Center for American Political Studies (CAPS) Dissertation Fellowships

The Center for American Political Studies Dissertation Research Fellowships on the Study of the American Republic are made possible by a generous challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and matched by generous Harvard University Alumni. Eligible applications must contain dissertation topics with a direct engagement with the history, principles, and politics of the American Republic. These fellowships are inclusive to students inside the field of political science, as well as History, English and American Literature, Philosophy, American Civilization, Sociology, Economics, Anthropology, and others, whose presence would enrich the collective discussion of enduring political, historical and philosophical themes of the American Republic. Relevant themes include (but are not restricted to) the politics, history and philosophy of the American Founding and the Early Republic, the political philosophy of republicanism (particularly as applied to the United States), the Civil War and its legacies, the politics of slavery and abolition, and political institutions in the United States.

Dissertation Research Fellowships will be awarded for academic year 2020-2021. Dissertation Research Fellowships provide a monthly stipend (one term) in an amount set annually by GSAS, and are awarded in either the Fall or Spring term, depending on the Fellow’s preference. Fellowship winners will be expected to share their work at CAPS-sponsored occasions during the award year.

Eligibility, Terms, and Conditions:
Any Harvard Ph.D. candidate in the above-mentioned graduate programs may apply if he or she is doing a dissertation about some aspect of the American Republic. Comparisons across nations are eligible if the study of the American Republic is the major focus of the project. Projects in normative political theory are also eligible, provided that empirical patterns are a major aspect of the study. The specific guidelines for the research and completion fellowships are below.

Guidelines for the CAPS Dissertation Research Fellowship on the American Republic:
▪ Completion of all departmental requirements and an approved dissertation prospectus before the start of academic year 2020-2021. A fellowship designee will forfeit the award if the prospectus has not been approved by July 1, 2020.
▪ Any student entering year G-5 and below may apply for a research fellowship.
▪ Students who apply for a research fellowship may not simultaneously apply to other centers for a completion fellowship.
▪ Research fellowship winners may do a small amount of teaching/thesis advising equivalent to .10 or less while taking their stipend, but such supplementary work must not conflict with the Ph.D. research plan and CAPS must be consulted prior to acceptance.
Questions about these guidelines may be sent to

Application Procedures and Schedule:
Applications must be submitted Friday, February 7, 2020 via CARAT application. No hard copy is required. No applications will be accepted after this deadline.

Application Requirements:

  • A signed cover letter with the following information: a one-paragraph synopsis of your dissertation research; the names of two recommenders; your planned teaching responsibilities during the fellowship term; and any other information you consider pertinent.
  • Statement of purpose (two to four pages, double spaced) clearly describing the dissertation topic’s direct engagement with the history, principles, and politics of the American Republic. There should be a brief indication of your progress to date and timetable for completion.
  • A bibliography identifying major primary and secondary sources.
  • Current resume, not to exceed two pages.
  • Current transcript.
  • Two letters of recommendation, one of which must be from the dissertation advisor. CARAT will generate a request to your recommenders once you input their information.The deadline for letters of recommendation is Friday, February 7, 2020.
  • Written confirmation from your graduate program coordinator stating that your prospectus was approved or, if your prospectus has not been approved, the anticipated date of approval.

Former CAPS Dissertation Fellows:
2016-17: Ekedi Mpondo-Dika
2015-16: Carly Knight
2014-15: Beth Truesdale
2013-14: Jeremy Levine
2012-13: Deirdre Bloome
2009-10: Corina Graif
2008-09: Christopher Bail
2007-08: Charles Loeffler