HSAFP Application Information


February 15, 2021 HSAFP application opens
April 30, 2021

HSAFP applications DUE (at 11:59pm EST)

May 1 – 31, 2021 Applications reviewed
June 2021 Applicants notified if they have been selected for an interview
July - August, 2021 Shortlisted candidates scheduled for interviews
September 2021 Interviewed candidates are notified if they have been selected as a Harvard South Africa Fellow finalist
September 2021 – December 2021 Selected finalists apply directly to the Harvard program they are interested in attending
January 2022 – April 2022 Candidates typically hear about their admissions decision from the Harvard School to which they applied
Beginning July – August 2022 Most Harvard South Africa Fellows’ academic programs at Harvard begin
May 2023 Fellows at Harvard for one-year programs complete their academic year at the University

The HSAFP 2021 Application Form is hosted by Qualtrics and resides in a secure, encrypted environment that requires applicants to register to access the application. The registration is a one-time event with the application link sent to your inbox. Be advised that your application should be done on your regularly used computer to be able to save and return to your application. We strongly recommend that you use current generation browsers whenever possible. Google Chrome is the preferred browser for this application. You may preview the application here.


2021 HSAFP Information Session was hosted on March 31 & April 1. If you would like more information, please contact Rosaline Salifu (rosaline_salifu@fas.harvard.edu).





  • Candidates will be asked to enter biographical information and contact details.
  • Candidates will be asked to enter academic/leadership/professional honors and detail any work or study completed outside South Africa.


  • Candidates will be asked to enter their education history, including name and location of institution, dates of attendance and degree, and field of study.


  • Candidates will be asked to enter their work history, including name and location of institution, phone number and website, position, and responsibilities.


  • Each answer should not be more than 250 words. The system does not track word limits. Candidates are responsible for ensuring their answers are 250 words or less. Responses longer than 250 words will not be considered. We recommend drafting your short answer texts in a word processor (e.g. Microsoft Word, Google Docs) to confirm word limits before entering the text (copy and paste) into the online application.
    • Ideal candidates for the HSAFP fellowship are those who seek to model ethical leadership, knowledge sharing and serve as a resource to improve and transform their communities and South Africa. Describe what ethical leadership means to you and why ethical leadership is important in the context of South Africa.
    • Comment on a time when you have demonstrated ethical leadership.
    • Describe a time in which you have demonstrated resilience in your education or professional life.
    • Describe your motivation and rationale for applying to this Fellowship.
    • Describe your financial need for the program.




  • Upload a copy of your most recent CV.


  • Upload transcripts from all post-secondary institutions you have attended. Transcripts must show the grades and course titles for all your post-secondary coursework. Copies of diplomas are NOT required.


  • An academic essay and a personal statement must be submitted.
    • Personal Statement: Tell us about yourself – in particular, your background, your academic and career trajectory, and why you wish to study at Harvard University. Candidates may consider the following questions in preparing their Personal Statement: Where do you come from, and what is your background? What are some of the major inflection points in your life that have shaped who you are? Have you had to overcome disadvantages or hardships? What accomplishments and achievements are you most proud of? What do you strive for, personally, professionally, and in your community? What work do you do in your wider community, and how will you contribute to community development when you get back? Personal statements should demonstrate that the candidate has researched the program to which they are applying and understand how the program will advance their career goals. Maximum 1000 words.
    • Academic Essay: Candidates are asked to submit an academic essay reflective of innovative ideas that propose solutions to issues facing contemporary South Africa in your field of interest. Include references cited. References do not count towards the word limit. Successful candidates typically provide an essay that explores an opportunity or challenge facing South Africa, engaging with the relevant literature in their field to propose a theoretical framework or strategy to address this issue. Essays should not read as an op-ed or opinion piece. Maximum 2000 words. Applicants seeking admission into the Special Student or Visiting Fellow GSAS Programs should use this academic essay to describe their research and attach a description of their relevant coursework. Applicants seeking admission to the HSPH MPH program should tell us about a public health problem or challenge that you seek to address as part of your studies in the program and/or upon completion of your DrPH degree program. Applicants to the HLS program should provide a cogent legal essay that describes either an important issue in your field of interest or a current legal problem facing a particular country, region, or the world, and then propose a theoretical framework or a legal analysis or strategy to address this issue.
    • The Academic Essay and the Personal Statement should be typed in a standard font and font size (10 to 12 point).  Essays should also be double-spaced.
    • Include your full name on the top of each page and your signature at the end of the Academic Essay and the Personal Statement.



  • Two letters of recommendation must be submitted by recommenders through Qualtrics. You will be required to enter the names, affiliations, and contact details of your referees. After you submit your application, referees will recieve an e-mail to the address provided to submit their letters of recommendation. Please confrim with your recommenders that they have recieved this communication. Alternatively, recommenders can e-mail the letters directly to Nthatisi Quella, Program Manager, at africaoffice@harvard.edu.
  • Letters should be written by people who know you well or by people for whom you have worked in a professional capacity—not family or friends. Applicants for programs at HSPH, HKS, and HLS are strongly encouraged to include at least one reference from a professor or faculty member who is familiar with your academic work. Applicants seeking admission into an Executive Education program should include a reference from a current employer.  Applicants seeking admission into the GSAS programs should include a letter from their supervising professor or dean.
  • Make sure you provide plenty of time for your references to write your letters. Ask them in advance so that they review all instructions, including the deadline (April 30, 2021), on the website before completing their letter. Please ensure the e-mail address of your recommender is correct. After submitting your application, a RECOMMENDATION FORM AND LETTER will be sent as a link to your reference for submission of your letter of recommendation.
  • You can send the following link to your recommender to submit your recommendation here: HSAFP Recommendation Form and Letter (linked)