Planning for Your 6th Year
Ph.D. students who will take a sixth year to complete their dissertations should plan well in advance to secure an additional year of funding.
Many fellowships, both internal and external to Penn, are available exclusively to students entering their final year of dissertation writing. Students will apply for these in their fifth year.
Others are available to students at other stages in their graduate careers, and students may apply for them prior to their fifth year. The School of Arts and Sciences permits Ph.D. students to “bank” a year of their regular fellowship funding if another yearlong fellowship is awarded prior to Year 6, which effectively gives the student a sixth year of funding when they use their banked year. We highly recommend that Ph.D. students seek out these opportunities earlier in the program as well as in the fifth year.
Applying for competitive fellowships is also excellent training in persuasive grant writing, a valuable skill in both academic and non-academic careers. To support students as they acquire that skill, we have developed and continue to refine our departmental resources, including grant writing workshops, where students share materials and receive constructive feedback from their peers and faculty, a Fellowship Deadlines Google Calendar, and a monthly Funding Digest, a newsletter that provides educational content on grant writing and list of upcoming application deadlines.
We also strongly encourage Ph.D. students to apply for relevant research funding in the form of short-term fellowships, usually offered by libraries or external endowments. Not only do these short-term fellowships provide students with opportunities to perform exciting archival research, but they tend to increase students’ chances of receiving future fellowships and funding.
Internal & External Fellowships
Below is a sample of fellowships that have been won by our graduate students in recent years. This is not an exhaustive list by any means, and some fellowships may change their terms from year to year or may be discontinued. Current students should consult the monthly Funding Digest, as well as the websites of fellowships they plan to apply to, for the most current information.
Poetic Practice / Kelly Writers House Dissertation Fellowship (Penn English Department)
Auerbach Dissertation Fellowship in Victorian Studies (Penn English Department)
King's College Fellowship (Penn English Department)
SAS Dissertation Completion Fellowship (Penn, School of Arts and Sciences)
Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship (external, residency based on terms of award)
Fulbright Fellowship (external, residency based on country)
Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowships (external, non-resident)
American Association of University Women (AAUW) Dissertation Fellowship (external, non-resident)
Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Dissertation Grant (external, non-resident)
Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans (external, non-resident)
Charlotte Newcombe Fellowship (external, non-resident)
Library Company of Philadelphia Dissertation Fellowship (external, Philadelphia)