Please consult your department for internal deadline. 

Instructions for Application

These fellowships are for outstanding GSAS students in the humanities, social sciences, and in specifically designated areas of study in the natural sciences and mathematics, with exceptions made on rare occasions. The fellowships are intended to enhance opportunities for research and fieldwork. Applications are due in late fall (check with your department for your deadline), and recipients may take the fellowship in either the fall or spring term of the following academic year. Notification is typically mid-April. 

STIPEND, TENURE, AND LOCATION

In the humanities and social sciences and specified fields in the natural sciences, the maximum grant is a single term standard cohort stipend, paid in five monthly installments September 1–January 1 or February 1–June 1. The award is for one term and may be taken in either fall or spring. The Merit fellowship is not location-based. 

Terms and conditions

ELIGIBILITY

To be eligible, you must:
  • have passed your Generals or Qualifying Exams
  • have an approved dissertation prospectus at the time of nomination or no later than the beginning of the term when the award is taken
  • be registered in a designated GSAS department and apply through that department

RESTRICTIONS

  • Students are not eligible for a Merit if they are receiving a full year of support from another source. Since the norm in many departments in the natural sciences is guaranteed research support, eligibility is only for students in specified natural science departments (statistics, mathematics, and theoretical physics), with exceptions outside these fields granted on rare occasions.
  • Students who receive a Merit offer must decline the Merit if they receive and accept an offer for a full-year fellowship from another source. If the alternate offer is for a single term from a Harvard research center or other source, the acceptance of both must be approved by both sources and used for separate terms. Some research centers will not allow multiple awards in the same academic year.
  • During the award term, recipients are expected to spend the full time on the dissertation and may not enroll in courses; teaching is restricted to one standard section with no other employment allowed.
  • Acceptance of an award may not be deferred; students must reapply.
  • A given GSAS fellowship can only be held once.

Instructions for Students

  1. Determine your departmental deadline by contacting your department administrator. Applications for the Merit and Term-Time fellowship must be completed in CARAT by the internal departmental deadline.
  2. A completed application includes the following materials:
  • Application form (via CARAT)

  • Curriculum vitae of no more than two singled-spaced pages in length.
  • Official transcripts from all graduate programs (GSAS students may submit an unofficial transcript generated from my.harvard to represent their current graduate studies).
  • Statement of purpose no more than four double-spaced typed pages in length describing your project, the scope and purpose of your research, your plan of research for the term, and the context of your project in your degree and career plans. For language study, describe the necessity of the language for your future research. Include your name on each page and your signature at the end of the statement. See below for criteria used to evaluate candidates.
  • Two letters of recommendation, at least one of which should be from a member of the Harvard Faculty. The recommenders must upload the letter directly into CARAT.

Criteria Used to Evaluate Candidates

QUALITY OF STATEMENT OF PURPOSE AND QUALIFICATIONS OF APPLICANT

  1. Clarity of statement of purpose in terms of the major question(s) to be examined, sources and methods to be used, feasibility of the project (avoiding too many questions or goals to be accomplished during the grant period), relationship of the project to the literature on the topic and its importance to the concerns of the discipline; attention paid to making the statement accessible for people outside the field.
  2. Explaining the need to spend a term on a Merit fellowship. This may include time to conduct the research, what sources will be consulted, and preparedness to carry out the research or it might focus on writing up research.
  3. Reference letters showing that writers are well-informed about the student’s topic and research plans, indicating close communication between student and recommenders.
  4. Overall strength of the applicant’s graduate academic record, including honors and publications, plus extent to which the record demonstrates a strength relevant to the proposed project.

Instructions for Departments

  1. Please announce an internal deadline by when students must submit application in CARAT, choosing a date that will allow the department to complete the required ranking form by the GSAS submission deadline of December 9, 2021, at 12:00 p.m
  2. Once the required materials have been submitted by the applicants, the nomination procedure may vary. In some cases, a committee is formed; in others, the determination is made through informal consultation. In general, the determination is based on a combined evaluation of the applicant’s statement of purpose, the faculty letters of recommendation, and the overall performance of the student. A nomination form is to be completed by the department chair and includes a rank order of the candidates. 
  3. Once the department has done its ranking and completed its nomination form, departments upload this nomination form to each student’s application in CARAT by the submission deadline of December 9, 2021, at 12:00 p.m. 
  4. Departments should review the terms and conditions outlined above when advising students on fellowship applications.