Rackham Predoctoral Fellowships

Rackham Predoctoral Fellowships support outstanding doctoral students who have achieved candidacy and are actively working on dissertation research and writing.  Rackham seeks to support students working on dissertations that are unusually creative, ambitious and risk-taking.

The fellowships are designed to pay candidacy tuition, a twelve-month stipend, as well as Grad Care health and dental insurance for twelve months during the year in which you finish and defend your dissertation.  


Any doctoral program in the Rackham Graduate School may nominate doctoral candidates for this award. To be eligible, students must be advanced to candidacy by Rackham Academic Records and Dissertations no later than January 2020 (date to be determined by Rackham). Preference will be given to nominees who are on track to complete their degrees within six years, excluding time spent on any Rackham approved leave of absence.   

Selection Criteria

Fellowships will be awarded to students who will complete an outstanding dissertation in the year in which they hold the fellowship. Programs may have superb students who do not meet these criteria. If so, they are generally encouraged to nominate the students for other awards. If programs opt to nominate exceptional students whose careers are atypical for a Predoctoral Fellowship, please explain why an exception should be made in the Statement of Student Achievement and Potential. We strongly encourage programs to nominate a diverse group of students, as the selection committees strive to award fellowships to a diverse set of recipients.


School of Education's internal deadline:  October 31, 2019.

Rackham Graduate School's deadline: January 13,  2020.  

Award Description

Eighty-two (82) Rackham Predoctoral Fellowships will be available for 2020-2021. Approximately 240 students are nominated each year. The fellowship provides three terms of support that may begin with Spring/Summer or Fall term 2020. Rackham Predoctoral Fellows are expected to work full-time toward the completion of degree requirements throughout the period of the award. Fellowships include a stipend of approximately $32,640, candidacy tuition and required fees for of twelve months. GradCare health and dental insurance will be provided during the fellowship period. Students may receive only one award.

Nomination Procedure

Students must be nominated by their program for this fellowship. Students should contact their program regarding their selection and nomination process. Each doctoral program may submit a list of up to five nominees online. Graduate programs may have nominees who by the nature of their dissertation topic would compete better in a graduate division other than the one in which the program resides; e.g., History students whose topic more properly lies in the Humanities rather than Social Sciences; Nursing students whose topic more properly lies in the Social Sciences rather than Biological and Health Sciences. If this is the case, programs may indicate on the online nomination form the division in which they would like the student to be reviewed.

Any department, interdisciplinary program or school which has an approved doctoral program in the Rackham Graduate School is invited to participate.

Application Process

To apply for this support, please submit the following: 

1)  Your personal statement describing your dissertation and any additional information you wish to bring to the attention of the selection committee. In the beginning two or three sentences, the statement should address the importance of your work.  The statement should include the theoretical framework of the dissertation, its specific aims, methodologies (how you will conduct the research), originality, and the significance and contribution of the project to the field.  Note: The fellowship committees place strong emphasis on this statement. The statement should be written with an interdisciplinary faculty review panel in mind; i.e., reviewers will NOT necessarily be familiar with the technical vocabulary of a specific field. Do not include references. (1,500 words)

2) A copy of your dissertation title and dissertation abstract (plain text only). (150 words)

3) Three letters of recommendation,one of which must come from the faculty member who will supervise the dissertation, commenting on your overall performance, potential and expected time to degree. NOTE: Letters of recommendation are reviewed very carefully and carry great weight with the selection committee. Several paragraphs are more helpful to you than are one or two sentences.

4) Current curriculum vitae (c.v.).

5) If you are nominated for this award, a Statement of Student Achievement and Potential will be submitted by the dean's office on your behalf (1500 words) by Rackham's deadline of January 13,   2020.

Contact Information:

School of Education:  Eileen F. Brussolo, efc@umich.edu or 734.936.1829

Rackham Graduate School: Contact the Fellowships Office at 734.764.8119 or rackham.fellowships@umich.edu

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Eileen F. Brussolo

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Phone: 734.936.1829
or: 734.615.1528
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