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After 5th Year

Penn offers 5 year funding packages to everyone accepted into our PhD Program: see and

However, once you have joined the program you should still be aware of your particular funding situation and you should still seek out funding opportunities in advance. In addition to helping you pay the bills, fellowships tend to breed subsequent fellowships, since grant-giving institutions like candidates who already have a track record of winning fellowships. Perhaps most importantly, short-term and long-term fellowships can improve your research by giving you access to archives and to other scholars and scholarly communities.


Everyone who has guaranteed funding (typically Benjamin Franklin Fellowships) for next year is, of course, covered. But you should still keep an eye out for internal (to Penn) and external fellowships that might give you a year or more of funding, because then you can forward (or "bank") one of your guaranteed years to your 6th year and not have to worry later about applying for funding for that year. Additionally, from the perspective of the “commonweal,” the more students who have their 6th-year funding taken care of before they become 5th years, the less fellowship competition there will be for 5th years and above. Typically, students in years 1-4 have applied for:

•    Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships. See the Penn department, center, or program that is home to the language in which your research will be conducted—such as the Middle East Center, the Center for East Asian Studies, and the Department of South Asian Studies.

•    Fulbright Fellowships, administered by Penn's Center for Undergraduate Research & Fellowships (CURF). Note: Fulbright stipends are not always equivalent to Ben Franklin Fellowship stipends, and the Graduate Division does not automatically "top up" the Fulbright. Note: if you are applying for or have received a Fulbright, be sure to speak to the Graduate Chair about the prospect of topping up, as well as about health insurance, general fees (which you must pay but which are not covered by the Fulbright), travel, etc.

•    Jacob K. Javits Fellowships (cancelled last year due to Congressional budget cuts)

•    Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowships (applications due November 14)

•    Dolores Zohrab Liebmann Fellowships (announced by the Graduate Division in October, internal applications due December 15 to Karen Lawrence, Associate Director for Education, SAS)

•    The Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans—i.e., for a naturalized U.S. citizen, the child of naturalized U.S. citizens, or a green-card holder under 30 years of age (applications due November 1)

•    The English Department's King's College Fellowship Program. The fellowship provides $4,000 in additional funds to help with travel and the higher cost of living in London. Note, however, that it no longer permits the student to bank a semester of fellowship support. (Announced in December or January; applications due to the Graduate Chair by January 31. This fellowship is typically held by a fourth-year, sometimes by a fifth-year.)

•    Penn's Critical Writing Program offers Teaching Fellowships, Teaching Mentorships, and Senior Tutorships. (Critical Writing Teaching Fellowship applications are due February 3; Teaching Mentorship applications are due February 15.) Note: in order to maximize the competitiveness of our applicants who are on the cusp of their 6th year, we generally ask that students not apply for Critical Writing Program Teaching Fellowships as 4th years (with intent to hold the Fellowship during their 5th year). Also note: whereas the Benjamin Franklin Fellowship stipend pays on a ten-month cycle, the Critical Writing Teaching Fellowship stipend covers nine months.

Use the links below to search for other funding opportunities.
Note: Some of the fellowships listed in the next section may also be open to 4th- or 5th-year students.


Those who do not have guaranteed funding for next year have a number of options, listed below. You should be aware that after your 5th year, you are responsible for reduced tuition ($1,731 per semester), general fees ($302 per semester), and health insurance ($1,611 per semester). [Updated September 2012]

Please note: some of the fellowships listed below cover tuition, fees, and health insurance, while others do not. In addition, some external fellowships offer a smaller-than-adequate stipend that Penn may or may not be able to top up. Be sure you understand the terms of any fellowships for which you apply or which you are offered. If you have any questions about fellowship terms, topping-up prospects, etc., consult the Graduate Chair.

•    The Graduate Division offers Dissertation Research Fellowships (for those in early and intermediate stages of the dissertation) and Dissertation Completion Fellowships (for those who will finish in the academic year following the one in which they apply). These awards are typically announced in January. Departmental nominations are due to the Grad Division in mid-February, with applicants' materials due to the Graduate Chair ten days prior to that.

•    The new English/LPS Teaching & Research Fellowship. Fellows (2 this year) will teach 2 LPS courses in one semester and be on fellowship the other; tuition, fees, health insurance, and stipend covered. Application details forthcoming in October. Applications in two cycles, the first due December 1, the second ~April 11.

•    A number of topic-specific fellowships are offered by Penn departments, centers, and programs, such as:

—Penn's McNeil Center for Early American Studies Dissertation Fellowships (applications due February 1)

—The Penn Humanities Forum's Graduate Fellowships (applications due March 1) and Research Assistantship (applications due March 15)

The Penn Program on Democracy, Citizenship, and Constitutionalism Graduate Fellowships (application due dates t.b.a.).

•    Extramural fellowships, such as:

Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship (applications due ~November 9)

Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowships (applications due November 17)

Woodrow Wilson Fellowships (application deadlines t.b.a.)

The Charlotte W. Newcomb Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship (applications due November 15)

National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Fellowships (applications due October 3)

American Association of University Women (AAUW) Fellowships (applications due November 15)

•    Penn's Critical Writing Program offers Teaching Fellowships, Teaching Mentorships, and Senior Tutorships. Critical Writing Teaching Fellowship applications are due February 3; Teaching Mentorship applications are due February 15. Note: Critical Writing Program Teaching Fellowships are not awarded to students beyond their 6th year.

•    Critical Speaking Seminar Teaching Fellowships, administered by Penn's Communication Within the Curriculum (CWiC) Program (applications due ~April 11)

•    English Department lectureships, about which you should speak to the Undergraduate Chair.

•    Teaching for Penn's College of Liberal and Professional Studies (LPS), about which you should speak to the Undergraduate Chair.

•    Teaching for other programs at Penn, such as Women’s Studies.

•    Teaching for other area universities (contact our Placement Officer; consult the MLA Job Information List for temporary positions).

Useful Penn databases for internal and external fellowship searches are:


These links at Cornell and Columbia are also useful for finding extramural funding sources: 


Benjy Kahan (PhD, '09) list of Graduate Student Fellowships, Grants, and Awards:


See this link to fellowship opportunities for PhD students whose work can be broadly construed as anthropological:


Additionally, each Fall the “directory” issue of the PMLA has a comprehensive listing of fellowships.