University of Pennsylvania — Penn Predoctoral Fellowships for Excellence through Diversity

Penn Fellowship Opportunity 2020-2021

The University of Pennsylvania is pleased to invite applications for the 2020-21 Predoctoral Fellowships for Excellence through Diversity. These awards are designed to provide mentorship and access to Penn’s resources for doctoral students in the humanities or social sciences, enrolled in graduate or professional programs at universities other than Penn, as they complete their dissertations. The Fellowships are intended to support scholars from a wide range of backgrounds, who can contribute to the diversity of Penn and the higher education community. 

These residential Fellowships support graduate students in the final stages of dissertation research or writing at Penn for an academic year, normally September through August. They offer an opportunity for scholars who plan an academic career to take advantage of Penn programs and faculty expertise and afford access to libraries and the resources of the Philadelphia region. Each scholar will be selected and hosted by a department or school and assigned a faculty mentor. Recipients will be in the stage of either advanced dissertation research or writing. 

The Fellowship provides a stipend of $36,000, health insurance, library privileges, and a $4,000 research and travel fund.  Moving expenses, up to $4,000, are also covered. The application deadline is December 16, 2019. 

This year, up to five Fellowships will be awarded.


Candidates for the fellowship must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, enrolled in a PhD program in the humanities or social sciences at an accredited university graduate or professional school other than Penn. Candidates must have passed any PhD qualifying examinations and be in an advanced stage of research and writing on an approved dissertation topic. Candidates must be students of exceptional academic merit, who also belong to a group underrepresented in higher education; come from a socially, culturally, or educationally disadvantaged background or have faced other significant personal obstacles; and/or pursue academic research on cultural, societal, or educational problems as they affect disadvantaged or underrepresented sectors of society.


Applicants should submit:

  • A 2-3 page double-spaced personal statement describing the applicant’s dissertation project, and providing any other information the applicant would like to present. The statement should address: 
    1. the dissertation’s aims, methodologies (how the student will conduct the research), originality, and contribution to its field, and 
    2. how the student and/or the dissertation contributes to understandings of diversity and inclusion. 
  • Two letters of recommendation, signed and on official letter head. One must come from the dissertation advisor, commenting on the student’s performance, potential, and expected time to degree. At least one of the letters must address the applicant’s contribution to diversity in higher education. Official graduate transcript(s).
  • Current curriculum vitae. 

Applications will be accepted at

Questions can be addressed to the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty at