Townsend Dissertation Fellowships

The Townsend Fellowships program for advanced graduate students at UC Berkeley supports research that significantly involves humanistic material or problems that have a significant bearing on the humanities. The purpose of the Fellowship is both to further the research of the individual recipients and to enable faculty and graduate students within the humanities to meet and work with colleagues in other disciplines and departments. However, projects need not be "interdisciplinary" by definition. Awards are based on the scholarly merit of the individual applications. The selection committee will also take into consideration the research project's potential interest to scholars in different fields of the humanities, and the likelihood of the applicant’s contribution to interdisciplinary discussion.

Townsend Fellowships are awarded to assistant professors, associate professors, and graduate students completing their dissertations, as well as library and museum professionals. Fellows meet in person for weekly discussions of work in progress. Each year a number of senior faculty and visiting postdoctoral fellows are invited to join the group.

Townsend Dissertation Fellows will also be eligible to apply for the Professor Norman Jacobson Memorial Teaching Award, which supports innovative teaching efforts in the humanities and interpretive social sciences, and which provides the awardee with an additional stipend. Applications will be evaluated on the strength of the applicant’s teaching dossier and on the description of a teaching-related project to be carried out during the course of the academic year.


Townsend Dissertation Fellowships are awarded to graduate students at UC Berkeley who have advanced to candidacy for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) by the time of application, and whose dissertation projects involve humanistic material or problems that have a significant bearing on the humanities. Once selected, Dissertation Fellows are eligible to apply for the Jacobson Memorial Teaching Award.

Grant Provision

Townsend Dissertation Fellows receive a $30,000 stipend for the academic year. The Jacobson Memorial Teaching Award provides an additional $2,500 stipend to one Townsend Dissertation Fellow. The Townsend Center will also provide payment of in-state tuition.

Townsend Dissertation Fellows may combine other fellowship awards, if also permitted by the terms of the other awards, up to the maximum amount set by the Graduate Division. Because the purpose of the Townsend Fellowship is to enable full-time research, Townsend Fellows are not eligible to hold teaching appointments in the academic year during which they hold the fellowship.

The Townsend Fellows meet over lunch every Tuesday throughout the academic year. The award of a Townsend Fellowship carries with it the understanding that the recipient will attend and participate actively in the weekly meetings.


Townsend Dissertation Fellowships