Doctoral Dissertation Scholarship

Dissertation research fellowships provide financial support to doctoral students who are in the stages of conducting research and writing their dissertation. Funding can be used to support travel, field work, supplies, language training, and even living expenses. Often these fellowships have “no strings attached” – their intention is simply to support scholars completing original research in a particular field of study. Check out and bookmark these 30 unique dissertation research fellowships for domestic and international doctoral students enrolled in U.S. universities.

World Politics and Statecraft Fellowship

The World Politics and Statecraft Fellowship program is an annual grant competition to support Ph.D. dissertation research on American foreign policy, international relations, international security, strategic studies, area studies, and diplomatic and military history. The fellowship’s objective is to support the research and writing of policy-relevant dissertations through funding of fieldwork, archival research, and language training. In evaluating applications, the Foundation will accord preference to those projects that could directly inform U.S. policy debates and thinking. The Foundation will award up to twenty grants of $7,500 each.

Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowships

This fellowship provides one year of support to 30 individuals working to complete a dissertation leading to a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or Doctor of Science (Sc.D.) degree. The awards will be made to individuals who, in the judgement of the review panels, have demonstrated superior academic achievement, are committed to a career in teaching and research at the college or university level, and show promise. The fellowship pays a stipend of $21,000. Applicants must be citizens, nationals, or permanent residents (holders of a Permanent Resident Card) of the United States.

AAUW American Dissertation Fellowships

Dissertation Fellowships provides $20,0000 to offset a woman scholar’s living expenses while she completes her dissertation. The fellowship must be used for the final year of writing the dissertation. Candidates must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Open to applicants in all fields of study.

Kauffman Dissertation Fellowship

The Kauffman Dissertation Fellowship (KDF) is an annual competitive program that awards up to 20 Dissertation Fellowship grants of $20,000 each to Ph.D., D.B.A., or other doctoral students at accredited U.S. universities to support dissertations in the area of entrepreneurship. The Kauffman Foundation is particularly interested in regional dynamics and local ecosystems, demographic dimensions of entrepreneurship, economic growth, entrepreneurship policy, declining business dynamism, future of work, economic inequality and mobility, and programmatic research.

Jennings Randolph (JR) Peace Scholarship Dissertation Program

Each year, the United States Institute of Peace awards approximately 10 Peace Scholar Fellowships to students enrolled in U.S. universities who are researching and writing doctoral dissertations on topics related to international conflict management and peace building. Proposals from all disciplines are welcome. Fellowships last for 10 months, starting in September. Peace Scholar Awards are currently set at $20,000 for 10 months and are paid directly to the individual.

American Educational Research Association (AERA) Dissertation Grant

The program seeks to stimulate research on U.S. education issues using data from the large-scale, national and international data sets supported by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), NSF, and other federal agencies. Grants of up to $20,000 are available for advanced doctoral students in education, sociology, economics, psychology, demography, statistics, and psychometrics. Applicants may be U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents enrolled in a doctoral program. Non-U.S. citizens enrolled in a doctoral program at a U.S. institution are also eligible to apply.

Mellon-CES Dissertation Completion Fellowships in European Studies

The Council for European Studies (CES) invites eligible graduate students to apply for the 2013 Mellon-CES Completion Fellowships in European Studies. Each fellowship includes a $25,000 stipend, paid in six (6) bi-monthly installments over the course of the fellowship year, as well as assistance in securing reimbursements or waivers for up to $3500 in eligible health insurance and candidacy fees. To be eligible to receive the fellowship, applicants must also be enrolled in an institution that is a member of the CES Academic Consortium.

International Dissertation Research Fellowship (IDRF)

The Mellon International Dissertation Research Fellowship (IDRF) offers 9-12 months of support to graduate students in the humanities and humanistic social sciences who are enrolled in PhD programs in the United States and conducting dissertation research on non-US topics. Eighty fellowships are awarded annually. Fellowship amounts vary depending on the research plan, with a per-fellowship average of $20,000. The fellowship includes participation in an SSRC-funded interdisciplinary workshop upon the completion of IDRF-funded research.

Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowships

The Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowships support the final year of dissertation writing on ethical and religious values in all fields of the humanities and social sciences. Awards are based on a rigorous national competition, with at least 22 winners who receive a stipend of $25,000. These fellowships are supported by the Newcombe Foundation and are administered by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.

