Department of History

Nondepartmental Funding

Some sources of financial support most commonly available to history graduate students are listed below. The sums awarded and other conditions of awards may change, so you should check with the graduate director or with the graduate administrator for updated details. Prospective students should also consult the list of departmental awards available.

Arts & Sciences Fellowships

New students with outstanding undergraduate academic records may be offered one of these fellowships which provide support for the first year of graduate training without imposing a teaching or research work requirement.

FLAS Fellowships

Description: The fellowship is available to American citizens studying East Asian, East European/Russian, Latin American, or West European history. The fellowship requires no teaching and usually assumes the student will take advanced language training during the tenure of the fellowship.

Rights: The fellowships are renewable for up to two years.

Decisions: The relevant area specialists nominate internal and external applicants. After that, a committee in REES, Latin American studies, Asian studies, or West European studies makes awards from an applicant pool that includes history and other disciplines. For details, visit the specific area program at the University Center for International Studies (UCIS) Web site.

Those who began in a TA/TF position before they entered the FLAS stream or who declined a TA/TF position in favor of a FLAS when they entered the program will be put into the four-year tenure stream TA/TF pool upon completion of their externally funded fellowship.

Carolyn Chambers

Description: One fellowship without teaching obligations.

Rights: Students who have not exhausted TA/TF support could return to that funding pool.

Decisions: The Chambers Fellowship alternates between the history and English departments, so history graduate students may compete every other year for this award. The graduate committee sends its recommendation to the dean's office. The award of this fellowship follows the same criteria as the Mellon Fellowship (see below).

K. Leroy Irvis

Description: Available to African American students. Requires no teaching.

Rights: As long as the student makes good progress, the department promises to offer a TA/TF position after the fellowship year.

Decisions: The graduate committee makes nomination to the graduate dean. The committee looks for students for whom it can make a case for exceptional promise.

Japanese Iron and Steel Fellowship

Description: This non-teaching fellowship is available to students specializing in Japanese studies.

Rights: Students would return to the TA/TF pool.

Decisions: Awards are made within Asian studies. Information on application forms, etc. is available on the Asian Studies Program Web site in the section "Scholarships and Fellowships."

Latin American Social and Public Policy Fellowship

Description: This is a research fellowship open to students of Latin American history whose work addresses public policy questions.

Decisions: The Latin American Center handles this award.

Lillian B. Lawler

Description: This non-teaching fellowship is available to advanced students. Applications are made and evaluated at the same time as the Mellon Fellowships (see below).

Value and Rights: Same as Mellon Fellowships (see below).

Decisions: Same as Mellon Fellowships (see below); however, the department and University committees look for evidence of excellence in teaching. Applicants should be sure to include teaching evaluations, materials, letters from students, and a statement about teaching in the application.

Andrew Mellon

Description: This is a research fellowship for advanced students undertaking dissertation research or writing the thesis. No teaching is required.

Rights: Renewable for up to two years, although renewals are not guaranteed. If a student has TA/TF time left, the student returns to the TA/TF stream after the fellowship year or years.

Decisions: Applications and specific deadline information are available from the graduate secretary in 3710 Wesley W. Posvar Hall. Applications are due early in the spring semester. The graduate committee examines the applications, ranks them, and sends them, along with a cover letter, to the dean's office. A University committee then determines who gets the awards. The department committee looks at the coherence of the proposal (Is it clear? Does it spell out the significance of the research? Would it be compelling to non-historians? Is the project well designed?), progress through the program (the University committee is often impressed by speed, so slower progress must be explained), and the student's record (grades, exam results, publications). Same as Mellon fellowships (see below); however, the department and University committees look for evidence of excellence in teaching. Applicants should be sure to include teaching evaluations, materials, letters from students, and a statement about teaching in the application. Quoting from some standard language in our cover letter:

We believe that three criteria best allow us to select students who are most likely to become successful professionals. First, the soundness of an applicant's research proposal indicates whether the student will complete a dissertation in a timely fashion and whether that dissertation can become the basis for a book manuscript that will lead to a tenure-track job, tenure, and professional recognition. Second, the quality of written work is vital in the evaluation of a potential professional historian. We believe that a student's work must be clear, well organized, and effectively argued. Finally, the candidate must demonstrate the ability to move through a professional program. Many candidates who look good on "paper"—they have great GRE score and letters of recommendation—fall short when confronted by the hurdles of professional preparation.

Our criteria are inter-related: A good proposal must be well written and argued and must be the result of mastering the requirements of graduate education. We usually favor those students who are well advanced in the program and can use time and financial support to complete the research and writing of their dissertation. Our selection committee also reviews letters of recommendation, graduate and undergraduate grades, and GRE scores. The letters help the committee identify the candidate's strengths and weaknesses while the graduate record indicates the mastery of a professional program. Usually, although not always, our strongest candidates have outstanding GRE scores and undergraduate averages.

Off-Campus CGS Teaching

Description: Teaching an off-campus course. CGS offers a mix of survey and specialized courses.

Value: Varies with experience.

Eligibility: Students who have a strong teaching record are eligible for CGS teaching assignments. Such students are normally at the dissertation stage. The department looks to place students who have exhausted their other funding options into CGS teaching. The chair, assistant chair, and graduate director, along with the CGS director, make course assignments. The department has some, but limited, control over these assignments and the courses offered.

Presidential Fellowship in Chinese Studies

Description: This non-teaching fellowship is available to students specializing in Chinese studies.

Rights: Renewable for up to three years. Students would then be eligible for a TA/TF position.

Decisions: A committee within Asian studies makes the awards. Information on application forms, etc. is available on the Asian Studies Program Web site in the section "Scholarships and Fellowships."

Provost's Development Fund

Description: Available to minority students. "Minority" is defined on the form as groups that "continue to be underrepresented in the national pool of earned doctoral degrees as well as within the professionals at the University of Pittsburgh." Requires no teaching.

Rights: As long as students make good progress, the department will place them in the TA pool after the fellowship year. If students who are already in the program apply, they will be on the TA/TF list if they have not exhausted funding.

Decisions: Applications are available from the graduate secretary in 3P25 Wesley W. Posvar Hall, the graduate director, or the dean's office. The graduate committee must forward the application of a new student if the department is obligated to provide further TA/TF support.

World History Center Graduate Research Award

Each year the Center awards small research fellowships for study in World History to one faculty member and one graduate student. Applications are due March 15 and October 15.

World History Center Travel Awards

Each academic year the World History Center provides four Graduate Travel Awards of $250. These awards support graduate students in any Pitt department for travel to a professional meeting. The applicant is to demonstrate that participating in the meeting is a contribution to world-historical study. Applications (a one-page letter plus two-page CV) may be submitted at any time to Awards are selected at World History Center Advisory Board meetings in October and April. Click here to learn more about this award.