Beyond the Bars Fellowship

Program Dates and Times: Tues., Oct. 5 through mid-April 2022
Application Priority Deadline: Fri., July 23
Application Deadline: Fri., July 30

Students are invited to apply to The Beyond the Bars Fellowship, a program that offers interdisciplinary leadership development towards working for social change.

July 08, 2021


The Beyond the Bars Fellowship is a certificate-based program through the Center for Justice at Columbia University that offers interdisciplinary leadership to develop and deepen your identity, analysis, skills and network towards ending mass criminalization and incarceration, and creating a more just and safe world. It meets weekly for approximately eight months. Through seminars, workshops and guest lectures, Fellows explore their own experiences and identities as people working for social change; gain a theoretical and practical understanding of mass incarceration; and are introduced to various models of social change including community organizing, legislative advocacy, restorative and transformative justice, communications and more. In addition, Fellows identify issues and existing efforts for change and then work together to develop advocacy and / or organizing projects to further support those efforts. A primary goal of the Fellowship is to support Fellows’ in finding their place in the movement, while offering them the knowledge, skills, experience and community to sustain their work. The Fellowship is made up of students, community members, and formerly incarcerated and directly impacted people. Our aim is to work collaboratively with the university and the community towards social change.

This Fellowship is for people based in the greater New York City area. The Fellowship will begin online in the fall but we will start meeting in person as soon as it's safe.  This could be during the fall, if not, then in the spring.  

Fellowship Requirements

  • Desire to be a part of a group learning environment
  • Demonstrated enthusiasm for social justice
  • Commitment to fulfill all requirements of the Fellowship
  • Must be enrolled at least half-time in an undergraduate or graduate program

Dates and Deadlines

  • June 21: Application Period Opens
  • July 23: Priority Application Deadline
  • July 30: Application Period Closes
  • July 27: August 6th  – Interviews
  • August 21: Accepted Applicants are Notified
  • October 5: Fellowship Starts


Apply (resume / CV required:)

Tentative Fellowship Calendar

The Fellowship meets most Tuesdays from 6:45 - 8:45 p.m. ** Will be virtual in the fall until it is safe to be in person and expect to be in person in the spring if not sooner.**

  • October 5: Seminar 1 - Introductions
  • October 12: Seminar 2 - Social Justice Starts with Self
  • October 19: Seminar 3 - Understanding Power, Privilege and Oppression October 26 - Solidarity Project Introduction
  • November 9: Seminar 4 - History and Causes of Mass Incarceration and Criminalization
  • November 16: Seminar 5 - Understanding the Carceral Continuum
  • November 30: Solidarity Project Workshop
  • December 7: Seminar 6 - Paradigms of Justice
  • December 14:Solidarity Project Workshop

Spring Dates 2022  

  • Saturday January 15: Half Day Long Restorative Justice Training (1-5pm)
  • January 18: Solidarity Project Workshop
  • January 25: Seminar 7 - Introduction to the Movement: Reform to Abolition
  • February 1st - Solidarity Project Workshop
  • February 8: Seminar 8 - Movement Ecology: Strategies for Change
  • February 15: Solidarity Project Workshop
  • February 22: Seminar 9 - Community Organizing
  • Early March (Dates TBD) - Beyond the Bars Conference
  • March 15: Solidarity Project Workshop
  • March 22: Seminar 11 - Fellowship Reflections
  •  April 8-10: Closing Retreat