The Louisville Institute

The Louisville Institute
1044 Alta Vista Road Louisville, KY 40205 (502) 992-5432

Dissertation Fellowship


Are you ready to apply? Begin Online Application Here.

The Dissertation Fellowship program is designed to support the final year Ph.D. or Th.D. dissertation writing for students engaged in research pertaining to North American Christianity, especially projects with the potential to strengthen the religious life of North American Christians and their institutions, including seminaries, while simultaneously advancing American religious and theological scholarship.

View Previously Awarded Grants


Applicants must be candidates for the Ph.D. or Th.D. degree in an accredited graduate school in the United States or Canada. Applicants must be on track to fulfill all pre-dissertation requirements, including approval of the dissertation proposal, by February 1 of the award year and should expect to complete the dissertation by the end of the following academic year. These fellowships are intended to support the final year of dissertation writing.

Proposed projects may employ a variety of methodological perspectives, including, but not limited to, history, ethics, the social sciences, biblical studies, and historical, systematic, and practical theology. They may also be interdisciplinary in nature.

In all its grantmaking, including the Dissertation Fellowship program, the Louisville Institute is interested in funding projects with the potential to strengthen the religious life of North American Christians and their institutions while simultaneously advancing American religious and theological scholarship. The Louisville Institute also has an interest in strengthening the quality of theological school teaching.

Applicants may not submit applications to more than one Louisville Institute grant or fellowship program within the same grant year (June 1-May 31).

Doctoral Fellows are encouraged to apply for the Dissertation Fellowship program. It is also open to outstanding students who may not intend to teach in theological education, but whose dissertation projects have the potential to strengthen the religious life of North American Christians and their institutions. Questions about eligibility may be sent to Pamala Collins

Application Procedure

Applicants must plan to complete their Ph.D. or Th.D. degree in the current academic year. Applicants should describe their commitment to the Christian church and theological education and suggest how their doctoral work has prepared them appropriately for a career in theological school teaching.

Beginning with the Applicant Information link below, please upload your application materials in *.pdf format (preferred). Assemble all required documents and recommender email addresses and upload your application materials in one session. All digital documents must be submitted by the annual February 1 deadline. Transcripts must be received on or before February 1st. Recommenders must submit their letters by February 8th. If you encounter problems with online submission contact Pamala Collins at

Applications should include:

  • Applicant Information (Application details; 1-3 sentences stating your project's core question and why it is important to the church in North America; and 200-word summary)
  • Dissertation Fellowship Program Additional Information Preparation Guide (Download this form as a guide only. Please complete this information online while submitting your application materials.)
  • Copy of your current Curriculum Vitae or résumé (no more than 4 pages)
  • Dissertation prospectus of no more than 5 to 7 pages (double-spaced and typed in a 12-point font, 2000 word limit) in which you articulate clearly the thesis of the dissertation, summarize its argument, and discuss its contribution to the study of religion in America and to the vitality of American religious life.
  • Selective bibliography (2-3 pages double-spaced)
  • One official copy of each of your graduate & professional school transcripts sent by the institutions or dossier service directly to the Louisville Institute.
  • Two Letters of Recommendation: When uploading your application materials, please provide email addresses for your recommenders. After submitting your application, the Louisville Institute will immediately email those persons with instructions for submitting their documents online. You will also receive an email confirming that recommenders have been notified. We notify you via email as each person successfully submits a document. We advise applicants to contact their two recommenders well in advance to explain procedures and guidelines (below) so that completed letters can be promptly uploaded when requested by the Institute. Letters of Recommendation need to be submitted by February 8th.
    • Dissertation Advisor’s Letter of Recommendation: The applicant’s dissertation advisor will be asked to provide a letter that assesses the applicant’s doctoral work, the applicant’s dissertation topic and research to date, and the applicant’s promise for a vocation of teaching and scholarly research.
    • Dissertation Second Letter of Recommendation: The second recommender should be chosen by applicant to speak specifically to applicant’s (1) personal qualities and commitments, (2) spiritual formation, (3) service to the church, and (4) scholarly promise.

    With the exception of transcripts, upload application materials through our website in *.pdf format by the annual deadline of February 1. If you encounter problems, please email Pamala Collins at

    Review and Selection Process

    Every year the Louisville Institute Board appoints a selection committee to review proposals and award Dissertation Fellowships. Committee membership and deliberations remain confidential.

    Applicants whose projects are not funded will be notified by mail as soon as possible following the adjudication process. Due to the large number of applications the Institute receives, LI Board and staff members do not provide additional feedback on declined proposals.

    Duration of Award and Stipend

    Dissertation Fellowships will provide a stipend of $22,000 for twelve months beginning in September. Fellowships are not renewable. All tuition, medical insurance, and required fees are the responsibility of the student.


    Grantees may not accept other awards that provide a comparable stipend during the tenure of this fellowship nor may they undertake substantial outside employment (more than fifteen hours per week) without written permission. Persons who decline the offer of a Louisville Institute Dissertation Fellowship are ineligible to reapply in a subsequent year. The Dissertation Fellowship program has no residence requirement. However, all fellows selected in 2016 are expected to participate in the Institute’s annual Winter Seminar scheduled for February 2017 (exact dates TBA). The Louisville Institute will pay travel and lodging expenses for this gathering. Please note that Louisville Institute grantees may not simultaneously hold two grants or fellowships from Lilly Endowment-funded organizations that total more than $45,000.


    For further information on all Fellowships, please consult the Fellowship Frequently Asked Questions pages.