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Fellowships for Enrolled Students

Early in the spring semester, the Graduate Steering Committee invites applications for the
Ballard/Seashore, Seely and Diehl dissertation-year fellowships as well as for the five
departmental research support awards and the Best Essay Prize. Although students are urged to apply
in all relevant categories, winners of the Ballard/Seashore Fellowships are not eligible for the
Seely and Diehl Fellowships. All awards except for the Piper require the applicant to have
completed Comprehensive Exams and the dissertation prospectus meeting by February of the awards
competition year. The Piper Memorial Fellowship is open to female PhD and MFA students as outlined

Students may apply for a Seashore/Ballard, Seely, or Diehl fellowship either for their last funded
year in the program or for the year immediately following (5th and 6th year for students entering
with a prior MA; 6th and 7th year for those entering with a BA).

One application, which follows the guidelines specified below, should be submitted for all of the
fellowships or awards for which you wish to be considered The following additional
materials must be submitted for specific awards:

•    the Seely and Diehl Fellowships require submission of a syllabus

•    the Sherman Paul/Prairie Lights, McDowell, Malone, and Lagorio Awards require submission of a
one-paragraph description of how the research money will be spent

•    the Piper Award (for U.S. born, self-supporting women, working on women’s issues) should
include a statement of the applicant’s financial need and social aspirations

Dissertation Fellowship Application materials (single spaced, 12 pt. type, 1” margins, and  as separate PDF files)

•     A one-page abstract written to be understood by people in other fields of study. The abstract
should address the purpose of the research, how the research will be carried out, and the value of
the research to the student's field (do not include references).
•     A two-page document containing a descriptive list of chapters and a timetable for completion
of the dissertation.
•     A one-page C.V. of the nominee's educational and professional experience, honors and awards,
and publications.


  • One letter the nominee's dissertation director that includes:
  • How long the student has been working on the Ph.D

  •  Confirmation the student will have successfully completed the comprehensive examination by the nomination deadline

  • The student's qualifications for carrying out this research

  •  Explain how much work has already been accomplished on the dissertation

  •  The value of the research topic to the specific field

  • The likelihood that the degree will be completed within one semester of receiving the award

  • One letter from a committee member or other faculty member familiar with the student's work.

Ballard and Seashore Dissertation Year Fellowships

This fellowship program provides an opportunity for doctoral students to benefit from a final
semester of protected and supported time to focus on completing their scholarly research activities
and the writing of their dissertations. A one-time fellowship award will be given for
$10,000. For more information see

Eligibility: The applicant must be a PhD student who has completed the comprehensive examination, a dissertation prospectus meeting, and all other doctoral requirements except the dissertation by the time of application. Students in any field are eligible.

Applications: Applicants should submit the same materials as for other dissertation-year awards (see above) to the English Department.

Deadline: The internal departmental deadline is in early spring semester; please check with the DGS for details.

Frederick F. Seely and Huston Diehl Distinguished Dissertation Fellowships

The Seely fellowship has been established in honor of Frederick F. Seely, who inspired his
students by his example as a human being and as a professional. Above all, he was a reader who
taught and who thus carried into his teaching the joy of discovery that this award seeks to
perpetuate. The Diehl Fellowship has been established by the English Department in honor of. Huston
Diehl, a specialist in 16th- and 17th-century English literature who published widely on the
theatrical, visual, and religious cultures of early modern England. A passionate and engaging
teacher, Huston took great pride in her students’
accomplishments and professional careers.

Eligibility: The recipients, to be designated “The Frederick F. Seely Fellow” or "Huston Diehl Fellow" must
be a PhD student who has completed the comprehensive examination, a dissertation prospectus
meeting, and all other doctoral requirements except the dissertation by the time of application.
Students in any field are eligible.

Terms of the Award:
This award carries with it a research stipend for one academic year supplementing two
special teaching assignments: an upper-level undergraduate English course in one semester and one
section of ENGL: 1200 in the other semester. The latter course can be taught by the Fellow in one
of the single-evening meeting times. The amount of the award is approximately $20,000, which is
distributed in ten installment over the academic year (as of 2014).

Applications: Applicants should submit the same materials as for other dissertation-year awards
(see above). In addition, applicants should include a course description and syllabus for the
proposed course to be taught in spring semester.

Deadline: early spring semester; check with DGS for details.


Prairie Lights/Sherman Paul, Frederick P.W. McDowell, Freda Dixon Malone and Valerie Lagorio Dissertation Scholarships

These awards are made from the proceeds of funds established through the generosity of Prairie
Lights Bookstore; by the students of Professors Emeritus Frederick P.W. McDowell and Valerie
Lagorio; and by the sister of Freda Dixon Malone, who received her MA in English from the
University of Iowa in 1929.

