The Center for the Study of Religion invites applications for CSR Graduate Student Research Awards for the 2021-2022 academic year. These awards are for graduate students whose work engages some manifestation of religion—historical, literary, comparative, empirical, social, or cultural. Applications are sought from a wide variety of humanities and social science departments, and students who will be regularly enrolled or DCE during 2021-2022 are eligible. Awards are for $6,500, are subject to Graduate School rules and approval, and require residence and participation in one of the two weekly interdisciplinary workshops. Each semester, each student typically presents one paper and serves once as a respondent. Award recipients are also required to attend at least one Center-sponsored event during the academic year. Examples of relevant topics can be found in our list of Graduate Student Fellows

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 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. Award recipients are required to participate regularly during the year in the Religion and Public Life Workshop. 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 encouraged.

Religion and Culture 
Post-generals students working on historical or comparative 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 2020. Preference will be given to students sufficiently advanced to share dissertation chapters. Award recipients are required to participate regularly during the year in the Religion and Culture Workshop.


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 the summer preceding the fellowship year, with the remainder distributed during the academic year and/or the following summer. 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.

  • Graduate Student Research Award Details
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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. 1, 2021 and April 22, 2022.
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 2021.

The deadline for the submission of the online application is Monday, March 1, 2021. Letters of recommendation will be accepted until March 5, 2021. 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.