CLAS Dissertation Writing Fellowships - Due October 19

To: Departmental Executive Officers
From: Christine Getz, Associate Dean for Graduate Education and Outreach and Engagement
RE: CLAS Dissertation Writing Fellowships - Due October 19

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Ten CLAS Dissertation Writing Fellowships ($13,750 each) will be awarded. 

Rationale: 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.

Timing of Award Payments: 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 $750 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 $13,750:  ($750 + (2*1,500 + (5*2,000))). Students planning to graduate in August of the award period should not apply for this award.

Award Process: Applications will be solicited in September 2021, with a due date of October 19, 2021. 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:

  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.
  3. A brief letter of endorsement (no more than 2 pages) from the DGS. In the case of more than one application from the same PhD program, the DGS ranks the applications from that program and describes the formal process by which the ranking was determined. If the applicant’s DGS is also their Thesis Advisor, all proposals from that unit should be reviewed by a committee of at least 3 Graduate Faculty members who do not have a COI.

All completed applications will be evaluated, discussed, and ranked by the Graduate Educational Policy Committee (GEPC), which is a general scholarly audience. Please keep this in mind when preparing applications.  The Associate Dean for Graduate Education will make the final decision and notify Fellowship recipients, DGSs, and DEOs of the results by the first week of December.

Eligibility: Applicants must have completed their comprehensive examination in order 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.  Nor may they hold an external dissertation fellowship concurrently.

In-Kind Contributions: CLAS units are required to contribute any tuition and 50% of fee payments for the recipient of the fellowship.

Restriction: One fellow per PhD program each year.

Penalty Clause: 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.

Progress Report: Awardees must submit a progress report of 250-500 words to on September 2 of the award period. The report must be signed by the advisor. Please use this attached form.

Submitting a CLAS Dissertation Writing Fellowship Application: Eligible students should complete this form 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.