All applications must be coordinated by the Graduate Program Director of the applicants home department. Departments with two or more students at candidacy (by fall) may nominate one student for the Competitive Dissertation Fellowship. Application materials must include:
- Research abstract (125 words)
- Project description (5 pages)
- Applicant's grade record - something that shows your grades for the courses you have taken while at UC.
- A letter of support from the applicant’s dissertation advisor detailing the following:
- Progress in the dissertation process by the time of the application; and
- The applicant's rank among advanced graduate students and the department's applicants, as well as engagement in extra-curricular activities such as organizing events, taking part in committees, volunteering for departmental activities, etc.; and
- The applicant’s productivity, in terms of academic publications, during his or her years as a UC student (please reference any in-review publications as well as creative writing produced during the same period); and
- Whether or not all course work and qualifying exams have been completed, and the applicant has advanced to candidacy; and
- Expected completion date of doctoral studies; and
- Whether or not the applicant was previously a dissertation fellow.
The primary prerequisite for serious consideration of all candidates is proof of significant progress toward the degree in the calendar year prior to the submission of the application. For students who are in the second year of dissertation work, this progress is usually established by the letter of recommendation from the student's advisor. Letters should summarize what has been accomplished and what remains to be accomplished before the dissertation is considered completed. For students who are about to begin a dissertation, significant progress toward the degree is established by completion of preliminary examination and by letters of recommendation. In exceptional circumstances, awards may be made contingent on satisfactory completion of Ph.D. examinations by the end of the second (spring) semester.
Candidates who have had or currently have a Taft Dissertation award will not be eligible for another dissertation award unless there are no other qualified candidates within the department, assessed by a two-thirds majority vote of the faculty. In the exceptionally rare case that a candidate is being awarded a Dissertation Fellowship for the second time, the Department must explain this exceptional circumstance and the reasons for it on its report.
Departments should be advised that students who will attain 174 (140 with MA in-hand prior to attending UC) graduate hours during the fellowship year, are not eligible for Graduate Assistant Scholarship (GAS) awards. This fellowship does not require that students receive a GAS award.
Departments may carry-over their allocated award for up to one year if there is no student that meets department and Taft selection criteria for the Dissertation Fellowship, but may not provide more than two allocated awards in a given academic year.
See also departmentally-allocated Taft Dissertation Fellowships.