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Spencer Dissertation Fellowship

National Academy of Education/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship Program

Sponsor: National Academy of Education


The Dissertation Fellowship Program seeks to encourage a new generation of scholars from a wide range of disciplines and professional fields to undertake research relevant to the improvement of education. These $27,500 fellowships support individuals whose dissertations show potential for bringing fresh and constructive perspectives to the history, theory, analysis, or practice of formal or informal education anywhere in the world. This highly competitive program aims to identify the most talented researchers conducting dissertation research related to education. The Dissertation Fellowship program receives many more applications than it can fund. This year, up to 35 fellowships will be awarded.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Must be a graduate student
  • Must attend a university
  • Must not be attending high school currently
  • Restricted to students studying Education

How to Apply

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In no more than 10 double-spaced pages with one-inch margins, and at least 11-point Times New Roman font, describe the dissertation. This narrative document should have page numbers and the applicant’s full name and registered email address as a running header.

Include the goals of the project, its contribution to the field, and the significance of the work, especially as it relates to education. Place the project in context, and outline the theoretical grounding and the relevant literature. Describe the research questions and research design, the methods of gathering and analyzing data, and interpretation techniques. If preliminary findings or pilot data are available, these should be described briefly – especially if they illustrate how the applicant will be conducting thematic analyses or applying coding systems to the data. Lack of clarity in treatment of data with respect to the research question(s) is often a problem area in applications.

Please keep in mind that each proposal will be reviewed by some senior scholars familiar with the field and by others less familiar; thus, language specific to a field should be situated within an argument persuasive to a generalist audience.

The narrative discussion cannot exceed 10 double-spaced typed pages. An additional single-spaced bibliography (no more than two pages) of the sources most important to the project should be appended (works cited in the narrative discussion should be included).

The narrative discussion and bibliography should be uploaded as one document (12 pages total) within the online system. Appendices (charts, graphs, tables, questionnaires, etc.) may be included as technical and supplemental and do not count towards the limit; however, please be judicious in the quantity included, as reviewers are not required to review material in the appendices. Information essential to understanding the project should be included in the 10 page narrative (including any coding systems). Applicants should make the case for their research in the narrative.