UMass Boston

Graduate Research Funds

On this page:

  • Doctoral Dissertation Research Grant Program
  • Institute for Asian American Studies Research Fellows Program at UMass Boston
  • Funding Opportunities Available from the Graduate Student Assembly at UMass Boston
  • Apply for External Funds to Support Work on a Doctoral Dissertation
  • NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program
  • Transdisciplinary Dissertation Proposal Development Program

Doctoral Dissertation Research Grant Program

Eligibility: Doctoral Students in good academic standing whose dissertation proposals have been formally approved by their dissertation committees (please include a copy of the applicant’s Stage 3 form) or formal approval is imminent as indicated in letter of support from the chair of the dissertation committee. A UMass Boston doctoral student may receive only one doctoral dissertation grant at the university.

Application deadline: The deadline for the Spring 2024 cycle is Monday, February 26, 2024 at 5 p.m. Awards will be announced by mid-March 2024.

Maximum Award: $2,000, although subject to slight variation dependent on number of proposals and such.

Doctoral dissertation research grant cover sheet

Applications should be sent as a single .pdf file and sent to

General Information

These grants provide support for dissertation research activities of doctoral students and are made possible from funds recovered from external grants. A committee of University faculty drawn from various disciplines and program areas reviews all applications and makes recommendations to the Vice Provost for Research and Strategic Initiatives & the Associate Vice Provost for Graduate Studies for the allocation of these grant funds. Allocations for grants are based on the significance of the research, the merits of the research design, and the trajectory of the PhD student.

Nature of the Doctoral Dissertation Research Grant Program

The total allocation for these awards is $30,000 for the Spring 2024 cycle of applications, and it is expected each award will equal to ~$2,000, depending on the number and quality of applications received this cycle. Funds can be spent on technical assistance and clerical support beyond that normally available through the student’s department or program, research supplies, travel expenses for data collection, transcription costs, acquisition of specialized datasets, and communications. The Doctoral Dissertation Research Grant Program will not fund student’s salaries and research equipment. Costs for presenting the research results or accepting awards at regional, national, and international conferences will also not be considered.

What to Submit

In order to expedite review of proposals, students are required to submit proposals in the following format. Please note that only one copy of the proposal is required.

The Doctoral Dissertation Research Grant Application includes:

  1. Cover sheet with:
    • Student and dissertation information
    • A 50 word lay (targeted for non-specialists) abstract
    • Signatures of the dissertation committee chairperson and graduate program director or department chairperson.
  1. A 5 page (double-spaced) project narrative describing the doctoral dissertation research. The project narrative is the core of the proposal. Members of the review committee will make their recommendations based on their understanding of your research as described in this narrative. It is to the student’s advantage to provide background information in enough detail to convey why the research is significant, what will be accomplished, the schedule of activities, and how the requested funding will enhance the research. Applicants should be as clear as possible, remembering that the review committee will be made up of faculty members from various disciplines who will not all have expertise in the subject matter of the proposal. Within the 5 double spaced pages the following should be addressed:
    • Aims & Significance of the proposed research
    • Brief background
    • Project goals and objectives with a timeline for accomplishment
    • Research design, methodology, sample, procedure, and data analyses

Literature citations should be included on a separate page.

  1. Letter of recommendation from the chair of the doctoral dissertation committee. The letter should address the strengths/weaknesses of the applicant, the use of the funds from this award coupled to overall project support available to complete the study, and the degree to which the applicant independently developed the project.
  1. Additional letters of support can be included, but only if necessary, with examples including commitment from other organizations, departments, agencies or units that may be collaborating in the proposed project, as well as other potential secured funding sources.
  1. A copy of the applicant’s current CV.

All parts of the application need to be assembled in the following order: project narrative, letter(s), and CV and submitted to as single pdf document.

For additional information, please contact


Institute for Asian American Studies Research Fellows Program at UMass Boston

The Institute for Asian American Studies (IAAS) established a Research Fellows Program in 1994 which provides small grants funding to faculty, graduate students, and other researchers who conduct a study on Asian American issues. Each Fellow is required to present his or her research at a public forum at UMass Boston, and to submit a manuscript for publishing as an Occasional Paper by the IAAS.

