Dissertation-Year Fellowship Eligibility

Dissertation-year fellowships are designed to help students complete the writing of their dissertation in the final year of graduate study. A number of dissertation-year fellowships are available through a competition sponsored by the Humanities Division. Ph.D. students in Philosophy become eligible for these divisional fellowships at the beginning of their sixth year, once their guaranteed funding has expired. Application materials must be fully submitted to the Departmental Co-ordinator during the Winter Quarter of the previous year, in accordance with the terms and deadlines laid down by the Department for the application procedure. The applications are evaluated by the Graduate Program Committee, and on the basis of the Committee’s report, the Department nominates its candidates for dissertation-year fellowships at the end of the Winter Quarter. The number of nominated candidates depends upon the number of applicants who fully meet the conditions of eligibility. Final awards are announced in the middle of the Spring Quarter.

There are six divisional dissertation-year fellowships: Franke, Harper, Whiting, Mellon Foundation, Provost's, and Mellon Humanities -- each of which has slightly different conditions of eligibility. The two fundamental conditions of eligibility that pertain to all of the divisional dissertation-year fellowship are the following: (1) students must have been formally admitted to candidacy at the time of nomination and have a completed and approved chapter of their dissertation, and (2) in the judgment of the members of their dissertation committee, they must be able to finish their dissertation within 18 months of the time that the award goes into effect. The Philosophy Department is strict about enforcing this second condition of eligibility. Students who have conformed to the department’s time expectations (Summary of Time Expectations) are most likely to have met this condition.

No divisional fellowships can be held by students who are beyond the 8th year of study. (For further details and other conditions of eligibility that pertain differentially to these various fellowships, and external fellowships, visit the Divisional webpage here and Philosophy wiki here).

Divisional fellowships are awarded on a competitive basis to students across the Division of the Humanities. Historically, however, applicants nominated by the Department of Philosophy have been extremely successful in winning these. In addition to the divisional dissertation-year fellowships, the Department of Philosophy itself controls funds to award some additional departmental dissertation-year fellowships to applicants it deems deserving who fail to secure a dissertation-year fellowship through the divisional competition. The aim of the Philosophy Department is to try to make sure that every student who, during the first five years of their graduate career, has made satisfactory progress through the Ph.D. program in conformity with departmental time expectations, will receive a full sixth year of funding – again, subject to the condition that, in the judgment of the members of their dissertation committee, they will be able to finish their dissertation within 18 months of the time that the award goes into effect. As in the case of the Divisional competition, the department takes this condition very seriously. Furthermore, the availability and level of this funding is subject to budgetary constraints and limits that are beyond the department’s control.

Unlike the guaranteed funding for the first five years in the program, dissertation-year funding for the sixth year is only available to students who meet, or come close to meeting, the Department's expectations as set forth in the Summary of Time Expectations.

Students who are unable to secure sixth-year funding must support themselves during their sixth year in the program through teaching or other means. (For more information about teaching opportunities, click here). Such students, however, assuming they have progressed adequately to meet the conditions of eligibility by the Winter Quarter, may apply during their sixth year for dissertation-year fellowship funding for their seventh year.

The department will also, under exceptional circumstances, consider more advanced students, who are no longer eligible for the Divisional dissertation year fellowship competition, for departmental dissertation year fellowship support. Such students must be nominated by their dissertation director (to the DGS and chair) by the beginning of 10th week of Autumn quarter. The director must certify that the student meets the fundamental conditions of eligibility above. The DGS will then solicit application materials from the nominated candidates. These materials will be read along with the application materials from the applicants for Divisional fellowships, and the Graduate Program Committee will include a recommendation and ranking concerning possible funding of these nominated students along with its recommendation and ranking of the applicants for Divisional fellowships. The final decision as to whether any more advanced students can be funded, and if so which ones, will be made after the Divisional fellowship decisions are announced. The Department's first commitment is to provide DYFs to nominated students who fail to win in the Divisional competition, and only subsequently to more advanced students, based on availability of remaining funds, and taking account of anticipated future needs. We do not expect to award multiple DYFs to advanced students in a typical year.

For the most recent departmental dissertation-year fellowship application guidelines click here.

In addition to the dissertation-year fellowships, there is a separate Divisional competition for the Hanna Holborn Gray Fellowship, which supports students for two years, supplanting the normal funding for the 5th year and providing a 6th year of support. Applicants to the Hanna Holborn Gray Fellowship do not have to be admitted to candidacy at the time of nomination; however, admission to candidacy is a requirement to start the award. To hold the award, a nominee must be admitted to candidacy by the end of Summer Quarter of the fourth year. For more information on the Hanna Holborn Gray Fellowship, click here.