Dissertation Completion Fellowships

Dissertation Completion Fellowships support doctoral students in the final year of their dissertation. Each fellowship enables a student to focus full time on research and writing. This improves quality of the work and shortens the time to complete the degree.

There are two types of dissertation completion fellowships. There is the general Dissertation Completion Fellowship, and the Royster Society of Fellows Dissertation Completion Fellowship.

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Types of Fellowships

Royster Society of Fellows (SOF) Dissertation Completion Fellowships
These fellowships support the most promising students in the final year of dissertation work.

The Royster Society of Fellows (SOF) is a select group of students from across UNC. Fellows share their research with one another at interdisciplinary seminars. They participate in mentoring and leadership development activities. For example, they attend trainings on communication with lay audiences, career exploration, and work-life balance. Fellows also act as student ambassadors by meeting with legislators, trustees, donors, alumni, and community members. The SOF Dissertation Completion Fellowships are endowed through the generous gifts of many friends of the University, most notably Dr. Thomas S. and Mrs. Caroline Royster Jr.

Society of Fellows named fellowships include:
Special Purpose SOF fellowships:

Eligibility

Eligibility criteria apply to both the general and SOF Dissertation Completion Fellowships.

You are eligible if:

If you are awarded this fellowship, you may not register for more than 3 credit hours of Doctoral Dissertation Credit (994).

You may not hold any other service award, fellowship, scholarship, or outside employment without prior permission from The Graduate School.

Before applying, you must:

Applying for both the general and SOF fellowships:

You do not need to submit different applications for the general and SOF fellowships.

You cannot apply for both a Dissertation Completion Fellowship and an Off-Campus Dissertation Research Fellowship at the same time.

Selection Criteria

We will give priority to students who are most likely to complete their dissertation within one academic year.

Award Amount

The fellowship provides a stipend, tuition, fees, and health insurance for one academic year. SOF fellowships also provide funds for professional travel.

  General Society of Fellows (SOF)
Stipend $16,000 $20,000
Tuition Full Tuition (For 3 credits of 994 only)
Fees Included
Health insurance Included
Length of support One 9-month academic year One 9-month academic year
TA/RA position No service appointment, fellowship, scholarship or outside employment may be held during the award period without prior approval from the Graduate School.
Travel funds None $1000

Depending on funding, this award may change from year to year.

Nomination

Each program can nominate one student per year for the general Dissertation Completion Fellowship, and up to one additional student for each of the four special purpose fellowships.

Deadline

Deadlines are posted on the funding deadlines calendar.

How to Apply

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  1. Please check with your department for their internal deadline. You must complete your application early enough for your department to nominate you to The Graduate School by the deadline.
  2. Prepare an abstract, research description, research workplan, statement of research significance and curriculum vitae. Arrange for two letters of recommendation. Be sure to follow the application guidelines.
    • If you are applying for an SOF fellowship, include an SOF interest statement
    • If you are applying for a special purpose SOF fellowship, include an SOF interest statement and a special purpose interest statement

    View Frequently Asked Questions about the online award application.

  3. Before submitting your application, we suggest you get feedback on your research description from a person outside of your field.
  4. Submit your materials to The Graduate School Award Online Application.
  5. Once you submit your application, your recommenders will receive an email asking them to submit a letter via the online system.
  6. At the same time, the fellowship and award approver for your department will receive an email notifying them that you submitted your application.
  7. Once your letters of recommendation have been submitted, your department may nominate you for the fellowship. If your department selects your application, they must nominate it to The Graduate School by the deadline.
  8. We will notify awardees in the middle of April.

Application Guidelines

We will not consider your application if you exceed any of the page limits and/or you do not follow the proper format.

A complete application includes:

General Dissertation Completion SOF fellowship Special purpose SOF fellowship
  • Online Application
  • Attachments:
    • Abstract
    • Research Description
    • Research Workplan
    • Research Significance
    • Curriculum vitae
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Online Application
  • Attachments:
    • Abstract
    • Research Description
    • Research Workplan
    • Research Significance
    • +SOF interest statement
    • Curriculum vitae
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Online Application
  • Attachments:
    • Abstract
    • Research Description
    • Research Workplan
    • Research Significance
    • +SOF interest statement
    • +Special purpose interest statement
    • Curriculum vitae
  • Two letters of recommendation

Abstract

Format: No more than ½ page. Double-spaced, 12-point font, 1-inch margins, numbered pages, your name on each page.

Include:

Research Description

Briefly describe your dissertation research project and your progress toward completion. Address your research description to an audience of intelligent reviewers who may not be familiar with your field. Clearly explain the importance of your research to a lay audience. Do not use jargon or technical, field-specific terminology.

Format: No more than 3 pages. Double-spaced, 12-point font, 1-inch margins, numbered pages, your name on each page.

Depending on your field of study, include:

Research Progress, Work Plan, and Timetable:

Format: No more than 1 page. Double-spaced, 12-point font, 1-inch margins, numbered pages, your name on each page.

Significance of your Research:

Format: No more than 1 page. Double-spaced, 12-point font, 1-inch margins, numbered pages, your name on each page.

Citations (optional):

SOF Interest Statement:

Required only if you are interested in being considered for the Society of Fellows:

Special Purpose SOF Interest Statement(s):

Required only if you are interested in being considered for only of the following special purpose fellowships:

Sequoyah Fellowship interest statement:

The Smithwick Fellowship for Underrepresented Students in the Sciences interest statement:

Underrepresented Students in Humanities, Social Sciences or professional programs interest statement:

Jessie Ball duPont Fellowship for Adolescent Studies:
No additional interest statement is required. In your research description, describe your research as it relates to Adolescent Studies.

Curriculum Vitae

Format: No more than 2 pages. 12-point font, 1-inch margins, numbered pages, and your name on each page.

Two Letters of Recommendation

Indicate the email addresses of your recommenders in your application.

Once you submit your application, your recommenders will receive an email asking them to submit a letter of recommendation.

Instructions for recommenders:
Each letter of recommendation should be no more than 4,000 characters (spaces included), which is approximately 600 words or one single-spaced page.

Address the letter of recommendation “To the Fellowship Committee.”
Include:

We can only accept letters of recommendation through the online system. Recommenders cannot submit letters directly to The Graduate School or to the student’s department.

Contact Us

Graduate School Fellowships Office
gradfunding@unc.edu