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National & International Opportunities

UIC, U of I System, and Federal Opportunities

Graduate students at UIC are eligible to apply for a number of awards provided solely for students at UIC as well as awards for students enrolled in the University of Illinois system. The following awards are not handled by the Fellowships Office in the Graduate College.

US Federal Funding Opportunities - "The Fulbrights" Heading link

The Fulbright “brand” allows US students to go abroad and for foreign students to attend UIC. (There are also Fulbrights for post-docs and scholars to move in either direction, but they are not of our concern here.)

The Fulbright Foreign Student Program enables graduate students, young professionals and artists from abroad to study and conduct research in the United States. The Fulbright Foreign Student Program operates in more than 155 countries worldwide. Approximately 4,000 foreign students receive Fulbright scholarships each year to study in the U.S.

The Fulbright Foreign Student Program is administered by binational Fulbright Commissions/Foundations or U.S. Embassies. All Foreign Student Program applications are processed by these offices.

Program eligibility and selection procedures vary widely by country. Please use the drop-down menu here to find information about the Fulbright Program in your home country, including eligibility requirements and application guidelines. If your country is not listed there, you are not eligible to apply.

The role of UIC’s Graduate College is to serve as liaison between the U.S. funding agency and the Office of Graduate Admissions, during the placement process, and then once matriculated at UIC, it services the fellowship waiver.

We await legislation resolving President Trump’s executive order that cancelled Fulbright program for Hong Kong and mainland China. This affects students coming from and and going to said region.

A new UIC student organization is being formed. It will provide networking opportunities for current Foreign Fulbright students as well as US Student Fulbrighters who are enrolled at UIC. Benn Williams will serve as staff advisor.

Fulbright fellowships, through the U.S. State Department provides for teaching, research, and study opportunities internationally for U.S. citizen students in various disciplines. Almost 200 countries are viable sites for placement. The national deadline is in October, but UIC graduate students must meet an earlier campus deadline and pass through a campus evaluation process. UIC’s campus deadline is September 8, 2022. Graduate students and alumni from UIC’s graduate programs should contact Benn Williams (, their dedicated university Fulbright Program Advisor. (Undergraduates and undergraduate alumni should contact Kim Germain in the Office of External Fellowships.)

In the 2020-2021 campaign, UIC had thirteen semi-finalists of whom seven became finalists. All seven were current graduate students, graduate-level professional students, or recent alumni of our graduate programs. In the 2021-2022 campaign, UIC has ten semi-finalists of whom four are finalists and two are  alternates. Sixty percent of the semi-finalists are graduate or professional students. In the 2022-2023 competition, UIC had 19 applicants, 12 of whom were graduate students or graduate alumni. Of the 12, half reached semi-finalist status. Three graduate alumni were offered an ETA and we had two alternates as well.

Hong Kong and mainland China are not taking Fulbrighters in the 2023-24 competition.

The Fulbright Public Policy Fellowship provides opportunities for U.S. early and mid-career professionals and practitioners to serve in professional placements in a foreign government ministry or institution in partner governments around the world. Fulbright Public Policy Fellows build mutual understanding and contribute to strengthening the public sector while cultivating public policy experience in their desired area of expertise. The Fulbright Public Policy Fellowship also includes an independent research component that focuses on an issue that is beneficial for the host ministry and the Fellow.

National deadline: September 16, 2019.

Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad (DDRA) Fellowship Program

The Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad (DDRA) Fellowship Program provides opportunities for full-time dissertation research abroad in modern foreign languages and area studies. Students may request funding for a period of no fewer than six months and no more than 12 months. Funds support travel expenses to and from the residence of the fellow and the country or countries of research; maintenance and dependents(s) allowances based on the location of research for the fellow and his or her dependent(s); an allowance for research-related expenses overseas; and health and accident insurance premiums. Applicants should plan to have a teaching career in the U.S. after completion of the doctorate. A distillation of the FOA can be found below. The application process is onerous — please communicate with Benn Williams, the Fellowships and Awards Coordinator, if you plan to apply.

The campus deadline is March 19, 2021.

US Federal Funding - "Non-Fulbrights" Heading link

A number of federal agencies offer funding for graduate students to study foreign languages and/or conduct research abroad. Below is a selection.

Are you interested in a career in public service? Are you interested in spending 6-12 months overseas using a critical language while also conducting your own research and/or performing an internship? If so, the Boren Fellowship may be an excellent opportunity for you.

