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 their dissertation during the fellowship year.

WHAT IS THE APPLICATION WINDOW? 

The 2023-24 application window opens Monday, October 10, 2022 and the deadline to apply is Friday, February 24, 2023 at 12:00 p.m. (noon) CST.

How much is the award? 

$25,000 stipend, academic year tuition at the general graduate rate for up to 14 credits per semester, subsidized health insurance through the Graduate Assistant Health Plan for up to one calendar year, and a $1,000 conference grant.

Who Is Eligible? 

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

  • will have passed the written and oral preliminary examinations by February 24, 2023.
  • will have completed all program coursework by the end of the spring semester 2023 (NOTE: nominee may be registered for program coursework in spring 2023, but may not have any incompletes in program coursework at the time of nomination).
  • is expected to graduate in calendar year 2024.

HOW DO I APPLY? 

Program Nomination required. Please reach out to your Director of Graduate Studies or Graduate Program Coordinator.

Colleges have a set number of nomination slots. Check with your program to find out more information about your college’s internal selection process.

WHAT ARE THE APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS?

Completed by Nominee (Ph.D. candidate) and submitted directly to the nominating program

Completed by Nominating Program

At the request of a Ph.D. candidate, two (2) letters of recommendation are required.

  • One letter from the nominee’s Advisor and/or Co-Advisor, see details below
  • One letter from a non-advisor, see details below

All application materials are forwarded to the student’s graduate program for submission to the electronic nomination form. The graduate program will upload a single PDF of the application materials in the following order:

  1. Nominee's Education Statement
  2. Nominee's Summary of Accomplishments
  3. Nominee's Statement of Research
  4. DGS Questionnaire
  5. Two Letters of Recommendation

Required PDF title format: Nominee Last Name, First Name - Program

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.

APPLICATION MATERIAL INSTRUCTIONS

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APPLICATION MATERIAL INSTRUCTIONS

NOMINEE’S STATEMENT OF RESEARCH

Required Elements

  1. Maximum three pages, single-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font, one-inch margins.
  2. Include a working title for your research at the top of the proposal.
  3. Under the title, include an abstract, limited to 100 words, in terms that are jargon-free and accessible to the non-specialist.

Appendix Page

Key references, diagrams or pictures may be included (but they are not required) on a single additional appendix page (no formatting requirements).

Expectations of content

  1. Provide a clear summary of your dissertation research and highlight your original contributions to the research, especially if part of a larger research project.
  2. Describe where your research fits within the context of existing research in the field and the contributions your research will add.
  3. Describe the area(s) of impact that you see your research having.
  4. Describe how receiving the DDF supports your professional and/or career goals.
  5. Specialized terminology must be defined. Faculty reviewers are drawn from many different fields across the University. 

Evaluation Rubric

You may find this rubric to be helpful as it will be used by the Faculty Review Committee to evaluate DDF applications.

LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION

Advisor or Co-Advisor (can be co-authored)

  1. 2-page maximum, may be co-authored by Advisor and Co-Advisor
  2. Expectations of Content
    1. Describe the importance and significance of the overall research project and its impact on the broader discipline.
    2. Describe and provide examples of the specific contribution(s) the nominee made to the research project, demonstrating the nominee’s independence and research originality (e.g. invited presentations, awards, honors received).
    3. Describe how the nominee has evolved as a researcher, how that has guided their dissertation research project, and how they will benefit from the DDF.
    4. Describe the nominee’s timeliness of progress toward the degree. Has this nominee performed below, met, or exceeded expectations and provide explanation for any extenuating circumstances.
  3. You may find this rubric to be helpful as it will be used by the Faculty Review Committee to evaluate DDF applications.

Non-Advisor

  1. 2-page maximum, from a non-Advisor
  2. Expectations of Content
    1. Describe the importance and significance of the overall research project and its impact on the broader discipline.
    2. Describe and provide examples of the specific contribution(s) the nominee made to the research project, demonstrating the nominee’s independence and research originality (e.g. invited presentations, awards, honors received).
    3. Describe how the nominee has evolved as a researcher, how that has guided their dissertation research project, and how they will benefit from the DDF
    4. Describe the nominee’s timeliness of progress toward the degree. Has this nominee performed below, met, or exceeded expectations and provide explanation for any extenuating circumstances.
  3. You may find this rubric to be helpful as it will be used by the Faculty Review Committee to evaluate DDF applications.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What are the review and selection considerations?

An interdepartmental faculty committee reviews nominations and selects award recipients. This rubric is used in review and for discussion.

Can my co-advisor write the second letter of recommendation?

No, the second letter of recommendation must be from a non-advisor. Your co-advisor can co-author the first letter with your advisor. A committee member or other non-advisor can author the second letter.

Are there any tips for a successful DDF application?

The nominee is encouraged to have their Statement of Research 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 not in the nominee's discipline.

DDF Conference Grant

The DDF Conference Grant supports a recipient’s presentation of dissertation research at a conference while on DDF tenure.

The application form, which includes instructions and more information, is linked in the DDF Terms & Conditions. Applications are accepted on the 6th of every month, September through May, during a recipient’s DDF tenure.