Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply for the CES dissertation fellowship?

The CES fellowship must be submitted through our online application portal.

All application materials, requests for references and reminders to referees will be through this portal. You can also check your status through this portal. The CES fellowship application is also mobile-friendly.


When is the deadline for the 2018-2019 CES fellowship application?

The final deadline was Friday, December 15th 2017.


How can I download recommender forms?

The entire application process is automated so once you have entered the email contact information for your recommenders they will receive a system-generated request for their recommendations to be submitted to the portal.

Do you have anything I can give to recommenders who may not be familiar with the Center for Engaged Scholarship?

Yes. If your faculty recommenders are not familiar with the Center for Engaged Scholarship, we have prepared a letter for you to give them that explains what we are doing.  The explanation is intended to clarify that we are interested in supporting high quality scholarly work.  To download the letter, click here.


Can I apply if I am not a U.S. citizen?

Yes, the award is not dependent on citizenship.

Can I apply if I am a student at a university outside the U.S.?

No. The fellowship is limited to students currently enrolled in U.S. universities.

I am in an English Department, but I believe that my research represents engaged scholarship. Can I apply?

No, the competition is limited to the social sciences or interdisciplinary programs in the social sciences.

I am a politically engaged conservative. Can I apply?

Yes, if you can make a compelling case that your work has the potential to advance an important progressive value.

Will you be willing to consider an application that is broadly theoretical in content?

Yes, but the applicant must have a convincing argument about how this theoretical contribution could facilitate progressive change.

Does my dissertation have to have an explicit political conclusion or could the political implications remain implicit?

They can remain implicit. We recognize that some dissertation committees will frown on work that is too ‘political’. Your task is to simply persuade our reviewers that your findings might have significant political consequences.

Is CES looking for a particular methodological approach?

We do not subscribe to a preferred methodology. All methodological perspectives used in the social sciences are welcomed.

Does CES fellowship have a thematic emphasis for this year’s applications?

At this time, CES has not selected a thematic emphasis. However, that may change in the future and it will be announced in the call for applications.

Since the CES fellowship is intended for graduate students in U.S. universities does CES expect to support only research on US specific topics?

No, the research could focus on global dynamics or the analysis of a foreign nation, but there must, ultimately, be some connection to progressive politics in the U.S.

Can I apply for the CES fellowship although I received another dissertation-year fellowship?

You can apply only if the other fellowship is $5,000 or less. We want to make sure our funds go to students who need our support.

How will my application be evaluated?

Your application will go through a multi-step review and it will be read by scholars from different disciplines in the social sciences but working in the same area of research. We advise you to write for a generalist audience and avoid excessive use of disciplinary terminology.

Can I submit an application by fax or via email attachment if the online submission system fails?

Only online applications submitted through our online portal will be accepted. Please submit your application in advance of the deadline to accommodate any technical problems.

Can I apply if I plan to reach ABD status after the due date of the application?

You may apply only in the event that you will be ABD by February 28, 2018. We recognize that requirements to be ABD vary by institution, so we are using the definition of your particular institution. The CES fellowship is intended for graduate students who will be writing their dissertations during the fellowship period which begins October 1, 2017.

Are only full-time students eligible?

Yes, we want to support students who will be able to make substantial progress on the dissertation in the fellowship year.

Can you tell us what the reviewers will expect to see in our application?

In addition to an applicant’s academic background, reviewers will expect to see a strong explanation of how the research could inform progressive change in the United States.

Can recommendations be submitted through Interfolio?

No, the system we use does not accept Interfolio recommendations.  Each recommender must submit their letters individually.

Are we expected to abide by the restrictions on word limit and general formatting requirements?

Yes, you are expected to do so as our system will not allow you to upload your application if you do not conform to the requirements specified.

Can I submit two applications for the fellowship competition?

No, you may not submit more than one.

What will happen if I cannot submit my application through the online portal to meet the deadline?

We recommend you plan to submit well ahead of the deadline to avoid any technical glitches at the last minute.

Can I submit drafts and make changes to the application?

Once you have created an account on the portal you will have the ability to work with various drafts and make changes in the application like updating the list of recommenders, etc. CES will not be able to view the in-process application until it is complete and submitted. However, we caution you to save any changes you make to the application.

Do you have examples of proposals that have been awarded fellowships?

We do not have examples of proposals to share with applicants. Each proposal is unique and we believe carries its own strength and limitations. You may find the ‘exemplary works’ section on this website helpful to provide you with ideas on how social science research can inform progressive change.

Is there a template or writing guide available to write a proposal for the CES fellowship?

Although we do not have any kind of template, we highly recommend that applicants use The Art of Writing Proposals to develop these proposals.

How should I format the bibliography?

Please use a format that is appropriate in your discipline such as in history, sociology, or economics, etc.

Can I submit my application although my letters of recommendation have not been submitted?

Yes, you may submit your application and we will add your letters of recommendation to the application after they are filed. Your application is complete only AFTER all three of your recommendations and other supporting documents have been submitted. However, we urge you to provide your recommenders ample time to write the recommendation letters.

Am I eligible if I am close to completing my doctoral dissertation?

No you are not eligible to apply for the fellowship if you are close to completing your dissertation. You are however eligible to apply if you have advanced to candidacy, completed your research and plan to begin writing up your chapters.

How will you assess whether I am close to completing the dissertation or not?

We gather information about that from the timeline narrative you provide in your application. We also ask your recommenders to specifically comment on your writing plans for the 2018-19 academic year. Your dissertation chair will have to also report on your progress in her/his recommendation letter.

I received a dissertation fellowship for a previous round. Am I still eligible to apply?

If you are still writing up your chapters, you are eligible to apply for the fellowship.  We do not take into account any fellowships received in prior years.

You have not identified education, social work, or public health as being eligible for the CES fellowship. Would you consider work in these fields?

No, work in these fields is not eligible. We have limited resources and we need to focus our efforts.

Although I am enrolled in a U.S. university my dissertation research focuses on another country. Am I still eligible for the CES dissertation fellowship competition?

You are eligible for the fellowship competition but you must explain how your findings could contribute to progressive change in the U.S.

Although I filed my application materials, I am unable to push the submit button as the portal shows that my recommendation letters are on pending status. What can I do to submit my application materials?

​Your application will be advanced to review status automatically once the 3 recommendations are filed on the portal​. You do not have to do anything. We will be pre-screening applications on a regular basis ​to ensure recommendations get filed in a timely manner.

I am planning to be advanced to candidacy in early spring of 2018. Am I still eligible to apply for the CES fellowship?

Yes, you may still apply as long as you complete your requirements to be advanced to candidacy ​on or before February 28th, 2018. This is a hard deadline and you must provide documentation from your dissertation chair/graduate division that you have advanced to candidacy. If you do not provide documented proof you will be deemed ineligible for the fellowship.

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