Eligibility: Applicants must have completed the comprehensive examination, a dissertation
prospectus meeting, and all other requirements for the PhD except the dissertation at the time of
application. Doctoral candidates with a concentration in contemporary (post-1950) literature and
theory from any region are eligible for the Prairie Lights/Sherman Paul Award. Doctoral candidates
with a concentration in British and/or American literature from 1850 to 1950 are eligible for the
McDowell Award; those with a concentration in British literature from 1500 to 1850 are eligible for
the Malone Award; and, those with a concentration in British literature before 1500 are eligible
for the Lagorio Award. In the event that no dissertation-stage medievalist successfully applies for
the Lagorio Award, one or two smaller traveling fellowships will be made
to nurture medievalists at earlier stages of their careers.

Terms of awards:
These awards of approximately $1000 each (as of 2014), subject to confirmation,
are to be used to defray research costs related to the completion of the dissertation. The stipends
may support travel to libraries in connection with the award-holder’s research, on-line computer
expenses, childcare expenses, or the cost of books, computer equipment, or other materials
associated with the dissertation. English forwards a nominee for these four awards to the UI Office
of Student Financial Aid, which administers the award. In some cases, the award is applied directly
to the recipient’s financial aid package. Please contact the Office of Student Financial Aid if you
have questions regarding the distribution of the award. The awards will be made in the Spring
semester and will go into effect for the following twelve months. The designees will be called “The
Prairie Lights/Sherman Paul Scholar,” “The Frederick P.W. McDowell Scholar,” “The Freda Dixon
Malone Scholar,” and “The Valerie Lagorio Scholar” or “The Valerie Lagorio Traveling Fellow,”

Applications:  Applications: In addition to the standard materials submitted for the dissertation awards (see
above), applicants  for  the  research  awards  should  also  include  a  one-paragraph  statement
indicating how the research money will be spent.

Deadline: early spring semester; check with DGS for details.

Edwin Ford Piper Memorial Scholarship

Eligibility: The recipient must be a female graduate student, enrolled full-time in the English Department
during the academic year. PhD students and MFA students in Nonfiction Writing may apply for this
award. Each applicant must be a native-born American citizen who is currently self-supporting, must
 demonstrate “above average competence in her chosen field,” and must have aspirations to help the
cause of women. Although not a determining factor, financial need is a criterion for consideration.

Terms of the Award: The designee will be called “The Edwin Ford Piper Scholar.” English
forwards a nominee for the Piper to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, which administers the
award. Please contact the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences if you have questions
regarding the distribution of the award.

Application: In addition to the materials submitted for the other awards, applicants for the
Piper Scholarship should also include in their cover letter a statement of the applicant’s
financial need and social aspirations.

English Department Best Essay Prize

Source:  In order to recognize and honor the excellent scholarly work of its graduate students, the
English Department annually awards a prize for the best essay published by an English Department PhD
student.  The amount of the prize is $250 (as of 2013), subject to confirmation.

Eligibility: PhD students who have held a successful prospectus meeting by the time of
application are eligible to submit essays that have been accepted for publication or have already
been published in refereed journals or collections. For the spring prize, the essay must have been
accepted or published between January two years’ prior and December one year prior to the award
year. Although the applicant must be at the post-prospectus stage, the essay itself may have been
written earlier. Applicants are invited to resubmit the same essay, if it is still eligible, the
following year. Applicants may only submit one essay per year. Previous winners
are not eligible to compete a second time.

Submissions:  Students should submit one copy of the essay, along with a brief cover letter
stating the date of the prospectus meeting and the course and instructor for which the essay was
originally written. In the case of forthcoming essays, also include proof of acceptance and
projected publication date.

Deadline: Early spring semester; check with DGS for details.

Evaluation: The essays will be judged by the Graduate Steering Committee.

Dietz Poetry Essay Prize

Elizabeth Dietz (1964-2005) was a poet and professor of Renaissance Literature at Rice University.
A graduate of both the Writers Workshop and the University of Iowa's doctoral program in English,
Elizabeth specialized in the lyric poetry of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England and was
equally interested in poetic theory and practice. She was also a gifted teacher of poetry.

: The Dietz Essay Prize is awarded annually, on alternating years, for the best essay on
poetry written by an undergraduate and a graduate student. In honor of Elizabeth's broad and
eclectic interests, essays on all kinds of poetry -- epic, lyric, narrative, dramatic, and
experimental -- as well as on poetics are welcome.

Other Fellowships

In addition to the Dissertation Fellowships, Departmental Awards, and Best Essay Prize, students
may also apply for fellowships that the Graduate College administers for international dissertation
research, summer research, travel, and external grant enhancement. For more details see

The Division of Sponsored Programs also invites graduate students to utilize its resources in
identifying appropriate external grants. For more information see

UI International Programs also sponsors graduate funding programs for a variety of
international research and language learning opportunities. For more information see