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 2017) 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, History, Music Composition and Theory, Musicology, Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, Politics, and Sociology. Eight fellowships are available. The DYF carries a 12-month stipend, a summer research grant, and a full credit toward the Brandeis Health Insurance option. 

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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, History, Music Composition and Theory, Musicology, Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, Politics, and Sociology.

2. Applicants must have completed all degree requirements other than the dissertation. Your Department Chair or the Director of Graduate Study must certify your ABD status.

3. Applicants must be entering their 5th or 6th year of the program (excluding any leave(s) of absence) in the 2017-18 academic year.

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

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Award Conditions

1. Mellon Fellows must sign the Commitment Form. By doing so, Mellon Fellows have certified that if they accept the award they agree to: (1) check-in monthly with their advisor; (2) submit a progress report to the Dean of GSAS in March 2018; (3) graduate by August 2018; and (4) renounce all Brandeis University employment until such time that their dissertation is defended. 

2. Mellon Fellows understand that their funding can be revoked if they do not make sufficient progress toward completion without good cause by their March progress report.

3. Mellon Fellows must register as a continuation student for the entire period of the award. 

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

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Application Instructions

There are two separate parts to the application. The first part is the completion of the online Qualtrics application form. The second part is the submission of your supporting documentation.

Part I: Complete the online application form via Qualtrics.

The application for the Mellon Dissertation Year Fellowship Application is available in Qualtrics.

This application informs us of your intent to apply for the Dissertation Year Fellowship and sends a link to your advisor through which they can upload their letter of recommendation. The link will not be sent to your advisor until you have completed the application form. Be sure to complete the application form early enough to allow your advisor time to upload their letter of recommendation before the deadline on March 10. 

Part II: Submit all five supporting documents (described below) in one email to mellon@brandeis.edu. Title each file with your name and the type of supporting document (e.g., Last,First-CurriculaVitae). Please note Music Composition and Theory students should only submit four supporting documents and have separate instructions for dissertation descriptions.

1. Curricula Vitae: include publications, conference papers, awards, and distinctions.

2. Dissertation Description: (maximum four double-spaced pages of clear, academic prose - avoid jargon as the selection committee comprises faculty from many disciplines) include

  • Executive Summary: succinct overview of dissertation, including the problems 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. Include the texts, documents, and other sources you will use to write your dissertation.

 Music Composition and Theory Dissertation Descriptions 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

3. Annotated Table of Contents: (maximum one double-spaced page) list all chapters, with a very brief summary of the substance. Clearly indicate the status of each chapter (completed, in draft, not yet started). This requirement does not apply to students in Music Composition and Theory.

4. Commitment Form: use this form to indicate your commitment to the Mellon DYF’s award conditions. Both you and your advisor will need to sign and date this form.

5. Department Certification: use this form to indicate that you have completed all degree requirements for your program except for your dissertation. Both you and your Director of Graduate Studies or Department Chair will need to sign and date this form.

Advisor Recommendation Letter (provided separately)

Once your online application is submitted, your advisor will receive an email with a link through which to upload their letter of recommendation. The link will not be sent to your advisor until you have completed the application form. We recommend that you be in contact with your advisor to ensure that they upload their letter before the deadline on March 10.

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Selection Process

The selection committee is composed of graduate program chairs and the Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. You should be notified of the selection committee’s decision in April.