Boren applicants may either elect to propose their own programs or participate in a structured language study initiative in areas related to U.S. National Security (broadly defined). Language study and cultural competency are important components to graduate education. Fellowships provide up to $30,000 for domestic and overseas study/immersion (minimum 12 weeks and maximum one year overseas.) Preference is given to proposals for 6 months (or longer) in duration for linguistic and cultural immersion. In exchange for funding, Boren Fellows commit to working in the federal government for at least one year after graduation. (Usually well-remunerated positions.)

Graduate students apply through the Boren/IIE Slate portal for this fellowship in the early spring. The Fellowships and Awards Coordinator can assist with the fellowship application. (The Boren Scholarship is for undergraduates.) UIC hosts a Boren representative-led info session almost annually. Our Fall 2022 session is TBD.

Boren has a preference for students who wish to pursue a career in the federal government or in a contracting agency. The following is NOT an exclusive list of federal agencies for which Boren alumni find jobs: USAID; Corporation for National and Community Service; Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Energy, Defense, Health and Human Services (NIH, FDA), Justice, Interior, Labor, State, Treasury, Transportation, and Veteran Affairs; Congress  (including the Library of Congress).

Quick statistics from the 2021 competition (unless otherwise noted):

  • 124 of 334 applications for the Boren Fellowship were accepted for funding (a 37% success rate, down from 44%);
  • 59% of graduate students applying in 2020 to the specific language initiatives were selected for funding;
  • Most popular countries for fellows: (1) Jordan; (2) Taiwan; (3) Tanzania; (4) Brazil
  • Most popular languages for fellows: (1) Arabic; (2) Mandarin; (3) Swahili; (4) Portuguese;
  • Most common areas of study in 2020: (1) international affairs; (2) STEM; (3) public administration; (4) international development/area studies; (5) history;
  • Of 3970 alumni tracked; 1242 found their first federal job in the Department of Defense; 921 in the State Department;
  • Top six metro areas for federal employment: DC, NYC, San Francisco, Seattle, Tampa, and Austin;
  • Other top cities for federal employment: Chicago, Minneapolis, Denver, Charlottesville, and Norfolk.

Campus deadline: 11:59 p.m. on January 9, 2023. National deadline: 4 p.m. on January 25, 2023.

Sponsored by the US Department of State, the Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program is an intensive overseas language and cultural immersion program for American students enrolled at U.S. colleges and universities. (You must be a U.S. citizen or national at the time of your application.) The program includes intensive language instruction (>20 hours per week) and structured cultural enrichment experiences designed to promote rapid language gains. Students apply for a language — not a country. (Benn Williams is the liaison for graduate students.)

Currently, CLS funds these languages:

Why CLS?  A new section of the website communicates the impact of the CLS Program (see links below). The page has links to specific pages on language learning outcomes and alumni stories. In short, the CLS Program contributes to U.S. national security and economic prosperity.

DEADLINE: November 16, 2021 (7 pm Central).

In-person institutes in summer 2021 went online due to the global pandemic. While it is impossible to predict the future, CLS is planning to hold their summer institutes in-person.

Effective Fall 2023, this very generous award funds students at a level of $37,000 annually for up to three years (over five). A variety of disciplines are eligible to apply, so please check out the website.

Students apply at-large–they do not submit via the Graduate College, nor the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research. The Fellowships and Awards Coordinator enters the picture after the student receives the award to their studies at UIC; however, the coordinator could read essays.

Upcoming deadlines (5 pm local time):

  • October 17, 2022 – Life Sciences
  • October 18, 2022 – Computer and Information Science and Engineering, Materials Research, Psychology, Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences, STEM Education and Learning
  • October 20, 2022 – Engineering
  • October 21, 2022 – Chemistry, Geosciences, Mathematical Sciences, Physics and Astronomy

Citizens & Scholars Fellowships

Formerly known as the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, the Institute for Citizens & Scholars fosters future generations of informed, engaged, hopeful citizens who reflect the diversity of our democracy. Below is a selection of the fellowships available to graduate students.

Smithsonian Institution Office for Fellowships and Internships

Hundreds of graduate students and holders of doctorates come to the Smithsonian to do independent research under the guidance of a member of our world-class research staff. Fellows have the opportunity to study and work intensively with Smithsonian collections and experts in their fields and beyond. In addition, more than 1,500 students pursue internships offered across the organization.

