DISSERTATION APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS Important Dates
Application Opens: September 8, 2020
Application Deadline: December 10, 2020 at 5:00 PM Eastern Standard Time (EST)
Supplementary Materials Deadline: January 7, 2021 at 5:00 PM Eastern Standard Time (EST)
PLEASE NOTE: The application system will close promptly at 5 PM EST on the deadlines listed above. Please take the time zone into account if you or your letter writers will be submitting your application or supplementary materials from a different time zone. Please also be advised that due to a large number of applications, as the deadline approaches, server traffic may slow the ability to upload and submit files. For that reason, we strongly recommend that you and your letter writers submit your materials well in advance of the deadline. We cannot consider requests for extensions for anyone (applicants or letter writers) who is unable to submit by the deadlines stated above.
If you have further questions not covered by the instructions below, please visit the FAQ page for more information regarding the fellowship and application process.
General Guidelines and Advance Preparation
- Provide all information requested on the application web pages. Follow the instructions carefully.
- Prepare and upload essay documents.
- Essays must be the applicant's original work.
- Get feedback from advisers, mentors, and colleagues.
- Carefully proofread all documents.
- Avoid technical jargon.
- Contact potential letter writers to submit letters of recommendation by the Supplementary Materials deadline.
- Confirm the minimum Supplementary Materials required for complete application submission.
- Save as .pdf files prior to upload.
- Do not use long file names or special characters in file names.
- Double-space using a standard 12-point font.
- Set margins at 1" (top and bottom) and .5" (left and right sides).
- Do not exceed the maximum page limits.
- Do not exceed the maximum file size limit (4 MB).
- Do not include headers or footers (this includes titles and page numbers).
- Write all materials in English.
Each application will be reviewed by two to five reviewers. Not all reviewers will have specific technical expertise; therefore, applications should be written to provide informative detail without jargon and highly technical content.
Application Components (items in bold are required)
A complete application includes the materials described below. Failure to complete any part of the application, including not providing sufficient required information and/or uploading incorrect essays, uploading incorrect supplementary materials, and/or receiving an insufficient number of required letters of recommendation, will result in removal of the application from the competition. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that all uploaded documents are accurate, legible, complete, not password-protected or secured and that these documents comply with the formatting requirements listed above. Once the application is submitted and the deadline has passed, applicants will not be able to make changes to their application.
- Profile Information
Contact information, demographic information, education history (name, location, enrolled dates, degree received or currently pursuing, and research field for all undergraduate and graduate institutions attended, years attended or currently attending as of Fall 2020), employment history, honors, and awards
Education history (including current Ph.D. or Sc.D. institution) must be entered here correctly. Entering incomplete or incorrect information may result in missing documents (transcripts and a verification form).
Applicants are encouraged to enter any employment starting from the time period of their undergraduate studies. This may include unpaid work, internships, outreach efforts, or volunteer activities.
Note: Contact and demographic information is required for submission of the application but will not be shared with application reviewers.
Eligibility Checklist: citizenship, future career goals, Ph.D. or Sc.D. program enrollment, and expected completion date
The expected completion date must align with the eligibility requirements
and the information entered on the Education page. Membership in Historically Underrepresented Groups: Indicate if you identify as one of the listed groups.
This information is collected here for statistical purposes only and is not an eligibility requirement. Applicants who identify as a member of one of the groups should include that information in the Personal Statement.
Proposed Plan of Study: Dissertation Title or Proposed Title for Research Project, Proposed Institution, Department, Adviser/Mentor Essays
Field of Study:
Primary Field of Study, Secondary Field(s) of Study. This information is used to match applications to appropriate review panels.
Keywords: Enter 3-5 keywords, one at a time. Click Assign new keyword and type the desired keyword in the search field. If your keyword appears, click on it from the list to update your keywords. If your keyword does not appear, click Add to update your keywords.
(Citations are not required, but if used, they may be single-spaced and will be included in the total page count. Applicants should use a standard bibliographic format appropriate to their field.)
