American Fellowships Dissertation Fellowships Application Instructions
AAUW’s American Fellowships program has been in existence since 1888, making it the oldest noninstitutional source of graduate funding for women in the United States. The program provides fellowships for women pursuing full-time study to complete dissertations, conducting postdoctoral research full time, or preparing research for publication for eight consecutive weeks.
Dissertation Fellowships Purpose
The purpose of the Dissertation Fellowship is to offset a scholar’s living expenses while she completes her dissertation.
Applications are open August 1–November 1
Award Amount: $20,000
November 1, 2019, by 11:59 p.m. Central Time
Deadline for online submission of application, recommendations, and supporting documents
April 15, 2020
Notification of decision emailed to all applicants. AAUW is not able to honor requests for earlier notification.
July 1, 2020–June 30, 2021
When a deadline or notification date falls on a weekend, the date will be observed on the following business day.
- American Fellowships are not open to previous recipients of any AAUW national fellowship or grant (not including branch or local awards or Community Action Grants). Members of the AAUW Board of Directors, committees, panels, task forces, and staff, including current interns, are not eligible to apply for AAUW’s fellowships and grants. A person holding a current award is eligible for election or appointment to boards, committees, panels, and task forces.
- American Fellowship candidates must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
- American Fellowships are open to women scholars in all fields of study.
- The American Dissertation Fellowship must be used for the final year of writing the dissertation. Applicants must have completed all coursework, passed all preliminary exams, and had the dissertation research proposal or plan approved by November 1, 2019. The doctoral degree/dissertation must be completed between April 1 and June 30, 2021. Degree conferral must be between April 1 and September 15, 2021.
- Dissertation Fellows are not required to study in the U.S.
- Students already holding a fellowship or grant for the purpose of supporting their final year of writing or completing the dissertation the year before the fellowship year are not eligible to apply.
- Applicants may apply up to two times for a fellowship for the same dissertation project.
- The fellowship is intended for applicants who are completing their first doctoral degree.
- Distance learning/online programs: American Fellowships support traditional classroom-based courses of study. This fellowship program does not provide funding for distance learning programs or for degrees heavily dependent on distance learning components. Final decisions about what constitutes distance learning under these fellowships will be made by AAUW.
Criteria for Selection and Application Review
The American Fellowships panel meets once a year to review applications for funding. Awards are based on the selection criteria outlined here. The panel’s recommendations are subject to final approval by the AAUW Board of Directors. Fellowships are awarded on a competitive basis according to funds available in a given fiscal year.
To ensure a fair and objective review process, AAUW does to comment on the deliberations of its award panels. No provisions exist for reconsidering fellowship proposals after the board has acted. AAUW does not provide evaluations of successful or unsuccessful applications.
Applications and supporting documents become the sole property of AAUW and will not be returned or held for another year.
In selecting fellowship recipients, the following criteria will be considered:
- Applicant’s scholarly excellence
- Quality of project design
- Originality of project
- Scholarly significance of project to the discipline
- Feasibility of project and proposed schedule
- Qualifications of applicant
- Applicant’s commitment to women’s issues in the profession/community
- Applicant’s mentoring of other women
- Applicant’s teaching experience
- Potential of applicant to make a significant contribution to the field
- Applicant is from an underrepresented racial/ethnic background
- Applicant is from an underrepresented area of the country and/or type of university other than a top-level research institution
- Financial Need
The primary criterion for fellowship awards is scholarly excellence. Applications are reviewed by distinguished scholars and should be prepared accordingly.
American Dissertation Fellowships funds are available for
- Educational expenses
- Living expenses
- Dependent child care
- Travel to professional meetings, conferences, or seminars, as long as it does not exceed 10 percent of the fellowship
American Dissertation Fellowships funds are not available for
- Purchase of equipment
- Indirect costs
- Research assistants
- Previous expenditures, deficits, or repayment of loans
- Publication costs
- Institutional (overhead) costs
- Tuition for dependent’s education
- Tuition for coursework that is in addition to credits required for maintaining full-time status while completing a dissertation
- Extended field research
AAUW regards the acceptance of a fellowship as a contract requiring fulfillment of the following terms:
- All American Fellowship recipients are required to sign a contract as acceptance of the award. Retain these instructions as they will become part of the fellowship contract if the applicant is awarded a fellowship.
- An AAUW American Fellow is expected to pursue her project full time during the funding period (July 1–June 30). No partial fellowships are awarded. Fellowships may not be deferred.
- Fellows may work up to 15 hours per week, or teach one section of one course per semester or term, with prior written approval from AAUW.
- The AAUW American Fellowships stipend must be larger than any other single award or remunerative position received during the fellowship year and must be acknowledged as the major award. Acceptance of concurrent funds of a lesser amount than the AAUW award is permitted but requires prior written approval from AAUW. Dissertation fellows cannot hold concurrent fellowships or grants for the purpose of supporting their final year of writing or completing the dissertation.
- Any major changes in plans for the fellowship year must have prior written approval from AAUW.
- AAUW must be notified promptly of any change in the status of an application resulting from acceptance of another award.
- Stipend checks are made payable to fellows, not to institutions.
- Fellows are responsible for reporting the fellowship as income to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.
Start the application process by clicking on the link to access the application and create an account through our vendor site. Complete all required components in the following tabs.
- Applicants must pass the eligibility quiz to be reviewed by the selection panel.
- Provide three recommenders who are the applicant’s advisers, colleagues, or others well acquainted with her, her project/work, and her teaching. One of the three recommendations must be from the applicant’s dissertation director. Standardized or form letter recommendations are discouraged. AAUW does not accept references from dossier services.
- Transcripts**: Submit transcripts for all graduate work and courses listed in the application. Transcripts must show grades for coursework transferred in. If the transcript shows transfer courses and credits without grades, a transcript from the institution where the courses were taken is required. If you studied at an institution that does not require coursework or provide transcripts, an institutional letter stating that is required.
- Institution certification form: Submit a form verifying the completion of all required coursework and qualifying examinations for the doctorate and approval of your dissertation research proposal (plan of research) signed by the department chair, graduate dean, or dissertation director. No substitutions for this form will be accepted.
- Project institution letter: If you will conduct your project at an institution other than your own during the fellowship year, submit a letter from the institution that indicates you have approval from the institution and the authority with whom the work will be done to conduct the research, laboratory or office space, and library privileges during the fellowship year.
*A certified English translation is required for all components provided in a foreign language. Translations must bear a mark of certification or official signature that the translation is true and complete.
** All transcripts provided must include the applicant’s full name, the school’s name, all courses, and all grades, as well as any other information requested in in the application instructions.
Tips for Proposal Preparation
- Read and follow all guidelines.
Many proposals are disqualified each year because applicants omit a key step in the guidelines or ignore instructions. If you are unsure whether you are qualified to apply, email firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
- Proofread all work thoroughly.
Proposals that are unclear or contain numerous mistakes distract the reviewer from focusing on the content and reflect poorly on your ability to produce a high-quality product. Check to be sure that sentences are complete, clear, and grammatically correct.
- Have someone else read the completed proposal.
An objective reader can often identify areas that need more explanation and may find errors you have overlooked.
- Be concise.
Reviewers must read dozens of proposals. Proposals that are clear and concise are more compelling.