The Smithsonian offers a world of research opportunities for graduate, pre-doctoral, or post-doctoral students, as well as for visiting professionals, students, scientists, or scholars conducting independent research. The Office of Fellowships can guide you through the process.

Internships at the Smithsonian Institution are as varied as the museums and research centers themselves. From Art History to Zoology, exhibit building to investments, Smithsonian Internships provide workplace-based learning experiences for a wide range of educational and career paths.

American Councils for International Education – Title VIII in Eastern Europe and Eurasia

Funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Program for Research and Training on Eastern Europe and the Independent States of the Former Soviet Union (Title VIII), the American Councils CRLT Program provides full support for U.S. graduate students, faculty, and independent scholars seeking to conduct in-country, independent research in Russia, Eurasia, and Eastern Europe, while increasing proficiency in languages of the region.

Applicants should indicate their proposed research location(s) in the application. Applicants to the Research Scholar Program may only apply for research in a total of two countries maximum [from this list]: Albania; Armenia; Azerbaijan; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; Croatia; Estonia; Georgia; Kazakhstan; Kosovo; Kyrgyzstan; Latvia; Lithuania; Moldova; Montenegro; North Macedonia; Poland; Romania; Russia; Serbia; Tajikistan; Ukraine.

Academic Fellowships in Russia (AFR)

AFR is designed to expand the accessibility of Russia-based research while increasing U.S. knowledge and expertise on Russia. Fellowships last three to nine consecutive months and include round-trip international travel; housing and living stipends; visa support; overseas health, accident, and evacuation insurance; archive access; and logistical support. Following the completion of the research term, AFR fellows will return to the U.S. and share their findings through presentations, articles, and lectures in order to strengthen and broaden current scholarship in the social sciences related to Russia and U.S.-Russia relations.

Combined Research and Language Training (CRLT) Program

Designed to expand the accessibility of overseas research while increasing U.S. knowledge and expertise on the region, the CRLT Program supports fellows who, in addition to conducting overseas, policy-relevant research, seek to increase their language proficiency through targeted language instruction. Fellowships last three to nine consecutive months and include round-trip international travel; housing and living stipends; visa support; overseas health, accident, and evacuation insurance; archive access; weekly language instruction in the host country language; and logistical support. Following the completion of the research term, fellows will return to the U.S. and share their findings through presentations, articles, and lectures in order to strengthen and broaden current scholarship on the region.

Research Scholar Program

Designed to expand the accessibility of overseas research while increasing U.S. knowledge and expertise on the region, the Research Scholar Program supports fellows seeking to complete overseas, policy-relevant research. Fellowships last three to nine consecutive months and include round-trip international travel; housing and living stipends; visa support; overseas health, accident, and evacuation insurance; archive access; and logistical support. Following the completion of the research term, fellows will return to the U.S. and share their findings through presentations, articles, and lectures in order to strengthen and broaden current scholarship on the region.”

While not the easiest sight to navigate, this outlines many of the federal options awarded to departments/programs that students can work under, along with individual grants available to students to apply at-large for consideration.

A fellowship will affect federal student loan or work-study. Typically, students with fellowships may not be permitted to borrow small amounts of federal loans due to cost of attendance regulation.  Check with the Office of Student Financial Aid on eligibility requirements.

If you have already received a refund for the current year in federal loans and you accept a fellowship, you may be responsible to return this refund to UIC.  Contact the Office of Student Financial Aid for further information.

If applying for loans and/or work-study a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) must be completed.  See the Graduate Student Guide from the Office of Student Financial Aid for more information.

Select National and International Competitions Heading link

UIC is a preferred institution for certain competitions or has multiple applicants for these prestigious opportunities.

DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst - German Academic Exchange Service)

The DAAD offers numerous opportunities to study and to do research in Germany.

