The purpose of the program is to provide ten students each year with the precious gift of time to complete a PhD dissertation, thus having the beneficial effects of improving degree completion rates and reducing time to degree. This investment is fully consistent with collegiate strategic goals.

Ten CLAS Dissertation Writing Fellowships ($14,000 each) will be awarded each year.

The awards will be provided during the summer and fall of each year.  The award period will commence in late May with Summer payments of $1,000 on June 1, and $1,500 each on July 1 and August 1.  Fall will continue with monthly payments of $2,000 through the end of December. The total amount of each award is $14,000:  ($1,000 + (2*1,500 + (5*2,000))). Students planning to graduate in August of the award period should not apply for this award.

Applicants must have completed their comprehensive examination and be in the final stages of writing their dissertation to be eligible to apply for an award. 

The main focus of work to be accomplished during the award period is completion of the doctoral dissertation.  

Awardees must register for at least 1 s.h. credit during the fall semester of the award. Recipients of a CLAS Dissertation Writing Fellowship may not combine the award with any other UI fellowship, assistantship, or paid work during the award period without permission from the CLAS Associate Dean for Graduate Education, nor may they hold an external dissertation fellowship concurrently.

Awardees must register for at least 1 s.h. credit during the fall semester of the award. Your department will provide you with a scholarship to cover the cost of 1 s.h. and 50% of the mandatory fees.

One fellow per PhD program each year.

If an individual who is awarded a fellowship fails to complete all requirements for a spring graduation in the academic year of the award, the unit will be ineligible to submit applications for a CLAS Dissertation Writing Fellowship during the subsequent award period.

For departments from which a student is awarded a Dissertation Writing Fellowship, DGSs will be responsible for completing the CLAS Dissertation Writing Fellowship DGS Report and returning it to in May following the year of the award. 

For example, if a student was awarded a fellowship for summer and fall of 2022, the DGS will complete the report in May 2023. 

Awardees must submit a progress report of 250-500 words to on the first Friday of September of the award period. The report must be signed by the advisor.

Eligible students should complete the CLAS Dissertation Writing Fellowship Application and their one-page CV and send it to their DGS along with the Thesis Advisor support letter.  DGSs should verify the accuracy of the information, supervise the departmental evaluation process, prepare the DGS nomination letter, and email the results to with the subject line: CLAS Dissertation Writing Fellowship Application.

The award application period for AY 2024-25 awards is now closed. The due date for applications was Tuesday, January 30, 2024, from departments to the CLAS Dean's Office.

Individuals will not apply directly to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; applications must be routed through the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) in the department or school in which the student is pursuing the PhD.  

The applications are collated by each unit and include the following materials, submitted as a single pdf in the following order:

  1. The application form.
  2. A letter of support from the Thesis Advisor of no more than 2 pages that discusses the project’s significance to the field, progress to date, work to be done during the fellowship period, and the feasibility of timeline to completion. Applicants are strongly encouraged to share their application materials with the advisor when requesting the advisor letter.
  3. A one-page CV listing the applicant’s most significant contributions to research, teaching, and professional service.
  4. A brief letter of endorsement (no more than 2 pages) from the DGS or their designee in the case of a COI. This letter should report the number of semesters in which the nominee has held Teaching Assistantships, Research Assistantships, or Fellowships, as well as the number of semesters, if any, in which the student was not funded. In the case of more than one application from the same PhD program, a committee of at least three graduate faculty members and the DGS must rank the applications from that program in order of preference and describe the reasons for their ranking. The three-member committee should not include any faculty members serving as a thesis advisor for an applicant

All completed applications will be evaluated, discussed, and ranked by the Graduate Educational Policy Committee (GEPC), which is a scholarly audience of graduate faculty representatives from the arts, humanities, social sciences, and natural and mathematical sciences. Please write to a general scholarly audience.

The GEPC makes its final recommendation to the Associate Dean for Graduate Education who notifies Fellowship recipients, DGSs, and DEOs of the results by late February.


  • Brittany Anderson, Anthropology
  • Isabel Baldrich, School of Art and Art History
  • Francisca Diaz, Psychological and Brain Sciences
  • Dominic Dongilli, American Studies
  • Adriana Fernández I Quero, Mathematics
  • Katharine Gilbert, French and Italian
  • Sun Joo Lee, School of Music
  • Mengmeng Liu, Communication Studies
  • Briante S. L. Najev, Biology
  • Caleb Pennington, History

  • Myat Aung, Art and Art History
  • Joshua Coduto, Chemistry
  • Sean Gunderson, Physics and Astronomy
  • Tara Hicks, Biology
  • Rachel Larson, Geographical and Sustainability Studies
  • Kaitlyn Lindgren-Hansen, Religious Studies
  • Yujia Lyu, Sociology and Criminology
  • Ruvarashe Masocha, History
  • Megan Ronnenberg, Social Work
  • Ariane Thomas, Anthropology