Funding Opportunities Available from the Graduate Student Assembly at UMass Boston

The Graduate Student Assembly (GSA) provides the following funding opportunities for graduate students.

  • Dr. Robert W. Spayne Research Grant (for work leading to a master's thesis or capstone project)
  • Craig R. Bollinger Memorial Research Grant (for work leading to a doctoral dissertation)
  • Professional Development Grants (to provide opportunities to attend academic conferences)
  • Chancellor's Distinguished Dissertation and Thesis Awards

For information (including deadlines) on how to apply for these grants and awards, please visit the GSA's website.

Apply for External Funds to Support Work on a Doctoral Dissertation

Dozens of federal, state, and private sponsors provide varying levels of support to doctoral students in a wide variety of disciplines who are about to begin work on or are working on their dissertations. The application process as well as the terms and conditions you are required to meet often vary from sponsor to sponsor. In all cases, before you begin the application process contact and have a staff member in the UMass Boston Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) review the sponsor's request for proposals, usually referred to as the RFP, to ensure that you are indeed eligible to submit an application. Call 617.287.5370, provide your name, name of your doctoral program, and ask to speak with the ORSP preaward staff member assigned to assist your program's college or school.

One excellent resource for all grantseekers, new or experienced, for learning about and staying abreast of developments in the grantmaking world is the website Miner and Associates, Inc.: Proven Solutions for Successful Grantseekers. In addition to the wealth of free, useful information available on the site, Miner and Associates, Inc. provide a "free electronic newsletter that attempts to inform -- and motivate -- as you close the financial gap between your needs and your resources. Our topics are driven by whatever is current at the moment in the world of grants.  Funding programs and priorities change. Grantmaker expectations increase, particularly in terms of evaluation and accountability. New data sources for grant proposals appear and disappear. And when it comes to persuasive proposal writing strategies, one is always a lifetime learner."

In addition to those sponsors, or grantmakers, listed below, the ORSP also provides all UMass Boston faculty, staff, and students with free access to a many funding databases. For details, please visit the ORSP Funding Opportunities webpage.

AAUW American Fellowships

Supports women doctoral candidates completing dissertations and scholars seeking funds for postdoctoral research leave or for preparing completed research for publication. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. One-year postdoctoral research leave fellowships, dissertation fellowships, and summer/short-term research publication grants are offered.

American Anthropological Association AAA Minority Dissertation Fellowship

Applicants must be members of a historically underrepresented ethnic minority group, including, but not limited to, African Americans, Alaskan Natives, American Indians or Native Americans, Asian Americans, Latino/as, Chicano/as, and Pacific Islanders; have a record of outstanding academic achievement; be enrolled in a full-time academic program leading to a doctoral degree in anthropology at the time of application; be admitted to degree candidacy before the dissertation fellowship is awarded; be members of the AAA at least one month prior to submitting materials for the AAA Minority Dissertation Fellowship Program; and have had their dissertation proposals approved by their dissertation committees prior to application. The recipient of the fellowship must be in need of a fellowship to complete the dissertation. Abstract: The American Anthropological Association offers the AAA Minority Dissertation Fellowship to minority doctoral candidates in anthropology who require financial assistance to complete the write-up phase of the dissertation. The dissertation research must be in an area of anthropological research. Dissertation topics in all areas of the discipline are welcome.

American Educational Research Association (AERA) Dissertation Grants Program

Proposals for Dissertation Grants will be reviewed three times a year, with funding decisions made within a month of the review date. Eligibility: Applicants must be advanced doctoral students. Underrepresented minority researchers are strongly encouraged to apply. Abstract: With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) of the Institute of Education Sciences, the American Educational Research Association Grants Program announces its Dissertation Grants Program. The program's goals are (1) to stimulate research on U.S. education policy- and practice-related issues using NSF and NCES data sets; (2) to improve the educational research community's first-hand knowledge of the range of data available at the two agencies and how to use them; and (3) to increase the number of educational researchers using the data sets. The AERA invites education policy- and practice-related dissertation proposals using NCES, NSF, and other national data bases. Dissertation Grants are intended to support advanced doctoral students while writing the doctoral dissertation. Applications are encouraged from a variety of disciplines, such as but not limited to, education, sociology, economics, psychology, demography, statistics, and psychometrics. Researchers must include the analysis of data from at least one NSF or NCES data set in the dissertation. Additional large-scale nationally representative data sets may be used in conjunction with the obligatory NSF or NCES data set. If international data sets are used, the study must include U.S. education.