Opportunities for graduate students:

  • **Study Scholarships – This program is available to highly-qualified final year undergraduate students and those who have received an undergraduate degree, regardless of discipline, and who seek a full master’s degree at a German university or for study at a German university as part of a postgraduate or Master’s degree program to be completed in the home country. Campus deadline: October 19th.
  • German Studies Research Grant – This specialized for highly-qualified undergraduate and graduate students, who are nominated by their department/program chairs, may be used for short-term research (one to two months) in Germany. The program is designed to encourage research and promote the study of cultural, political, historical, economic and social aspects of modern and contemporary German affairs from an inter- and multidisciplinary perspective. Deadlines are May 1 and November 1st.
  • University Summer Course Grant – This program provides scholarships to attend a broad range of three- to four-week summer courses at German universities which focus mainly on German language and literary, cultural, political and economic aspects of modern and contemporary Germany. Extensive extracurricular programs complement and reinforce the core material.
  • Short-Term Research Grants – Designed for highly qualified candidates who have completed a Master’s degree or those who have already completed a PhD (postdocs), these grants fund 1-6 months of research. The application portal for PhD and postdoc students is open June 30th – November 4th.
  • **Research Grants – One-Year Grants – Designed for highly qualified candidates who have completed a Master’s degree, these grants fund 7-12 months of research. Application portal opens June 30th. Deadlines vary by discipline. See below.

**UIC graduate students may apply independently for all of the grants above EXCEPT the study scholarship and one-year research grant in non-arts fields. As a designated priority institution, UIC runs an internal competition each fall. The applicant marshals materials for evaluation and then the Graduate College coordinates a small evaluation committee to determine which nominations will be put forward to DAAD for consideration. Contact the Fellowships & Awards Coordinator for more information.

Long-term research grants (7-10 months) have the following deadline by field:

  • Architecture: September 30, 2022 – apply directly to the Bonn office
  • Music: September 29, 2022 – apply directly to the Bonn office
  • Performing Arts: November 2, 2022 – apply directly to the Bonn office
  • Fine Art, Design/Visual Communication & Film: November 30, 2022 – apply directly to the Bonn office
  • All other academic fields: October 19, 2022 (UIC campus deadline); final deadline of November 4, 2022.  Contact Benn Williams for more information ( on the campus deadline.

Requirements for the campus deadline follow the links.

DAAD Requirements at Campus Deadline

Study Scholarship One-Year Research Grant
PDF version of your online application form (from the DAAD portal) PDF version of your online application form (from the DAAD portal)
CV as Word document (max. 3 pages) CV as Word document (max. 3 pages)
Study proposal (max. 3 pages): should include a narrative about academic and personal reasons for the planned study explaining why a particular program has been chosen and how it will further your educational and career goals. (Please also read our important information for scholarship applicants / Section B, Point 1.) List of publications as Word document (max. 5 pages)
Letter of admission to a study program in Germany: If this is not available at the time of the application deadline, this can be subsequently submitted before the scholarship-supported study program begins. Extensive and detailed description of the research proposal which has been discussed with the academic adviser and a description of previous research work as Word document (max. 5 pages)
"Information about your preferred master program" (download) Additional info for master’s degree applicants: • Applicants who will be starting their master’s program in Germany: when completing the form, DAAD recommends listing up to 5 potential degree programs to avoid a situation in which you are granted a scholarship but end up not getting accepted into a master’s program. However, when writing your proposal, you should focus on your first choice, and briefly mention additional programs at the end of your proposal. OR • For a study period in Germany as part of an American or Canadian postgraduate or master’s degree: submit proof that the academic credits earned in Germany will be recognized by your home institution (e.g. letter from your department). Schedule of planned research work as Word document (consider weekly and thematic/geographic subdivisions)
[Blank] Letter confirming supervision by an academic adviser in Germany, which refers to the applicant's proposal and confirms that the host institute will provide a workplace as PDF
University degree certificate(s), if applicable (e.g. Bachelor or Master): If your studies have not been completed at the time of the application deadline, the certificate must be submitted before the scholarship-supported study program. (PDF) University degree certificates, scans of university-level diplomas as or PDF or JPG
Scanned official transcripts from all (undergraduate and graduate) university studies and include the explanation of the grading system (explanation is usually on the back of the transcript) as PDF Scanned official transcripts from all (undergraduate and graduate) university studies and include the explanation of the grading system (explanation is usually on the back of the transcript) as PDF
DAAD Sprachnachweis / language evaluation form ( If you have any knowledge of German, submit this document signed by a faculty member (professors or teaching assistant) of the Department of Germanic Studies. If you have no knowledge of German and your research language in Germany will be English, be sure to submit this certificate anyway, indicating that your research language is English, and write at the top "No knowledge of German." (Please note that German is not a requirement for the Research Grant) DAAD Sprachnachweis / language evaluation form ( If you have any knowledge of German, submit this document signed by a faculty member (professors or teaching assistant) of the Department of Germanic Studies. If you have no knowledge of German and your research language in Germany will be English, be sure to submit this certificate anyway, indicating that your research language is English, and write at the top "No knowledge of German." (Please note that German is not a requirement for the Research Grant)
Please arrange for a PDF of the signed reference form from a university professor in your major subject or discipline to be emailed to Benn Williams. ( Please arrange for a PDF of the signed reference form from a university professor in your major subject or discipline to be emailed to Benn Williams. (

