Dissertation Year

Graduate School Presidential Dissertation Fellowship in the Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences, and Social Professions

The Graduate School Presidential Dissertation award is intended to assist Ph.D. candidates in the final stages of writing and completing their dissertations. The 2018-19 Dissertation Fellowship is a one-quarter award established with support of the University President.

Two committees will meet to evaluate nominees: one for nominees in the arts and humanities, and one for nominees in the social sciences and social professions. Each unit listed at the end of this announcement may submit NO MORE than two nominees for this award. We ask that you not rank your nominees.

The purpose of these awards is to relieve graduate students of their teaching duties or other employment not directly related to the dissertation in order to devote their full time to writing the dissertation. Typically, during the tenure of the award service responsibilities are suspended.

The award must be used during the 2018-19 academic year (summer 2018 through spring 2019). The choice of the quarter will be left to the discretion of the graduate student in consultation with his or her supervisory committee chair.

2018-19 NOMINATION DEADLINE:  Friday, April 6, 2018; 12 noon (PDT)


In order to be considered for this award, the student must:

  • Have passed the General Examination and attained candidate status by the end of winter quarter 2018.
  • Have demonstrated progress on the dissertation which indicates completion by the end of Summer Quarter 2019 or sooner.
  • Be in a tuition-based program; students in fee-based programs are not eligible.
  • Not have received another dissertation award from the Graduate School (e.g., Gatzert, GO-MAP)

Nomination Process

A nomination site will be set up and communicated to eligible departments no later than Monday, March 26, 2018. Please do not email nomination packages.

Nominations are due to the nomination site no later than 12 noon, Friday, April 6, 2018. No late materials will be accepted; nominations will not be considered unless they are complete and submitted by the deadline.

Departments can nominate no more than two students.

Nomination Materials

Nomination materials should be submitted only by the department as one file per nominee in PDF format (if that is not possible, submission as separate documents is acceptable). Nominations must include the following:

  1. A completed nomination cover sheet.
  2. A letter of nomination from the GPC or chair of the department. Information about the nominee’s current status and performance in the program or comparison with other recent students would be useful. If you submit two nominees, please do not rank them.
  3. A one-page statement from the dissertation adviser demonstrating his/her opinion of:
    • The significance of the research
    • The progress made to date, including the anticipated completion date.
    • Where appropriate, the nature and importance of the nominee’s contribution to a team project should be included.
  4. A statement from the candidate (not to exceed four pages, double-spaced) describing the dissertation project, including its title, relation to current literature, methodology and goals. Footnotes can be single-spaced and are included in the four pages. Any bibliography or endnotes are limited to one page, single-spaced, and are not considered part of the four pages.
  5. Timeline of expected dissertation activities in 2017-18 and specifically during the planned fellowship quarter (not to exceed one page, single-spaced)
  6. The nominee’s curriculum vitae, including names of publications.
  7. A copy of the student’s current UW transcript. An unofficial copy will be sufficient.

These awards are made on the basis of academic merit. Statements about the student’s financial need should not be included.

Selection Criteria and Process

Two interdisciplinary faculty committees (one committee for Arts and Humanities and one committee for Social Sciences and Social Professions) will evaluate proposals. Nominees should be encouraged to consider this audience when preparing the project description.

Criteria used in evaluating nominations include:

  • significance and originality of the dissertation project
  • evidence of scholarly promise, such as publications or presentations at scholarly meetings
  • evidence that the dissertation will be completed during the 2017-18 academic year

The specific information provided in the nomination packet on these issues is important in the evaluation process.

Awards will be announced by late May 2018.

Terms of Award

  • This is a one-quarter award.
  • Award must be used during the 2018-19 year (summer 2018 – spring 2019).
  • Students must enroll for at least 10 credits during the quarter they receive the award (except in summer, when it is 2 credits).
  • During the quarter of award, students may not receive funding or employment from another source without prior approval from the Office of Fellowships and Awards.
  • The award provides a stipend equivalent that of a standard Predoc TA II (currently $2,650 per month), GAIP insurance, and UW state tuition and fees (excluding U-PASS) up to 18 credits.
  • The number of awards will be determined by the caliber of the applications and the amount of funding available.
  • Students in fee-based programs are not eligible.


Contact the Office of Fellowships and Awards: gradappt@uw.edu or 206-543-7152.

Eligible programs for the Graduate School Dissertation Fellowship competition:

Arts and Humanities
  • Art History
  • Asian Languages and Literature
  • Classics
  • Comparative Literature
  • Digital Arts and Experimental Media
  • Drama
  • English
  • French and Italian Studies
  • Germanics
  • History
  • Individual Ph.D. Program
  • Linguistics
  • Music
  • Near and Middle Eastern Studies
  • Philosophy
  • Scandinavian Studies
  • Slavic Languages and Literature
  • Spanish and Portuguese
Social Sciences and Social Professions
  • Anthropology
  • Business School*
  • Built Environment*
  • Communication
  • Economics
  • Education
  • Environmental and Forest Resources*
  • Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies
  • Geography
  • History
  • Human Centered Design and Engineering*
  • Individual Ph.D. Program
  • Information School*
  • International Studies (Jackson School)
  • Law
  • Near and Middle Eastern Studies
  • Philosophy
  • Political Science
  • Psychology*
  • Public Affairs
  • Social Work
  • Sociology
  • Speech and Hearing Sciences*
  • Urban Design and Planning

*Social sciences emphasis only



This year the program will award approximately 36 dissertation fellowships. The dissertation fellowships provide one year of support for individuals working to complete a dissertation leading to a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or Doctor of Science (Sc.D.) degree. The Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship is intended to support the final year of writing and defense of the dissertation.

