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Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships

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The Online Fellowship and Grant Application (OFA) system is now open.

Fellowship Details

  • Stipend: $30,000, plus funds for research costs of up to $3,000 and for university fees of up to $5,000
  • Tenure: one year beginning summer 2017
  • Completed applications must be submitted through the ACLS Online Fellowship Application system (ofa.acls.org) no later than 9 pm Eastern Daylight Time, October 26, 2016.
  • Notifications will be sent via email in late March 2017.


The information below is a summary of the program, and details eligibility, application requirements, and evaluation criteria for the program. Please read carefully through the material and accompanying FAQ.

Summary

ACLS invites applications for Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships, which support 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. Applicants must be prepared to complete their dissertations within the period of their fellowship tenure and no later than August 31, 2018. A grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation supports this program.

ACLS will award 65 fellowships in this competition for a one-year term beginning between June and September 2017 for the 2017-18 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.

The total award of up to $38,000 includes a stipend plus additional funds for university fees and research support. In addition to the monetary support that the fellowship offers, Dissertation Completion Fellows are able to apply to participate in a seminar on preparing for the academic job market.  The seminar takes place over three days in the fall of the fellowship year.

Eligibility

Applicant must:

  • be PhD candidates in a humanities or social science department in the United States. (1)
  • have completed all requirements for the PhD except the dissertation (i.e., obtained ABD status) by the application deadline.
  • be no more than six years into the degree program at the time of application. This includes time spent earning an MA within that program. (2)
  • not currently hold or have previously held a dissertation completion fellowship.
  • have not previously applied for this fellowship more than once.

Application Requirements

Applications must be submitted online and must include:

  • Completed application form
  • Proposal (no more than five pages, double spaced, in Times New Roman 11-point font)
  • One-page timeline for the expected completion of dissertation writing and defense/filing (see sample timelines)
  • Up to three additional pages of images, musical scores, or other similar supporting non-text materials [optional]
  • Bibliography (no more than two pages)
  • Completed chapter of the dissertation (that is neither the introduction, nor the conclusion, nor the literature review) of not more than 25 double-spaced pages, in Times New Roman 11-point font; or a representative 25-page excerpt from a longer chapter. The chapter must be in English, though citations may be in other languages (with translations provided).
  • Two reference letters, one of which must come from the applicant's dissertation advisor
  • A statement from the applicant’s institution (preferably from the applicant’s department chair, director of graduate studies, or dean). The provided form asks the institutional representative to (1) attest to the viability of the proposed timeline for completion; (2) stipulate that, in the event of an award, the university will not charge the student tuition or fees beyond a limit of $5,000; and (3) pledge that if an ACLS award is made, the university will not provide the applicant with any subsequent aid. The person submitting the statement should not be one of the reference letter writers.

Note that transcripts are not required.

Evaluation Criteria

Scholars asked to review applications in this program are instructed to use the following four criteria:

  1. The potential of the project to advance the field of study in which it is proposed and make an original and significant contribution to knowledge.
  2. The quality of the proposal with regard to its methodology, scope, theoretical framework, and grounding in the relevant scholarly literature.
  3. The feasibility of the project and the likelihood that the applicant will execute the work within the proposed time frame.
  4. The applicant's record of scholarly engagement and potential for scholarly achievement.
 
 
  1.  The Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship program does not accept applications from students receiving professional or applied PhDs, terminal degrees that are not a PhD (such as an EdD or MFA), or PhDs outside of humanities and social science departments, including the following disciplines: business, clinical or counseling psychology, creative or performing arts, education, engineering, filmmaking, law, library and information sciences, life/physical sciences, public administration, public health or medicine, public policy, social work, or social welfare. If you are unsure whether your department or interdisciplinary program qualifies you for this fellowship program, please email fellowships@acls.org with a brief summary of your affiliation. Back to text.
  2. Put another way, if the current academic year is your sixth year in the program or if you’ve been in the program for fewer years, then you are eligible to apply. Also, in special circumstances an applicant who is in her or his seventh year may petition, together with the dissertation advisor, to have this eligibility requirement extended by one year. Such applicants must present a compelling case for eligibility within their application materials. Please see our FAQ for additional information about time to degree. Back to text.