Dolores Zohrab Liebmann Fellowship

The Dolores Zohrab Liebmann Fund was created for the purpose of funding advanced education and graduate study grants, which must be carried out entirely in the United States of America. The Dolores Zohrab Liebmann Fellowships are to be awarded only to candidates who have outstanding undergraduate records, demonstrate a need for financial assistance, are citizens of the United States of America, are enrolled in accredited colleges and universities in the United States, and who have received baccalaureate degrees. Graduate and professional students are eligible.

The amount of each Fellowship will cover the cost of tuition and a stipend to be allocated towards room, board, living expenses and income taxes. The Trustee has set the stipend at $18,000 for the award year.

The UIC campus deadline is January 5, 2022. 

Required application materials:

  • Application
  • CV
  • One certified copy of each undergraduate and graduate transcript to date.
  • One copy of your graduate exam test scores.
  • A Statement of Purpose up to three pages long (double spaced) which considers the relationship between your graduate level study and your intended personal and/or professional goals. Your Statement of Purpose must include a 10-15 line abstract at the top (included in the three pages) that explains, in LAYMAN’S terms, the essence of your proposed topic of study or dissertation, the methodology of its treatment and its anticipated impact on your field of study.
  • Letter of Recommendation from Dean of Graduate School or Department Chair. [Latter preferred;  arrange to have it sent electronically to Benn Williams – If you seek a letter from the Dean, she will provide it if you are selected as the UIC nominee]
  • Letters of Recommendation from at least two professors who have taught or worked closely with you. [Arrange to have sent electronically to Benn Williams]
  • One copy of your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  • One copy of your Financial Aid Summary from UIC.
  • One copy of your Federal Income Tax Return for each of the prior two years available (including spouse’s returns, if applicable) [thus returns filed in 2020 and 2021 for the January 2022 deadline].

Applicants can send electronic files using the naming convention below to FERPA-approved Box:

Naming convention of files (using example of Rosa Parks): DZL_Year_NomineeLastNameFirstInitial-Component.pdf, e.g., DZL_2022_ParksR-Application.pdf, DZL_2021_ParksR-GRE.pdf, etc.

Confidential materials should be sent to:

Benn Williams ( Do not send anything to the Graduate College via campus mail or postal services.

The UIC campus deadline is January 5, 2022 to allow sufficient time to review materials.

Institutional contact and DZL alum:  Benn Williams, Fellowships and Awards Coordinator.

Per the funder’s instructions: Do not contact JPMorgan or members of the selection committee. Effective spring 2022, the campus advisor will be sent decision notifications.

The "Mellons" Heading link

As the largest supporter of the arts and humanities in the US, the Mellon Foundation seeks to build just communities where ideas and imagination can thrive. It does this, in part, by underwriting dissertation fellowships administered by various nonprofit organizations.

Community College Faculty Fellowships (CCFF)

Community colleges are a vital component of the higher education ecosystem and of the academic humanities in particular [and many UIC graduate student teach in them while pursuing their degree]. Mellon/ACLS Community College Faculty Fellowships support the research ambitions of humanities and social science faculty who teach at two-year institutions. These fellowships are made possible by the generous support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Community college faculty in all disciplines of the humanities or related social sciences are welcome to apply. The applicant’s ultimate goal should be to advance a research project. Applicants must be employed primarily as instructors at a two-year associate’s degree-granting college, as defined by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, and remaining so for the duration of the fellowship; however, they do NOT need to be appointed full-time and do NOT need to be on the tenure-track. Part-time and adjunct instructors are welcome to apply, as long as community college teaching is their primary employment. Applicants must have an MA in the humanities or related social sciences that was conferred by the application deadline.

