SSRC – International Dissertation Research Fellowship

Is it for you?

The Social Science Research Council (SSRC) supports doctoral students in the humanistic social sciences and humanities through the Mellon International Dissertation Research Fellowship (IDRF). Each year, Mellon IDRF Fellows are offered funding for 9 to 12 months to pursue dissertation research on non-U.S. topics. Fellowship amounts vary, but the average award is $21,500; fellows also take part in an SSRC-funded interdisciplinary workshop, once their Mellon IDRF-funded research is complete.

What are the key dates?

Deadline for NFP draft review: October 15, 2021

Official deadline: November 2, 2021 

Are you eligible?

Candidates for the SSRC-IDRF Scholarship must:

  • be a Ph.D. student (of any citizenship) in the humanistic social sciences or humanities, enrolled in a doctoral program in the U.S.
  • complete all Ph.D. requirements except on-site research by the time the fellowship begins or December 2020, whichever comes first.
  • be planning to conduct dissertation research wholly or partly outside the U.S., for projects focused on non-U.S. topics. Comparative inquiries may include the U.S., but those primarily focused on the U.S. are not eligible. Proposals for single or multi-sited dissertation research will be considered for funding, as will projects informed by broader cross- or trans-regional, comparative, and interdisciplinary perspectives.
  • propose 9 to 12 months of funding for dissertation research. For applicants in the humanities (Art History, Architectural History, Classics, Drama/Theater, Film Studies, Literature, Musicology, Performance Studies, Philosophy, Political Theory, and Religion) at least 3 months of funding should be proposed for international on-site research, while 6 to 9 funded months may be set aside for research in the U.S. Applicants in the humanistic social sciences (Anthropology, Geography, History, Political Science, and Sociology, for example) must propose at least 6 months of research outside the U.S., while 3 to 6 months may be spent doing research in the U.S.
  • plan to conduct site-specific research for the entire 9 to 12 months. The IDRF supports dissertation research, and not dissertation write-up or study at foreign universities.

How do you work with the NFP?

JHU nomination is not required for the SSRC Mellon IDRF. Applicants submit their own materials to the SSRC, though are encouraged to work with NFP staff, who are available to advise them and read drafts of their proposal essay. *If you would like feedback on your essay, please email it to nfp@jhu.edu by October 15 at 9am ET. (*For feedback on the three paragraphs in the “Relevance of Research to IDRF Program” section, please contact your adviser.)

The timeline gives an overview of the application process. Your first step is to contact NPF by emailing or attending office hours. In preparation, read through the resources below to learn about the IDRF.

September – early October Contact NFP to learn more; start gathering application materials (e.g. recommendations)
mid-October Submit drafts of your proposal essay to NFP for feedback
early November Meet the SSRC Mellon IDRF official deadline

Are you competitive?

About 70 fellowships are awarded each year. Selection decisions are based on the following criteria:

  • The proposal: Proposals must be clear and intelligible to a multidisciplinary, cross-regional selection committee. They must also show realistic scope as well as an awareness of methodology and theory. The Mellon IDRF supports a range of approaches and research designs, including work that is comparative at the regional or national level and across time frames and that informed by methodologies including research in archives and manuscript collections, fieldwork and surveys, and quantitative data collection.
  • Preparation: Applicants must provide evidence of their readiness and training for the proposed research. If foreign language skills are required, an applicant must undergo a formal language evaluation to prove they have sufficient fluency to carry out their research.
  • Two reference letters: One reference must be submitted by the applicant’s principal faculty advisor. (Language evaluations and reference letters are submitted through the SSRC Online Application Portal)

Have a closer look:

Visit the Official Website


SSRC-IDRF Applicant Webinar

To view the webinar, you must provide your name and e-mail address.

Start Your Application

SSRC Application Portal