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University of Illinois Graduate College - Distinguished Graduate Fellowships in the Humanities and Arts (DGF-HA) - Round 2

Deadline: Anticipated 2/2021 ( Previous deadline 2/19/2020 )

The Graduate College at the University of Illinois offers the Distinguished Graduate Fellowship in the Humanities and Arts (DGF-HA).  Open exclusively to select PhD programs in the Humanities and Arts-based Humanities (see list of eligible programs below), the fellowship aims to help departments recruit exceptional students. Up to 16 fellowships will be awarded, and each fellowship will provide three years of support, complete with a $25,000 annual stipend and a full waiver of tuition and mandatory fees.  

Funding for this fellowship has been established jointly by the Provost's Office, the Graduate College, the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, and the College of Fine & Applied Arts.


  • DGF-HAs are intended as campus recruitment fellowships, and they are intended only for students being offered admission into a PhD program.  To that end, only those students who are seeking first-time graduate-level admission to UIUC are eligible, i.e., currently-enrolled and previously-enrolled UIUC graduate students are not eligible. 
  • Students of any nationality or citizenship are eligible.  
  • Only those students intending to enter during the 2020-21 academic year are eligible.  Students intending to enter in Spring 2021 are eligible for nomination, but their fellowship will not begin until Fall 2021.  
  • The DGF-HA is open only to students entering the following PhD programs:  
    • Socio-Cultural & Linguistic Anthropology ((humanities-oriented specializations only)
    • Architecture (History & Theory specialization only)
    • Art History
    • Classics
    • Communication
    • Comparative & World Literature
    • East Asian Languages & Cultures
    • English
    • French & Italian
    • Germanic Languages & Literatures
    • History
    • Landscape Architecture (History & Theory specialization only)
    • Latin American & Caribbean Studies
    • Linguistics
    • Musicology
    • Philosophy
    • Slavic Languages & Literatures
    • Spanish & Portuguese
    • Theater

Award Amount: The DGF-HA provides three years of support and includes the following: 

  • $25,000 stipend per 12-month academic year.
  • Full waiver of tuition, service fee, AFMFA fee, library/IT fee, and health service fee. 
  • Basic dental and vision coverage.
  • Partial payment of the graduate student health insurance fee. 


  • The award offers flexibility in that fellows have a five-year window within which to use the fellowship's three years of funding.  That five-year period begins with the 2020-21 academic year and ends with the 2024-25 academic year. All active years (i.e., years funded by the fellowship) will have an August 16 start date.
  • Fellows are required to be registered during the terms in which they receive the award (and this includes being registered for at least four weeks during the summer).  
  • Concurrent assistantship support of up to 50% or supplemental fellowship support is permissible.

Evaluation Criteria:  The DGF-HA selection panel will conduct a holistic assessment of the nominee's academic record, achievements, and promise of scholarly success. Evaluation criteria include undergraduate grade-point average, quality of undergraduate preparation, letters of recommendation, and the nominee's personal statement. If the department requires and uses the GRE in its evaluation of candidates, the Fellowship Board will do likewise and take the applicant’s GRE scores into account.  Otherwise, the panel will not take GRE scores into account.  Slate allows departments to check whether or not they want the panel to take the applicant’s GRE scores into account.  Performance in graduate work is also evaluated for those nominees who have taken graduate courses.  Critical to the evaluation is also the department’s Nomination Statement, through which the nominating official (either the Director of Graduate Study or the Executive Officer) explains why the department considers the applicant worthy of a DGF-HA.  

The selection panel will also take into consideration the level of financial support the department is offering to the student, as specified in the department’s admissions letter to the student.  The panel will view the level of financial support offered as an indicator of the department’s interest in and level of commitment to the student.   

The panel will also take disciplinary distribution into account, i.e., the panel aims to distribute fellowships fairly and equitably among participating departments.  


The DGF-HA was designed as a supplement to the Illinois Distinguished Fellowship program, with the goal of expanding the number of recruitment fellowships available to exceptional students in humanities and arts-based humanities disciplines. Accordingly, the Fellowship Board will evaluate all nominees for these two recruitment fellowships as part of a single pool. Students eligible to receive either will automatically be considered for both.  Specifically, whereas all departments on campus may nominate three students for the IDF per round, DGF-HA-eligible departments may nominate four students per round, and those four will be considered for both fellowships (IDF and DGF-HA). Nominations must be made through Slate (the online admissions system used by the University). Please find instructions for starting a nomination through Slate in the Slate Fellowship Nomination Quick Guide 

Nominating officials (either the DGS or Head) should pay particular attention to the guidelines found in Slate regarding the Nomination Statement.  For additional guidance on preparing that statement, watch the 10 Minute Tips video entitled “Preparing Effective Nomination Statements for Graduate College Grants & Fellowships.”

In preparing the Nomination Statement, the nominating official should keep in mind that the Fellowship Board is multidisciplinary.  Board members will rely on the Nomination Statement to explain what counts for intellectual merit and academic achievement within the discipline, and they will use the statement as a key resource in their attempt to compare the department’s nominee with other nominees from the participating departments. It is therefore best to explain, in detail, why the department wishes to recruit this student, and it is best to use concrete, quantified measures whenever possible to characterize the nominee’s accomplishments. If there are any oddities or weaknesses in the applicant’s record, it’s best to address those directly.

In Slate, departments will also need to insert text copied from the letter offering admission to the nominee (see paragraph under "Evaluation Criteria" above regarding role of the admissions letter).

All other materials -- the nominee’s Personal Statement, transcripts, GRE scores (if applicable), and letters of recommendation -- will be assembled automatically by Slate. 

Nominations are due by 5:00 p.m. on the deadline date. 

Confirmation of Nomination: Slate will send email confirmations for all nominations that have been successfully submitted.  Slate will also send notifications for those nominations that have been submitted but are still incomplete.  Please read your notification carefully to determine whether or not your submission was successful.  Departments not receiving a notification from Slate should assume that their nominations have not been submitted and should contact Ken Vickery directly at or 217-333-3464. 

Ken Vickery, PhD
Director of Fellowships
Graduate College



Categories: Annual stipend of at least $10,000; Fine Arts; Humanities; US Citizens, Nationals, or Permanent Residents; International Students; Early Years of Doctoral Program; Fellowship/Grant; University of Illinois Students

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