B.F. Smith Scholars Program

B.F. Smith Scholars Fellowship

The B.F. Smith Scholars Fellowship Program offers a unique funding opportunity for entering graduate students of a distinguished background.  These highly competitive graduate fellowship positions are awarded to a limited number of students with a proven track record of undergraduate academic and extracurricular achievement. Successful applicants must demonstrate a commitment to the Mississippi Delta region, particularly in relation to business and economic development, community development, and public service fields.  Special consideration will be given to those candidates who have an undergraduate degree in finance, marketing, economics, political science, or public administration, or those applicants who are pursuing a similar field at the graduate level.

Fellowship positions cover the cost of tuition, as well as provide a $3,000 living stipend each semester, and typically span up to three academic semesters.   Recipients will engage in real-world learning opportunities, producing a final body of work.  B.F. Smith Fellows are expected to commit 300 hours each term to their research assignment, and because of this, they cannot be fully employed outside of the the University.

B.F. Smith Fellowship candidates must have a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, preferably in a discipline related to the field of economic development, and a minimum overall undergraduate GPA of 3.25.

Apply to the B.F. Smith – Fellowship

Applicants must follow the steps below:

  1.  Complete a Graduate School Application and submit all supplemental items required for admission.
  2.  Complete an official fellowship application by sending the following items to Delta State Graduate Admissions (grad-info@deltastate.edu):
    1.  A cover letter outlining the applicant’s qualifications, specifically addressing how the applicant meets the program requirements
    2.  Two letters of reference (academic or professional) detailing the applicant’s potential for success in the program
    3.  A 500+ word essay describing the applicant’s aim in pursuing the B.F. Smith Fellowship and how the program can lead to their career success in the Mississippi Delta. The applicant should specifically discuss their goals, impact for work in the Mississippi Delta, and their potential for post-program success.
    4.  A professional resume

Fellowship Priority Deadline: May 1st
Fellowship Final Deadline: June 1st

Fellowship Brochure

About B.F. Smith


A former chief executive officer of Delta Council from 1947 until his retirement in 1983, B.F. Smith was widely respected for his role as a tireless advocate for the Mississippi Delta. He became known as the Delta’s “Father of Economic Development” and worked to ensure the region’s needs were addressed on the local, statewide, and national levels. His influence and leadership continues to have a dramatic impact on growth and opportunities in this region. This scholarship program was conceived and funded through the efforts of Delta Council.