Funding & Fellowships
All students admitted into the M.A., the M.F.A. , and the Ph.D. programs receive full tuition scholarships. The scholarships continue during their course of study, as long as satisfactory progress is made toward matriculation. Students in the Ph.D. program can expect full funding for five years (tuition plus stipends). To receive funding in year six, students must show evidence of having applied for at least two external fellowships (not funded by Notre Dame), one of which must be for a year of funding.
For all Ph.D. students, year one is service free. Students can also take one service free semester in year five. Second year students generally teach First Year Writing. Students in years three through five teach a combination of undergraduate literature and writing courses, serve as research assistants and teaching assistants, and/or serve as managing editors for Nineteenth Century Contexts, Religion and Literature, and Shakespeare Survey. There are also a number of competitive dissertation year fellowships as well as competitive summer funding.
In addition to the full tuition waivers, students in the M.F.A. program are also considered for additional support, including teaching and administrative assistantships and the Nicholas Sparks Fellowships. The English Department is committed to supporting students’ involvement in professional activities. Students in the Ph.D. program who are past their exams receive up to $700 per year for research travel and participation in academic conferences. Students before exams can receive up to $300 per year for professional activities. The Graduate School, the Nanovic Institute, and the Graduate Student Union also provide support for conference travel.
Additional sources of financial support, including fellowships (University Presidential Fellowships, first-year fellowships, Dean's fellowships and others) and teaching assistantships, as described by the Graduate School, are available.
Fellowships for Entering Students
Applicants to the Ph.D. in English are automatically considered for Lilly Fellowships, which offer four years of 12 -month support with two service free years. Students from underrepresented groups are considered for Dean's Fellowships, which offer two service free years. Gaia Fellowships, which offer funding for Hispanic students, are also available. Gaia fellowships offer four years of 12 month support with two service free years.
Please note that the request to be considered for financial support is made on the application for admission. A separate application is not necessary.
Fellowships for Current Students
In addition to standard funding packages and fellowships for entering students, there are a number of other fellowship opportunities for students at various levels in the program.
- Dissertation Year Fellowships. One year of support for advanced students. The English department offers competitive dissertation year for students past the proposal stage. Some dissertations give students a service free year for research and writing. Others give students the opportunity to develop and teach English literature courses. Deadline – mid-January.
- The Nicholas Sparks Prize. One year of support for second year creative writing students. Apply through the Creative Writing Program.
- University Writing Program Fellowship. One year of support for advanced graduate students. Fellows teach two semester of First Year Writing. Deadline – mid-November.
- The Erskine A. Peters Dissertation Year Fellowship. Offers $25,000 plus a $2,000 research budget for African American doctoral candidates to complete their dissertations. Deadline – early December.
- Gender Studies Predoctoral Teaching Fellowship. One year of support for predoctoral students. The Gender Studies Teaching Fellowships offers students the ability to teach two courses in Gender Studies. Open to any student in the College of Arts and Letters whose dissertation is on some topic in Gender Studies. Deadline – mid-January.
- The Paul G. Tobin Dissertation Fellowship. One year of support for students wishing to do field research or to complete the writing of their dissertation. Preference will be given to students working on projects that reflect the Nanovic Institute's emphasis on contemporary Europe. Deadline – early March
- The Dominica and Frank Annese Graduate School Fellowship. One year of support for students wishing to do field research or to complete the writing of their dissertation. Preference will be given to students working on projects that reflect the Nanovic Institute's emphasis on contemporary Europe. Deadline – early March
- Africana Studies Mentoring Fellowship. Offers office space and a research budget of $2,500 to Notre Dame Graduate students whose work focuses on Africana topics. Deadline – late September.
Internal Travel Grants:
Ph.D. students past year three normally receive up to $700 per year for research travel or participation in professional conferences. Students in the exam year and before can receive up to $300 for travel. To receive this money, students must show evidence of having applied to at least one of the following internal travel grants:
- The GSU Gordon Conference Presentation Grant Program. For partial reimbursement of expenses incurred by graduate students while presenting work at professional conferences. Deadline – on-going
- The Downes Travel Grant. To help defray travel expenses for graduate students attending workshops, seminars, and short courses. For more information, contact the Graduate School. Deadline – 15 September, 31 January and 31 May.
- The Zahm Research Travel Grant. To help subsidize expenses for graduate students traveling for research purposes. For more information, contact the Graduate School. Deadline – 15 September, 31 January and 31 May.
- Competitive Summer Funding. Awarded by the English Department to students with excellent proposals who are making good progress in the program. Students must submit a report of summer activities during the fall semester after receiving summer funding. Deadline – mid-January.
- Funding to attend the School for Criticism and Theory. Summer funding for students who wish to attend the Cornell School for Criticism and Theory. Open to all English students. See "Student and Faculty Resources." Deadline – mid-January.
- The Sparks Summer Fellowship Program. Summer internships for Creative Writing Students at New York publishing houses and literary agencies. Apply through the Creative Writing Program.
External Post-Doctoral Fellowships
All students are strongly encouraged to apply for external fellowships. Students in year five must apply for at least two external fellowships to receive funding in year six, one of which must offer a year of funding. Students should submit a copy of their fellowship proposals to the English Graduate Office at the same time that they submit applications to the fellowship granting agency.
How to locate fellowships:
There are a number of resources that can help you identify fellowships and post-docs. The first place to look is the listing of Fellowships and Grants that appears in the September (Directory) issue of PMLA. There are an enormous variety of online resources; one particularly useful site is UCLA's Graduate & Postdoctoral Extramural Support Database. On campus, Dianne Phillips, Advisor for Student Professionalization & Research, is available to consult with graduate students within the College of Arts and Letters.
Once you have identified possible funding sources, the next step is to get the application (most often, on-line) and read it very carefully. Identify all the questions the application asks, and come up with explicit answers given your research project. These are the questions reviewers will be asking when evaluating proposals. Also, make sure that you understand all of the directions and follow them very carefully. Going over the maximum length or being late is the easiest way to get eliminated from a competition.
When writing your application, remember that you must give a clear and compelling description of your research in the first paragraph. Be explicit about the significance of your project. You cannot assume that readers will understand this intuitively. Also, be very specific about what you will do during the tenure of your grant. If you are going to the archives, say which ones and what documents you hope to study. If you need proficiency in a foreign language, explain briefly that you have it. Finally, make sure that your projected time table is manageable.
Remember that your reviewers must read quickly, so keep your writing direct, forceful, and confident. Write for intelligent non-specialists and avoid jargon whenever possible. Proofread several times to insure that your final document is neat and free of errors.