Awards for PhD Dissertations

Below is a compilation of awards and fellowships that faculty, staff, and graduates have found relevant to Schar School students as they strive to fund their dissertations. Some of these awards also recognize completed dissertation research. Awards are organized by deadline.

Awards by Month


Managing the Atom Fellowship

Award: 10-month fellowship: $40,000 for pre-doctoral fellows, $50,000 for post-doctoral fellows; health insurance, discounted MBTA passes, and shared office space.

Purpose: The Project on Managing the Atom advances policy-relevant research on reducing the risk of nuclear and radiological terrorism, stopping the spread of nuclear weapons, reducing the dangers of existing nuclear stockpiles, and assessing the future of civilian nuclear power. Fellows are expected to pursue research with a nuclear policy focus that relates to the ongoing work of the MTA project

Eligibility: Eligible candidates include current doctoral students in the dissertation-writing stage, recent recipients of a Ph.D. or equivalent degree, and university faculty members.

The CAORC Multi-Country Research Fellowship

Award: Travel Award: Approximately eight awards of up to $11,000 each will be given.

Purpose: The Multi-Country Research Fellowship supports advanced regional or trans-regional research in the humanities, social sciences, or allied natural sciences for U.S. doctoral candidates, and postdoctoral scholars. Preference will be given to candidates examining comparative and/or cross-regional research.

Eligibility: Exclusively for PhD candidates (ABD) or postdoctoral individuals. Must be a US citizen.

Center for Retirement Research Dissertation Fellowship

Award: Up to 3 $28,000 grants will be awarded.

Purpose: The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College sponsors the annual Dissertation Fellowship Program in the field of retirement or disability research. The program is funded by the U.S. Social Security Administration and provides funding opportunities for doctoral candidates to pursue cutting-edge research on retirement or disability issues.

Eligibility: Must have a dissertation proposal focused on one of the Social Security Administration’s Research Focal Areas.

The Mercatus Center Dissertation Fellowship

Award: The fellowship award can vary to include research support, stipends, and tuition support.

Purpose: The Mercatus Dissertation Fellowship Program is a one year, renewable, competitive fellowship program for students who have advanced to candidacy in their PhD program at George Mason University and are working on dissertations that aim at understanding how social change occurs and how to create a freer society.

Eligibility: Exclusively for GMU doctoral candidates. Submissions are encouraged from Political Science, Public Policy, Cultural Studies, History, Sociology, and all related fields in the humanities and social sciences.


The Henry Frank Guggenheim Foundation Dissertation Fellowships

Award: $25,000

Purpose: Questions that interest the foundation concern violence and aggression in relation to social change, intergroup conflict, war, terrorism, crime, and family relationships, among other subjects. Dissertations with no relevance to understanding human violence and aggression will not be supported. Priority will also be given to areas and methodologies not receiving adequate attention and support from other funding sources.

Eligibility: Exclusively for PhD candidates approaching their final year of PhD work.

The Economic Club of Washington, D. C. Fellowships

Award: $10,000 stipend

Purpose: Stipends will support 1) independent research in areas of interest to the Economic Club, e.g. economics, finance, international trade or business or 2) doctoral‐level research dealing with issues of direct and specific relevance to the Greater Washington Metropolitan Area, including, without limitation, issues of economics, public and private finance, education, transportation, law enforcement, social welfare, housing, and regional and community development.

Eligibility: Preference for students who will conduct dissertation research. US citizenship or legal residency required.

Benjamin H. Stevens Graduate Research Fellowship in Regional Science

Award: $30,000 stipend paid over 12-months.

Purpose: This Fellowship supports dissertation research in Regional Science, a multidisciplinary field concerned with the theory and method of urban and regional phenomena. Regional Scientists apply theoretical and empirical frameworks and methods of the social and other sciences, as well as develop new ones specifically for regional analysis and policy.

Eligibility: Exclusively for PhD candidates. 

The Tobin Project: Graduate Fellowships in Inequality and Decision Making

Award: Capped at $1,000

Purpose: The Tobin Project seeks applications from doctoral students undertaking new research that explores economic inequality’s behavioral effects, or the potential macro-level consequences of such effects.

Eligibility: Doctoral students from all disciplines are encouraged to apply


C. Lowell Harriss Dissertation Fellowship Program

Award: $10,000 stipend

Purpose: The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy strives to solve global economic, social, and environmental challenges and improve the quality of life through creative approaches to the use, taxation, and stewardship of land. This fellowship supports doctoral students who are writing theses in fields that address the Institute’s primary interest areas in valuation and taxation, planning, and related topics.

Eligibility: US citizenship not required.

EITM Summer Institute (Empirical Implications of Theoretical Models)

Award: 3-week summer institute: tuition and full financial support (including a stipend for round-trip airfare and dormitory housing, as necessary, plus a modest allowance for meals and incidentals).

Purpose: Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), this program trains graduate students and junior faculty in EITM, a research strategy that integrates theoretical models and empirical research to improve and expand our understanding of politics. The institute will integrate developments and findings from throughout political science, including the substantive areas of American politics, comparative politics, international relations, and political economy.

Eligibility: Preference for doctoral candidates who have completed their dissertation plan, but have not started the writing-up stage.

Adam Smith Fellowship

Award: $10,000 award. Additionally, Smith Fellows spend three weekends during the academic year and one week during the summer in residence at George Mason University participating in workshops and seminars on the Austrian, Virginia, and Bloomington schools of political economy.

Purpose: Fellowships are awarded to graduate students attending PhD programs in a variety of fields including economics, philosophy, political science, and sociology.

Eligibility: Must be enrolled in a PhD Program during upcoming academic year.

AERA Dissertation Grants

Award: Up to $25,000 stipend, travel & lodging to attend AERA Research Conference, and attendance of AERA Annual Meeting Capstone Research Institute.

Purpose: The AERA Grants Program provides advanced graduate students with research funding and professional development and training. The program supports highly competitive dissertation research using rigorous quantitative methods to examine large-scale, education-related data. 

Eligibility: Must be an advanced doctoral student engaged in education-related research (including economics, political science, public policy, statistics, etc.). The Grants Program encourages proposals across the life span and contexts of education and learning of relevance to STEM policy and practice. The dissertation research project must include the analysis of large-scale data. US Citizenship or Permanent Residency required.

Microsoft Foundation Dissertation Grants

Award: Up to $25,000 & invitation to PhD Summit

Purpose: The program supports PhD students at North American universities who are underrepresented in the field of computing and pursuing research aligned to the research areas carried out by Microsoft Research.

Eligibility: To be eligible, applicants must be in their fourth year or beyond in a PhD program and enrolled at a university in the United States, Canada, or Mexico.

SREB-State Dissertation Award

Award: The Dissertation Award offers a one-year, $20,000 stipend, university-covered tuition and fees (unless the institution prohibits a fee waiver), a $500 research allowance and professional development support.

Purpose: The SREB-State Doctoral Scholars Program offers awards to students who are pursuing Ph.D.s and plan to become college and university professors.

Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS)- Dissertation Awards Program 

Award: $1,500 USD, invitation to attend ACUNS Annual Meeting ($500 for travel, $150 for registration fee).

Purpose: The ACUNS Dissertation Fellowship Award recognizes students of extraordinary potential who have reached the stage of writing an advanced graduate-level dissertation on a topic of direct and demonstrable relevance to the United Nations and/or the UN system.

Eligibility: Must be student member of ACUNS. Award is intended for doctoral students who are in their final year of their program. Applications not related to the UN and/or UN system will not be considered.


Constant H. Jacquet Research Awards

Award: Up to $4,000 grant. Funding may be used for research expenses, but not for supplemental income or capital equipment.

Purpose: Award supports research in religion. Research projects must use social scientific methods and perspectives to study aspects of religion, and all proposals must discuss how the research is applicable for religious organizations, leaders, and/or practitioners.

Eligibility:  Applicants are required to be members of the RRA. 

Debra Mesch Doctoral Fellowship for Research on Women’s Philanthropy

Award: $5,000 for 1-year doctoral dissertation fellowship.

Purpose: This fellowship will be awarded to a scholar whose primary research focus is in the area of women’s philanthropy or gender differences in philanthropic behavior and giving. The fellowship is intended to support research and dissertation writing.

Eligibility: Must be a PhD Candidate who has completed coursework and defended dissertation proposal successfully.






2021 RSAI Best Dissertation in Regional Science

Award: Cash award of 750 Euros.