American Jewish Archives: Jacob Rader Marcus Center Fellowship Program

Applicants must be conducting serious research in some area relating to the history of North American Jewry. Typically, Marcus Center Fellowships will be awarded to postdoctoral candidates, PhD candidates who are completing dissertations, and senior or independent scholars. Abstract: The annual Fellowship Program of the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives (AJA) provides recipients with month-long fellowships for research and writing at the Center, located on the Cincinnati campus of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Marcus Center Fellows are teachers, students, scholars, and practitioners who, both individually and as a group, come to the AJA to study some aspect of the American Jewish past. The research proposal must detail the precise nature of the applicant's research interests. The proposal must demonstrate clearly how the resources and holdings of the AJA are vital to the applicant's research.

American Musicological Society Howard Mayer Brown Fellowship

Candidates normally should be citizens or permanent residents of the United States or Canada who are members of historically underrepresented minority groups. Students are eligible who have completed at least one year of graduate work, intend to pursue a PhD, and are in good standing at their home institution. Applications may come directly from the student, or the student may be nominated by a faculty member of the institution at which the student is enrolled or from a member of the AMS at another institution. Citizenship: Canada; United States. Abstract: The American Musicological Society's Howard Mayer Brown Fellowship is intended to increase the presence of minority scholars and teachers in musicology. The fellowship will support one year of graduate work for a student at a North American university who is a member of a group historically underrepresented in the discipline of musicology. The fellowship is not restricted to dissertation work.

American Musicological Society Travel Grants for European Research

Applicants must be students attending North American universities who have completed all requirements except the dissertation for the PhD in any field of musical scholarship and who need to undertake research in Europe toward the dissertation. Abstract: The American Musicological Society offers travel grants from the Eugene K. Wolf Travel Fund for European Research to encourage and assist PhD candidates in all fields of musical scholarship to travel to Europe to carry out the necessary work for their dissertation on a topic in European music.

American Philosophical Society Lewis and Clark Fund for Exploration and Field Research

Grants will be available to doctoral students; master's degree candidates are not eligible. Applicants who have received Lewis and Clark Fund grants may reapply after an interval of two years. The competition is open to U.S. residents wishing to carry out research anywhere in the world. Foreign applicants must either be based at a U.S. institution or plan to carry out their work in the United States. Student applicants should ask their academic advisor to write one of the two letters of recommendation, specifying the student's qualifications to carry out the proposed work and the educational content of the trip. Abstract: The American Philosophical Society's (APS) Lewis and Clark Fund encourages exploratory field studies for the collection of specimens and data and to provide the imaginative stimulus that accompanies direct observation. Applications are invited from disciplines with a large dependence on field studies, such as archeology, anthropology, biology, ecology, geography, geology, linguistics, and paleontology, but grants will not be restricted to these fields. Each grantee will submit a brief report on his or her trip for archiving in the APS Library.

American Philosophical Society John Hope Franklin Dissertation Fellowship

Candidates must have completed all course work and examinations preliminary to the doctoral dissertation. Abstract: The American Philosophical Society's (APS) John Hope Franklin Dissertation Fellowship is designed to support an outstanding doctoral student at an American university who is conducting dissertation research. The objective of the John Hope Franklin Dissertation Fellowship is to help remedy the serious shortage of faculty of color in core fields in the arts and sciences, by supporting the PhD projects of minority students of great promise (particularly African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, and Native Americans) as well as other talented students who have a demonstrated commitment to eradicating racial disparities and enlarging minority representation in academia. The John Hope Franklin Fellow is expected to spend a minimum of three months in residence at the APS Library in Philadelphia, with full encouragement to conduct research at other libraries and archives in and around the city. Therefore, all applicants should be pursuing dissertation topics in which the holdings of the APS Library are especially strong, such as quantum mechanics, nuclear physics, computer development, the history of genetics and eugenics, the history of medicine, Early American political and cultural history, natural history in the 18th and 19th centuries, the development of cultural anthropology, or American Indian linguistics and culture.