Dissertation fellowships will be awarded in a national competition administered by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine on behalf of the Ford Foundation. The awards will be made to individuals who, in the judgment of the review panels, have demonstrated superior academic achievement, are committed to a career in teaching and research at the college or university level, show promise of future achievement as scholars and teachers, and are well prepared to use diversity as a resource for enriching the education of all students. 

Click on the links below to learn more about each aspect of the Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship


Dissertation Eligibility

In addition to the other dissertation program level requirements, eligibility to apply for a dissertation fellowship is limited to:

  • All U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, and U.S. permanent residents (holders of a Permanent Resident Card), as well as individuals granted deferred action status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, political asylees, and refugees, regardless of race, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, or sexual orientation,
  • Individuals with evidence of superior academic achievement (such as grade point average, class rank, honors, or other designations),
  • Individuals committed to a career in teaching and research at the college or university level,
  • Ph.D. or Sc.D. degree candidates studying in an eligible research-based discipline in a dissertation-required program at a non-proprietary (not for profit) U.S. institution of higher education who will complete the dissertation in a period of 9-12 months during the 2018-2019 academic year, and
  • Individuals who have not earned a doctoral degree at any time, in any field.
Receipt of the fellowship award is conditioned upon each awardee providing satisfactory documentation that he or she meets the eligibility requirements.

Criteria for Selection

The following will be considered as positive factors in choosing successful candidates:
  • Evidence of superior academic achievement
  • Degree of promise of continuing achievement as scholars and teachers
  • Capacity to respond in pedagogically productive ways to the learning needs of students from diverse backgrounds
  • Sustained personal engagement with communities that are underrepresented in the academy and an ability to bring this asset to learning, teaching, and scholarship at the college and university level
  • Likelihood of using the diversity of human experience as an educational resource in teaching and scholarship
  • Membership in one or more of the following groups whose underrepresentation in the American professoriate has been severe and longstanding:
    • Alaska Natives (Aleut, Eskimo, or other Indigenous People of Alaska)
    • Black/African Americans
    • Mexican Americans/Chicanas/Chicanos
    • Native American Indians
    • Native Pacific Islanders (Hawaiian/Polynesian/Micronesian)
    • Puerto Ricans

Applications will be evaluated by panels of distinguished scholars selected by the National Academies. The panels will use academic records, essays, letters of recommendation, the application itself, and other appropriate materials as the basis for determining the extent to which candidates meet the eligibility requirements and the selection criteria. Review panels may also look at additional factors such as whether the applicant has advanced to dissertation candidacy and will fully utilize 9 to 12 months of fellowship support prior to receiving the Ph.D. or Sc.D.

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Eligible Fields of Study

Awards will be made for study in research-based Ph.D. or Sc.D. programs that include the following major disciplines and related interdisciplinary fields: American studies, anthropology, archaeology, art and theater history, astronomy, chemistry, communications, computer science, cultural studies, earth sciences, economics, education, engineering, ethnic studies, ethnomusicology, geography, history, international relations, language, life sciences, linguistics, literature, mathematics, performance study, philosophy, physics, political science, psychology, religious studies, sociology, urban planning, and women’s studies. Also eligible are interdisciplinary ethnic studies programs, such as African American studies and Native American studies, and other interdisciplinary programs, such as area studies, peace studies, and social justice. Research-based fields of education are eligible if the major field of study is listed above and is used to describe the Ph.D. or Sc.D. program of the applicant (e.g., sociology of education, anthropology and education).

The complete list of eligible fields of study supported at the dissertation level of the fellowship program is available here: Eligible Fields of Study List.

Individuals enrolled in the following practice-oriented programs will not be supported: administration, audiology, business, consumer studies, curriculum development, human resource management, exercise physiology, filmmaking, fine arts, guidance, kinesiology, leadership, library and information science, management, nursing, occupational health, performing arts, personnel, physical education, physical therapy, public health, rehabilitation science, social welfare, social work, speech pathology, and teacher education. In addition, awards will not be made for work leading to terminal master’s degrees, the Ed.D. degree, the degrees of Doctor of Fine Arts (D.F.A.) or Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.), or professional degrees in such areas as medicine, law, and public health, or for study in joint degree programs such as the M.D./Ph.D., J.D./Ph.D., and M.F.A./Ph.D. This program does not support the Ph.D. portion of a dual-degree program. Interdisciplinary areas of study that have major content in ineligible fields listed above will not be included in the competition. 

Fellowship Institution

Fellowships are tenable at any fully accredited, non-proprietary (not for profit) U.S. institution of higher education offering a Ph.D. or Sc.D. degree in the eligible fields of study. 

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Verification of Doctoral Degree Status

  • In order to compete, applicants must have successfully achieved doctoral degree candidacy as defined by this program: applicants must have completed all departmental and institutional requirements for their degree, except for writing and defense of the dissertation. These requirements include, for example, required course work, language requirements, admission to doctoral candidacy, and approval of the dissertation proposal. A valid Academies Verification of Doctoral Degree Status Form, signed by the adviser or other authorized official, must be uploaded to the online fellowship application before 5:00 PM ET on January 9, 2018 to confirm that an applicant has advanced to doctoral candidacy. 
  • Applicants should expect to complete the dissertation during the 2018-2019 academic year.

Stipend and Benefits


The tenure of a dissertation fellowship will be no less than 9 months and no more than 12 months.

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Conditions of the Fellowship

Dissertation fellows are expected to be engaged in a full-time program leading to a Ph.D. or Sc.D. degree in an eligible field of study. Those who accept a dissertation fellowship must agree to the stipulations in the Terms of Appointment for Ford Foundation Fellows that accompanies the award notification. In addition, Ford Fellows must agree to participate in regular updates of the Directory of Ford Fellows, as well as periodic surveys designed to demonstrate the impact of this program.

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