Dissertation Fellowships

The purpose of the American Dissertation Fellowship is to 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 those researching gender issues are especially encouraged to apply.

Applications are open August 1–November 1.

For questions or technical support, please email aauw@applyists.com.

$20,000

November 1, 2020, by 11:59 p.m. Central Time
Deadline for online submission of application, recommendations, and supporting documents

April 15, 2021
Notification of decision emailed to all applicants. AAUW is not able to honor requests for earlier notification.

July 1, 2021–June 30, 2022
Fellowship year

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 scholars who identify as women 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, 2020. The doctoral degree/dissertation must be completed between April 1 and June 30, 2022. Degree conferral must be between April 1 and September 15, 2022.
  • 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: 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.

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 review process, AAUW does not 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 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 20 hours per week, or teach 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.
  • Stipends 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.

  • Eligibility.

Applicants must pass the eligibility quiz to be reviewed by the selection panel.

  • Applicant.
  • Recommendations.

Applicant must provide three recommendations from the applicant’s advisers, colleagues or others well acquainted with her, her project and her teaching. One of the three recommendations must be from the applicant’s dissertation advisor. Standardized or form-letter recommendations are discouraged. AAUW does not accept references from dossier services.

  • Academics.
  • CV/Résumé.
  • Narratives.
  • Budget.
  • Uploads.
    • 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.
    • 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: 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.

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.

*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.