American Sociological Association Minority Fellowship Program

Applicants must be members of one of the following underrepresented minority groups in the U.S.: Blacks/African Americans, Hispanics and Latinos/as, Asians or Pacific Islanders, or American Indians or Alaskan Natives. Applicants must be U.S. citizens, noncitizen nationals of the U.S., or have been lawfully admitted to the U.S. for permanent residence and have in their possession an Alien Registration Card. The fellowship program is primarily, but not solely, designed for minority students sufficiently advanced in their PhD program to demonstrate their commitment to a research career focusing on topics relevant to NIMH and NIDA research. Applicants for the MFP General Fellowship may be in earlier stages in their graduate careers, but must be accepted into a PhD program in sociology at the time the MFP Fellowship begins. Citizenship: U.S. citizens are eligible. Abstract: Through its Minority Fellowship Program, the American Sociological Association supports the development and training of sociologists of color in mental health and drug abuse research; this fellowship is open to graduate students pursuing a PhD in any area of sociology.

William Anderson Award

For the best doctoral dissertation in the field of state and local politics, federalism, or intergovernmental relations.

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation/ACLS Early Career Fellowships

The first part of this program, the Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships, makes possible a year of supported research and writing, to help students complete their dissertation. The second part of the program, Recent Doctoral Recipients Fellowships, provides support for a year following the completion of the doctorate for scholars to advance their research. A grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation supports this program.

American Psychological Association Dissertation Research Awards

The Science Directorate of the American Psychological Association sponsors an annual competition for dissertation research funding. The purpose of the Dissertation Research Award program is to assist science-oriented doctoral students of psychology with research costs. In 2003, the Science Directorate will grant this $1,000 award to approximately 50 students whose dissertation research reflects excellence in scientific psychology.

APF/Todd E. Husted Memorial Award

This is a single award in the amount of $1,000 for the dissertation research that indicates the most potential to contribute toward the development and improvement of mental illness services for those with severe and persistent mental illness. Applicants for the Husted Award must meet the same eligibility requirements as the Dissertation Research Awards.

Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange Dissertation Fellowships for Republic of China Students Abroad

Doctoral candidates who are Republic of China (ROC) citizens and who are completing the last stage of their PhD research at an accredited university in the American Region (the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America, or South America) may apply. Only students who have graduated from an accredited university or college in the ROC, and who do not have foreign permanent residence status or citizenship, are eligible to apply. Grants are available only to doctoral candidates who are neither employed nor receiving grants from other sources. Citizenship: China. Abstract: The Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange provides grants for ROC students abroad to help finance the completion of dissertations in the humanities and social sciences.

DOE Computational Science Graduate Fellowship

Scientists who may reside in science, mathematics, engineering or computer science departments but share an interest in research using computing and mathematical methods may apply for this fellowship through the Department of Energy. Although their pursuits vary widely, the DOE CSGF helps these computational scientists develop a sense of community that’s often difficult to find in a single academic department.  It starts with practicum assignments at DOE laboratories, where interdisciplinary teams conduct research in ways far different than in academic departments.

Josephine De Karman Fellowship

Students in any discipline entering senior undergraduate year or graduate students entering the terminal year of a PhD program in the fall of 2010. Applicants should have manifested exceptional ability and serious purpose. Special consideration will be given to applicants in the Humanities and to those who have completed their qualifying examinations for the doctoral degree.

Educational Testing Service Summer Internship Program for Graduate Students

The Educational Testing Service (ETS) program is open to graduate students who are currently enrolled in a doctoral program and have completed a minimum of two years of full-time graduate study in a program emphasizing one of the areas specified. Abstract: The goals of the Summer Internship Program for Graduate Students are to provide research opportunities to individuals enrolled in a doctoral program in the fields described below and to increase the number of women and underrepresented minority professionals conducting research in educational measurement and related fields. Interns in this two-month program participate in research under the guidance of a senior ETS staff member in one of these areas: 1. Measurement theory; 2. Validity; 3. Natural language processing and computational linguistics; 4. Cognitive psychology; 5. Learning theory; 6.Linguistics; 7. Speech recognition and processing; 8. Teaching and classroom research; 9. Statistics; and10. International large scale assessments. Interns also participate in seminars and workshops on a variety of topics.