The Woodrow Wilson Dissertation Fellowships in Women’s Studies

The Woodrow Wilson Dissertation Fellowships in Women’s Studies support the final year of dissertation writing for Ph.D. candidates in the humanities and social sciences whose work addresses topics of women and gender in interdisciplinary and original ways. In each round, ten Fellows will receive $5,000 to be used for expenses connected with completing their dissertations, such as research-related travel, data work/collection, and supplies.

Geography and Spatial Sciences Program Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Awards (GSS-DDRI)

The Geography and Spatial Sciences (GSS) Program sponsors research on the geographic distributions and interactions of human, physical, and biotic systems on Earth. Investigators are encouraged to propose plans for research about the nature, causes, and consequences of human activity and natural environmental processes across a range of scales. GSS provides support to improve the conduct of doctoral dissertation projects undertaken by doctoral students enrolled in U.S. universities. GSS gives 30-40 awards each year. Awards may not exceed $16,000. An advisor or another faculty member must serve as the principal investigator (PI) of the proposal.

Lowell Harriss Dissertation Fellowship Program

The annual C. Lowell Harriss Dissertation Fellowship Program invites applications from doctoral students, mainly at U.S. universities, who are writing theses in fields that address the Institute’s primary interest areas in valuation and taxation, planning, and related topics. Fellowships of $10,000 each support development of a thesis proposal and/or completion of thesis research.

National Academy of Education/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship Program

The Dissertation Fellowship Program seeks to encourage a new generation of scholars from a wide range of disciplines and professional fields to undertake research relevant to the improvement of education. These $27,500 fellowships support individuals whose dissertations show potential for bringing fresh and constructive perspectives to the history, theory, or practice of formal or informal education anywhere in the world. Applicants need not be citizens of the United States; however, they must be candidates for the doctoral degree at a graduate school within the United States.

Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS Dissertation Fellowships in American Art

These fellowships are designated for graduate students in any stage of Ph.D. dissertation research or writing in a department of art history in the United States. Fellowships are for one year and provide a $25,000 stipend and $2,000 travel allowance. The fellowships may be carried out in residence at the Fellow’s home institution, abroad, or at another appropriate site for the research. The fellowships, however, may not be used to defray tuition costs or be held concurrently with any other major fellowship or grant.

Mellon Fellowships for Dissertation Research in Original Sources

These fellowships are for dissertation research in the humanities or related social sciences in original sources. Applicants may be of any nationality but must be enrolled in a U.S. doctoral program and be studying in the U.S. Proposed research may be conducted at a single or multiple sites abroad, in the U.S., or both. Fellowships are for 9-12 months and provide an annual stipend of up to $25,000.

DAAD Research Grant

Research grants are awarded primarily to highly qualified PhD candidates who would like to conduct research in Germany. This grant is open to applicants in all fields. However, there are restrictions for those in healthcare related fields, including dentistry, medicine, pharmacy, and veterinary medicine; please contact the DAAD New York office if your academic pursuits are in these fields. Applications accepted in November for 10-month and short-term grants, and in May for short-term grants.

Chateaubriand Fellowship – Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM)

The Chateaubriand Fellowship – Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) provides funding for PhD candidates currently enrolled in a U.S. university to conduct research in France at a French university, a school of engineering, a national laboratory or a private enterprise, with a link to a Doctoral School. The fellowship is for 4-10 months, provides travel, health insurance and a monthly stipend of 1,400 Euros. Non-U.S. nationals are eligible to apply for a Chateaubriand Fellowship as long as they are currently enrolled in an American university.

Chateaubriand Fellowship – Humanities & Social Sciences (HSS)

The Chateaubriand Fellowship – Humanities & Social Sciences (HSS) provides PhD candidates currently enrolled at a U.S. university the opportunity to conduct research in France in any discipline of the Humanities and Social Sciences. The fellowship lasts for 4-8 months and provides travel, health insurance and a monthly stipend of 1,500 Euros. Candidates do not have to be U.S. citizens, but they must be enrolled in an American university.

Title VIII Research Scholar Program

The program offers support for graduate students, faculty, Ph.D. candidates, post-doctorate, and independent scholars to conduct policy-relevant research for 3-9 months in Central Asia, Russia, the South Caucasus, Ukraine, Southeast Europe and Moldova. The total value of Title VIII Research Scholar fellowships ranges from $5K to $25K each. Typical awards include: international roundtrip airfare from the scholar’s home city to his/her host city overseas, academic affiliation at a leading local university, visa(s), opportunity for housing with a local host family and a living stipend. Scholars in the social sciences and humanities are eligible.

