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Opens: August 1 every year
Deadline: November 15 every year
The American Fellowship program began in 1888, a time when women were discouraged from pursuing an education. It is AAUW’s largest fellowship program and the oldest non-institutional source of graduate funding for women in the United States.
AAUW American Fellowships support women scholars who are pursuing full-time study to complete dissertations, conducting postdoctoral research full time, or preparing research for publication for eight consecutive weeks. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Candidates are evaluated based on 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: The purpose of the American Dissertation Fellowship is to offset a scholar’s living expenses while they complete their dissertation. Fellows must use the award 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 those researching gender issues are especially encouraged to apply.
Postdoctoral: The primary purpose of the American Postdoctoral Research Leave Fellowship is to increase the number of women in tenure-track faculty positions and to promote equity for women in higher education. This fellowship’s purpose is to assist the candidate in obtaining tenure and further promotions by enabling them to spend a year pursuing independent research. Tenured professors are not eligible. Open to applicants in all fields of study. Scholars engaged in science, technology, engineering, and math fields or those researching gender issues are especially encouraged to apply.
Publication: The Short-Term Research Publication Grants provide support to scholars to prepare research manuscripts for publication. AAUW’s funding priority is for applicants whose work supports the vision of AAUW: to break through educational and economic barriers so that all women have a fair chance. Time must be available for eight consecutive weeks of final writing and editing in response to issues raised in critical reviews. These fellowships can be for both tenure-track and part-time faculty, and to new and established researchers. The purpose is to assist the candidate in obtaining tenure and other promotions. Tenured professors are not eligible. Open to applicants in all fields of study. Scholars engaged in science, technology, engineering, and math fields or those researching gender issues are especially encouraged to apply.
Dissertation Fellowship: $25,000
Postdoctoral Research Leave Fellowship: $50,000
Short-Term Research Publication Grant: $8,000
August 1, 2023
November 15, 2023, by 11:59 p.m. Pacific Standard Time
Deadline for online submission of application, recommendations, and supporting documents.
April 15, 2024
Notification of decision emailed to all applicants. AAUW is not able to honor requests for earlier notification.
July 1, 2024–June 30, 2025
When a date falls on a weekend or holiday, the date will be observed on the following business day.
Applicants of all American Fellowships must meet the following criteria:
- 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.
- Fellowships are open to women, including people who identify as women, in all fields of study at an accredited institution of higher education. AAUW will make final decisions about what constitutes eligible institutions.
- Applicants may not apply for another AAUW national fellowship or grant in the same year.
- Distance learning/online programs: Fellowships support traditional classroom-based courses of study at colleges or universities. This fellowship program does not provide funding for distance learning or online 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. AAUW will accept applications from applicants who are temporarily studying remotely due to COVID-19 precautions at their institution.
- 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).
Applicants of Dissertation Fellowships must also meet the following criteria:
- 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, 2023. The doctoral degree/dissertation must be completed between April 1 and June 30, 2025. Degree conferral must be between April 1 and September 15, 2025.
- 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 for the American Dissertation Fellowship.
- The Dissertation Fellowship is intended for applicants who are completing their first doctoral degree.
- Applicants may apply up to two times for a fellowship for the same dissertation project.
Applicants of Postdoctoral Fellowships must also meet the following criteria:
- American Postdoctoral Research Leave Fellowship applicants must hold a Ph.D., Ed.D., D.B.A., M.F.A., J.D., M.D., D.M.D., D.V.M., D.S.W., or M.P.H. at the time of application.
- Tenured professors are not eligible.
Applicants of Publication Grants must also meet the following criteria:
- American Short-Term Research Publication Grant applicants must hold a Ph.D., Ed.D., D.B.A., M.F.A., J.D., M.D., D.M.D., D.V.M., D.S.W., or M.P.H. at the time of application.
- Tenured professors are not eligible.
- American Short-Term Research Publication Grants are for tenure-track, part-time, and temporary faculty, as well as new and established researchers at universities. Scholars with strong publication records should seek funding elsewhere. Applicants must have time available for eight consecutive weeks of final manuscript preparation. While many recipients, especially full-time faculty members, will use the awards during the summer, recipients may use the funds at any time during the award year. Applicants must demonstrate that the support will result in a reduction of their ongoing work-related activities during the eight-week period.
- American Short-Term Research Publication Grants are not for preliminary research. Activities undertaken during the grant period can include drafting, editing, or modifying manuscripts; replicating research components; responding to issues raised through critical review; and other initiatives to increase the likelihood of publication.
- The grantee must be listed as the sole author, senior author, first author, or an author of equivalent significance.
The panel meets once a year to review applications for funding. Awards are based on the criteria outlined here. The panel’s recommendations are subject to final approval by AAUW. Fellowships are awarded on a competitive basis according to funds available in a given fiscal year.
To ensure a fair review process, AAUW does not comment on the deliberations of the award panels. AAUW does not provide evaluations of applications. No provisions exist for reconsidering fellowship proposals.
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 will be in an underrepresented area of the country and/or type of university other than a top-level research institution during the award year.
- Financial need.