Ford Foundation Diversity Dissertation Fellowships

To increase the presence of underrepresented minorities on the nation's college and university faculties, to enhance diversity on campuses, and to address the persisting effects of past discrimination, the Ford Foundation offers predoctoral fellowships to PhD and ScD students who are U.S. citizens from one of the following minority groups: Native American Indian, Alaskan Native (Eskimo or Aleut), Black/African American, Mexican American/Chicano, Native Pacific Islander (Polynesian or Micronesian), and Puerto Rican. Must have completed all degree requirements except the writing and defense of the dissertation, including coursework, examinations, language requirements, etc.

Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation Dissertation Fellowships for Research on Aggression and Violence

Grants are made to PhD candidates who are in the writing stage of the dissertation. Usually, this means that fieldwork or other research is complete and writing has begun. Both the applicant and the applicant's advisor are asked to assure the foundation that the thesis will be complete within the grant year. Abstract: Dissertation fellowships are awarded each year to individuals who will complete the writing of the dissertation within the award year. These fellowships are designed to contribute to the support of the doctoral candidate to enable him or her to complete the thesis in a timely manner. Applications are evaluated in comparison with each other and not in competition with the postdoctoral research proposals. Highest priority is given to research that can increase understanding and amelioration of urgent problems of violence, aggression, and dominance in the modern world. Particular questions that interest the foundation concern violence, aggression, and dominance in relation to social change, the socialization of children, intergroup conflict, drug trafficking and use, family relationships, and investigations of the control of aggression and violence. Priority will also be given to areas and methodologies not receiving adequate attention and support from other funding sources.

Hispanic Theological Initiative (HTI) Dissertation Year Grant

U.S. or Canadian citizens or legal immigrants. Eligibility: Applicants must be in a school accredited by an agency recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and must have completed all program requirements but their dissertation. Abstract: The overall goal of the HTI is to help identify and support talented women and men in the development of intellectual and scholarly tools for teaching and research. In addition to monetary support to help the awardee devote as much time as possible to writing, the HTI will also provide the dissertation year awardee with skilled editorial support in order to facilitate a timely completion of the dissertation; a mid-year workshop to monitor and encourage the writing process to provide a time for discussion of dissertation; and to provide collegial support.

Robert D. Hodgson Memorial PhD Dissertation Fund

Provides financial assistance to candidates preparing doctoral dissertations in geography.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development: The Doctoral Dissertation Research Grant Program

Annual program to encourage doctoral candidates to engage in policy-relevant community, housing, and urban development research; to assist doctoral candidates in the timely completion of their dissertation research; to focus research on policy-relevant housing and community development issues; and to provide a forum for new scholars to share their research findings

Harold D. Lasswell Award

For the best doctoral dissertation in the field of policy studies (supported by the Policy Studies Organization).

Mathematica Policy Research Summer Fellowships

Students enrolled in a master's or PhD program in public policy or a social science are eligible. Fellowships will be held in Princeton, New Jersey; Washington, District of Columbia; and Cambridge, Massachusetts. Abstract: Mathematica launched its summer fellowship program to promote careers in social policy research, particularly for scholars who might otherwise be drawn to government or academe. The program supports independent, self-directed research on economic or social problems that affect minority groups.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration/ United Negro College Fund Special Programs Corporation: Harriet G. Jenkins Predoctoral Fellowship Program

Annual fellowship program to increase the number of women, minorities, and people with disabilities participating in math, science, engineering, and technology disciplines of interest to NASA. Fields of study include: Aeronautics/aerospace, astronomy, bioengineering, biology, chemistry, computer science, earth sciences, engineering, environmental sciences, life sciences, materials sciences, mathematics, meteorology, physical sciences, physics, and science education.

National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grants

In an effort to improve the quality of dissertation research, many programs in the Division of Social and Economic Sciences and the Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences accept doctoral dissertation improvement grant proposals. The following programs are most active in support of dissertation research: Archaeology, Cognitive Neuroscience, Cultural Anthropology, Decision, Risk & Management Science, Geography and Regional Science, Law and Social Science, Linguistics, Physical Anthropology, Political Science, Science and Technology Studies, Sociology, and Societal Dimensions of Engineering, Science, and Technology. In addition, the following Programs also support doctoral dissertation research when especially appropriate: Economics and Human Cognition & Perception.

