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 $90 million to upwards of 11,000 fellows and grantees since awarding its first fellowship to Ida Street, a pioneer in the field of early American Indian history.
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.
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.
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 equality for women in higher education. Tenured professors are not eligible.
Summer/Short-Term Research Publication Grants provide funds for women college and university faculty and independent researchers 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.
Many of our American Fellows have gone on to do amazing things:
Michelle Segar (2005–06) is an associate director at the University of Michigan’s Sport, Health, and Activity Research and Policy Center for Women and Girls and a behavior-change expert for notable sources like the New York Times, Prevention, and Women’s Health.
Melissa Harris-Perry (2001–02) is host of The Melissa Harris-Perry Show on MSNBC, a professor at Tulane University, and a columnist for The Nation.
Late critical essayist, short story writer, and novelist Susan Sontag (1957–58) earned a National Book Award for her work and was also a lifelong human rights activist.
The late Judith Resnick (1975–76) used her fellowship to complete a dissertation on chemical engineering and went on to become a Challenger astronaut.
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.