Scholarship and Fellowship Applications for a PhD in the Humanities (in my experience)

As I transition from writing my thesis to having a month or so of “downtime” before starting a PhD (I REALLY hope) I’ll be engaging with this blog more and more intentionally. Please share if you find it helpful, and feel free to comment on your experiences.

So here’s what I’ve learned lately about scholarships and fellowships:

The Jacob K. Javits Fellowship for humanities has, unfortunately, been suspended due to the federal budget cuts in education. A lot of websites still list it as a resource. Also, most of the NIH and Mellon fellowships are for people further on in graduate school or who are post-doc.

The Ford Fellowship is incredibly difficult to get, and it’s only for U.S. based institutions granting PhDs. If you still want to apply, make sure you have multiple people review your essays, and that you have a clearly written and well developed plan for increasing diversity in higher education. Don’t forget to email them asking for feedback if you don’t get it –

Consider post-baccalaureate programs or an M.A. (if you don’t already have one) to improve your applications if a funded PhD at first seems too lofty a goal. There ARE funded post-baccalaureates!

Some other resources include: the Soros fellowship for New Americans, the Marshall and Rhodes scholarships (dependent on age requirements and tenable only in the UK), and, if you are interested in studying in Ontario, Canada, the Ontario Trillium Scholarship for international students – which I recently received – and the Ontario Graduate Scholarship, which is (mostly) for Canadian citizens and permanent residents, though there is some availability for international students.

Finally, soon I’ll be posting on programs and fellowships specific to those interested in an English PhD with science fiction and fantasy as research interests.


Why I’m (a little bit) glad I was laid off

Nobody wants to talk about getting laid off. At least, I don’t think so. It feels personal.

Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t. But it feels personal.

I put a lot of energy into my last tutoring job. I felt a connection with many of the students there. I wanted to give back to a community that had once helped me, personally, academically, and professionally.

At one point, I had been told that a teaching position or two would be opening up in the near future. It would be a part-time position, but I was ok with that. Alternative education is important to me. When I was offered another part-time position tutoring at a local school, I turned it down, even though there was an opportunity to advance.

Then I was laid off.

At first it hurt. At first it felt like a door had been closed.

Finally I realized doors had actually OPENED. I had spent so much time thinking about how I could work on my position there, that I had been neglecting other opportunities – grad school, scholarships, PhD applications, strengthening my writing sample, presenting at conferences.

Since I no longer had to worry about that job, I got two other part-time jobs, both at the university where I am pursuing my M.A. This meant less commuting time. These jobs also taught me new skills (especially in social media!) and enhanced my application to PhD programs in English. Now I’m going exactly where I feel should be at this point in my life.

Instead of thinking so much about the past, I’m looking forward to the future.