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.