Southern Studies Doctoral Fellowships


Fellowship awards overview

The Southern Studies Doctoral Fellowships support researchers making significant use of the rich and deep resources available in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s special collections. Two types of awards are available to advanced graduate students researching the American South:
  • The Pre-Dissertation Prospectus Fellowship
    • For early doctoral students to explore Wilson Library’s collections to develop their dissertation proposals
    • Supports a one-month residency which must take place between June 1 and October 31, 2023
    • Total award is $2,500
  • The Dissertation Research Fellowship
    • For doctoral candidates whose dissertation project draws deeply and substantively on the collections in Wilson Library
    • Supports a one-, two-, or three-month residency which must take place between June 1 and October 31, 2023. The length of the residency depends upon demonstrated need to consult collection materials
    • Award is $3,500 per month
View past recipients and their research:

Fellowship eligibility

Full-time students
  • In good standing, AND
  • Enrolled in a doctoral program studying the American South
Foreign nationals
  • Residing in the United States on an F-1 student visa and enrolled in a doctoral program studying the American South, OR
  • Enrolled in a doctoral program at a foreign university and without a current US Visa
    • Note: if awarded a fellowship, the research residency and the payment of funds cannot occur before an appropriate US visa is obtained.
Agree to:
  • Commit to a full-time research residency at Wilson Library for the duration of the award
    • The residency must take place between June 1 and October 31, 2023
  • Submit a research proposal and research plan that draws deeply and substantively on the collections of the Wilson Special Collections Library
  • Participate in the intellectual life of the Library and the fellowship program, which includes:
    • A public presentation of research findings and experiences
    • The submission of a brief research report
    • An invitation to submit papers to a capstone symposium in Southern Studies

Application instructions

All application materials are due by midnight ET on January 31. Submit them electronically via Interfolio using the appropriate application: The online applications require the submission of the following supporting materials:
  • Research proposal: A brief narrative (no more than 1200 words) that describes your proposed research and its intellectual significance
  • Research plan: A substantive preliminary list of Wilson Library resources that you will consult during your residency. Include brief annotations about the relevancy of each collection
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Two confidential letters of recommendation. One must be from your academic advisor
  • A letter from the Director of Graduate Studies confirming your current academic status
Applications will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
  • Merit of the proposal
  • Applicant’s qualifications and letters of recommendations
  • Demonstrated need to access in person the holdings of the Wilson Special Collections Library
See the Wilson Library Research Fellowships Guidelines for more details on applying for a fellowship, accepting a fellowship, and planning your residency.


  • December 1: Applications open for electronic submissions via Interfolio
  • January 31: All application materials must be received by midnight ET
  • March 31: Successful applicants are notified by email
    • Preliminary acceptance of award must occur within 7 calendar days of the email’s receipt
  • April 15: Accepting applicants must return all required documentation and biographical information by midnight ET
  • May 31: Submit residency dates
  • June 1: Opening of research season
    • Research reports are due one month after completing the research residency.
  • October 31: Close of research season

Awarding of funds

Fellowship awards will be disbursed after the completion of a fellowship residency.  It is strongly recommended that fellows arrive with the funds necessary to support their research residency.


These Southern Studies Doctoral Fellowships are generously supported by the Watson-Brown Foundation. Questions about the fellowships program or application instructions should be directed to Matt Turi via