At a Glance

March 2, 2020 11:59 pm EST

Ph.D. candidates who have yet to defend their dissertation proposal, fieldwork is not eligible

Help students early in their doctoral studies do preliminary explorations in preparation for writing their dissertation proposal

Iyman Ahmed

ID# 1413 | Last Updated: Tuesday, February 4, 2020


These awards help get Ph.D. candidates into the field to do individual preliminary explorations of potential research materials/sites in preparation for writing a dissertation proposal. These awards do NOT fund students who are joining a well-established program or going with a faculty mentor to a site, i.e. students who are plugging into existing knowledge, networks, people etc.

These awards will not fund dissertation field research.

The ideal time to hold this award is after passing comprehensive exams and before defending the proposal.


Any UNC Ph.D. student preparing to write a dissertation proposal is eligible to apply.


  • Students proposing dissertation field research are NOT eligible.
  • Students planning to take language training, attend conferences or enroll in coursework are NOT eligible.
  • Past winners of a pre-dissertation travel award are NOT eligible.
  • Students who are joining a well-established program or going with a faculty mentor to a site are NOT eligible
  • Latin Americanists are NOT eligible because the Center for Global Initiatives supports the Institute for the Study of the Americas’ Tinker Pre-Dissertation Field Research Grants Program. Latin Americanists should therefore apply for a Tinker through the ISA.
  • Late or incomplete applications will not be considered.

Available Funding

Estimated Available Funds: $20,000
Typical Range of Awards: $2,000 – $4,000
Typical Number of Awards: 5
Typical Number of Applicants: 30

The Center for Global Initiatives is not bound by these estimates and is often unable to award the full amount of funds requested.

Application Instructions

Please write your proposal so that it is understandable to a broad audience of researchers.

The application must be completed online, and you can view a preview of the full application before you begin. The application consists of the following:

  • Basic demographic data
  • Brief academic timeline
  • Project title and abstract
  • Short answer questions describing the project, highlighting the intellectual contribution it will make, connecting it to your previous coursework, aligning it with your future plans and explaining why this trip is not a part of your field research
  • Detailed budget
  • Details on country and dates of proposed travel
  • Project timeline
  • Contact information for two references (letters should not be solicited)
  • Certification form to be completed by your primary adviser (in addition to the two references)
    (Upon submission of your online application, your adviser will receive via email a required certification form. This form is brief and must be submitted before Mar. 9, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. EST. Once your adviser submits the form, you will receive a confirmation email. Please follow up with your adviser in advance.)
  • Optional supplemental materials (i.e., current resume/C.V., current unofficial transcript info)

Evaluation of Applications

Reviewers assess each application based on the following rubric:

Need and Impact

  • Is there a clear need for the student to receive this award at this point in the applicant’s studies?
  • With this award, will the student make significant progress toward completing a dissertation proposal?

Academic Merit and Intellectual Contribution

  • Does the application clearly present an important research question and explain the theoretical and/or policy relevance of the work?

Feasibility and Methodology

  • Is the research method and plan adequate and appropriate to achieve the student’s expected goals?
  • Does the student have the language and/or technical skills to carry out the proposed research?


  • Is the budget clear, adequate, reasonable and justified?

Notification of Award

Applicants will receive funding decision notifications four to six weeks after the deadline via email.

Reporting & Award Requirements

Award recipients will be required to submit a final report at the end of the project using the Center for Global Initiative’s Online Reporting System. This system collects narratives and data about funded projects to enable the Center to determine whether its programmatic purposes are being met. A summary of award requirements will be presented to award recipients before funds are disbursed.


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