The primary criterion for fellowship awards is scholarly excellence. Applications are reviewed by distinguished scholars and should be prepared accordingly.
American Postdoctoral Research Leave Fellowship and American Short-Term Research Publication Grant: When comparing proposals of equal merit, the review panel will give special consideration to women holding junior academic appointments who are seeking research leave, women who have held the doctorate for at least three years, and women whose educational careers have been interrupted. Preference will also be given to projects that are not simply a revision of the applicant’s doctoral dissertation and applicants whose work supports the vision of AAUW: to break through educational and economic barriers so that all women have a fair chance.
American Fellowships funds are available for:
- Educational expenses (American Dissertation Fellowship and American Postdoctoral Research Leave Fellowship only).
- Living expenses.
- Dependent child care.
- Travel to professional meetings, conferences, or seminars that does not exceed 10 percent of the fellowship total (American Dissertation Fellowship and American Postdoctoral Research Leave Fellowship only).
Additionally, American Short-Term Publication Grant funds are available for:
- Clerical and technical support.
- Research assistance related to verification (not basic research).
- Office supplies, postage, copying and related expenses.
- Journal fees.
American Fellowships funds are not available for:
- Purchase of equipment.
- Indirect costs.
- Research assistants.
- Previous expenditures, deficits, or repayment of loans.
- Publication costs (except for American Short-Term Publication Grants).
- 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 (applicable to American Dissertation Fellowships only).
Additionally, American Short-Term Research Publication Grants funds are not available for:
- Salary increase.
- Doctoral dissertation research or writing.
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 their project full time during the funding period (July 1–June 30). No partial fellowships are awarded. Fellowships may not be deferred.
- American Postdoctoral Research Leave Fellows and American Short-Term Research Publication Grantees cannot pursue a degree during the award period.
- Any major changes in plans for the award 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.
- Stipends are made payable to fellows, not to institutions.
- The determination of whether there is a tax obligation associated with the receipt of an AAUW award is the sole responsibility of the applicant. Specific questions regarding income tax matters should be addressed with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, the applicant’s financial aid office or a personal tax adviser. AAUW cannot provide tax advice. AAUW is a nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) public charity founded for educational purposes.
Start the application process by clicking the Apply Now button below to access the application and create an account through our vendor site. Complete all required components in the following tabs.
- Recommendations, Documents & Review
- Recommendations: Standardized or form-letter recommendations are discouraged. AAUW does not accept references from dossier services such as Parment or Interfolio.
- Dissertation Fellowship applicants: Applicant must provide two recommendations from the applicant’s advisers, colleagues or others well acquainted with the applicant, their project and their teaching. One of the two recommendations must be from the applicant’s dissertation advisor.
- Postdoctoral Research Leave Fellowship applicants: Provide two recommendations from the applicant’s advisers, colleagues or others well acquainted with their project or work.
- Short-Term Research Publication Grant applicants: Provide two recommendations from the applicant’s advisers, colleagues or others well acquainted with the applicant, their project/work and their teaching.
- Dissertation Fellowship applicants: 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.
- Postdoctoral Research Leave Fellowship and Short-Term Publication Grant applicants: Proof of degree: Submit transcript(s)** or original letter showing proof of a Ph.D., Ed.D., M.F.A., J.D., M.D., D.M.D., D.V.M., D.B.A., D.S.W., or M.P.H. degree.
- Dissertation Fellowship applicants: Dissertation certification form: Submit the 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 an institutional officer. No substitutions for this form will be accepted.
- Project institution form:
- Dissertation applicants: If you will conduct your project at an institution other than your own during the fellowship year, submit the form 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. No substitutions for this form will be accepted. If you will conduct your project at your home institution, no project institution form is needed.
- Postdoctoral Research Leave Fellowship and Short-Term Publication Grant applicants: Submit the form that indicates you have approval from the proposed institution and the authority with whom the work will be done to conduct the research and have institutional affiliation, laboratory or office space, and library privileges during the fellowship year. No substitutions for this form will be accepted.
*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.
Meet a Recent American Fellow
Sarah Biscarra Dilley’s research is focused on matrifocal and gender-expansive governance from northern villages of yak titʸu titʸu yak tiłhini to Mokupuni o Hawai‘i, rooted in shared land and kinship-based epistemology. Her written, visual and material practice is grounded in collaboration across experiences, peoples and place, connecting extractive industries, absent treaties and enclosure to emphasize movement, embodied protocol and possibility. Her aspirations are toward cultural resurgence and the return of land to her families’ stewardship.
2010–11 American Fellow and marine biologist, policy expert and conservation strategist. She is the founder and CEO of Ocean Collectiv and founder of Urban Ocean Lab.
2001-02 AAUW American Fellow and Maya Angelou Presidential Chair at Wake Forest University, a columnist for the Nation, editor-at-large for ZORA, author of Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America, and former host of The Melissa Harris-Perry Show on MSNBC.
1997-98 AAUW American Fellow and staff scientist with NASA who served as deputy project scientist for NASA’s New Horizons Mission, the historic project responsible for capturing unprecedented photos of Pluto.