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Research Fellowships

The Mary Savage Snouffer Dissertation Fellowship, 2016-2017

The College of Arts and Humanities is seeking nominations for the Mary S. Snouffer Dissertation Fellowship for 2016-2017.  The Mary S. Snouffer Scholarship Fund will support up to three fellowships for qualified students pursuing the doctorate in any discipline in the humanities, including the study of language, literature, culture, philosophy, history or the arts.  Preference will be given to students in English, but scholarships can be awarded to students in other disciplines in the humanities and arts.  Recipients of the scholarship shall be selected by a committee appointed by the Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities.  Criteria for selection shall be based upon both academic merit and need.  Each department should put forward its very best candidate and no department should submit more than three nominations.  Proposals should be written with a non-specialist audience in mind.

Applicant Requirements:

  • Must be a graduate student who has reached the dissertation stage.
  • Must have completed all course work and passed the qualifying examination for the doctorate degree.
  • Students receiving the Mary Savage Snouffer Dissertation Fellowship are expected to enroll full-time and to devote full time to work on their dissertation. To be certified as a full-time student, recipients of the Fellowship must be officially registered for 6 credits of 899.
  • Recipients are not allowed to hold on- or off-campus jobs of more than ten hours per week.

The 9.5-month stipend for the Mary Savage Snouffer Dissertation Fellowship for the 2016-2017 Academic Year is $20,000.  This amount does not cover health benefits and is not tax exempt.

  • The Graduate School will provide a Graduate School Fellowship Tuition Award to cover the candidate's tuition remission for each fellowship recipient. The Award will only cover six credits of 899; students taking additional credits will have to pay for them themselves. The Graduate School will process all paperwork through Student Financial Aid at or 301-314-9000.  The fellowship is non-renewable.

Nominations for the Mary Savage Snouffer Dissertation Fellowship must be received by  March 30, 2016

Nomination packets should be sent as a single pdf from each department and should include the following for each student (in this order):

  • Nomination letter (by Chair or Graduate Director)
  • Project description (2-3 pages) by the nominee
  • Copy of the nominee's curriculum vita
  • Letter of recommendation from the nominee's advisor

Send nomination packet to Betsy Yuen at

For further information please contact Trevor Parry Giles at 301-641-0019 or

Mary Savage Snouffer Dissertation Fellowship Awards for the year 2015-2016:

Adolfo Polo y La Borda Ramos, History; dissertation directed by Professor Alejandro Caneque 
His dissertation, “Cosmopolitanism, Mobility, and Royal Officials in the Making of the Spanish Empire,” explores how mid-level Spanish imperial officials circulated throughout the Spanish Empire, creating a cosmopolitan imperial culture which defended the authority of the Catholic Church and the Spanish king, and thereby contributed to Spanish imperial stability and cohesion. Wisely avoiding only looking at Spanish officials in one location, Adolfo hopes to understand the very nature of the Spanish imperial system, how it operated, and how officials understood their roles. This is an important topic, both in the history of colonial Latin America and in the history of Spain in the early modern period, allowing us to understand the very nature of the Spanish empire and why and how it lasted as long as it did.

Jonathan Williams, English; dissertation directed by Professor Tita Chico 
His dissertation, “Political Gloom: Literary Representations of Melancholy in the Long Eighteenth Century,” explores the representations of melancholy in eighteenth-century literature, hereby participating in a larger critical conversation on ethics and/in literature. More specifically, Jonathan explores the manner in which discourses about melancholy changed from aligning melancholia with madness to associating melancholia with sadness—a change that, according to Jonathan, signals a (re-) turn to an older, Classical and empathetic mode that allowed for a more pronounced social engagement with the suffering of others. Focusing on a corpus of poetry written by the so-call Graveyard Poets—known by that name for their fascination with sadness and death—Jonathan has been interested in the extent to which eighteenth-century British literature involved itself in or separated itself from the world in the era that has come to be characterized by the ‘rise of the public sphere’. Although much of the Graveyard Poet’s works seems to advocate a deliberate rejection of the world and a turning to the eternal, Jonathan argues that they are still engaged in worldly problems by offering a genuine critique of society and challenging the emerging consumer culture of the eighteenth century.

University of Maryland Distinguished Dissertation-ARHU Award

The University of Maryland Distinguished Dissertation Award recognizes original work that makes an unusually significant contribution to the discipline. Both methodological and substantive quality will be judged. Awards will be given each year in four broad disciplinary areas: 1) Mathematics, Physical Sciences, and Engineering; 2) Social Sciences; 3) Humanities and Fine Arts; and 4) Biological and Life Sciences. The Council of Graduate Schools uses these categories for its annual national dissertation awards. Recipients of the Distinguished Dissertation Award will receive an honorarium of $1000 and may be nominated by the University for the CGS national award.

This will be our fourth year for this competition. The Distinguished Disseration Award competition for spring 2016 is for PhD dissertations defended and submitted to the Graduate School in calendar year 2015. The selection process for the fourth annual Distinguished Dissertation will occur in Spring 2016. please click HERE for more information about the Distinguished Dissertation Award.

