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Research Fellowships

The Mary Savage Snouffer Dissertation Fellowship, 2015-2016

The College of Arts and Humanities is seeking nominations for the Mary S. Snouffer Dissertation Fellowship for 2015-2016.  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 2015-2016 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 13, 2015

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 Ashley Richerson Miller at

For further information please contact Mary Corbin Sies at 301-405-1361 or

Mary Savage Snouffer Dissertation Fellowship Awards for the year 2014-2015:

Emily Yoon Perez, English; dissertation co-directed by Dr. Zita Nunez and Dr. Sangeeta Ray 

In her dissertation, entitled, “Worlding the Color Line: Reading Race (Trans-) Nationally in the United States,” Emily Yoon Perez explores how racial difference is constructed, circulated, and translated in encounters with the ‘foreign’ in what she calls “travelling texts”—works of fiction written from 1900 through the present that feature foreign spaces and offer protagonists traveling beyond the national borders of the United States. She asks, how does thinking about race in this worldly fashion inform our understandings of the construction and formation of race in the U.S.? How do we “world” race, in other words? Her dissertation argues that these encounters with foreignness, both within and outside of the nation, not only significantly and substantially alter how race is understood and negotiated in the U.S., but they also allow for the emergence of alternate forms of racial solidarity and kinship. Perez theorizes the concept of worldliness in order to examine how ideas of racial difference are constituted through domestic and global routes, both physically through the movement of actual peoples and ideologically through various cultural exchanges.

Nate Underland, English; dissertation directed by Dr. Christina Walter 

Nate Underland’s dissertation, “’Here is a Place of Disaffection’: Political Dysphoria and British Literary Modernism after 1930,” makes an original and important intervention into literary historiography, specifically into recent efforts in Modernist studies to re-conceptualize so-called Late Modernism.  In contrast to previous scholars who have attempted to explain mid-century aesthetic ‘decline’ as paralleling Britain’s declining political status, Underland argues that mid-century British writing offered a politicized disengagement from the political.  While the writers of the period were undoubtedly responding to High Modernism, they did so by staging an ambivalent disaffection with the culturally demanded relationship between the literary, the ethical, and the political.  Underland names this complex apathy “disaffection”, and his dissertation traces it as a structure of feeling—or rather “a strong feeling of not feeling”—throughout the culture and aesthetics of the period from 1930 to 1960.  Aesthetically, mid-century literature is responding to modernism without reaffirming it.  Midcentury authors present a reaction to the modernist imperative to aesthetic salvation; they repeat old forms while simultaneously puncturing those forms’ effectiveness, reworking them into a subtle dissent.


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 2015 is for PhD dissertations defended and submitted to the Graduate School in calendar year 2014. The selection process for the fourth annual Distinguished Dissertation will occur in Spring 2015. please click HERE for more information about the Distinguished Dissertation Award.

ARHU will be able to submit a total of three nominations to the Graduate School for the 2015 award.

Eligibility: PhD dissertations defended and submitted to the Graduate School in the calendar year 2014. (This year's selection process will occur in Spring 2015.)

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 thesis advisor, in consultation with the student, should indicate in the letter which chapter the ARHU commitee should read in detail.

Jan 30th 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: Ashley Richerson Miller on behalf of Mary Corbin Sies, Chair of the ARHU Grad Fellowships Committee.

Nomination packages from Colleges are due in the Graduate School on Wednesday, February 25th, 2015, by 12 noon. Updated award guidelines and nomination forms are available below.

Distinguished Dissertation Award Guidelines (2015)

ARHU Distinguished Dissertation Award Guidelines


Congratulations to Matthew Scott Heerman, History, ARHU’s winner of the Distinguished Dissertation Award for dissertations completed in 2013.

Dr. Matthew Scott Heerman’s dissertation, “Deep River: Slavery, Empire, and Emancipation in the Upper Mississippi River Valley,” focuses on the endurance and abolition of slavery in the 18th and 19th centuries in the French colony of the upper Mississippi Valley.  This scrupulously researched and absorbingly written dissertation (1) uncovers new evidence of the survival of slavery in Illinois into the 19th century, well after the 1824 United States governmental designation of the North West Territories as “free,” (2) establishes that free Black labor and slave labor coexisted in the United States, and thereby (3) revises established understandings of sectional conflict and Lincoln’s position on slavery, and (4) dispels the myth of the free North juxtaposed to the so-called slave South.  Dr. Heerman’s dissertation thus overturns enduring assumptions about the ability of enslaved African Americans to alter the institution of slavery from within and offers new ways to think about why, despite the abolition of slavery worldwide, human trafficking and abuse of in-home domestic workers persists.  After completing his dissertation, Dr. Heerman accepted a position as a post-doctoral fellow in the History Department at Johns Hopkins University.


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 Wednesday, March 11, 2015 at noon.

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

Summer Research Fellowship Guidelines (Summer 2015): PDF 
Nomination Form: PDF 
Advisor and DGS Letter Request Form: PDF


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 18, 2015 at noon.

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

Ann G. Wylie Fellowship Guidelines (AY 15-16): PDF 
Nomination Form: PDF or Word Document 
Advisor and DGS Letter Request Form: PDF


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 18, 2015 at noon.

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

Graduate Dean's Dissertation Fellowship Guidelines (AY 15-16): PDF 
Nomination Form: PDF or Word Document 
Advisor and DGS Letter Request Form: PDF