Pre-Dissertation Research Fellowship FAQs

Eligibility Questions

Am I eligible to apply for a CES Pre-Dissertation Fellowship?

To be eligible to apply for any of the CES Pre-Dissertation Fellowships, applicants must meet three primary criteria. First, CES Pre-Dissertation Fellowships are intended to fund students’ first major research project in Europe. Students who have already engaged in extensive field work and study in Europe related to their dissertation are not eligible. Second, applicants must be in the exploratory, early stage of their research. Third, applicants must not have completed the majority of their doctoral coursework.

Additionally, certain CES Pre-Dissertation Fellowships are restricted to students with relationships to specific partner institutions. 

Is my country or area of interest included in “European Studies”?

Odds are, yes! CES funds projects related to Europe broadly defined, including areas such as Turkey, the UK, Russia and Eastern Europe, and Iceland. In the past, CES has even sponsored research pertaining to colonial topics, as long as Europe is a central component of the project. You can see a list of past awardees here. If you are still unsure if your research is eligible, contact CES directly for clarification.

Do I need to have completed my qualifying exams or dissertation proposal to apply for a CES Pre-Dissertation Fellowship?

Not necessarily. CES Pre-Dissertation Fellowships are intended to fund a student’s first major research project in Europe. Moreover, applicants may have begun exploratory research for their dissertation, but they are not required to have had their dissertation proposals formally approved. 

Do I need to be formally affiliated with a university or research center in Europe in order to apply? 

This is not a prerequisite. Nevertheless, if you have such an invitation or affiliation, please note it in your application. Additionally, certain CES Pre-Dissertation Fellowships are restricted to students with relationships to specific partner institutions. 

What research areas do CES fellowships support?

There is no strict requirement for the CES Pre-Dissertation Fellowships awarded each year. The Fellowship Committee takes a broad interpretation of European Studies, setting no specific parameters regarding period or discipline. Thus, applicants of all disciplines pursuing research relevant to European Studies are encouraged to apply.

What level of language competency is required for pre-dissertation research applications?

This is conditional upon the nature of the research proposal.

If the applicant is a native English speaker traveling to Ireland, then proof of foreign language competency is not necessary. However, if the applicant is a native English speaker conducting research in Bucharest, then he/she should be able to conduct research in Romanian or another language relevant to the research. If the applicant falls into the latter category, at least one language competency form must be submitted attesting to the applicant’s linguistic abilities. The Language Competency form may be submitted by a faculty member who is also providing a general recommendation in support of the student’s application.

Application Questions

What do I need to submit to apply for a CES Pre-Dissertation Fellowship?

In order to complete your application for a CES Pre-Dissertation Fellowship you will have to submit the online application form, which includes a 2,500-word narrative on the nature and purpose of your research project. Also, you will have to request that your three (3) faculty recommenders submit a copy of their recommendations via our online submission link. If proof of language competency is required in order to undertake your proposed research, you will also have to see to it that a faculty member familiar with your language skills completes the Language Competency form, also available on our website. All forms must be submitted electronically.

Will CES contact my recommenders or should I send them information about submitting letters?

You should be in touch with your faculty recommenders and/or the faculty member attesting to your language competency about submitting their letters online. CES will not contact them otherwise, unless their submission is late.

Are notes or a bibliography included in the 2,500-word narrative statement limit?

Yes. All footnotes, endnotes and bibliographical material are included in the 2,500-word limit. Please note that as this is a narrative statement, CES prefers that applicants submit a very short bibliography or none at all. 

What is the difference between the research abstract and the narrative statement?

The research abstract should be a short description of your proposed dissertation topic. The longer narrative statement explains your research plans, including where you propose to do research, why your research is important, how the work is unique, how the proposed funded research fits in with your dissertation work, etc.

Does my abstract and narrative statement have to be a certain length?

No. The word counts provided on the application form are maximum limits, not requirements.

What is the submission deadline for the CES Pre-Dissertation Fellowship program?

All application materials must be received via CES’ electronic application form no later than March 24 of the application year. Applications via post or by hand are not accepted. 

Can recommenders submit their recommendations on paper?

Every part of your application, including recommendations, must be submitted to CES electronically. CES will not accept any materials received by other means.

Selection Process

How are fellows selected?

Applications are evaluated by a committee whose members represent a range of disciplines and institutions. Applicants can expect to be notified of the selection committee’s decisions in late April. 

When will pre-dissertation research fellowship applicants be notified of the results of their applications?

CES will notify applicants of the committee’s decision in May 2024. Funding will be made available immediately upon formal acceptance of the award.

What constitutes ‘comparable funding’ with respect to the CES Pre-Dissertation Fellowship? What other funding can be used in conjunction with a CES pre-dissertation award?

Other grants/scholarships/aid awarded for the same purpose as the CES fellowship (i.e., to fund a student’s pre-dissertation research trip in Europe) will be deducted from the CES award so that each fellowship winner receives no more than $5,000.  Assistantships are viewed as a form of earned income rather than aid and will not be deducted. Financial aid received for school/coursework is also not deducted. 

General Questions

What do winners of a CES Pre-dissertation Fellowship receive?

A CES Pre-Dissertation Fellowship has three components: 1) a $5,000 award covering a two-month stay abroad, during which time each fellow will undertake original archival and field research; 2) a one-time travel grant intended to support attendance at a CES International Conference, where each fellow will present his or her findings and receive feedback from peers and senior scholars; 3) the publication of each Fellow’s research report in CES’ online journal. 

Must pre-dissertation research fellowship funds be spent within a certain time period?

Fellowship funding must cover a research period of at least two consecutive months and must be used before the end of the calendar year in which the money is awarded. 

Are Fellowship winners required to attend the CES Conference?

Yes, all CES fellows are required to present their research at a CES conference and to prepare a research report suitable for publication in CES’ online journal. For more information consult our Grants & Awards – FAQs