ARHU will be able to submit a total of four nominations to the Graduate School for the 2016 award.

Eligibility: PhD dissertations defended and submitted to the Graduate School in the calendar year 2015. (This year's selection process will occur in Spring 2016.)

Below is a brief description of the nomination process and materials for the College of Arts and Humanities. Your department is responsible for compiling the necessary components.  Please note two additional stipulations for the ARHU process, so this is not an exact replication of the Grad School description:

  1. an electronic copy of the whole dissertation in PDF form.
  2. a PDF attachment to include the remaining required elements of the nomination package (with bookmarks, if possible), in the following order:
    • a Distinguished Dissertation Award cover sheet (available at this link)
    • two letters of nomination: one from the dissertation supervisor and one from an additional faculty member that evaluate the significance and quality of the dissertation (the College will append its own letter describing the substantive contribution of the dissertation.)
    • a double-spaced abstract of the dissertation in PDF form not to exceed 10 pages (appendices containing non-textual material, such as charts or tables, may be included; the pages should be numbered, and each should bear the name of the nominee)
    • the nominee’s brief CV, including correct contact information
    • the dissertation advisor, in consultation with the student, should indicate in the letter which chapter the ARHU commitee should read in detail.

Jan 29, 2016 is the deadline set for submitting applications to the ARHU office for the Distinguished Dissertation Award. Each unit may nominate one dissertation. Nominations should be forwarded to: Betsy Yuen at on behalf of Trevor Parry Giles, Chair of the ARHU Grad Fellowships Committee.

Nomination packages from Colleges are due in the Graduate School on February 17th, 2016, by 12 noon.

Distinguished Dissertation Award guidelines and nomination forms are available here.


Congratulations to Dr. Amanda Visconti, English (Ph.D., 2015)

Recipient of the University of Maryland’s Distinguished Dissertation Award, Arts & Humanities category, 2016

Dr. Visconti’s dissertation, “‘How can you love a work if you don’t know it?’: Critical Code and Design toward Participatory Digital Editions,” is a truly innovative, unique project that challenges and provokes new ways of seeing, studying, and investigating literary texts, with a particular focus on James Joyce’s Ulysses. The dissertation is less interested in a literary evaluation of Ulysses than it is in how users experience and interact with digital editions of important literary texts. To that end, Dr. Visconti conducted extensive “user testing” experiments, including one-on-one observational sessions recording how readers/users actually interacted with her website about the novel, Infinite Ulysses. She also examined site analytic data culled from over 13,000 visitations to the site. Following these pursuits, her work is comparable to the fieldwork undertaken by scholars in pedagogy who study what happens in classrooms; Dr. Visconti wants to know how users with different levels of experience interact with a digital edition of an important literary work. Highly imaginative in both design and execution, Dr. Visconti’s project is at the forefront of the “Digital Humanities” and may portend exciting new digital interventions to come.


Graduate Student Summer Research Fellowships

Graduate Student Summer Research Fellowships provide support to outstanding doctoral students at “mid-career,” that is, in the period approximately before, during, or after achievement of candidacy, and are intended to enable students to prepare for or complete a key benchmark in their program’s requirements. Summer Research Fellowships carry stipends of $5,000. 

Each department or program may submit 2 nominations. Programs must submit their nominations by March 9, 2016 at noon.

**Students should consult the Director of Graduate Studies for their doctoral program’s deadline. 

Summer Research Fellowship Guidelines (Summer 2016): PDF 
Nomination Form: PDF 
Advisor and DGS Letter Request Form: PDF

For more information see the Graduate School website here.

Wylie Dissertation Completion Fellowships

These fellowships, designed to help expedite time to degree for students in the final stages of their dissertation writing, include a stipend of $10,000, tuition remission, and $800 towards the cost of health insurance. Students are nominated by their departments.

The Graduate School awards approximately 40 Wylie Dissertation Fellowships per year. 

Each department or program may submit 2 nominations. Programs must submit their nominations by February 17, 2016 at noon.

**Students should consult the Director of Graduate Studies for their doctoral program’s deadline. 

Ann G. Wylie Fellowship Guidelines (AY 16-17): PDF 
Nomination Form: PDF 
Advisor and DGS Letter Request Form: PDF

For more information see the Graduate School website here.

Graduate Dean's Dissertation Fellowship

Graduate Dean's Dissertation Fellowships are one-year awards intended to support outstanding doctoral students. The Fellowship carries a stipend of $25,000 plus candidacy tuition remission and $1600 toward the cost of health insurance for the academic year. The Graduate School will award 10 Graduate Dean's Dissertation Fellowships during this inaugural year. 

Each department or program may submit 1 nomination. Programs must submit their nomination by February 17, 2016 at noon.

**Students should consult the Director of Graduate Studies for their doctoral program’s deadline. 

Graduate Dean's Dissertation Fellowship Guidelines (AY 16-17): PDF 
Nomination Form: PDF 
Advisor and DGS Letter Request Form: PDF

For more information see the Graduate School website here.