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Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship

What is the Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship? 

The Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship (DDF) gives the University's most accomplished Ph.D. candidates an opportunity to devote full-time effort to an outstanding research project by providing time to finalize and write a dissertation during the fellowship year.

The award includes a stipend of $25,000 for the academic year (September-May), tuition for up to 14 thesis credits each semester (fall & spring), and subsidized health insurance through the Graduate Assistant Health Plan.

Who Is Eligible? 

Programs may nominate Ph.D. candidates if the nominee:

  • will have passed the written and oral preliminary examinations by February 26, 2020.
  • will have completed all program coursework by the end of spring semester 2020 (Nominee may be registered for program coursework in spring 2020, but may not have any incompletes in program coursework at the time of nomination.).
  • is expected to graduate in 2021.

The deadline for programs to nominate is noon (CST), Wednesday, February 26, 2020.

Further Information

For more information about internal review and nomination procedures, please contact your Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) or designated program support staff. If you have additional questions, contact the Graduate School Fellowship Office.

How Do I Apply?

Each nomination is uploaded by program staff, as a single PDF to the electronic nomination form, and must include:

  • Nominee's Education Statement
  • Nominee's Summary of Accomplishments
  • Nominee's Statement of Research
  • DGS Evaluation
  • Two Letters of Recommendation

Contact your program directly with questions related to their internal review process. Programs will submit all required nomination materials directly to the Graduate School Fellowship Office. 

The nominee downloads the Education Statement and provides to nominating program.

The nominee downloads Summary of Accomplishments Template.

  • Delete any unnecessary headers from template, including instructions.
  • Include a description of the convention for listing authorship at the top of the summary.

Accomplishment headers on the template include:

  • Positions/Employment
  • Honors and Awards
      • University of Minnesota
      • External Sources
  • Publications (Current and Pending)
      • Books or Monographs
      • Refereed Journal Articles
      • Non-refereed Journal Articles, Essays, or Book Chapters
      • Proceedings of Conferences
      • Review of performances/exhibitions
      • Software, Product, and Web Resource Development
  • Presentations, Posters, and Exhibits
      • Invited Presentations at professional Meetings, Conferences, etc.
      • Contributed Papers Presented at Professional Meetings, Conferences, etc.
      • Abstracts
      • Posters or Exhibitions
      • Professional Artistic and Creative Experience
  • Public and Other Service

The nominee writes a Statement of Research using the following guidelines, and provides final document to nominating program:

  • Maximum three-pages, single-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font, one-inch margins.  Key references, diagrams or pictures may be included (but they are not required) on a single additional appendix page (no formatting requirements).
  • Include a working title for your research at the top of the proposal.
  • Under the title, include an abstract, limited to 100 words, in terms that are jargon-free and accessible to the non-specialist.

This statement should provide a clear summary of the student's dissertation research, highlighting the student's original contributions to the research (especially when part of a larger research project), placing the research within the context of existing research in the field, and describing the potential significance and contribution it will make to the discipline. The statement should also include a brief description of long-range career and professional goals.

Specialized terminology must be defined; faculty reviewers are drawn from many different fields across the University. The nominee is encouraged to have the statement reviewed and critiqued by persons completely outside the field and unfamiliar with the discipline to assure that it meets the wide-audience test of accessibility. Many excellent nominees have not received awards in past years because their statements contained undefined specialized words and dense syntax, making the statement incomprehensible to reviewers. 

The DGS downloads the Evaluation Form and provides to program staff for inclusion in nomination.

The DGS evaluation is a critical component of the nomination and is carefully considered by the Fellowship Selection Committee. Faculty reviewers rely heavily on the DGS statement to help them evaluate the file from the vantage point of the broad discipline. The DGS should not quote extensively from the nominee’s recommendation letters. Reviewers ask that the DGS comment on each of the following three points:

  • Quality of the nominee's research and likely impact on the field.
  • Productivity, scholarly accomplishments, and scholarly potential of the nominee.
  • Nominee's progress in relation to the program's expectations and norms; note any unusual circumstances.

Two faculty recommendation letters, one of which is from the advisor or co-advisors, and one from a non-advisor. Co-advisors may co-author one letter. Letters should include detail on:

  • Specific contribution(s) the student made to the research project, demonstrating the student's independence, originality and resourcefulness.
  • Importance and significance of the research and its impact on the broader discipline.
  • Student's publications, presentations, or performance record in relation to other students in the field.
  • Timeliness of progress toward the degree.

Please provide the following recommendation instructions to your recommendation letter writers:

  • Letters of Recommendation
    • Program nomination deadline: noon (CST), February 26, 2020. Programs will have earlier deadlines for internal selection and nomination preparation process. Please contact program for internal deadline.
    • Two faculty recommendation letters are required, one of which is from the advisor or co-advisors, and one from a non-advisor. Co-advisors may co-author one letter.
  • Where to Submit
    • Electronically: To the student's nominating program.
    • Campus Mail: To the student's nominating program.
  • Letters (maximum of 2 pages) should comment on:
    • The specific contribution(s) the student made to the research project, demonstrating the student's independence, originality and resourcefulness.
    • The importance and significance of the research and its impact on the broader discipline.
    • The student's publication, presentation or performance record in relation to other students in the field.
    • The timeliness of progress toward the degree.

Are You a DDF Fellow?

Apply for the Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship Conference Presentation Grant

The DDF Conference Presentation Grant exists to support the presentation of dissertation research at a conference while on DDF tenure.

Am I Eligible? 

Applicants for the DDF Conference Presentation Grant must:

  • Be a current Doctoral Dissertation Fellow during the time the request is submitted.
  • Have confirmation of acceptance to present the dissertation research at a local, national, or international conference.
  • Not have received a previous DDF Conference Presentation Grant (one time award).

Note: retroactive requests for funding may be submitted (provided travel did not occur prior to July 1, 2019).

What Does the Presentation Grant Cover? 

  • Twin Cities metropolitan area: Stipend equal to the conference registration fee
  • National or international conference:  Stipend of $1,000
  • Funds from this grant may not duplicate another award received for the same purpose. However, expenses beyond those covered by this award may be supplemented by another award.

What is the Payment Process? 

  • Funding will be transferred to the student account and a credit account balance check will be sent to the direct deposit account. If direct deposit is not available, a check will be mailed to the home address.
  • Receipt of this grant may affect eligibility for need-based financial aid. Students should contact the Office of Student Finance to discuss any issues that may arise.
  • International students might have taxes withheld if the country of citizenship does not have a tax treaty with the United States.

How Do I Apply? 

Please submit a single PDF file of the DDF Conference Grant Application for 2019-20 to the Graduate School Fellowship Office. A complete request includes: 

  • The DDF Conference Grant Application, signed by the applicant and the adviser*.
  • A copy of the acceptance notice to present your work.
  • Acknowledgement that grant award recipient agrees to submit a brief report confirming conference presentation within one month of event.

*Please cc your adviser when submitting the application.

The deadline to apply for the Grant Application is noon (CST), on the 6th of each month from September 2019 to May 2020. 

The final date to apply for summer 2020 is noon (CST), May 6, 2020.