IAF Grassroots Development PhD Fellowship Program

The IAF Grassroots Development Fellowship provides support for Ph.D. candidates currently enrolled in a U.S. university to conduct dissertation research in Latin America and the Caribbean on topics in the social sciences, physical sciences, technical fields or other disciplines related to grassroots development issues. U.S. citizens and citizens of independent Latin American and Caribbean countries (except Cuba) are eligible to apply. Fellowships last between 4 and 12 months and include round-trip travel, a research allowance, health insurance and a stipend of $1,500 per month for up to 12 months.

Doris Duke Fellowships for the Promotion of Child Well-Being

The fellowships, which include an annual stipend of up to $30,000, are designed to identify and develop a new generation of leaders interested in and capable of creating practice and policy initiatives that will enhance child development and improve the nation’s ability to prevent all forms of child maltreatment. Fellows can be doctoral students based at any academic institution in the United States and will be selected from a range of academic disciplines. Applicants must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

Kim Foundation Fellowships

The D. Kim Foundation provides fellowships and grants to support graduate students and young scholars who are working in the history of science and technology in East Asia from the beginning of the 20th century, regardless of their nationality, origins, or gender. Comparative studies of East Asia and the West as well as studies in related fields (mathematics, medicine and public health) are also welcome. Fellowships up to $25,000 each will be awarded to PhD candidates who are writing their dissertations. Travel grants ($2,500) are also available.

Goizueta Foundation Graduate Fellowship Program

Goizueta Foundation Graduate Fellowship Program aims to expand the scholarship of Cuban, American, Latin, hemispheric, and international studies by providing funding to doctoral students interested in using the resources available at the University of Miami Cuban Heritage Collection (CHC) for dissertation research. Two fellowship types are offered, Graduate Pre-Prospectus Summer Fellowships, which provide one month residence and $1,500, and Graduate Research Fellowships, which provide $3,000/month for 1-3 months in residence.

History of Science Fellowships

The Beckman Center for the History of Chemistry at the Chemical Heritage Foundation, an independent research library in Philadelphia, accepts applications for short- and long-term fellowships in the history of science, technology, medicine, and industry. The center provides dissertation fellowships of $26,000 for work that is in some way tied to the history of materials and materiality, chemistry, and related sciences. Applications come from a wide range of disciplines across the humanities and social sciences.

American-Scandinavian Foundation Fellowships

The American-Scandinavian Foundation (ASF) offers fellowships of up to $23,000 to individuals to pursue research, study or creative arts projects in one or more Scandinavian country for up to one year. Awards are made in all fieds. Applicants must have a well-defined research, study or creative arts project that makes a stay in Scandinavia essential. Priority is given to candidates at the graduate level for dissertation-related study or research.

CJH Graduate Research Fellows

The Center for Jewish History in New York City offers 10-month fellowships to PhD candidates supporting original research using the collections at the Center. Preference is given to those candidates who draw on the library and archival resources of more than one partner. It is required that each fellow spend a minimum of 3 days per week in residence in the Lillian Goldman Reading Room using the archival and library resources. Full fellowships carry a stipend of up to $17,500 for one academic year. It is expected that applicants will have completed all requirements for the doctoral degree except for the dissertation.

Josephine De Karman Fellowships

DeKarman fellowships are open to students in any discipline, including international students, who are currently enrolled in a university or college located within the United States. A minimum of ten (10) fellowships, $22,000 for doctoral students and $14,000 for undergraduate students, will be awarded for the regular academic year. Only doctoral students and undergraduate students about to enter their final year of study/dissertation are eligible. The fellowship is for one academic year and may not be renewed or postponed. Special consideration will be given to applicants in the Humanities.

Yale LGBT Studies Research Fellowship

The one-month fellowship is offered annually, and is designed to provide access to Yale resources in LGBT Studies for scholars who live outside the greater New Haven area.  This fellowship supports scholars from any field pursuing research in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer studies at Yale University, utilizing the vast faculty resources, manuscript archives, and library collections available at Yale. Graduate students conducting dissertation research, independent scholars, and all faculty are invited to apply. The fellowship provides an award of $4,000, which is intended to pay for travel to and from New Haven and act as a living allowance. The fellowship must take place between September and April.