Personal Statement (maximum two pages, 12-point font, double-spaced) describing the applicant’s background, experience, and commitment to the goals of the Ford Foundation Fellowship Programs by addressing all of the following that apply:
- the applicant’s capacity to respond in pedagogically productive ways to the learning needs of students from diverse backgrounds
- the applicant’s sustained personal engagement with communities that are underrepresented in the academy and ability to bring this asset to learning, teaching, and scholarship at the college or university level
- the applicant’s likelihood of using the diversity of human experience as an educational resource in teaching and scholarship
- the applicant's membership in one or more of the following groups whose underrepresentation in the American professoriate has been severe and longstanding:
- Alaska Natives (Aleut, Eskimo, or other Indigenous People of Alaska)
- Black/African Americans
- Mexican Americans/Chicanas/Chicanos
- Native American Indians
- Native Pacific Islanders (Hawaiian/Polynesian/Micronesian)
- Puerto Ricans
Applicants should describe their past and ongoing community service efforts such as:
- Tutoring and mentoring students in challenging environments
- Participation in housing or public service projects
- Leadership and organizational skills that benefit a larger community
- Campus-based student activities
- Language teaching
- Involvement in professional organizations that serve the community
Applicants should note anything in their background that speaks to their unique perspective:
- Membership of a group designated by the Ford Foundation Fellowship Programs as currently underrepresented in the American professoriate
- Membership of another underserved group
- First person or generation in family to achieve college degree or seek advanced degree
Applicants may also cite the following:
- Teaching methods and academic interests that are inclusive and sensitive to diversity
- Any successes that can be attributed to using new techniques to create an inclusive and respectful teaching and learning environment
- Personal goals, both long-standing and future-focused, that involve increasing understanding in the college or university setting and are in the broader context
- Employment that demonstrates a long-standing commitment to diversity and depth of understanding of a multicultural society
- Efforts to improve access and opportunity for all, particularly in one's local community (neighborhood, place of worship, geographic region)
Statement of Previous Research and Scholarly Productivity (one document, maximum three pages total, 12-point font), including a summary of previous research (double-spaced) and a list of publications and presentations (single-spaced)
Applicants should outline any previous research including:
- Undergraduate research including any summer research programs or summer, part-time, or full-time employment
- Research conducted to date during graduate study including research progress on the dissertation
- For graduate level research, include goals, general methodology, major results, and impacts of the research
List of publications and presentations for the last five years. Items should be listed in the following order:
- Publications in reverse chronological order
- Presentations in reverse chronological order
Abstract of Dissertation (maximum one page, 12-point font, double-spaced)
Proposed Plan for Completion of Dissertation and timeline describing the applicant's long-range career goals (maximum three pages total, 12-point font, double-spaced)
Applicants should describe the work they expect to undertake if awarded a fellowship.
- Description of the overall framework of the dissertation
- Summary of research remaining to be completed for the dissertation, including a description of technical methods, data sources and collection, sampling methods, analytical methods, etc.
- A timeline for writing the dissertation including a discussion of possible barriers to completing writing during the period of the fellowship
- Expected timing of defense of the dissertation
- Description of how the dissertation work will facilitate and enhance the applicant's career plans and contribute to the field of study
Applicants may wish to ask their dissertation adviser or a professor in their discipline to review the proposed plan (especially for substance, clarity, and organization) prior to submission.
Annotated Bibliography: Two to four sentences each for no more than ten key sources, including primary and secondary sources, which are the most important in shaping the current status of the problem which the applicant will be studying (no maximum page limit beyond the limit of the ten key sources, 12-point font, entries may be single-spaced)
- Supplementary Materials (required by the Supplementary Materials deadline)
References: Names and contact information of a minimum of three (maximum of five) individuals who will upload a letter of recommendation on the applicant's behalf.
- While it is at the discretion of the applicant to select individuals to write letters on their behalf, it is recommended (not required) that the following letter writers be included in the application:
- One of the letter writers should be the applicant's dissertation adviser.
- Other letter writers should be able to comment on the applicant's proposed plan for the completion of the dissertation.