ACLS will award up to 26 fellowships in the 2020-2021 competition year. The award carries a stipend of up to $40,000, which may be used to support any activities that advance the proposed research project. Examples include: salary replacement during the summer; course buyouts during the academic year; travel costs and registration fees for research and conferences; costs associated with organizing a conference, workshop, or event; fees related to publication or dissemination; stipends for undergraduate research assistants; costs for course materials (if one of the outcomes of the project is curricular); etc. In some cases, a limited portion of the funds may go to a fellow’s institution to cover administrative costs associated with the project.

Application requirements include:

  • Completed application form (this includes basic biographical information, as well as several short-answer questions)
  • Proposal (no more than five pages, double spaced, in Times New Roman 11-point font)
  • Project timeline with budget estimates (no more than one page)
  • Bibliography (no more than one page)
  • Two reference letters
  • Institutional certification pledging that the applicant will be permitted to carry out the work outlined in the proposal. This is a brief form available through the online application portal to be completed by a department chair, dean, or other senior administrator.

Peer reviewers in this program evaluate eligible proposals on the following four criteria:

  1. The potential of the project to advance the field of study in which it is proposed and make a significant contribution to scholarship, teaching and learning, and/or the community.
  2. The quality of the proposal with regard to its methodology, scope, and clarity of expression.
  3. The feasibility of the project, including the proposed timeline and budget.
  4. The applicant’s record of accomplishment and institutional, professional, and community service, taking into account relative advantages and constraints on resources for the proposed project and over the course of the applicant’s career.

Reviewers are asked to be mindful of ACLS’s commitment to inclusive excellence, and of how equity and diversity are integral components of merit.

See the full fellowship announcement below.

Dissertation Completion Fellowships

The fellowship has been permanently discontinued. The final cohort was announced in April 2022.

Summary: The DCF supports a year of research and writing to help advanced graduate students in the humanities and related social sciences in the last year of PhD dissertation writing. The program encourages timely completion of the PhD and is open to scholars pursuing humanistic research on topics grounded in any time period, world region, or methodology.

Applicants must be prepared to complete their dissertations within the period of their fellowship tenure and no later than August 31, 2022. [Thus, the “research” component is misleading – this is a writing fellowship]. Value: Up to $43,000 and the GC will add a fellowship waiver.

Eligibility: ABD by deadline, no more than 6th year in the program, 7th-year students may petition, may not have previously applied, cannot hold or have held any other dissertation completion fellowship. May live in US or abroad; no citizenship restrictions.

UIC students win this fellowship!

Deadline: 8 PM on October 27, 2021.

ACLS will award 65 fellowships in this competition for a one-year term beginning between June and September 2022 for the 2022-23 academic year. The fellowship may be carried out in residence at the fellow’s home institution, abroad, or at another appropriate site for the research. These fellowships may not be held concurrently with any other fellowship or grant.

ACLS believes that humanistic scholarship benefits from inclusivity of voices, narratives, and subjects that have historically been underrepresented or under-studied in academe. We especially welcome applications from PhD candidates whose perspectives and/or research projects cultivate greater openness to new sources of knowledge, innovation in scholarly communication, and, above all, responsiveness to the interests and histories of people of color and other historically marginalized communities, including (but not limited to) Black/African American, Hispanic/Latinx, and Indigenous communities from around the world; people with disabilities; queer, trans, and gender nonconforming people; and people of diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. We also believe that institutional diversity enhances the scholarly enterprise, and we encourage applications from PhD candidates from all types of institutions in the United States.

For the full fellowship description, see the link below.

Public Fellows Competition for Recent PhDs

After ten competitions, and supporting nearly 200 emerging scholars, ACLS is conducting outcomes research geared toward promoting innovations in doctoral training and professional development support for diverse PhD careers.

If you are now completing or have recently earned a PhD in the humanities or humanistic social sciences, and are interested in opportunities to contribute to the public good while gaining career-building experience, you may be eligible for the ACLS Leading Edge Fellowship, which succeeds and builds upon the Public Fellows program. (Thus, the competition below is on hiatus.)

The Mellon/ACLS Public Fellows program promotes the visibility and value of the humanities PhD beyond the academy by offering opportunities for PhDs to contribute to the public good while gaining career-building experience in the fields of policy, community development, conservation, arts and culture, and media. This initiative is made possible through the support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

In 2020, the program is offering 21 two-year term positions at organizations in government and nonprofit sectors for recent PhDs from the humanities and humanistic social sciences. Fellows will participate in the substantive work of these organizations and will have opportunities for networking, mentoring, and career development programming, both in-person and virtually. Fellows receive a stipend of $70,000 per year and have access to employer-based health insurance through the host organization. In addition, ACLS provides funds for relocation and professional development.

