Awards & Honors: Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships

ACLS invites applications for Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships, which support a year of research and writing to help advanced graduate students in the humanities and related social sciences in the last year of PhD dissertation writing. The program encourages timely completion of the PhD. Applicants must be prepared to complete their dissertations within the period of their fellowship tenure and no later than August 31, 2019. A grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation supports this program.

This award is considered Highly Prestigious by the National Research Council (NRC).

Deadline: October 25, 2017 (9:00pm ET)

Fellowship Details

  • Stipend: $30,000, plus funds for research costs of up to $3,000 and for university fees of up to $5,000
  • Tenure: one year beginning between June and September 2018
  • Completed applications must be submitted through the ACLS online fellowship administration system ( no later than 9 pm Eastern Daylight Time, October 25, 2017.
  • Notifications will be sent via email in late March 2018.
  • The fellowship may be carried out in residence at the fellow’s home institution, abroad, or at another appropriate site for the research.
  • These fellowships may not be held concurrently with any other fellowship or grant.
  • The total award of up to $38,000 includes a stipend plus additional funds for university fees and research support.
  • In addition to the monetary support that the fellowship offers, Dissertation Completion Fellows are able to apply to participate in a seminar on preparing for the academic job market.
  • The seminar takes place over three days in the fall of the fellowship year.


Applicant must:

  • be PhD candidates in a humanities or social science department in the United States.
  • have completed all requirements for the PhD except the dissertation (i.e., obtained ABD status) by the application deadline.
  • be no more than six years into the degree program at the time of application. This includes time spent earning an MA within that program.
  • not currently hold or have previously held a dissertation completion fellowship.
  • have not previously applied for this fellowship more than once.

Application Requirements

Applications must be submitted online and must include:

  1. Completed application form
  2. Proposal (no more than five pages, double spaced, in Times New Roman 11-point font)
  3. One-page timeline for the expected completion of dissertation writing and defense/filing (see sample timelines)
  4. Up to three additional pages of images, musical scores, or other similar supporting non-text materials [optional]
  5. Bibliography (no more than two pages)
  6. Completed chapter of the dissertation (that is neither the introduction, nor the conclusion, nor the literature review) of not more than 25 double-spaced pages, in Times New Roman 11-point font; or a representative 25-page excerpt from a longer chapter. The chapter must be in English, though citations may be in other languages (with translations provided).
  7. Two reference letters, one of which must come from the applicant’s dissertation advisor
  8. A statement from the applicant’s institution (preferably from the applicant’s department chair, director of graduate studies, or dean). The provided form asks the institutional representative to (1) attest to the viability of the proposed timeline for completion; (2) stipulate that, in the event of an award, the university will not charge the student tuition or fees beyond a limit of $5,000; and (3) pledge that if an ACLS award is made, the university will not provide the applicant with any subsequent aid. The person submitting the statement should not be one of the reference letter writers.

Note that transcripts are not required. Click here to view a sample application.

Evaluation Criteria

Scholars asked to review applications in this program are instructed to use the following four criteria:

  1. The potential of the project to advance the field of study in which it is proposed and make an original and significant contribution to knowledge.
  2. The quality of the proposal with regard to its methodology, scope, theoretical framework, and grounding in the relevant scholarly literature.
  3. The feasibility of the project and the likelihood that the applicant will execute the work within the proposed time frame.
  4. The applicant’s record of scholarly engagement and potential for scholarly achievement.


For more information, please read the FAQ, or contact the ACLS at