Purpose: The Regional Science Association International (RSAI) invites submissions for the annual competition for the Best Doctoral Dissertation in Regional Science. Regional science is an interdisciplinary field concerned with theory, method, and application of regional, urban and rural, geographic and spatial investigations and analyses.

Eligibility: Must have successfully defended a dissertation and have an official graduation date between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021.






Smith Richardson Foundation World Politics and Statecraft Fellowship

Award: $7,500 grant (up to 20 awards)

Purpose: The Smith Richardson Foundation sponsors an annual “World Politics and Statecraft Fellowship” program, its annual grant competition to support Ph.D. dissertation research on American foreign policy, international relations, international security, strategic studies, area studies, and diplomatic and military history.

Eligibility: Must be full-time university student who has completed all coursework and qualifying exams by the application’s deadline.

John Heinz Dissertation Award

Award: $3,500 Honorarium

Purpose: The Heinz Dissertation Award is designed to recognize and promote outstanding doctoral research by new scholars addressing social insurance policy questions. This might include analysis of long-term care financing, the labor market effects of Social Security, cross-national comparisons and family social insurance protections.

Eligibility: All dissertations completed between January 1, 2019 and October 18, 2019 will be considered.

Mason Spring 2020 Dissertation Completion Grants

Award: $10,000

Purpose: These competitive awards go to doctoral students in the final semester of completing their dissertations. They enable students to focus full-time on research and writing, improve the quality of their work, and shorten the time needed to complete their degrees.

Eligibility: Full-time doctoral student, PhD candidate, and must submit final dissertation by Friday, July 31.


American Institute of Indian Studies Junior Research Fellowship

Award: Fellowship (up to 11 months): monthly stipend and funding for research and travel.

Purpose: These grants are specifically designed to enable doctoral candidates to pursue their dissertation research in India. Junior Research Fellows establish formal affiliation with Indian universities and Indian research supervisors.

Eligibility: Junior Research Fellowships are available to doctoral candidates at U.S. universities in all fields of study.


The Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship

Award: Fellowship with 1-year stipend of $25,000. Fellowship begins on June 1 or September 1, 2020.

Purpose: The awards will be made to individuals who 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. 

Eligibility: The Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship is intended to support the final year of writing and defense of the dissertation. U. S. citizens, U. S. permanent residents, DACA students, political asylees, and refugees are eligible to apply.

Center for Engaged Scholarship Dissertation Fellowship

Award: $25,000 stipend paid out over 9 months.

Purpose: We use our skills as researchers and teachers to challenge the wrong ideas of the right-wing and to generate new ideas that can contribute to progressive change. Our first initiative is a dissertation fellowship for social science PhD students in the U.S. whose work can contribute to the change we seek.

Eligibility: Must be a PhD student studying a social science (e.g. economics, political science) or be engaged in an interdisciplinary program that draws from the social sciences.

Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy Grant 

Award: $7,500 USD- $5,000 as the initial award, and $2,500 when project is completed. Opportunities for an additional $1,500-$5,000 award exist through application process.

Purpose: Its general purpose is to support the advancement of research and understanding in the major fields of the social sciences. Its specific purpose is to provide small grants to aspiring PhD students at the dissertation level to support the research they are undertaking for their project.

Eligibility: Must be PhD candidate who is working on their dissertation.

Rotating Deadlines

Dirksen Congressional Center’s Research Grants

Deadline: The Center accepts applications for Congressional Research Grants at any time and makes awards throughout the year.

Award: Up to $3,500 grant.

Purpose: The competition is open to individuals with a serious interest in studying Congress. A grant can cover almost any aspect of a qualified research project, such as travel to conduct research, duplication of research material, purchase of data sets, and costs of clerical, secretarial, research, or transcription assistance. 

Eligibility: Applicants must be U.S. citizens who reside in the United States.

AHRQ Health Services Research Dissertation Program

Deadline: Application receipt dates are February 1, May 1, August 1, and November 1.

Award: Up to $40,000 in direct costs (minimum 9 months up to 17 months)

Purpose: This program supports dissertation research that addresses AHRQ’s mission (produce evidence to make health care safer, higher quality, more accessible, equitable and affordable,) and priorities and welcomes any areas of health services research as dissertation project topics.

Eligibility: Must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or permanent resident by the time of the grant award.