National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (Including Women in Engineering and Computer and Information Science Awards)

Offers recognition and three years of support for advanced study to approximately 900 outstanding graduate students in the mathematical, physical, biological, engineering, and behavioral and social sciences, including the history of science and the philosophy of science, and to research-based PhD degrees in science education.

National Science Foundation Mathematical Sciences Graduate Internship

The National Science Foundation (NSF) Division of Mathematical Sciences (DMS) aims to provide opportunities to enrich the training of graduate students in the Mathematical Sciences through the provision of an NSF Mathematical Sciences Graduate Internship Program. This program will provide an opportunity for mathematical sciences doctoral students to participate in internships at federal national laboratories, industry and other approved facilities. Participation in an internship will provide first-hand experience of the use of mathematics in a nonacademic setting. The internships are aimed at students who are interested in understanding the application of advanced mathematical and statistical techniques to "real world" problems, regardless of whether the student plans to pursue an academic or nonacademic career.

Helen Dwight Reid Award

Fellowship candidates must have completed the preliminary examinations for the doctorate no later than February 1 prior to the application deadline. Abstract: RFF will award fellowships in support of doctoral dissertation research on issues related to the environment, natural resources, or energy. RFF's primary research disciplines are economics and other social sciences. Proposals originating in these fields will have the greatest likelihood of success. Proposals from the physical or biological sciences must have an immediate and obvious link to environmental policy matters to be considered. This fellowship is intended to be the principal source of support for graduate students in the final year of their dissertation research.

E. E. Schattschneider Award

For the best doctoral dissertation in the field of American government.

Leopold Schepp Foundation/Scholarships for Graduate Education

Annual awards are available to full-time enrolled college Graduate students to study at accredited colleges/universities. Primary considerations for awards are as follows: Character - references are required and school/college evaluations are taken into account, Academic Ability, and Financial Need. Applicant must be a U.S. citizen/permanent resident. Age limits for 1st time applicants are as follows: graduates - under 40 yrs old, post-doctorate work has no age limit. Graduates with only their dissertation left won't be considered. Applicant must attend an interview in New York City. Number of awards includes all undergraduate and graduate awards. Contact the enclosed address between June 1st and no later than November 30th for information/application guidelines, enclose a SASE. Leopold Schepp Foundation 551 Fifth Ave-Suite 2525 New York, NY 10176 (212) 986-3078

Smithsonian Institution Office of Research Training and Service Graduate Student Fellowships

Applicants must be formally enrolled in a graduate program of study, must have completed at least one semester, and must not yet have been advanced to candidacy in a doctoral program. Abstract: Fellowships at the Smithsonian Institution provide students and scholars with opportunities to pursue independent research projects in association with members of the Smithsonian professional research staff. Graduate fellowships allow students to conduct research for ten-week periods in association with Smithsonian research staff members. Applicants must propose research in a field pursued at the Smithsonian. A specific and detailed research proposal indicating why the Smithsonian is an appropriate place to conduct the studies proposed is required. Fellowships are only offered to support research within Smithsonian facilities or programs. Fellows are expected to spend most of their tenure in residence at the Smithsonian, except when arrangements are made for periods of field work or research travel. Fields of research at the Smithsonian include American history, American material and folk culture, and the history of music and musical instruments; history of science and technology, history of art, design, crafts, and the decorative arts; anthropology, archaeology, linguistics, and ethnic studies; evolutionary, systematic, behavioral, environmental biology, and conservation; geological sciences and astrophysics; and materials characterization and conservation.

Smithsonian Institution Office of Research Training and Service Predoctoral Fellowships

Students enrolled in a university as candidates for the PhD or equivalent are eligible for predoctoral fellowships. By the time the appointment begins, the university must approve the undertaking of dissertation research at the Smithsonian Institution and certify that requirements for the doctorate, other than the dissertation, have been met. Abstract: Predoctoral fellowships allow students to conduct research for periods of three to twelve months. Fellowships at the Smithsonian Institution provide students and scholars with opportunities to pursue independent research projects in association with members of the Smithsonian professional research staff. Persons interested in conducting research at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory should apply to that bureau directly.