- Letter writers should be faculty members in the applicant's field who are acquainted with the applicant's intellectual ability and long-range goals.
- Letters of recommendation from personal friends, clergy, medical doctors, and family members are not appropriate.
- Requesting four or five letters is recommended to ensure the minimum number of three letters is received.
- Applicants should provide each letter writer a copy of their essays and any other relevant information which will enable the writer to submit a strong letter on their behalf.
- Letters must be saved in .docx or .pdf format and must not exceed 4MB.
- It is the responsibility of the applicant to notify their letter writers through the online application system. Once applicants take this action, letter writers will receive an e-mail notification from NASEM-FO-NoReply@nas.edu with a link to instructions on the content of their letters. Letter writers must upload their letters via the online application module. The Fellowships Office will not accept hard copy letters or letters sent as e-mail attachments.
- It is the practice of the Ford Foundation Fellowships Program that letters of recommendation are not made available to applicants.
It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the minimum number of letters are submitted by the deadline. Applications with fewer than three letters submitted by letter writers by January 7, 2021 at 5 PM EST will not be reviewed.
Transcripts and GPAs
- Baccalaureate degree transcript(s) showing all undergraduate coursework completed, grades, and baccalaureate degree award date as well as GPA. (Note: If an institution does not calculate a GPA or the applicant prefers not to enter it, it is not required.) Transcripts for Associate degrees, non-degree coursework, or study abroad programs are not required.
- Graduate transcript(s) showing all graduate coursework completed or in progress as of Fall 2020 as well as GPA. (Note: If an institution does not calculate a GPA or the applicant prefers not to enter it, it is not required.)
- Unofficial transcripts or grade reports are acceptable for the review of applications. If offered a fellowship award, awardees will be required to submit official transcripts to verify the accuracy of the unofficial transcripts or grade reports.
- Transcripts uploaded to the application should not be secured, password-protected, or encrypted files as reviewers will not be able to view and evaluate these documents. To avoid locked versions of official transcripts, it is recommended that applicants first print and scan these documents prior to uploading them.
- Transcripts issued in a language other than English must be accompanied by a certified translation into English and must include a description of the institution’s grading system.
- Transcripts should not include Personal Identifying Information (PII) such as a Social Security number and date of birth (names are acceptable). Staff may delete transcripts from your application if these data are present. Applicants should redact, cover, or remove PII prior to uploading the document.
- It is the responsibility of the applicant to upload all transcripts and to ensure transcript legibility and degree attainment dates after each document has been uploaded. Transcripts sent via postal mail or e-mail will not be accepted.
- It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that all transcripts include the most up-to-date information. Applicants re-applying to the program should note that uploaded transcripts from a previous application will carry over into the current application; however, if a transcript is outdated, the applicant must upload a current version of the document by the supplementary materials deadline. Note that any changes to the education record may result in loss of transcripts; it is the applicant’s responsibility to verify that all materials are included in the application at the time of the supplementary materials deadline.
Applicants must ensure that the Education History section is accurate, at the time of application, to ensure that all required transcript upload fields are available in the application.
Verification of Doctoral Degree Status (VS) Form
The applicant's graduate Adviser or department Chair must sign the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine's Verification of Doctoral Degree Status Form
confirming that the applicant has completed all departmental and institutional requirements for the degree, except for writing and defense of the dissertation, by December 10, 2020. The verification form for the current competition (applicants who are re-applying may not
use a form from a previous year) must be uploaded to the fellowship application as a .pdf document before the deadline of 5:00 PM EST on January 7, 2021. Applicants must ensure that the Eligibility and Education History sections are accurate, at the time of application, including the current institution, to ensure that the Verification of Doctoral Degree Status Form upload field is available in the Supplementary Materials section of the application.
- All application materials become the property of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and will not be returned. Applicants should retain copies of all submitted application materials for their personal records.
- Visit the Helpful Resources page for more information regarding preparing an application.
- For additional information or questions, contact FordApplications@nas.edu.