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The MCEAS Dissertation Fellowship Program

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 2015-2016 academic year, most with nine-month 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.

*****Applications and recommendations must be submitted online through the following site:

Awards may be made in the following categories, depending on the qualifications of the applicants and the availability of funding. In a given year, appointments may not be made in all categories.

Nine-Month or One-Semester Fellowships:

--MCEAS Barra Dissertation Fellowships are open to candidates from any discipline working on any relevant topic.

--The Barra Foundation Fellowship is designed primarily for candidates specializing in Early American art or material culture.

--MCEAS Consortium Fellowships are open to candidates from research universities that are members of the McNeil Center Consortium. For more information concerning consortium membership, please contact the Center Director.

--Friends of the MCEAS Fellowships are supported by annual donors to the McNeil Center to facilitate dissertation research dealing with the Philadelphia or the Mid-Atlantic region before 1850.

--The Richard S. Dunn Fellowship, funded by a gift from an anonymous donor in honor of the Center's founding director, 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 and may include some teaching responsibilities.

Other Fellowships:

--Andrew W. Mellon Fellowships in Early American Literature and Material Texts: In collaboration with the Library Company of Philadelphia, two fellows will be appointed for 13-month terms beginning 1 July 2015. These fellowships are open to dissertators in English, American Literature, Comparative Literature, American Studies, History, Art History, or related fields whose work combines in innovative ways the study of texts—novels, poems, plays, newspapers,magazines, scribal publications, genres not traditionally defined as "literary"—with the material circumstances of their production and dissemination. Projects should rely on the extraordinary rare book, print, and ephemera collections of the Library Company. The fellows' terms will begin and end with a summer workshop under the guidance of a senior invited scholar. The 13-month stipend is $29,000.

--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, and the remainder in Philadelphia. Reasonable travel costs between Philadelphia and Charlottesville and, subject to availability, housing at ICJS are included.

How to Apply:

*****Online applicants can complete all of these requirements by visiting and clicking on application submission link

A single application suffices for all fellowships. Categories and duration of awards are determined by the selection committee, but candidates interested in the Mellon and Monticello-McNeil fellowships should state their interest clearly in their research proposals. Your online submission will complete the following application requirements:

--a cover sheet;

--a curriculum vitae;

--a research proposal of 3-5 double-spaced pages; and

--an unpublished writing sample related to the project, not to exceed 7,500 words, double-spaced.

--two letters of recommendation should be uploaded by your recommenders online at or they can email recommendations to Please ask recommenders to address the specifics of this application. Do not send letters from job placement dossiers.

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

February 2, 2015