Health Policy Research Scholars

Health Policy Research Scholars is a national change leadership development opportunity for full-time doctoral students from underrepresented populations or historically disadvantaged backgrounds, entering the first or second year of their doctoral program, from any academic discipline who are training to be researchers and are interested in health policy research. The program is led by Johns Hopkins University, with participants completing their doctoral programs at their home institutions across the U.S. Participants will attend at least one annual gathering (travel funded by the program), participate in leadership development trainings, coursework and mentoring, and receive an annual stipend of up to $30,000 for up to four years. Participants are also eligible for a competitive dissertation grant of up to $10,000.

Cohen-Tucker Dissertation Research Fellowship

The Stephen F. Cohen–Robert C. Tucker Dissertation Research Fellowship (CTDRF) Program for Russian Historical Studies supports the next generation of US scholars to conduct their doctoral dissertation research in Russia. The program will provide up to six annual fellowships, with a maximum stipend of $22,000, for doctoral students at US universities, who are citizens or permanent residents of the US, to conduct dissertation research in Russia. The Program is open to students in any discipline whose dissertation topics are within 19th – early 21st century Russian historical studies.

© Victoria Johnson 2016, all rights reserved.

Dissertation Completion Fellowships

Dissertation completion fellowships can be broadly categorized into the following types: interdisciplinary, thematic, discipline-based, residential, and teaching. Below is a sample list of fellowships that Notre Dame students have applied for – this list is by no means exhaustive of the opportunities available. Students are encouraged to check Pivot for more opportunities related to their research and eligibility.

Interdisciplinary Fellowships

These fellowship competitions are open to students in a wide variety of academic fields.

Josephine de Karman Fellowship

Open to students in any discipline, including international students, who are
currently enrolled in a university or college located within the United States.

Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Fellowship

Supports a year of research and writing to help advanced graduate students in
the humanities and related social sciences

AAUW Dissertation Fellowship

Open to U.S. women in all fields of study.

Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship

For U.S. students who are well prepared to use diversity as a resource for enriching the education
of all students.

Thematic fellowships

These fellowships are available to students whose work touches on a particular topic, theme, or area.

Spencer Foundation Dissertation Fellowship

Supports individuals whose dissertations show potential for bringing fresh and constructive
perspectives to the history, theory, or practice of formal or informal education anywhere in the
world.

Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowships

These fellowships support students in the final stages of doctoral study whose work offers
significant potential for advancing academic scholarship related to ethics and/or religion.

Harry Frank Guggenheim Dissertation Fellowship

Funds dissertation research regarding questions that interest the foundation, including violence
and aggression in relation to social change, intergroup conflict, war, terrorism, crime, and family
relationships, among other subjects.

Jennings Randolph Peace Scholar Dissertation Scholarship

Awards nonresidential Peace Scholar Dissertation Scholarships to students at U.S. universities
who are writing doctoral dissertations on topics related to peace, conflict, and international
security.

Joseph L. Fisher Doctoral Fellowship

RFF will award fellowships for the coming academic year in support of doctoral
dissertation research on issues related to the environment, natural resources, or
energy. RFF’s primary research disciplines are economics and other social sciences.
Proposals originating in these fields will have the greatest likelihood of success.

Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations Dissertation Fellowship

Applicants should be working on a topic in the field of U.S. foreign relations history
or international history, broadly defined, and must be current members of SHAFR.

ACLS Dissertation Fellowships in East European Studies

Applications should be for work on Eastern Europe: Albania, Bosnia and
Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Kosovo/a, Latvia,
Lithuania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, and
Slovenia. Applicants may propose comparative work considering more than one
country of Eastern Europe or relating East European societies of those of other
parts of the world.

Discipline-based fellowships

These fellowships are available only to students in a particular field.

The Lake Institute on Faith and Giving Dissertation Fellowship

Given to a scholar whose primary research focus is in the area of religion and philanthropy or faith and giving.

Louisville Institute’s Dissertation Fellowship

For students engaged in research pertaining to North American Christianity,
especially projects related to Christian faith and life, religious institutions, and
pastoral leadership.

Schallek Fellowship

Supports an advanced graduate student who is writing a Ph.D. dissertation in any
relevant discipline dealing with late-medieval Britain (ca. 1350-1500).

