What is the Harold Leonard Memorial Fellowship in Film Study?

The Harold Leonard Memorial Fellowship in Film Study (Leonard Fellowship) is for doctoral students pursuing well-defined research or study in which film history, criticism, theory, or aesthetics is the major focus of the research. 

Students may propose either of the following:

  • a program of research, such as that which would lead to a dissertation, or
  • a course of study in which a major focus will be film

The Leonard Fellowship does not support film production projects.

How much is the award?

$25,000 stipend, academic year tuition at the general graduate rate for up to 14 credits per semester, and subsidized health insurance through the Graduate Assistant Health Plan for up to one calendar year

Up to two (2) fellowships are available for 2024-25.

Who Is Eligible?

  • U.S. citizens, permanent residents, MN Dream Act students, and International students
  • PhD students or candidates in good standing with their program at the University of Minnesota
  • PhD students or candidates who have completed at least one year of graduate studies at the University of Minnesota at the time of application
  • Previous Leonard Fellowship recipients are NOT eligible to apply again


Graduate students apply directly through the electronic application.


The application window is currently closed. The call for 2025-26 applications will open October 2024.


The applicant will upload a single PDF of the application materials in the following order:

  • Research Project Statement, see details below
  • Curriculum Vitae, see details below
  • Unofficial UMN transcript
  • IRB/IACUC Documentation, see details below
  • Two (2) letters of recommendation, not included in single PDF - letter writers will upload the letter individually to the application, see details below

Required PDF title format: Last Name, First Name - Name of Graduate Program


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  • Two-page maximum, single-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman type, 1-inch margins
  • Key references, diagrams, or pictures may be included (they are not required) on a single additional appendix page (no formatting requirements)
  • Include a working title for your research project at the top of the proposal
  • After the title, begin the statement with a 100-word abstract describing the extent to which you research centers on film and its potential contribution to film scholarship. This should be written for a non-specialist.
  • Describe the work already completed, the current status of the project, and whether or not it is to form the basis of your dissertation
  • If your research project is part of a larger group project, be specific about your role and independent contribution(s)
  • Explain how your research will be completed if this request is not funded or if other needed funds are not forthcoming


  • Two-page maximum, single-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman type, 1-inch margins
  • Focus on activities relevant to your research, publications, presentations, academic accomplishments, and awards


Please consult the IRB and/or IACUC webpages for additional information.

If your research involves Human or Animal Subjects, provide the date of IRB/IACUC approval and documentation of approval (1-2 pages).

If your project involves human or animal subjects but IRB/IACUC told you that approval is not needed then provide the email or letter stating this decision. If your Advisor has IRB/IACUC approval that covers this research project then provide that approval page (1-2 pages).

If your research does not involve Human or Animal subjects then submit the Human Subjects Statement (requires Advisor signature).

If your IRB/IACUC application is still pending, provide documentation to show the submitted request (1-2 pages). Once received, IRB/IACUC approval can be submitted directly to gsfellow@umn.edu. If awarded a Leonard Film Study Fellowship, funding is contingent upon proof of IRB/IACUC approval and/or decision.


  • Applicants will provide the names and email addresses of two references, on the electronic application form, who are willing to provide a letter of recommendation
  • One letter of recommendation must come from applicant’s advisor or co-advisor
  • Second letter of recommendation can come from either the applicant’s co-advisor or another faculty member of choice