International Dissertation Research Fellowships

DISCONTINUED. The 2022-23 cohort is the last.

In conjunction with the Social Science Research Council (SSRC), the Mellon International Dissertation Research Fellowship (IDRF) offers six to twelve 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 Native American or non-US topics. The IDRF program especially welcomes applications from underrepresented institutions. Sixty fellowships are awarded annually. Fellowship amounts vary depending on the research plan, with a per-fellowship average of $23,000. [Contact the Fellowships & Awards Coordinator about receiving an accompanying fellowship waiver.] The fellowship includes participation in an SSRC-funded interdisciplinary workshop upon the completion of IDRF-funded research.

NOTE: In the summer of 2020, UIC was selected by the SSRC for a new initiative to increase the number of applications from minority-serving institutions. If you are interested in applying, contact Benn Williams ( sooner rather than later. (UIC has had three winners in the last decade.)


The program is open to graduate students in the humanities and humanistic social sciences—regardless of citizenship—enrolled in PhD programs in the United States. Applicants to the 2021 IDRF competition must complete all PhD requirements [i.e., obtain ‘ABD’ status] except on-site research by the time the fellowship begins or by December 2021, whichever comes first.

The program invites proposals for dissertation research conducted, in whole or in part, outside the United States, on non-US topics. It will consider applications for dissertation research grounded in a single site, informed by broader cross-regional and interdisciplinary perspectives, as well as applications for multi-sited, comparative, and transregional research. Proposals that address Native American studies or identify the United States as a case for comparative inquiry are welcome; however, proposals that focus predominantly or exclusively on the United States are not eligible.

Applicants from select disciplines within the humanities (Art History, Architectural History, Classics, Drama/Theater, Film Studies, Literature, Musicology, Performance Studies, Philosophy, Political Theory, and Religion) may request three or more months of funding for international on-site dissertation research in combination with site-specific research in the United States, for a total of six to twelve months of funding. All other applicants (for example, those in Anthropology, Geography, History, Political Science, and Sociology, among others) must request six to twelve months of on-site, site-specific dissertation research with a minimum of six months of research outside of the United States. Research within the United States must be site-specific (e.g., at a particular archive) and cannot be at the applicant’s home institution unless that institution has necessary site-specific research holdings. Please note that the IDRF program supports research only and may not be used for dissertation write-up.

Applicants who have completed significant funded dissertation research in one country by the start of their proposed IDRF research may be ineligible to apply to the IDRF to extend research time in the same country. Eligibility will be at the discretion of the IDRF program, depending on completed research time and funding. The IDRF program expects fellows to remain at their research site(s) for the full six- to twelve-month funding period. The IDRF program will not support study at foreign universities, conference participation, or dissertation write-up. The program does not accept applications from PhD programs in law, business, medicine, nursing, or journalism, nor does it accept applications in doctoral programs that do not lead to a PhD. For more information on the 2021 IDRF competition, please refer to our Frequently Asked Questions.

Selection Criteria

The IDRF competition promotes a range of approaches and research designs beyond single-site or single-country research, including comparative work at the national and regional levels and explicit comparison of cases across time frames. The program is open to proposals informed by a range of methodologies in the humanities and humanistic social sciences, including research in archives and manuscript collections, fieldwork and surveys, and quantitative data collection.

Applicants are expected to write in clear, intelligible prose for a selection committee that is multidisciplinary and cross-regional. Proposals should display a thorough knowledge of the major concepts, theories, and methods in the applicant’s discipline and in other related fields, as well as a bibliography relevant to the research. Applicants should specify why an extended period of on-site research is critical for successful completion of the proposed doctoral dissertation. The research design of proposals should be realistic in scope, clearly formulated, and responsive to theoretical and methodological concerns. Applicants should provide evidence of having attained an appropriate level of training to undertake the proposed research, including evidence of a degree of language fluency sufficient to complete the project. For more information on the 2021 IDRF competition, please refer to our Frequently Asked Questions.

Foundation-Funded Prestigious Fellowships (select) Heading link

There are a number of young and mature fellowships that offer fellowships for graduate students. Below is a curated selection.

Other Federal Opportunities (Select) Heading link

More resources available: Fellowship Toolbox