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 Next Generation Scholar fellowships, which are open to students in year 7 or above only, linked here.)

Applications for 2024–2025 fellowships are now closed.

Eligible applicants may apply to the SHC Dissertation Prize/Mellon Dissertation fellowships or Next Generation Scholar fellowship, but not both NGS 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 includes three academic quarters of funding (fall/winter/spring). In 2023-24 the funding amount was $38,700; the exact amount for 2024-25 will be announced pending final budget confirmation by January 2024. 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 $2,000 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 includes three academic quarters of funding (fall/winter/spring). In 2023-24 the funding amount was $38,700; the exact amount for 2024-25 will be announced pending budget confirmation in January 2024.

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 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.
  • 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.
  • SHC DP fellows are expected to take part in the daily life of the Center for the duration of their fellowship (i.e. attend lunches and weekly seminars). Next Generation fellows are encouraged but not required to be in regular physical residence at the Center.
  • Mellon fellowship: there is no on-campus requirement akin to the expectations for SHC fellows. However, Mellon dissertation fellows are subject to University residency expectations and departmental residency requirements—i.e., having a Mellon does not exempt a student from these residency expectations.
  • 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.
  • The fellowships provides tuition support at the TGR rate regardless of whether a student has moved to TGR status. If the student is not yet TGR at the start of the fellowship, the department may provide supplemental funds to cover tuition shortfall.
  • Students who are TGR or in a graduation quarter status must enroll in the appropriate zero unit TGR course.
  • These fellowships awards are not deferrable to future years or to the summer quarter
Application Process

Applications must be submitted via our online application system and must be in English. Access to the system opens in the fall quarter and closes on February 4, 2024, 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 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 contact Kelda Jamison, the Humanities Center fellowship program manager.


The application deadline for 2024-25 will be 11:59 pm Pacific time, February 4, 2024.

Other FAQs

For more frequently asked questions, click here.