Predoctoral Dissertation Fellowship Program, 2015–2016

The Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts announces its annual program of support for advanced graduate research in the history, theory, and criticism of art, architecture, urbanism, and photographic media. Each of the following nine fellowships has specific requirements and intents, including support for the advancement and completion of a doctoral dissertation, and for residency and travel during the period of dissertation research. Application for a predoctoral dissertation fellowship may be made only through nomination by the chair of a graduate department of art history or other appropriate department. To be eligible, the nominee must have completed all departmental requirements, including course work, residency, and general and preliminary examinations, before November 15, 2014. Certification in two languages other than English is required. Candidates must be either United States citizens or enrolled in a university in the United States.

David E. Finley Fellowship

One fellowship is awarded annually for 36 months. The first two years of the Finley Fellowship are intended for research and travel in Europe to visit collections, museums, monuments, and sites related to a well-advanced dissertation in Western art. During this two-year period, residency abroad is expected, for which travel funds are available. The third year is to be spent in residence at the Center to complete the dissertation and to perform curatorial work. Half of the year in residence will be devoted to a research project, designed to complement the subject of the dissertation, at the Gallery or other Washington-area collections. A primary requirement for this fellowship is that the candidate have a significant interest in curatorial work.

Paul Mellon Fellowship

One fellowship is awarded annually for 36 months. This fellowship is intended for the advancement and completion of a doctoral dissertation in Western art and to enable a candidate to reside abroad for two years to develop expertise in a specific city, locality, or region related to the dissertation. The third year is to be spent in residence at the Center to complete the dissertation.

Samuel H. Kress Fellowship

One fellowship is awarded annually for 24 months. This fellowship is intended for the advancement and completion of a doctoral dissertation in European art on a topic before the early 19th century. The Kress Fellow is expected to spend the first year of the fellowship period on dissertation research abroad and the second year at the Center to complete the dissertation, devoting half time to Gallery research projects designed to complement the subject of the dissertation and to provide curatorial experience.

Wyeth Fellowship

One fellowship is awarded annually for 24 months. This fellowship is intended for the advancement and completion of a doctoral dissertation that concerns aspects of American art. The Wyeth Fellow is expected to spend the first year of the fellowship period on dissertation research in the United States or abroad, and the second year at the Center to complete the dissertation. A new initiative of the Wyeth Foundation for American Art provides up to $5,000 in publication subvention for first-time authors.

Ittleson Fellowship

One fellowship is awarded annually for 24 months. This fellowship is intended for the advancement and completion of a doctoral dissertation in the visual arts in a field other than European or American art. The Ittleson Fellow is expected to spend the first year of the fellowship period on dissertation research abroad, and the second year at the Center to complete the dissertation. 

Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship

One fellowship is awarded annually for 24 months. This fellowship is intended for the advancement and completion of a doctoral dissertation in a period through the 20th century and on a topic other than European or American art. Cross-cultural topics will also be considered, provided that at least one area of focus is a culture outside the European and American traditions. The Andrew W. Mellon Fellow is expected to spend the first year of the fellowship period on dissertation research abroad, and the second year at the Center to complete the dissertation. 

Robert H. and Clarice Smith Fellowship

One fellowship is awarded annually for 12 months. This fellowship is intended for the advancement or completion of either a doctoral dissertation or a resulting publication in Northern European art between 1400 and 1700. For a candidate preparing a publication based on the dissertation, the date of graduation may be as early as fall 2014. The Smith Fellow may use the fellowship to study either in the United States or abroad; there are no residence requirements at the Center.

Chester Dale Fellowships

Two fellowships are awarded annually: one for 24 months, the other for 12 months. The Twenty-Four-Month Chester Dale Fellowship is intended for the advancement or completion of a doctoral dissertation in any area of Western art, with a preference for modern and contemporary topics. The two-year Dale Fellow is expected to spend the first year on dissertation research either in the United States or abroad; the second year is to be spent in residence at the Center to complete the dissertation. The Twelve-Month Chester Dale Fellowship is intended for the advancement or completion of a doctoral dissertation in Western art. The one-year Dale Fellow may use the fellowship to study in the United States or abroad; there are no residence requirements at the Center.

The stipend for predoctoral dissertation fellowships is $25,000 per year. A housing allowance is available for fellows not in residence. Fellows in residence are provided with housing in apartments near the Gallery, subject to availability. In addition, predoctoral fellows receive allowances for travel and research-related materials, depending on the terms of the fellowship.

All fellows in residence are members of the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts. Fellows are in regular contact throughout their tenures at the Gallery with the Samuel H. Kress Professor, the Andrew W. Mellon Professor, the Edmond J. Safra Visiting Professor, the senior fellows, and other members of the Center.

Departments will limit nominations to one candidate for each category of fellowship; each individual may be nominated for one fellowship. Renominations will be accepted on the basis of revised application materials. Interested students should consult with the dissertation advisor and departmental chair to obtain nomination information. Department chairs must submit to the Center one letter of nomination listing all candidates nominated by the department. The nomination letter may be sent by e-mail as a PDF to casva@nga.gov. After the application deadline, any inquiries should be directed to the Center by the chair of the department and not by the candidate.

Online applications must be submitted by November 15, 2014. Nominees must submit an online application that includes a brief writing sample. Two letters of support from individuals who have directed the work of the nominee are required. One of the two letters of recommendation may be from outside the department. After a preliminary selection, several candidates for each fellowship will be invited to Washington in early February 2015 for interviews. Appointments will be announced following the spring meeting of the Trustees of the National Gallery of Art. All predoctoral dissertation fellowship grants begin on September 1, 2015. Predoctoral fellowships cannot be deferred or renewed.


Apply online for a Predoctoral Dissertation Fellowship

For information contact:

Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts
National Gallery of Art
2000B South Club Drive
Landover, Maryland 20785
Telephone: (202) 842-6482
Fax: (202) 789-3026
E-mail: casva@nga.gov

This announcement supersedes all previous information about the predoctoral fellowship program.