Stanford Dissertation Fellowships

The Stanford Humanities Center and the School of Humanities and Sciences collaborate to administer two Stanford humanities dissertation fellowships: the Stanford Humanities Center Dissertation Prize and Mellon Foundation Dissertation Fellowships. Stanford students submit one application to be considered for one or both of these fellowships. Applicants for these fellowships are typically in the 5th or 6th year of their doctoral program.

(You can find more information about the Stanford Humanities Center Career Launch Fellowships, which are open to students in year 7 or above only, linked here.)

Applications for the 2023-2024 SHC Dissertation Prize and Mellon Dissertation Fellowships are now open. The deadline is February 1, 2023, 11:59 pm, PT.

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Eligible applicants may apply to the SHC Dissertation Prize/Mellon Dissertation fellowships or the Career Launch fellowship, but not both CLF and DP/Mellon in the same application cycle. 

Fellowship Opportunities

Stanford Humanities Center Dissertation Prize Fellowships

The SHC Dissertation Prize Fellowships, endowed by Theodore and Frances Geballe, are awarded to doctoral students whose work is of the highest distinction and promise. The fellowship stipend for 2022-23 is $36,162  + TGR fees; the exact stipend amount for 2023-24 will be announced pending final budget confirmation by January 2023. The recipients of these fellowships have offices at the Humanities Center and take part with other graduate as well as undergraduate and  faculty fellows in the Center's programs, promoting humanistic research and education at Stanford. The SHC Dissertation Prize Fellowships also provide an additional $2,500 in research funding.

Mellon Foundation Dissertation Fellowships

The Mellon Dissertation Fellowships, which are generously funded by the Mellon Foundation, are awarded to advanced doctoral students whose work is of the highest quality and whose academic record to date indicates a timely progression toward completion of the degree. The fellowship stipend for 2021-22 is $35,460 + TGR fees; the exact amount for 2022-23 will be announced pending final budget confirmation by January 2022.

Frequently Asked Questions


The SHC Dissertation Prize and Mellon Dissertation 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. Applicants must have:

  • advanced to PhD candidacy;
  • completed all requirements for the PhD, other than the dissertation (and its defense in departments where the University Oral Examination is such a defense); this includes handling any incompletes;
  • a formally composed dissertation 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.


  • No other employment, assistantship, or fellowship (unless specifically intended for travel or research expense) may be held concurrently. Exceptions to this restriction must be approved in advance by the Humanities Center Director (for SHC Fellows) or the H&S Dean’s Office (for Mellon Fellows).
  • SHC Fellows are strongly encouraged to live within ten miles of Stanford. They must take part in the life of the Center for the duration of their fellowship, and may not spend more than a week per academic quarter (plus University holidays and breaks) away from campus.
  • Applicants who have previously held one of these fellowships are not eligible to reapply for that same fellowship.
  • Applicants who have not previously held a Stanford dissertation fellowship will be given the most serious consideration.
  • SHC Dissertation Prize Fellowships are open to applicants from the School of Education.

Application Process

Applications must be submitted via our online application system and must be in English. Access to the system opens in early August and closes on February 1, 2023, 11:59 PM Pacific time. We discourage the submission of additional materials with the application and cannot circulate these to the committee or return such materials.

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

Application Deadline

The application deadline for 2023-24 will be 11:59 pm Pacific time, February 1, 2023.

Application Content

  • Contact and biographical information about the applicant
  • A curriculum vitae (C.V.)
  • Current unofficial transcript (download 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. 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
  • Two reference letters - one should be from the applicant’s advisor: Please ensure that 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.

Application Criteria

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

  • the evidence of intellectual distinction;
  • the quality and precision of the dissertation proposal;
  • the applicant's timely progress toward the degree;
  • the likelihood of completing the degree within the tenure of the fellowship;
  • in the case of SHC applicants, the likelihood of the applicant contributing to, as well as benefiting from, the programs of the Humanities Center.


For more information on the SHC Dissertation Prize Fellowships, contact Kelda Jamison, the Humanities Center fellowship program manager.

For more information on the Mellon Foundation Dissertation Fellowships, contact Vanessa Sutter, Assistant Dean of Programmatic and Student Support (Humanities & Sciences).

Other FAQs

For more frequently asked questions, click here.