Residential fellowships

Fellows in this category take up residence at a particular university, academy, institute etc. for the award year.

Dumbarton Oaks Junior Fellowship

Offers residential fellowships in three areas of study: Byzantine Studies (including related aspects of
late Roman, early Christian, Western medieval, Slavic, and Near Eastern studies), Pre-Columbian
Studies (of Mexico, Central America, and Andean South America), and Garden and Landscape Studies.

School for Advanced Research Weatherhead Fellowship

For Ph.D. candidates or scholars with doctorates whose work is either humanistic or social scientific in
nature

Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies Academy Scholars

Supports outstanding scholars at the start of their careers whose work combines disciplinary
excellence in the social sciences (including history and law) with a command of the language, history,
or culture of non-Western countries or regions.

McNeil Center for Early American Studies Dissertation Program

Open to scholars in any discipline for projects focusing on North America and
the Caribbean before 1850

Chavez/Eastman/Marshall Dissertation Fellowships

Supports completion of the doctorate by underrepresented minority scholars
(including African-American, Latina/o, and Native American scholars) and
other graduate scholars with a demonstrated commitment and ability to
advance educational diversity.

Teaching fellowships

These fellowships are designed to give students teaching experience while completing the dissertation.

Five College Fellowship

Supports scholars from under-represented groups and/or scholars with unique interests and
histories whose engagement in the Academy will enrich scholarship and teaching.

Marilyn Yarbrough Dissertation Fellowship, Kenyon College

For young scholars who are members of underrepresented groups.

Gaius Charles Bolin Dissertation Fellowships, Williams College

For applicants from underrepresented groups, including ethnic minorities, those who are first-
generation college graduates, women in predominantly male fields, or disabled scholars.

Consortium for Faculty Diversity in Liberal Arts Colleges

For U.S. citizens who are members of under-represented minority groups and considering
faculty employment in liberal arts colleges.

Internal

The University of Notre Dame has a number of fellowships which can be used for a final year:

University Writing Program Fellowship
English for Academic Purposes Program Fellowship
Kellogg Dissertation Year Fellowship
Nanovic Graduate Dissertation Fellowships
Institute for Advanced Studies Fellowship
Templeton Dissertation Fellowships Program in Early Modern Philosophy of Religion and Theology

Strategies for crafting a dissertation fellowship proposal

Your argument for being awarded a fellowship should address the following claims:

My project is worthwhile.

  • What is the scholarly intervention ?
  • What is the broader application ?

I am uniquely qualified to complete this project.

  • What is your background and preparation?
  • What related research/qualifications do you have?

I will complete my dissertation by the end of the grant year.

  • What is your timeline from application to completion?
  • How can you give evidence of your work ethic ?

My post-PhD trajectory will bring prestige to the granting institution

  • How do you plan to publication/disseminate your research?
  • What are your career plans ?

Consider the following issues related to each particular kind of fellowship:

Interdisciplinary

  • Readers are likely outside your field
  • Teach them about your area

Thematic

  • Reader receive many applications in similar areas
  • How does your work stick out?

Residential

  • Why do you need to be there?
  • Why not stay at Notre Dame?

Teaching

  • Why teach when you could be service free?
  • Demonstrate you can handle the work load

Analyzing Models to Improve Your Proposal

One of the best ways to improve your own work is to better understand the components of a successful proposal. Below are some questions that can guide your analysis:

Organization

  • How does the statement begin?
  • What is the organizing structure of the essay? Chronological, methodological, thematic, narrative, etc.?
  • What kinds of sections is the statement divided into?
  • How does the author handle transitions between sections or paragraphs?
  • How does the statement end?

Content

  • What information does the author assume the reader already has?
  • How does the author contextualize their research?
  • How does the author establish their qualifications?
  • How specific are the details of the proposed project?
  • How does the author convey their work timeline?
  • How does the author link the project to future goals?

Style & language

  • Is the presentation objective or personal?
  • Does the author display a sense of conviction, or “hedge” claims?
  • Does the author employ figurative language or more transparent, direct language?
  • How is technical language employed?
  • Does the author assume the reader’s knowledge of key terminology?
  • How complex is the sentence structure?

The Office of Grants and Fellowships maintains an archive of successful fellowship applications. Please contact the Office of Grants and Fellowships at gradgrants@nd.edu if you are interested in seeing any recent winning proposals.

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