Graduate Student Research Awards

The Center for the Study of Religion invites applications for CSR Graduate Student Research Awards for the 2018-2019 academic year.  Please note that students who will be regularly enrolled or DCE during 2018-2019 are eligible.  Awards require residence and participation in one of the two workshops and are subject to Graduate School approval.  Award recipients are also required to attend at least one Center-sponsored event during the academic year.  Applications will be accepted in two categories:

Religion and Public Life

Graduate students engaged in research dealing with the relationships between religion and public policy or between religion and contemporary social issues more generally are invited to apply in this category.  Proposals will be considered from both pre-generals and post-generals students, with preference given to proposals from students working on dissertations or dissertation-related papers.  To be eligible, applicants must be enrolled or DCE and in residence during the 2018-19 academic year.  Recipients of the awards are required to participate regularly during the year in the Religion and Public Life Workshop, a weekly interdisciplinary seminar on Wednesdays at noon in which research-in-progress is presented and discussed.  Each semester, each student typically presents on dissertation chapter or papers and serves once as a respondent.  Both religion and public life are defined broadly and include topics concerning the United States, other countries, or comparative-regional issues.  Normally the topics will focus on 20th and 21st century issues, although historical approaches will be considered if they have clear implications for understanding current issues.  Both quantitative and qualitative studies are especially encouraged.  Examples of relevant topics include religion and economic development, religion and gender, religion and immigration, religious practices among political leaders and other elites, religion and philanthropy, faith-based service organizations, religion-sponsored NGOs, religious pluralism, religion and war, and the role of religion in social or political movements.

Religion and Culture

Post-generals students working on historical, ethnographic, and/or normative aspects of religion are invited to apply in this category.  It is expected that, while approaches vary, students’ work examine the relation between religion and its wider context, whether that context be construed in literary, cultural, anthropological, philosophical, artistic, or other terms.  To be eligible, applicants must have passed the General Examination by December 2017 and be enrolled or DCE during the 2018-19 academic year.  Preference will be given to students sufficiently advanced with dissertation research to benefit from participating in an interdisciplinary seminar.  Recipients of the Awards are required to participate regularly during the year in the Religion and Culture Workshop, a weekly seminar (day and time to be determined) emphasizing the discussion of one’s work with other scholars outside of one’s sub-field.  Each semester, each student typically presents one dissertation chapter and serves once as a respondent.  Examples of relevant topics include religion and Roman theater in the early Christian era, Syriac texts, Babylonian art, Byzantine art, Buddhism in medieval China, Islamic law, early modern Japanese temple practices, medieval European monastic literature, Renaissance religious paintings, 19th and 20th century African American religious history, funerary ritual, religious teachings about the body, and religious music.

The awards are for $6,500 and are intended to support the student’s participation in one of the two academic-year workshops.  Up to 50% of the award may be received during Summer 2018, with the remainder distributed during the 2018-2019 academic year and/or Summer 2019.  The awards are intended to supplement regular fellowships and/or, with special permission, help to cover direct research expenses, such as travel to professional meetings, transcription or translation costs, research assistance, or purchase of books and other materials (but not computers).  These awards are subject to Graduate School rules covering fellowships, enrollment, and income.

Selection criteria include:  overall scholarly merit of the project, clarity and persuasiveness of the proposal, evidence of the applicant’s academic distinction, and likelihood that the applicant will contribute effectively to and benefit from participation in the interdisciplinary seminar.

Please note: a graduate student who is granted a Religion and Public Life Award can re-apply for RPL awards in subsequent years and/or can apply for a Religion and Culture Award; a graduate student who is granted a Religion and Culture Award cannot re-apply to R&C for subsequent years but can apply for an RPL Award.  That is, RPL Awards can be repeated; R&C Awards cannot be repeated.

Application Information

To apply, use the Student Activities Funding Engine (SAFE), found online at and follow the directions below:

Search “Graduate Research” opportunities for “Center for the Study of Religion Graduate Student Research Awards – Religion and Public Life” or “Center for the Study of Religion Graduate Student Research Awards – Religion and Culture.”

Under “Project Title” please enter your dissertation title or the title of your proposed research project.
Under “Start” and “End Date,” please enter the first and last days of class, Sept. 12, 2018 and May 3, 2019.
Under “Recommenders” please enter names of two (only two) professors. Once you submit your application, these two professors will receive an email asking them to upload their recommendation letters to the SAFE website.
Under “Anticipated Expenses,” add one expense (category “Other”) for $6500.  All awards are for $6500.
Under the “Documents” section of this application, please upload the following materials: 1) your research proposal (five double-spaced pages maximum), 2) one of your graduate papers, 3) a c.v.*, and 4) a transcript.

* Please indicate in your c.v.: a) your current year of enrollment and b) your enrollment (or DCE) status as of Fall 2018.

The deadline for the submission of the online application is Thursday, March 1, 2018.  Letters of recommendation will be accepted until March 7, 2018.  It is YOUR responsibility to notify your professors of this deadline and allow ample time for them to complete their letters and upload them to SAFE.  No extensions past this date can be granted.