American Fellowships

AAUW American Fellowships support women scholars who are completing dissertations, planning research leave from accredited institutions, or preparing research for publication. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Candidates are evaluated on the basis of scholarly excellence; quality and originality of project design; and active commitment to helping women and girls through service in their communities, professions, or fields of research.

Celebrate 130 years of American Fellows

Congratulations to AAUW’s 2019–20 fellowships and grants awardees!

American Fellowships

Dissertation Fellowships

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Postdoctoral Research Leave Fellowships

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Short-Term Research Publication Grants

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Applications are open August 1–November 1

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American Dissertation Fellowships

Dissertation Fellowships offset a scholar’s living expenses while she completes her dissertation. The fellowship must be used for the final year of writing the dissertation. Applicants must have completed all course work, passed all preliminary examinations, and received approval for their research proposals or plans by the preceding November. Students holding fellowships for writing a dissertation in the year prior to the AAUW fellowships year are not eligible. Open to applicants in all fields of study. Scholars engaged in science, technology, engineering, and math fields or researching gender issues are especially encouraged to apply.

American Postdoctoral Research Leave Fellowships

Postdoctoral Research Leave Fellowships are designed to assist scholars in obtaining tenure and other promotions by enabling them to spend a year pursuing independent research. The primary purpose of the fellowship is to increase the number of women in tenure-track faculty positions and to promote equity for women in higher education. Tenured professors are not eligible.

American Short-Term Research Publication Grants

Short-Term Research Publication Grants provide funds for women college and university faculty to prepare research for publication. Time must be available for eight consecutive weeks of final writing and editing in response to issues raised in critical reviews. These grants can be awarded to both tenure-track and part-time faculty, and new and established researchers. The grants are designed to assist the candidate in obtaining tenure and other promotions. Tenured professors are not eligible.


About the Program

The oldest and largest of AAUW’s fellowships and grant programs, the American Fellowships program began in 1888, a time when women were discouraged from pursuing an education. Now one of the largest sources of funding for graduate education for women, AAUW has provided more than $115 million to upwards of 13,000 fellows and grantees since awarding its first fellowship to Ida Street, a pioneer in the field of early American Indian history.


Meet Our Alumnae: American Fellowships

Many of our American Fellows have gone on to do amazing things:

Claudia Cervantes-Soon

Claudia Cervantes-Soon (2015–16) is an assistant professor at the University of Texas at Austin. Her book, Juarez Girls Rising: Transformative Education in Times of Dystopia, is an ethnographic study of high-school women in one of the most marginalized areas of the city. It highlights how education helps young women develop their own identity, agency, and activism.


Melissa Harris-Perry

Melissa Harris-Perry (2001–02) is a professor at Tulane University, a columnist for the Nation, author of Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America, and former host of The Melissa Harris-Perry Show on MSNBC.

Watch Melissa Harris Perry talk about the importance of her AAUW Fellowship.

Kimberly Ennico-Smith

Kimberly Ennico-Smith (1997–98) is a staff scientist with NASA working in Space Science and Astrophysics at the Ames research center in California. She served as deputy project scientist for NASA’s New Horizons Mission, the historic project responsible for capturing unprecedented photos of Pluto.

Vanzetta Penn McPherson

Vanezetta Penn McPherson (1973–74) grew up in the South, during a time that “produced some of the most significant social innovations.” Influenced by civil rights leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Rev. Ralph David Abernathy, Penn McPherson used her fellowship to study at Columbia Law School. She went on to fight for the rights of minorities and women in her private practice and as a United States magistrate judge for the Middle District of Alabama until she retired in 2006. In what the HistoryMakers, an oral archive of African American history, calls “one of [her] most notable rulings,” McPherson ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in a promotion discrimination case brought by women teaching in Alabama colleges.

And more

Several American Fellows served as college or university presidents, including Rhoda M. Dorsey (1953–54) at Goucher College, Hanna Holborn Gray (1954–55) at the University of Chicago, Mary Maples Dunn (1957–58) at Smith College, and Nannerl O. Keohane (1966–67) at Duke University.