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Financial Assistance

What are fellowships, dissertation fellowships, grants and post-doctoral fellowships?

Fellowships are generally year-long funding for MA or PhD students which award your record and abilities. They sometimes include money for travel to collections. Dissertation fellowships award your record and abilities, but also your project. In this sense, they are more like grants. Grants are monies to fund specific research projects, and often cover travel, equipment and supplies, and sometimes living expenses. Post-doctoral fellowships fund research beyond the dissertation, generally a new project, often at a center with other scholars.

Why apply?

All fellowships and grants are highly competitive, but even though there are many people seeking a small number of awards, you do have a chance to win an award that will ease your teaching load for a year or two and enable you to progress more quickly through your degree. Even if you do not succeed in obtaining the award, the experience of applying can help you more clearly focus and clarify your short- and long-range scholarly plans. Often you can receive helpful feedback that will enable you to apply again for the same grant with more success.

How do you find out about fellowships and grants?

  • Pay attention to email notices for funding from the Graduate Advisor, Martha Hurd.
  • Browse the bulletin board notices outside your department
  • Explore this website

Some hints about the application process:

  • PLAN AHEAD! Especially for grants, you will need a long time to develop a project, establish contacts, and get useful feedback from professors.
  • Read the fellowship or grant description and instructions thoroughly and follow them to the letter!
  • Give recommenders at least two weeks before the deadline, and supply them with your statement of intent or purpose, an unofficial transcript and a CV early on. Ask for feedback on your statement and project description.
  • Remember that you are writing your statement of intent and project proposal for very busy selection committee members who are not in your discipline and probably do not know its language or methodology. Write for a well-educated generalist.
  • Read models; often funding bodies include examples on their website.
  • In talking about your research (grant / dissertation fellowship proposals) or your field of study fellowships), answer the big three questions: 1) What are you going to learn from this work? 2) Why is it worth knowing? 3) How will we know the conclusions are valid? Also clarify what related research has already been done and how yours is both sound and original.
  • When writing a budget (for grants), be very specific about what you need and why (including make and model for any equipment, airline you will travel with, itinerary, hotel, and exact prices).
  • If you will be working with human subjects, you will have to get approval from the Human Subjects Institutional Review Board.