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Dissertation Fellowship Program

Call for Applications in conjunction with the 2018/19 Humanities Initiative Dissertation Release Awards

The Africana Research Center (ARC) is pleased to announce the 2018-19 ARC Dissertation Fellow Awards offered in conjunction with the College of the Liberal Arts’ Humanities Initiative Dissertation Release Awards. These combined awards are for Humanities graduate students who are working on African Diaspora-related topics in their dissertations. The Humanities Initiative Dissertation Release Program allows the College, in conjunction with departments, to provide a one-semester release from teaching or related service. Students on the Humanities Initiative Dissertation Release are appointed on an assistantship and required to be in residence during the semester of the award. The ARC augments the Humanities Initiative Dissertation Release Awards by providing a $1,000 grant to support research and related activities. Awardees will become ARC Dissertation Fellows, and they may engage with ARC Postdoctoral Fellows in professional development workshops.  ARC Dissertation Fellows are encouraged to participate in any other ARC-sponsored events that are of use or interest to them.  Up to two fellows may be named per academic year, on a competitive basis, to support students' dissertation research. 


To be eligible for an ARC Fellow Award, applicants must meet the following Humanities Dissertation Release Program criteria:

  1. Students must be enrolled in a CLA department or program devoted to scholarship in the humanities.
  2. Students must be ABD and supported on assistantship during the semester of the release.
  3. Students must receive a full one-term release from teaching and other duties from their home department/program so they can devote themselves full time to the dissertation while in residence at University Park. (With permission of their Graduate Director, they may travel for the sake of scholarly research or meetings.)
  4. Students may not hold any other academic appointment during semester on the release.
  5. Students must have an approved dissertation proposal before the beginning the semester of their release.

Please note: Students may apply to be a fellow in more than one center or institute; however, applicants will not be awarded affiliation with more than one program.

For complete College of the Liberal Arts requirements, please visit: Humanities Initiative Dissertation Release / Center & Institute Fellowship Program

Application Procedure

Applications should include:

  • A completed information summary form
  • Verification in the form of a memo from the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) indicating eligibility for the Humanities Initiative Dissertation Release in the forthcoming academic year
  • A curriculum vitae (no more than three pages)
  • A cover letter that includes: (a) interest in a Fall or Spring release; (b) a brief description of the dissertation project and its connection with the focus of the center or institute to which the student is applying; (c) status of the dissertation proposal; (d) a timetable for completing the dissertation, and (e)  interest in participating in the activities of the Center while engaged as a Fellow

Applicants should send one copy of application materials, either pdf or hard copy, to Keshia Kennelley at or 105 Sparks Building (phone: 814-865-1439). The deadline for receipt of applications is Monday, April 2, 2018, at 5pm.

Selections will be made by the ARC Director.  Those not selected for an ARC Fellowship, if otherwise eligible, will always be granted a department dissertation award.

Notifications will be made by May 15, 2018.

Note:  Because we are part of the College of Liberal Arts and the Humanities umbrella, we only consider candidates outside that umbrella if we fail to receive any viable Humanities candidates.  Please check back after the deadline if you are outside of the College of the Liberal Arts and are interested in applying for a fellowship.  Applicants must be ABD and already receiving dissertation support through their College, which this award would supplement. 

View our current and past dissertation fellows here.