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2015-2016 Dissertation Year Fellowship (DYF)

These fellowships provide a year’s funding to enable uninterrupted work to complete a dissertation. Awards are restricted to ABD students who are entering their 5th or 6th year (as of fall 2015) and writing dissertations in an area of the humanities or humanistic social sciences using methods that are qualitative (i.e., not empirical or quantitative), analytical, critical, and/or speculative. As long as the dissertation takes this humanistic approach, students in the following programs will qualify: Anthropology, English, American History, Comparative History, Musicology, Music Composition, Near Eastern and Judaic Studies (Bible, Modern Jewish Studies, Middle East), Politics, and Sociology. Eight fellowships are available. The 2015-16 DYF carries a $34,671 12-month stipend; a $2,000 research grant; and a full credit toward the Brandeis Health Insurance option. The next application cycle will open on November 14, 2014, and the application deadline is January 29, 2015.  

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Eligibility Requirements

1. Awards are restricted to doctoral candidates writing dissertations in an area of the humanities or humanistic social sciences using methods that are qualitative (i.e., not empirical or quantitative), analytical, critical, and/or speculative. As long as the dissertation takes this humanistic approach, students in the following programs will qualify: Anthropology, English, American History, Comparative History, Musicology, Music Composition, Near Eastern and Judaic Studies (Bible, Modern Jewish Studies, Middle East), Politics, and Sociology.

2. Applicants must have completed all requirements other than the dissertation. Your department administrator must certify “All But Dissertation” (ABD) status.

3. Applicants must be entering their 5th or 6th year of residence (excluding any leave(s) of absence) in the 2015-16 academic year.

4. Preference will be given to students who do not have access to other sources of funding.

Award Conditions

1. Mellon Fellows must sign the “Commitment Form” included with the DYF application. By doing so, Mellon Fellows have certified that if they accept the award they agree to: (1) graduate by August 2016; (2) check-in monthly with their advisor; and (3) write two progress reports in December and April, respectively. Failure to honor this agreement could result in revocation of the fellowship award. Please see the “Commitment Form” for more details about this agreement. 

2. Mellon Fellows must register as a Post-Resident for the entire period of the award. 

3. Mellon Fellows agree that they will devote full time to doctoral work and will not engage in any form of employment (including teaching assistance) for the duration of the award.

4. Mellon fellows agree to participate actively in a year-long, interdisciplinary dissertation workshop.

Application Instructions

All students must complete the application online. From the application system login page, select "create new account." Once you have created your account and entered the system, select “Mellon Dissertation Year Fellowship” from the application page to begin your application. Your application does not have to be completed in one sitting; you may save it at any time and log back into the system to continue your work. Click here to access the login page and online application.

 Supporting Documents You’ll Need to Upload to Your Application:

1. Dissertation description and annotated table of contents (maximum 5 double-spaced pages for both the description and the table of contents). It is essential that your description be in clear, academic prose. Please avoid jargon; the selection committee consists of faculty from many disciplines and will expect to read cogent, lucid prose. Music Composition students should see the separate instructions below to prepare their description. The description for all other students should include the following sections:

  • Executive summary (succinct overview of dissertation, including the questions the dissertation will address).
  • Existing scholarship: the main focus of previous research, with examples of substantive contributions, and a clear statement on the shortcomings of existing scholarship.
  • Focus and methodology: how you intend to address the issues discussed in the summary and how this will contribute to scholarship in the field. Please note the texts, documents, and other sources you will use to write your dissertation.

Music Composition Description should:

  • Outline your analytical essay.
  • Present a detailed grasp of the piece(s) to be analyzed.
  • Indicate your intentions for the composition regarding instrumentation, text (if any), and number of movements.
  • Explain the current state of your dissertation project. Provide an estimated completion schedule that indicates when you will finish all outstanding work to meet the dissertation defense deadline (typically mid-April for May graduation and August 1 for August graduation). 

The Annotated Table of Contents should list all chapters, with a very brief annotation (summarizing the substance) (The annotated TOC is included in the 5-page, double spaced page limit along with the dissertation description). Clearly indicate the status of each chapter—for example, “finished,” “drafted,” “not written, but all research completed,” or “not written and some research still needed.” This requirement does not apply to students in Music Composition.

2. Curriculum Vitae that lists publications, conference papers, honors, grants, and awards, etc.

3. Completed ABD Certification FormPlease give this form to your department administrator at least 10 days in advance of the deadline to ensure sufficient processing time. Your administrator should then return the completed form to you, allowing sufficient time for you to upload it to your application. See uploading instructions below.

4. Signed Commitment Form: Both you and your advisor will need to sign and date this form. You will then need to upload this form to your application. See uploading instructions below.

Uploading the ABD and Commitment Forms to Your Application:
There are two ways to upload these documents to your application: (1) You may scan them and save them to your computer as PDF files; or (2) If you do not have access to a scanner, you may use the “Fax to File” feature in the left-hand side bar in your online application. The software will provide you with a toll-free fax number where you can send your forms via fax, download the files to your computer, and then upload them to your application. If you elect to use this feature, you will be provided with easy-to-follow instructions and prompts.

Recommendation Letters:

Please provide your recommenders (your advisor and one other faculty member) with a copy of your Mellon DYF dissertation description and annotated table of contents (if possible) well in advance of the January 29th deadline. In the online application, you will be able to request a letters of recommendation electronically.

Selection Process

The selection committee is composed of graduate program chairs and the Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and you will be notified of its decision by at the end of February.

Apply Online!

The 2015-16 online application will be available beginning November 14, 2014. You will first need to create an account in the online application system to access the application.