Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowships

Ford Foundation

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Next deadline: Dec 10, 2020 2:00pm PST (Pre proposal)

Later deadlines: Jan 7, 2021 2:00pm PST (Full proposal)

Grant amount: US $28,000

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Applicant type: PhD Student

Funding uses: Fellowship

Location of project: Anywhere in the world

Location of residency: United States

Location of citizenship: United States

Degree requirements: Applicants must be on the last year of their PhD

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About this funder:



Note: Deadlines are as follows:
  • Application: 'pre-proposal' deadline above
  • Supplementary Materials: ' full proposal' deadline above

Dissertation Fact Sheet

This year the program will award approximately 36 dissertation fellowships. The dissertation fellowships provide one year of support for individuals working to complete a dissertation leading to a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or Doctor of Science (Sc.D.) degree. The Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship is intended to support the final year of writing and defense of the dissertation.

Dissertation fellowships will be awarded in a national competition administered by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine on behalf of the Ford Foundation. The awards will be made to individuals who, in the judgment of the review panels, have demonstrated superior academic achievement, are committed to a career in teaching and research at the college or university level, show promise of future achievement as scholars and teachers, and are well prepared to use diversity as a resource for enriching the education of all students. 

Fellowship Institution

Fellowships are tenable at any fully accredited, non-proprietary (not for profit) U.S. institution of higher education offering a Ph.D. or Sc.D. degree in the eligible fields of study.

Stipend and Benefits


The tenure of a dissertation fellowship will be no less than 9 months and no more than 12 months.

Conditions of the Fellowship

Dissertation fellows are expected to be engaged in a full-time program leading to a Ph.D. or Sc.D. degree in an eligible field of study. Those who accept a dissertation fellowship must agree to the stipulations in the Terms of Appointment for Ford Foundation Fellows that accompanies the award notification. In addition, Ford Fellows must agree to participate in regular updates of the Directory of Ford Fellows, as well as periodic surveys designed to demonstrate the impact of this program.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • In addition to the other dissertation program level requirements, eligibility to apply for a dissertation fellowship is limited to:
    • All U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, and U.S. permanent residents (holders of a Permanent Resident Card), as well as individuals granted deferred action status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, political asylees, and refugees, regardless of race, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, or sexual orientation,
    • Individuals with evidence of superior academic achievement (such as grade point average, class rank, honors, or other designations),
    • Individuals committed to a career in teaching and research at the college or university level,
    • Ph.D. or Sc.D. degree candidates studying in an eligible research-based discipline in a dissertation-required program at a non-proprietary (not for profit) U.S. institution of higher education who will complete the dissertation in a period of 9-12 months during the 2019-2020 academic year, and
    • Individuals who have not earned a doctoral degree at any time, in any field.
  • Eligible Fields of Study
    • Awards will be made for study in research-based Ph.D. or Sc.D. programs that include the following major disciplines and related interdisciplinary fields:
      • American studies, anthropology, archaeology, art and theater history, astronomy, chemistry, communications, computer science, cultural studies, earth sciences, economics, education, engineering, ethnic studies, ethnomusicology, geography, history, international relations, language, life sciences, linguistics, literature, mathematics, performance study, philosophy, physics, political science, psychology, religious studies, sociology, urban planning, and women’s studies.
    • Also eligible are interdisciplinary ethnic studies programs, such as African American studies and Native American studies, and other interdisciplinary programs, such as area studies, peace studies, and social justice. Research-based fields of education are eligible if the major field of study is listed above and is used to describe the Ph.D. or Sc.D. program of the applicant (e.g., sociology of education, anthropology and education).
    • The complete list of eligible fields of study supported at the dissertation level of the fellowship program is available here: Eligible Fields of Study List.


  • The following will be considered as positive factors in choosing successful candidates:
    • Evidence of superior academic achievement
    • Degree of promise of continuing achievement as scholars and teachers
    • Capacity to respond in pedagogically productive ways to the learning needs of students from diverse backgrounds
    • Sustained personal engagement with communities that are underrepresented in the academy and an ability to bring this asset to learning, teaching, and scholarship at the college and university level
    • Likelihood of using the diversity of human experience as an educational resource in teaching and scholarship
    • Membership in one or more of the following groups whose underrepresentation in the American professoriate has been severe and longstanding:
      • Alaska Natives (Aleut, Eskimo, or other Indigenous People of Alaska)
      • Black/African Americans
      • Mexican Americans/Chicanas/Chicanos
      • Native American Indians
      • Native Pacific Islanders (Hawaiian/Polynesian/Micronesian)
      • Puerto Ricans


  • Individuals enrolled in the following practice-oriented programs will not be supported:
    • administration, audiology, business, consumer studies, curriculum development, human resource management, exercise physiology, filmmaking, fine arts, guidance, kinesiology, leadership, library and information science, management, nursing, occupational health, performing arts, personnel, physical education, physical therapy, public health, rehabilitation science, social welfare, social work, speech pathology, and teacher education.
  • In addition, awards will not be made for work leading to terminal master’s degrees, the Ed.D. degree, the degrees of Doctor of Fine Arts (D.F.A.) or Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.), or professional degrees in such areas as medicine, law, and public health, or for study in joint degree programs such as the M.D./Ph.D., J.D./Ph.D., and M.F.A./Ph.D.
  • This program does not support the Ph.D. portion of a dual-degree program.
  • Interdisciplinary areas of study that have major content in ineligible fields listed above will not be included in the competition. 


This page was last reviewed June 04, 2020 and last updated June 04, 2020