The Nonfiction Writing Program

Research Grants

Every year, the Nonfiction Writing Program and the University of Iowa offer competitive awards to help graduate students pursue their research and writing projects.

The Community Service Snap Awards

The Nonfiction Writing Program prides itself on fostering a sense of community that's as friendly and generous as it is rigorous and serious.

To that end, twenty Community Service Snap Awards are given annually to students in The Nonfiction Writing Program.  The awards are open to any NWP graduate student who has, at any point during the given semester, helped create a lively, friendly, and stimulating sense of community by hosting prospective students, hosting visiting writers, participating in program events with a little extra vim or vigor, volunteering to help organize extracurricular activities, designing posters for events, winning the Annual Nonfiction Bowling Tournament, or just being a swell, reliable, and inspiring citizen of The Nonfiction Writing Program.

Nominations for the award are made by NWP faculty members, who welcome suggestions for nominations from the program's students.  Ten awards are given each semester on a rolling basis.

The Herodotus Awards

Herodotus was the first writer who became widely known for collecting research material systematically, testing its accuracy (to a certain extent), and arranging it in well-constructed and vivid narratives.

Named in his honor, ten Herodotus Awards are given annually to students in The Nonfiction Writing Program.  The awards can be used for any research-related travel that results in new work by the end of the spring semester. Recipients of the awards will be honored at a public event at the end of the year at which they will be expected to present an excerpt from their research of at least 1,500 words.

Recipients must complete their research trips before being reimbursed.  The awards may be combined with the annual research travel grants that are offered to each graduate student in the English Department (see below), and all currently registered graduate students of the NWP are eligible to apply.

To apply for an award, compose a 1-page double-spaced proposal that explains your writing project and details specifically how you would use a Herodotus Award, as well as what work if any you have already completed on the project. Specify when exactly your travel research will take place, where you will go, and who (if anyone) you will be meeting on your trip.

Proposals should be submitted electronically in a Word or PDF format.  Write the title of your proposal in the top lefthand corner of the page. Do not type your name anywhere on the proposal. All proposals will be read and judged blindly by the faculty of The Nonfiction Writing Program. Proposals are generally due at the start of each academic year.

Writer-in-Residence Awards

Similar to the Herodotus Awards, the Writer-in-Residence Awards are designed to help you do deep research on a subject that intrigues you. The only difference is that this award is for a writing project that's close to home--within the state of Iowa. Some of the projects that have received Writer-in-Residence Awards have subsequently been published in BuzzFeed, The New Yorker, Longreads, and Harper's.

Hamilton Fellowships

Each year, the NWP Student Body elects two students to serve as Co-Editors of the journal The Essay Review, a publication that features critical writing about the art of the essay from writers around the country. The editors of the journal are named Hamilton Fellows in honor of legendary Emeritus Professor David Hamilton, who edited The Iowa Review for more than three decades.

Geneva Scholarships

Each fall, we send a number of NWP students to upstate New York where they spend a number of days teaching master writing classes to undergraduate students. The trip is all-expenses paid, and comes with a generous teaching stipend. The courses offered are designed and taught entirely by the NWP students.

Buckley Fellowships

Every winter, a group of talented high school students from Los Angeles travels across the country to spend a few days with us in the Nonfiction Writing Program. While they're here they take a number of intensive master classes with our graduate students, learning how to develop their ideas and experiences into beautiful and intriguing prose. Four Buckley Fellowships are given each year to the NWP students who lead those courses.

Prairie Lights Nonfiction Prize

One award is given annually to a student in The Nonfiction Writing Program. The award is sponsored and judged by Iowa City's own Prairie Lights Books, one of the nation's premier independent bookstores.  The award will go to a single successful essay of 5,000 words or less by a current student in The Nonfiction Writing Program.

The Prairie Lights staff screens all submissions and sends their favorite few essays to an alum of the Nonfiction Writing Program to judge.  The alum will choose the winner.  Submissions are generally due near the start of the spring semester each year.

The Carl Klaus Teaching Award

Carl Klaus helped found the Nonfiction Writing Program back in the 1970s.  His vision for the program and his legend as an inspiring and rigorous teacher is still felt today in The Nonfiction Writing Program.

Named in his honor, The Carl Klaus Teaching Award is given annually to an NWP graduate student who demonstrates exceptional talent as a teacher of creative writing.  Traditionally awarded to a third-year student, the award is granted by The Nonfiction Writing Faculty and announced at the end of each spring semester.