Smithsonian Institution Office of Research Training and Services Minority Internships

Applicants must be minority beginning graduate students. Abstract: The Office of Fellowships and Grants offers a number of opportunities to increase minority participation in Smithsonian Institution scholarly programs. Stipend awards are available for interns to participate in supervised ongoing research or museum-related activities for periods of 10 weeks.

Social Science Research Council

Sponsors fellowship and grant programs on a wide range of topics, and across many different career stages. Most support goes to predissertation, dissertation, and postdoctoral fellowships, offered through annual competitions. Some programs support summer institutes and advanced research grants. Although most programs target the social sciences, many are also open to applicants from the humanities, the natural sciences, and relevant professional and practitioner communities.

Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues

Dissertation and other awards available.

Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues Dalmas A. Taylor Summer Minority Policy Fellowship

To be eligible, an applicant must be a graduate student in good standing who is a member of an ethnic minority group (including, but not limited to, African American, Alaskan Native, American Indian, Asian American, Hispanic, and Pacific Islander) and who has demonstrated a commitment to a career in psychology or a related field with a focus on ethnic minority issues. Citizenship: Unspecified. Abstract: The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues established this award to honor the memory of Dr. Dalmas Taylor, who was instrumental in establishing the Minority Fellowships at the American Psychological Association (APA) and in increasing the profession's attention to inclusion of people of color. The fellowship will be administered in conjunction with the APA's Minority Fellowship Office and will provide an opportunity for a graduate student to work on public policy issues in Washington, DC.

Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI) Grants-in-Aid Program

The applicant must be a member of SPSSI. Abstract: The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues Committee on Grants-in-Aid wishes to support scientific research in social problem areas related to the basic interests and goals of SPSSI and particularly those that are not likely to receive support from traditional sources. The Committee especially encourages proposals involving unique and timely research opportunities, underrepresented institutions, new investigators, volunteer research teams, and actual (not pilot) projects. Funds are not normally provided for travel to conventions, travel or living expenses while conducting research, stipends of principal investigators, costs associated with manuscript preparation, or the indirect costs of institutions.

Southern Regional Education Board Doctoral Scholars and Dissertation Scholars Programs (SREB) Dissertation Year Fellowships

For doctoral scholars who have reached the dissertation stage, a limited number of single-year fellowships are available. These fellowships are available only to minority scholars who plan to become full-time faculty members upon completion of their doctoral program. Applicants must meet the same eligibility requirements as Doctoral Scholars Program applicants and must have completed all program requirements, including successful defense of the dissertation proposal. Applicants also must be able to devote full time to completing the dissertation. Each Dissertation Year Fellowship recipient receives a one-year stipend of $12,000; a waiver of tuition and fees; a small stipend for research expenses; and expenses associated with the Doctoral Scholars Program annual meeting.

Stanford University Center on Adolescence Youth Purpose Research Awards

U.S. citizens and permanent residents may apply. Eligibility: Doctoral candidates whose dissertation proposals have been approved. Applicants may be from any field that may inform youth purpose scholarship, including psychology, sociology, history, human development or education. Abstract: The Stanford Center on Adolescence supports young scholars pursuing research related to youth purpose, defined as a stable and generalized intention to accomplish something that is at once meaningful to the self and of intended consequence beyond the self.

Otis Paul Starkey Fund

Supports doctoral dissertations or research papers devoted to regional study or significant problem areas in the U.S. or its possessions.

Leo Strauss Award

For the best doctoral dissertation in the field of political philosophy.

Morris K. Udall Foundation

Citizenship: U.S. citizens, permanent residents or nationals are eligible. Eligibility: Each applicant must:  have completed all PhD coursework and passed all preliminary exams; have approval for the dissertation research proposal by February 21, 2010; and be entering the final year of writing the dissertation. The primary focus of dissertation research should be U.S. environmental policy or environmental conflict resolution. PhD candidates who hold a fellowship for the purpose of writing the dissertation during the year preceding or coinciding with the Udall Fellowship are not eligible. Abstract: The Udall Foundation awards fellowships to doctoral candidates whose research concerns U.S. environmental public policy or environmental conflict resolution and who are entering their final year of writing the dissertation. Dissertation fellowships are open to scholars in all fields of study whose dissertation topic has significant relevance to U.S. environmental public policy or environmental conflict resolution. It is the foundation's intent that work conducted during the fellowship year be done in the United States.

Leonard D. White Award

For the best doctoral dissertation in the field of public administration.

Woodrow Wilson Dissertation Grants in Women's Studies

Encourages original and significant research about women that crosses disciplinary, regional, or cultural boundaries.

NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program

The National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (NSF GRFP) recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master's and doctoral degrees at accredited United States institutions.

Fellows benefit from a three-year annual stipend of $32,000 along with a $12,000 cost of education allowance for tuition and fees, opportunities for international research and professional development, and the freedom to conduct their own research at any accredited U.S. institution of graduate education they choose.

The fellowship is competitive, and those planning to apply should devote a sincere effort to their application. See the NSF GRFP website for more information on applying. The GRFP application is available at


  • To be eligible for the NSF GRFP, you must:
  • be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or permanent resident
  • be in a research-focused master's or PhD program in an NSF-supported field
  • be enrolled in an eligible program at an accredited United States graduate institution
  • have completed no more than twelve months of full-time graduate study (or the equivalent)
  • meet all other eligibility requirements as set forth in the current Program Solicitation

The "no more than twelve months" limit applies to your entire post-baccalaureate career, not just your current program. If you have completed less than twelve months of your PhD but have previously completed a master's degree, you would not be eligible for the GRFP.

NSF-Supported Fields

NSF supports a broad range of fields: chemistry, computer and information science, engineering, geosciences, life sciences, materials research, mathematical sciences, physics and astronomy, social sciences and STEM education and learning research. View a complete list of NSF-supported fields.

The following programs and areas of study are not eligible:

  • Practice-oriented, professional degree programs (MBA, MSW, MPH, ED, etc.)
  • Joint science-professional programs (MD/PhD, JD/PhD, etc.)
  • Business administration or management
  • Social work
  • Education (except research-focused STEM education programs)
  • History (except for history of science)
  • Public health programs
  • Medical programs
  • Dental programs

Research with disease-related goals, including the etiology, diagnosis or treatment of physical or mental disease, abnormality or malfunction.

Questions About Eligibility

The official GRFP eligibility guidelines are published in the program solicitation. All applicants should read these guidelines carefully.

Please call the GRF Operations Center at 866.673.4737 or email if you have questions about the eligibility guidelines.

Additional Resources

A sample NSF GRFO application submitted Nov. 2011, courtesy of fellow Amy Herberle (Developmental Psychology):

A sample NSF GRFP application submitted Nov. 2011, courtesy of fellow Daniel Peterson (Organismic and Evolutionary Biology):

A sample NSF GRFP application submitted Nov. 2011, courtesy of fellow Justin Helepololei (Anthropology):

Internet resources:

"Advice for Applicants to the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship" by Keith Jacks Gamble, UC Berkeley. Written 9/23/04, updated 1/23/06.

NSF Graduate Fellowship Advice, collected by Jennifer Wang, University of Wisconsin.

Sample NSF GRFP proposals: environmental sciences, policy and management. Compiled by Rachel C. Smith, UC Berkeley.

Transdisciplinary Dissertation Proposal Development Program

The UMass Boston Transdisciplinary Dissertation Proposal Development Program is designed for students who are ready to develop their dissertation proposals. Through participation in dissertation development seminars/workshops and summer research, students will develop cogent and fundable dissertation research proposals that draw on inter- or transdisciplinary theories, methods, or approaches. The 2022 Institute will be geared towards students planning to defend dissertation proposals in the 2022-2023 academic year.

What is the Transdisciplinary Dissertation Proposal Development Program?

An opportunity for 12-15 doctoral students to participate in dissertation proposal development training. Students receive up to $3,000 to fund summer exploratory pre-dissertation research. The goal of the institute is to help clarify a student’s research questions and scope, to help them learn how to develop dissertation research proposals for funding applications, and to offer ideas about ways other disciplines or methods might contribute to their research project. The institute is also designed to build a support network of peers and faculty beyond the student’s program.

Who Is Eligible?

Matriculated UMB Ph.D. students in the proposal development stage who can commit to attending two workshops:

  • June 7 - 11
  • September 9 – 11

Application Deadline: April 4th 

For any additional information, please contact