Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships
The 2021-22 competition was the sixteenth and final for this program, and ACLS named the final cohort of awardees in April 2022. The description below is for information purposes only.
- Stipend: $35,000, plus funds for research costs of up to $3,000 and for university fees of up to $5,000
- Tenure: one year beginning summer 2022
- Completed applications must be submitted through the ACLS online fellowship administration system (ofa.acls.org) no later than 9 pm Eastern Daylight Time, October 27, 2021.
- Notifications will be sent via email in late March 2022.
- For information on how to request reviewer feedback, see FAQ.
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 interpretive social sciences in the last year of PhD dissertation writing. This program is made possible by a grant from the Mellon Foundation supports this program.
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.
ACLS will award up to 50 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.
Applicants must be prepared to complete their dissertations within the period of their fellowship tenure and no later than August 31, 2023.
The total award of up to $43,000 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 may 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.
- 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. In some circumstances (including interruptions related to medical leave, child or elder care, or the Covid-19 pandemic), applicants who are in their seventh year may petition to have this eligibility requirement extended by one year. Please see our FAQ for additional information about time to degree.
- not currently hold or have previously held a dissertation completion fellowship.
- have not previously applied for this fellowship more than once.
(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 [email protected] with a brief summary of your affiliation.
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)
- Short personal statement describing how your life experiences and background have influenced your journey as a scholar (one page, 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)
- Optional: Up to three additional pages of images, musical scores, or other similar supporting non-text materials, without annotation
- 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). All footnotes/endnotes must fit within the 25-page excerpt.
- 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.
Please note: As of the 2021-22 competition year, ACLS requires all applicants to have an ORCID iD. Learn more.
Note that transcripts are not required.
Reviewers in this program are asked to evaluate all eligible proposals on the following criteria:
- 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.
- The quality of the proposal with regard to its methodology, scope, theoretical framework, and grounding in the relevant scholarly literature. ACLS welcomes applications that challenge scholarly convention.
- The feasibility of the project and the likelihood that the applicant will execute the work within the proposed time frame.
- The applicant’s record of scholarly engagement and potential for scholarly achievement, taking into account the relative advantages and constraints on resources for the proposed project and over the course of the applicant’s doctoral training.
Recognizing that intellectual vitality and diversity are inseparable, ACLS will also consider the following as positive factors in selection:
- Membership in one or more groups that have been historically underrepresented in the professoriate, including but not limited to Black/African Americans, Latinx/Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, and Pacific Islanders.
- Engagement with communities that are historically underrepresented in higher education and the potential for this experience to shape research and pedagogy.
- Scholarship and scholarly practice that is responsive to the interests and histories of people of color and other historically marginalized communities.