How to Apply

Mental Health and Substance Abuse Fellowship Program

  • The 2017-2018 application cycle will open mid-December 2016.
  • If you would like to be alerted via email once the 2017-2018 application cycle opens, please click here.

The Mental Health and Substance Abuse Fellowship Program (MHSAFP) is targeted to racial/ethnic minority individuals pursuing a doctoral degree in social work. Applicants must hold a social work master’s degree from a CSWE-accredited program. Their career goals must include providing leadership in practice, research, teaching, and/or policy promulgation in government and/or private organization to underrepresented and underserved persons with or at risk for mental health and/or substance abuse disorders. The purpose of the program is to reduce health disparities and improve health care outcomes of racially and ethnically diverse populations by increasing the number of culturally competent behavioral health professionals available to underserved populations in the public and private nonprofit sectors.

Funds for the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Fellowship Program are provided by the Center for Mental Health Services, the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, and the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Must be American citizens, noncitizen nationals, or have permanent residence status (international students and work visa holders are not eligible to apply)
  • Must have a master's degree in social work and be starting full-time study leading to a doctoral degree in social work or be currently enrolled as a full-time student in a doctoral social work program
  • Should demonstrate potential for assuming leadership roles; potential for success in doctoral studies; and commitment to a career providing mental health and substance abuse services to ethnic, racial, social, and cultural minority individuals and communities

General Selection Criteria

  • Commitment to career in behavioral health services or prevention
  • Knowledge/experience with underserved ethnic minority individuals or communities
  • Potential for completion of the doctoral degree in a timely and expeditious manner
  • Potential as a future social work leader in practice (broadly defined to include clinical practice, management/administration, policy promulgation, and community organization), research, or education with a focus on ethnic minority mental health and/or substance use prevention, treatment, or recovery


  • Monthly stipends for a 1-year period to defray living expenses; some tuition support may be provided depending on the availability of funds
  • Duration of award is 3 years contingent on funding and whether the fellow maintains satisfactory progress toward degree objectives