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The Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Program is designed to contribute to the development and improvement of the study of modern languages and area studies in the US.

The Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad (DDRA) Program is designed to contribute to the development and improvement of the study of modern languages and area studies in the US by providing opportunities for doctoral students to conduct research abroad. Research projects should focus on one or more of the following geographic areas: Africa, East Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands, South Asia, the Near East, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, and the Western Hemisphere (excluding the United States and its territories). Research is allowed in multiple countries. 

Students apply through Harvard Griffin GSAS and follow the Harvard Griffin GSAS campus deadlines, which are before the Fulbright-Hays deadline (the deadline varies from year to year). To register for the application process and join the applicants’ Canvas site, email Dr. Jeannette Miller once the annual competition opens. Applicants can expect notification about the awards approximately five months after the national application deadline. 


Applicants must be: 

  • a citizen, national, or permanent resident of the United States 
  • a graduate student in good standing at an institution of higher education in the United States who, when the fellowship begins, is admitted to candidacy in a doctoral program in modern foreign languages and area studies at that institution 
  • planning a teaching career in the United States upon graduation 
  • in possession of adequate skills in the language(s) necessary to carry out the dissertation project. 

Tenure and Stipend 

Students may propose research for 6 to 12 months. The award covers: 

  • travel expenses, including excess baggage to and from the residence of the fellow to the host country of research 
  • maintenance and dependents allowances based on the cost of living in country, or countries, of research for the fellow and their dependent(s) 
  • project allowance for research-related expenses such as books, copying, tuition and affiliation fees, local travel, and other incidental expenses 
  • health and accident insurance premiums 
  • $100 administrative fee to applicant institution. 

Application Procedure 

Enrolled Harvard Griffin GSAS students must apply through Harvard Griffin GSAS by the campus deadline, which is approximately three weeks before the national deadline. To apply, you should: 

  • learn more about the Fulbright-Hays DDRA Program by visiting the Department of Education website 
  • email Dr. Jeannette Miller once the annual competition opens to request access to the applicant Canvas site, which is how Harvard Griffin GSAS disseminates information and collects materials 
  • observe the deadlines noted on the Canvas site. Fellowships & Writing Center (FWC) staff can provide feedback on your materials, provided that you submit them by the deadline. 

Application Materials 

  • Completed application form 
  • Project narrative up to 10 pages, double-spaced 
  • Two-page bibliography 
  • Curriculum vitae 
  • Three references, to be uploaded by the referees 
  • One PDF containing transcripts from each institution you have attended 
  • A Foreign Language Referee Form completed by a professional language teacher or, for less commonly taught languages, a professor who is fluent in the language 
  • For students conducting human subjects research, an IRB narrative. Projects with human subjects must be reviewed by the Committee on the Use of Human Subjects, which is the Institutional Review Board (IRB) for the University. IRB approval doesn’t need to be finalized by the application deadline, but you must begin the process. 

Selection Criteria 

Applicants will be judged by: 

  • the quality of the proposed project
  • the statement of the major hypotheses to be tested or questions to be examined, and the description and justification of the research methods to be used 
  • the relationship of the research to the literature on the topic and to major theoretical issues in the field, and the project's originality and importance in terms of the concerns of the discipline 
  • the preliminary research already completed in the United States and overseas or plans for such research prior to going overseas, and the kinds, quality, and availability of data for the research in the host country or countries 
  • the justification for overseas field research and preparations to establish appropriate and sufficient research contacts and affiliations abroad 
  • the applicant's plans to share the results of the research in progress and a copy of the dissertation with scholars and officials of the host country or countries 
  • the guidance and supervision of the dissertation advisor or committee at all stages of the project, including guidance in developing the project, understanding research conditions abroad, and acquainting the applicant with research in the field.
  • Qualifications of the applicant: 
  • the overall strength of the applicant's graduate academic record 
  • the extent to which the applicant's academic record demonstrates strength in area studies relevant to the proposed project 
  • the applicant's proficiency in one or more of the languages (other than English and the applicant's native language) of the country or countries of research, and the specific measures to be taken to overcome any anticipated language barriers 
  • the applicant's ability to conduct research in a foreign cultural context, as evidenced by the applicant's references or previous overseas experience, or both 
  • priorities published in the Federal Register annually.
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