Skip to main content

Graduate Student Fellowship Opportunities

The RPW Center offers dissertation completion and themed fellowship opportunities for graduate students. See below for descriptions, requirements, and application instructions.

Skip To:  Annual Graduate Student Fellowship  Thematic Graduate Student Fellowship

Annual Graduate Student Fellowship

Application deadline: March 1, 2022

The Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities invites applications for its 2022-23 Graduate Student Fellowship program. These awards are designed to support innovation and excellence in graduate student research. These residential awards will offer graduate students in the humanities and the social sciences in the College of Arts and Science at Vanderbilt University a service-free year of support to enable full-time work on the dissertation. 

Each award will include tuition, student health insurance coverage*, a stipend of $30,000, a research budget of $2,000, and affiliation with the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities. The competition is open to those students in the humanities and qualitative social sciences in the College of Arts and Science whose dissertation director and Director of Graduate Studies approve a timetable for the dissertation’s completion by August 2023.  

During the fellowship year, students will be expected to dedicate themselves full-time to dissertation research and writing. They may not be supported by other funds—with the exception of a Dissertation Enhancement Award—or hold other employment during the 2022-2023 academic year. As part of their affiliation with the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities, Fellows will be integrated into the center’s interdisciplinary scholarly community through participation in a weekly seminar, occasional seminars with visiting speakers, and special events. As the capstone of their fellowship experience, each Fellow will present a public lecture through the Warren Center in the spring semester. 

Applications for this award must be submitted via our application system by the end of the day on Tuesday, March 1, 2022. Graduate students may only apply once for this fellowship.

Each Application Must Include

  1. The candidate’s curriculum vitae. 
  2. A dissertation description of no more than five single-spaced pages, including an account of the dissertation’s original contribution to the field. 
  3. A one-page statement on how the interdisciplinary nature of the program will enhance the quality of the applicant’s thesis and its timely completion as well as examples of other collaborative research in which the candidate has participated. 
  4. Two letters of recommendation (including one from the dissertation director) that address the candidate’s qualifications for the award and his or her ability to finish the dissertation during the fellowship year. The letter writers may also wish to address how the candidate’s work would fit into an interdisciplinary graduate student seminar. Recommenders should send letters to Phoebe Thompson. 
  5. A completed 2022-2023 DGS Recommendation from the Director of Graduate Studies. The DGS should send the completed form directly to Phoebe Thompson.


Applicants will be notified when their applications have been received and will be notified of the fellowship outcome by early April. For all questions, please contact Holly Tucker, Director, Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities. 

*Note: University Tuition Scholarships are service-free awards that pay all or part of tuition costs. The following graduate awards are normally supplemented by a full University Tuition Scholarship, which usually includes student health insurance coverage: University Fellowships, Graduate Teaching Assistantships, Graduate Research Assistantships, Traineeships, and Teacher Training Awards. 

Back to Top

2022-2023 Thematic Graduate Student Fellowship

Application deadline: April 1, 2022

The Topic

The past two years have generated new forms of trauma and exacerbated transgenerational forms of suffering and precarity—locally, nationally, and globally. The theme of Mending and Transforming asks how we might work collectively to acknowledge and reckon with such pain and vulnerability, undo interwoven structures of oppression, and create new ways of being together in the world. How might humanistic scholarship amend the terms through which such conditions have been created and work toward mending tears to the social fabric that are new and old, recent, and longstanding?     

The Program

Fellows will convene weekly in person to discuss scholarly works-in-progress. The schedule and nature of the meetings will be established collectively by the Fellows in consultation with the Center Director. At the end of the appointment, Fellows will be expected to have completed an academic research project (such as an article or dissertation chapter or law-review note), a creative/artistic project, or a scholarly public engagement project.  

They will also be required to give a public presentation on their project during the academic year. 

Who Can Apply

Graduate students from all Vanderbilt schools are invited to apply. Students must have completed at least one year of their program and be working on a well-defined project in their program to be eligible. Each graduate student will be provided $2000 in research funds.    

*Note: This is a residential fellowship. All Fellows, including those on leave, are expected to participate fully, in person, in the collaborative work and scheduled meetings of the group.     

To Apply

Applicants for the Environments Graduate Fellows Program should provide their curriculum vitae and a maximum of 1,000-word statement that describes their project, its relevance to the fellowship theme, and the work to be completed over the course of the fellowship. Preference will be given to candidates who reflect on the specific aspects of their work that could benefit from collaborative, interdisciplinary engagement with other colleagues, as well as projects that are broadly relevant to “mending and transforming.” All materials will be reviewed by the RPW Center Director and an interdisciplinary faculty review panel. 

If you are willing to serve as a coordinator for the seminar, please indicate that in your application. 

Send all application materials (CV, statement) with “Mending and Transforming Graduate Fellowship” in the subject line to Terry Tripp by April 1, 2022. Applicants will be notified of their status by July 1, 2022. 

For all questions, please contact Holly Tucker, Director, Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities. 

Back to Top