The Roxanne Mueller Reviewing the Arts Award

Named in honor of an alumna of the University of Iowa who served as a staff writer and editor of the University's award-winning daily paper, the Daily Iowan, the Roxanne Mueller Reviewing the Arts Award is given to one student each year whose interests in the arts is in keeping with Roxanne's own passion as a writer for the visual, performing and literary arts.

The award is granted by the faculty of The Nonfiction Writing Program during the fall semester, and is open to any current students in The Nonfiction Writing Program.

Boeing Fellowships

Made possible through a generous grant from the Boeing Corporation, the Boeing Fellowships are awarded each semester in order to help students conduct research on innovative writing projects.

The fellows are named at the start of each new semester.  Application instructions will be announced in advance.

Villhauer Residency

Made in honor of one of Iowa City's first settlers, the Villhauer Residency is made possible through the support of the Vilhauer Society of Iowa. It allows one student each year to live and work for a month in Iowa City's historic Henry Villhauer House.

The Villhauer Writer-in-Residence is named each winter at the discretion of the Director of The Nonfiction Writing Program.  To be considered for the residency, students are invited to contact the Director for application instructions.

The English Department Research Grant

For each of your three years in The Nonfiction Writing Program, the Department of English will provide you with a guaranteed grant to help you travel to a conference or to do research somewhere. In addition to these research grants, the English Department will also provide you with funds during your third-year in the program to travel to interview for jobs.

The travel funds cannot be rolled over from year to year, however, so it is important to use them each year you are in the program.  See Cherie for details about how to apply.

The English Department Job Placement Grant

During your final year in The Nonfiction Writing Program, the Department of English will provide you with funds to help you travel to various academic conferences so that you can interview for teaching positions.  The grant is only open to those students who have already been invited to interview for a position.  For information on how to receive these funds, visit Cherie's office.

Graduate Student Senate Travel Awards

The Graduate Student Senate at the University of Iowa offers funding assistance in the form of small grants to graduate students to help you travel to conferences, meetings, symposia and similar professional or academic gatherings.  Applicants for the awards are accepted throughout the year.

Their website is well-detailed and pretty self-explanatory:

Graduate Student Senate Supplemental Travel Awards

The Graduate Student Senate at the University of Iowa also offers funding assistance to graduate students to help pay a portion of either domestic or international travel expenses in order to help you complete a research project. This includes visits to archives, renting equipment, interviewing subjects, investigating book projects, etc.  Applicants for the awards are accepted throughout the year.

Their website is well-detailed and pretty self-explanatory:

Stanley Awards for International Research

Each year, the University of Iowa's office of International Programs offers twenty substantial grants to help graduate students conduct international travel and research.  The Stanley Graduate Awards for International Research vary in size and require a grant proposal.  International Programs offers a workshop each year to help you draft a successful application, however.  Their website is very helpful:‑graduate‑awards‑international‑research

The Nonfiction Administrative Fellowship

This award is granted by the Director of The Nonfiction Writing Program in consultation with the chair of the Department of English.  It is granted each spring to a graduating third-year student in the form of employment the following year as a part-time administrative assistant in the program.  The Nonfiction Administrative Fellow helps the program coordinate a multitude of events throughout the academic year, including the Visiting Writers Series, the Undergraduate Creative Writing Master Classes, the Graduate Student Master Classes, and the Annual Nonfiction Bowling Tournament.

The Provost Writing Fellowship

One award is granted annually to an exceptional third-year student in The Nonfiction Writing Program.  The award provides an post-graduate year of writing and teaching at the University.  In addition to advancing his or her own writing project and teaching, the Provost Writing Fellow is charged with contributing to the writing environment for UI undergraduates, graduates, and members of the writing community in Iowa City.

Applications for the fellowship are generally due near the middle of the spring semester and involve the proposal of an undergraduate writing course as well as a writing sample.   Only third-year students are eligible to apply.  Recipients are selected by The Nonfiction Writing Program faculty in consultation with the Department of English, the Director of Graduate Studies and the Director of the Undergraduate Writing Track.

Grants for Hawks (general information)

Less a grant than a helpful collection of links to various sources of funding, Grants for Hawks is an excellent resource for graduate students enrolled at the University of Iowa.  The website is maintained independently but run by an employee of the University whose day-job is helping graduate students find finding: