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The MCEAS Dissertation Fellowship Program

The application deadline is 1 February 2017.

Since 1978, more than 200 advanced graduate students from dozens of universities across North America and Europe have received dissertation fellowships from the McNeil Center. At least eight new fellows will be appointed for the 2017-2018 academic year, most with stipends of at least $21,000. Fellows receive office space in the Center's magnificent building on the University of Pennsylvania's campus and library, computer, and other privileges at the University. Limited travel funds for research are also available. While no teaching is required for most fellowships, all McNeil Center fellows are expected to be in residence in Philadelphia during the academic year and to participate regularly in the Center's program of seminars and other activities.

Doctoral candidates from any PhD-granting institution who are in the research or writing stage of the dissertation are eligible. As outlined below, some fellowships are targeted at specific areas, but any project dealing with the histories and cultures of North America in the Atlantic world before 1850 will be considered. Proposals dependent on the use of Philadelphia-area archives and libraries are particularly welcome. Applications are encouraged from students of all relevant disciplines, including Africana Studies, American Studies, Anthropology, Archaeology, Comparative Literature, Economics, English, Folklore, Gender Studies, History, Latina/o Studies, Law, Music, Native American and Indigenous Studies, Political Science, Queer Studies, Religious Studies, Urban Studies, and Women’s Studies.



Nine-Month or One-Semester Fellowships

(Click here for Other Fellowships) (Click Here to Apply)

MCEAS Barra Dissertation Fellowships are open to candidates from any discipline working on topic within the McNeil Center's area of interest.

Barra Foundation Fellowship

The Barra Foundation Fellowship supports research related to art or material culture.

Friends of the MCEAS Fellowships

Friends of the MCEAS Fellowships support research on any relevant topic, with a preference for projects dealing with Philadelphia or the Mid-Atlantic region.

MCEAS Consortium Fellowships are reserved for candidates from research universities that are members of the McNeil Center Consortium. (For more information about the Consortium, please visit

The Richard S. Dunn Fellowship, acknowledges excellence in Early American Studies.

The E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Fellowship in Early American Religious Studies is open to candidates in any discipline researching any aspect of religion in North America and the Atlantic world before 1850.

Marguerite Bartlett Hamer Fellowships are awarded to advanced doctoral candidates from any relevant program at the University of Pennsylvania who meet the same rigorous standards as external candidates. Terms of appointment are determined by the School of Arts and Sciences.

Other Fellowships

(Click here for Dissertation Fellowships) (Click Here to Apply)

The Monticello-McNeil Fellowship, co-sponsored by the McNeil Center and the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello, facilitates scholarship on Thomas Jefferson and his times. Holders of this fellowship spend a portion of their fellowship term at the ICJS in Charlottesville, Virginia.

How to Apply

A single online application suffices (paper copies will not be accepted) for all dissertation fellowships. Categories and duration of awards are determined by the selection committee, but candidates interested in the Monticello-McNeil fellowship should state their interest clearly in their research proposals. The following will be completed by submitting your application online:

  • A curriculum vitae;
  • A proposal not to exceed 1,500 words, double-spaced, describing the general scope of the project and the specific work proposed for the fellowship term
  • an unpublished writing sample related to the project, double-spaced, limited to 7,500 words exclusive of notes.
  • two letters of recommendation should be uploaded by your recommenders by clicking here or they can email recommendations to Please ask recommenders to address the specifics of this application. Do not send generic letters from placement dossiers.

Questions can be directed to:
The McNeil Center for Early American Studies
University of Pennsylvania
3355 Woodland Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104-4531

The deadline for online applications is 1 February 2017.