English Graduate Studies

Outside Fellowships for Graduate Studies


Why do I need a fellowship if I’m already funded?

Most importantly: because fellowships beget other fellowships, which beget jobs. Also, because your funding is limited. Also, because residential fellowships are an important opportunity to meet other scholars in your field

How do I find out what fellowships are available?

Your advisor
Your peers

How do I format my research proposal?

The Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship (DPDF) Student Fellowship Competition is organized to help graduate students in the humanities and social sciences formulate effective research proposals through exploratory research and exchanges with other scholars within interdisciplinary areas of study. Learn more here: http://www.ssrc.org/fellowships/dpdf-fellowship/

Please see additional information on Graduate Student Funding here.

Field-specific listservs often advertise $1000-range fellowships for research and travel in a particular area of research. These four institutions maintain huge databases of graduate funding opportunities:

The MLA: http://www.mla.org/fellowships_grants

UPenn: http://www.english.upenn.edu/Grad/predocfunding/post.php

Johns Hopkins: http://www.library.jhu.edu/researchhelp/humanities/grants.html

NYU Humanities Initiative:  http://humanitiesinitiative.org/index.php/funding/grants-for-humanists

Other databases of graduate funding opportunities:

SMU:  http://smu.edu/nationalfellowships/

Amy Lowell Travelling Poetry Scholarship: http://www.amylowell.org

Medieval Academy of America: http://www.medievalacademy.org/grants/gradstudent_grants_schallek_felinstr.htm 

Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Fellowships: http://www.acls.org/programs/dcf/  

OMP: http://www.onlinemastersprograms.org/financial-aid/ and http://www.onlinemastersprograms.org/financial-aid/scholarships/.

Many libraries offer residential fellowships, including short-term fellowships (usually one or two months) and some longer ones.  Here is a  non-comprehensive list of some of the more important institutions to know about:

Name of institution          


   Specific field (if any)

American Antiquarian Society

Worcester, Mass.   

American culture to 1876

American Philosophical Society

Philadelphia, Penn.   

learned knowledge, c. 1600-1850

Beinecke Library

New Haven, Conn.


Bodleian Library Centre for the Study of the Book



David Library of the Amer. Rev.

near Philadelphia   

American 1750-1800

Folger Shakespeare Librar

Washington, D.C.   

Early Modern

Gilder Lehrman Institute

New York, N.Y.   

American history

Harry Ransom Center

Austin, Tex.


Helen Ann Mins Robbins fellowship

Rochester, N.Y.  


Houghton Library

Cambridge, Mass.  


Huntington Library

Pasadena, Calif.  


John Carter Brown Library

Providence, R.I.   

The Americas before 1825

Lewis Walpole Library

Farmington, Conn.   

18th century

Library Co. of Philadelphia

Philadelphia, Penn.   

American culture to 1900

New York Public Library

New York, N.Y.


Newberry Library

Chicago, Ill.      


Princeton Library Research Grants



UCLA Center for 17th- and  18th-century Studies

Los Angeles, Calif.   


UCLA Clark Library

Los Angeles, Calif.   

 English 1641–1800; Oscar Wilde

W. Ormiston Roy Fellowship

Columbia, S.C.   

Scottish studies


Wilmington, Del.


Many state and local historical societies have short-term residential fellowships.  A few organizations offer non-residential fellowships for work on particular topics, including the following:

National Foundation for Jewish Studies

National Women’s Studies Association

Holocaust Museum

Bibliographical Society of America

What about full-year dissertation fellowships?

Some of the libraries noted above offer these.  Other institutions offer them in both residential and non-residential forms. Some of the most important to know about are:

American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS)

American Association of University Women (AAUW)

Fulbright Scholar Program

McNeil Center for Early American Studies (at the University of Pennsylvania)

Five College Fellowship Program (Amherst, Hampshire, Mt. Holyoke, Smith)

Charlotte Newcombe Dissertation Fellowship (for work on “religion and ethics”)

Spencer Foundation (for work on “education, broadly conceived”)

William B. and Maryloo Spooner Schallek Memorial Graduate Fellowships (medieval)

Medieval Academy of America Dissertation Grants and Schalleck Fellowship

How do I create an application?

The application will generally ask for a project statement between two and ten pages, a CV, one to three letters of recommendation, and some kind of cover sheet.

Do exactly what they tell you to do for the project statement.  If it is a library fellowship, for example, you will be asked to address the suitability of their collection to their project.  In other words, they will want to know what you’re going to look at while you’re there. 

Be specific.  It never hurts to get in touch with the librarians in advance to make sure they still have the things you say you want to look at, and to see what else you might want to reference. 

This Chronicle of Higher Education article, “Grant-writing tips for graduate students,” is very helpful:http://chronicle.com/article/Grant-Writing-Tips-for/125301/

Other Resources:

Calls for Papers: