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The Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship

Religion & Ethics

The 2015 Newcombe application is now closed. The application will open again August, 2015. Finalists of this year’s competition will be notified in February; Fellows will be announced in April.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Eligibility

Q: I am a foreign citizen. Can I apply for the Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship?

A: Yes, foreign citizens may apply if they meet the following criteria:

  1. They are enrolled in a doctoral program at an American university located in the United States.
  2. They have completed all pre-dissertation requirements.

Q: I am a U.S. citizen studying abroad. Am I eligible to apply for the Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship?
A: No. Only students currently enrolled in a graduate program in the U.S. are eligible to apply.

Q: If I have applied previously, can I re-apply?
A: No. The Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship is a dissertation completion fellowship, intended for the final year of dissertation writing. An applicant is not eligible for a second year because there is only one year that is the year of completion. If you have not completed enough work on your dissertation to present a compelling case for it or to convince the selection committees that you will be able to finish within the 12-month tenure of the award, you should postpone your application for another year. Neither may you apply if you have already received funding from another national competition for the final year of dissertation writing.

Q: Who should apply for the Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship?
A: Ph.D. candidates may apply if all pre-dissertation requirements are met, if ethical or religious values are central to their dissertations, and they can reasonably expect to complete their dissertations between April 1 and August 31, 2016.

Q: How do I know if I have met all of the “pre-dissertation requirements” necessary to apply?
A: The Fellowship is open to doctoral candidates, which means that a doctoral student has fulfilled all of the institutional and departmental criteria prior to writing the dissertation. The requirements for candidacy may vary between institutions and departments—some require a language exam, others do not; some may require a proposal defense, others may not. Candidacy is determined by each department’s individual criteria. A departmental administrator can tell you whether or not you have advanced to candidacy.

Q: Can the Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship be held concurrently with other dissertation completion fellowships?
A: No, applicants who have held a similar national award for the final year of dissertation writing, such as an ACLS, AAUW, Ford, MacArthur, Mellon, Pew, Spencer, or Whiting Fellowship, are not eligible. Any award supported by a national funder, even if it is subsequently allocated by a local institution, is considered to be a national award. It may be possible to combine some local awards with the Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship upon approval by the Woodrow Wilson Foundation.

Q: Is an applicant ineligible if s/he has held an ACLS, Mellon, or Ford award that was not a dissertation completion fellowship?
A:
No. If any previous award was not designated as a completion Fellowship, the applicant is eligible.

 Q: Can the Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship be held concurrently with other smaller, local awards?
A: Sometimes, yes, but there are restrictions which must be discussed with the Newcombe Program Officer.

Q: Is this funding opportunity open to all doctoral applicants completing a dissertation? 
A: No. Eligibility is limited to candidates in the social sciences and humanities, working toward a Ph.D. or Th.D. degree. Candidates must be enrolled in an American doctoral program, at a graduate school located in the United States. Candidates working on D.Min., law, Psy.D., Ed.D. and other professional degrees are not eligible.

Q: I am a graduate student interested in applying for the Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship. I am also interested in applying to the Woodrow Wilson Dissertation Fellowship in Women’s Studies, but am wondering if applying to both affects eligibility?
A: You may apply to both without affecting eligibility. Simply submit the two different online applications, and send your supplemental items to both of the email addresses (cwndocs@woodrow.org and wsdocs@woodrow.org).

Application

Q: What materials are required for a completed application?
A: The online application, unofficial doctoral transcripts, supplemental items (cover sheet, abstract, proposal, bibliography, timetable and C.V.), and three letters of recommendation. Click here for detailed instructions for submitting a complete application.

Q: Is the purpose of the bibliography to demonstrate familiarity with the relevant literature in your field, or is it to show the major source bases for the research? In other words, should I be citing secondary sources, archival collections, or some combination of the two?
A: The bibliography is primarily to show the source bases for your research, which is also why an explanatory note is optional in the bibliography. Use the sources that will best show the selection committees that you are prepared to complete the scholarship that you describe in your proposal.

Q: What is the format for the timetable?
A: The purpose of the timetable is to demonstrate to the selection committee that you are truly in your FINAL year of dissertation writing. They will be looking to see that you have completed your research sufficiently and begun to write the dissertation. There is no definitive format for the timetable. It is up to each applicant to determine how best to present his or her case. You may use paragraph/narrative form, or bullet points, or a combination of the two. You may summarize, annotate, or describe. This flexibility allows the timeline to be expressed in a format that best suits the applicant.

Q: Who should I ask to be my recommenders?
A: You should ask the person who is directing your dissertation and two additional faculty recommenders. (A co-director may be listed as a faculty recommender.) The two faculty members may be from your own institution or department or a different institution or department.

Q: What if my recommender declines my request to submit a letter of recommendation?
A: If a recommender declines your request to provide a recommendation, you will be notified by email. If you receive a “decline” notification, you will need to return to your account page and “Start” a new recommendation process with a different recommender.

Q: What if I need to change the name of one of my recommenders, but I have already submitted my application?
A: If the recommender in question has not submitted a letter, go to the “Submit Supplemental Items” section of your account, in the Recommendation Request Section. To change a recommender click on “Cancel” and then follow the procedures to “Start” a new recommendation process with a different recommender, or to “Resend” a request to one of your recommenders, if necessary. If the recommender in question has submitted a letter, no change is possible.

Q: What if my recommender does not receive the automated request to submit a letter of recommendation?
A: Go to the “Submit Supplemental Items” section of your account, in the Recommendation Request Section. Click the button to “Resend” a request to one of your recommenders.

Q: Does it matter how I label the files that I submit for my application?
A:
Yes. Labeling the files correctly will ensure all of your documents are associated with your application. Please refer to this document for correct labeling. Please note that it is also in your best interest to communicate the importance of correct labeling to the Professors who are submitting Letters of Recommendation.

Q: Does it matter what I put in the subject line of the email I am sending with my submission?
A:
Yes. A correct subject line will ensure that your documents are quickly and accurately associated with your application. Please refer to this document for the correct subject line. Please note that it is also in your best interest to communicate the importance of a correct subject line to the Professors who are submitting Letters of Recommendation.

Q: What if my doctoral department or concentration is not listed in the field of study list in the online application?
A: The fields of study listed in the application reflect the fields in which the Newcombe competition has selection panels. If you do not see your precise field listed, choose the field most closely aligned with your work. For example, if you are in a classics department, decide whether your particular project should be read as art history, early world history, philosophy, or world literature.

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