Graduate Studies Dissertation Writing Award

The Graduate Studies Dissertation Writing Award provides summer support for graduate students in the dissertation-writing phase who served exclusively as teaching assistants (.50 FTE) during the Fall 2020-Spring 2021 academic year. Students who held a fellowship or a graduate, research, or project assistantship for part or all of the academic year are not eligible.

A pilot initiative, the award provides summer funding to doctoral or MFA students so they may focus primarily on writing their dissertation during June and July, with the goal of facilitating the timely completion of the dissertation during the following academic year (Fall 2021-Spring 2022).

Award Amount

$5,000 for summer dissertation writing ($2,500 for June/$2,500 for July).


5:00 pm on April 26, 2021 for application packet and letters of recommendation.

Eligibility & Restrictions

  • PhD or MFA students who held a teaching assistantship during the academic year.
  • Student must have passed comprehensive exams; have an approved Application to Candidacy on file; and be in the process of writing the dissertation.
  • Student must have an approved dissertation committee.
  • Student must have written affirmation from dissertation advisor of availability and willingness to review progress during the award period and complete a final report.
  • Student must not hold an assistantship over the summer or be enrolled in coursework.
  • Student must not have an Incomplete or F on record at the close of the Spring 2021 grading period.


The Graduate Studies Dissertation Writing Award is primarily intended to facilitate the writing of the dissertation during the summer months (i.e. the completion of chapters; the revision of chapters; the completion of the dissertation; or the revision of the manuscript based on committee feedback). Priority will be given to those proposals that indicate a clear writing agenda, with preference toward applicants for whom the award will demonstrably facilitate the completion of the dissertation during the ensuing academic year.

Application Materials

  • Application Cover Sheet
  • Proposal (no more than 2 single-spaced pages): includes description of the dissertation project; the state of its completion; a proposed summer work schedule (including timeline and writing agenda); an explanation of how the award will facilitate dissertation progress; and a scheduled graduation date.
  • C.V.
  • Unofficial Transcripts
  • Two letters of recommendation sent under separate cover:
    1. From the dissertation director commenting on the status and promise of the dissertation; supporting the proposed work agenda and the potential of the award to facilitate the dissertation’s completion; affirming availability to advise, read, and respond to written dissertation work over the summer; and agreeing to produce a final, post-summer report of written dissertation work completed.
    2. From the graduate program director or the chair of the department affirming the student’s assistantship workload, the student’s good standing, and any non-assistantship nominal, matching, or cost-sharing support the department can provide to bolster the student’s success.

Send questions, the PDF application packet, and letters of recommendation to Dr. Jesse Alemán, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies (