Next Generation Scholar Program

In April 2021, the Stanford Humanities Center established the Next Generation Scholar Program (originally titled Career Launch) to support Stanford graduate students in year 7 or above whose work demonstrates the highest distinction and the promise of future achievement.

The fellowships are intended to serve as a bridge between the end of the university's formal support and the transition to a postdoctoral fellowship or a faculty position. In substance, the program provides critical support to one of the most difficult periods in the course of a PhD. In addition to completing the dissertation, fellows pursue professional development part-time during one quarter (e.g., teach a course connected to the fellow’s research profile, develop skills in the digital humanities, engage closely with a Public Humanities project, or another endeavor of the fellow’s choosing). Fellows hold non-resident status at the Stanford Humanities Center, and are welcome at lunch and at scholarly- and professionally-oriented events at the Stanford Humanities Center. Pending availability, fellows may have access to shared office space at the Center.

Up to four Next Generation Scholars will be selected each year. Each fellowship includes three quarters of stipend ($38,700 for 2023–24; exact amount for 2024–25 to be determined pending final budget in winter 2024), TGR tuition, and health insurance. Applicants must be in the sixth year or after of a graduate program in the humanities or the interpretive social sciences at Stanford. Candidates who have held previous competitive fellowships are welcome to apply.

Eligible applicants may apply to the Next Generation Scholar fellowship or the SHC Dissertation Prize/Mellon Dissertation fellowships but not both NGS and DP/Mellon in the same application cycle. 

Please read the detailed information below on eligibility, requirements, application process, and selection criteria before applying.

Applications for 2024–2025 fellowships are now closed.

Frequently Asked Questions


The Next Generation Scholar Fellowships are awarded to advanced graduate students based on accomplished work of the highest distinction and on the promise of further outstanding achievements in the humanities. Candidates should demonstrate a level of professional acculturation that corresponds to their years in the program. Those who have previously held other competitive dissertation fellowships (including the SHC Dissertation Prize or Mellon Dissertation Fellowships) are welcome to apply, as are applicants from the School of Education.

Applicants must have:

  • advanced to candidacy;
  • completed all requirements for the doctoral degree with the exception of the dissertation and the University Oral Examination (when a defense of the dissertation); 
  • an approved dissertation reading committee;
  • a dissertation proposal approved by their committee;
  • a strong likelihood of completing the degree within the tenure of the fellowship;
  • reached TGR status by the beginning of autumn quarter of the fellowship year;
  • completed supervised teaching, if required by their department, before the tenure of the fellowship;
  • reached year 6 or higher to apply (i.e., to start the fellowship in year 7+).
  • Next Generation Scholars are required to pursue some form of professional development during one quarter of the fellowship. This might take the form of teaching a course that enhances their professional profile, research in the digital humanities through the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis (CESTA), work at a campus museum, involvement in a public humanities initiative, or other endeavor of the fellow’s choosing. The applicant will provide a proposal for the professional development component, which must be approved and finalized by the Humanities Center after the fellowship is awarded. 
  • Next Generation Scholars are strongly encouraged to to take active part in the daily life of the Center. However, presence at the Center is not required. Pending availability, fellows may have use of a shared office at the Humanities Center, and are included in all Center programming.  
  • Outside employment must be aligned with university policy and approved by the home department (including the Humanities Center for SHC fellowships). Please be in close contact with your home department, H&S office, and/or the SHC before confirming any teaching assistantships or accepting other employment or fellowships.
Application Process

Applications must be submitted via our online application system and must be in English. We discourage the submission of additional materials with an application, and cannot circulate these to the committee or return them.

Applicants will be notified when their applications have been received, and will be notified of the fellowship outcomes in late March/early April.

Application Deadline

The deadline for applications is February 4, 2024, 11:59 PM Pacific Standard Time.

Application Content
  • Contact and biographical information about the applicant
  • A curriculum vitae (C.V.)
  • Current unofficial transcript (downloaded from AXESS)
  • Detailed timetable for the completion of the degree (e.g. dissertation outline detailing status of each chapter)
  • Statement of the dissertation's scholarly significance. Provide a concise explanation of the ways in which the project is a significant contribution to its area of study; the statement should assume the audience to be academics who are not specialists in the field. (250 word maximum)
  • A brief description (no more than 1,000 words) of the dissertation
  • Writing sample (no more than 35 pp.) of a completed dissertation chapter
  • A brief description (no more than 400 words) of the proposed professional development project. The details of the proposal do not need to be confirmed in advance for the sake of the application, but must indicate the kind of project the applicant would like to pursue.
  • Two reference letters, one of which should be from the applicant’s advisor. Please ensure that the faculty recommenders have reviewed the proposal and timetable (including status of chapters) in advance and are well prepared to discuss this in their letters. Referees are encouraged to submit letters through our online application system. Referees who wish to submit their letter of reference via email may send them to Reference letters must be received at the Center by the application deadline - consideration of letters received after that date cannot be guaranteed.
Selection Criteria

A selection committee representing humanities departments and programs will review and rank the applications on the basis of the following criteria:

  •   the quality of the dissertation proposal, which should not only demonstrate exceptional promise but show results of intellectual distinction in the form of completed chapters and a developing argument;
  • the quality of the writing sample;
  • the applicant's timely progress toward the degree;
  • the likelihood of completing the degree within the tenure of the fellowship.

For more information on the Next Generation Scholar Fellowships, contact Kelda Jamison, the Humanities Center fellowship program manager.

Other FAQs

For more frequently asked questions, click here.