers.
  • Essays are checked for plagiarism. If we detect plagiarism in any part of your application you are disqualified from the competition.

All Scholarships Cover:

  • Transportation from local contact point to the field station and back
  • Meals and lodging for the duration of the course
  • Basic equipment required to attend the course (not including binocular/boots)

Scholarships Do Not Cover (unless specifically noted):

  • Transportation to the local contact point.
  • Binoculars, boots, basic medications, backpacks, or other personal items
  • Vaccinations and medical insurance. All participants must provide proof of medical insurance before travel. 

Application Instructions

  1. To complete a scholarship application you will need to have electronic copies of your written essay, and for the Local Opportunities Scholarship: proof of citizenship and proof of current residence.
  2. Applications will be accepted from April 15th to June 15th. Scholarship announcements are made on June 22nd.
  3. Essays should be between 750 and 1000 words. Please use APA citation for your sources (no need for title pages or abstracts, just in-text citations and bibliography).
  4. You do not need to complete a normal program registration when applying for a scholarship. However, if you are planning to attend the field program, even if you do not receive a scholarship, we recommend completing a program registration since there is no other way to reserve your space. If you have registered for a course, and then you win a scholarship, your course downpayment would be refunded to you in full.
  5. If you do not win a scholarship, but still want to attend the program, you will have roughly one week after the announcement to make a paid reservation (if space is available). This is only possible if there are still spaces available in the program.
  6. All applicants must be at least 18 years old at the time of attending the program
  7. You must be able to get to the local contact point. FPI will not pay for transportation costs from your hometown to this point, or back to your home.
  8. Each candidate must demonstrate at least average competence in written and spoken English, as instruction on the course will be provided in English. Many non-native English speakers have successfully attended our courses in the past. If any of the instructions on this page are confusing to you, please do not hesitate to contact us at info[at]fieldprojects.org.
  9. Each candidate can only win one scholarship per round of applications. Do not submit more than one application and essay.
  10. Do NOT include your name or any identifying information in your essay. 

Frequently Asked Questions about FPI Scholarships

Yes, you can IF the session offers more than one course. The scholarship application allows you to list up to 3 possible program options, in order of priority, when sessions contain more than 1 course. That means that if you pick a course/program as your top priority, and you score high enough, you will get your first priority if no one else has scored higher than you on your essay. Do NOT submit more than one essay.

You do not have to apply for a course before sending in your scholarship application. However, if you wish to attend the course/program regardless of whether you win a scholarship or not, we encourage you to enroll as a paying student. If later you win a scholarship, your reservation fee would be returned to you entirely. On the other hand, if you do not win a scholarship, you would still have a space reserved in the course/program.

We will pick the first submission and use it as your submission for this current application session.

No problem. Simply email us and let us know your citizenship and country of residence, as well as any specific concerns or questions, and we can email you back a list of scholarships that you are eligible for this session. Send these emails to info[at]fieldprojects.org 

No. You are only required to indicate your first choice. The remaining two are optional, and will only appear if a session has more than one field course.  

Please make your essay between 750 and 1000 words, not including your works cited.

2021 Essay Question

You’ve been given money to set-up a private foundation focused on conservation biology. You get to decide on the mission and how the foundation operates. Given that you can support work anywhere in the world, who would you fund? What would you want them to do with the money, and why is this important to your mission?