Frequently Asked Questions
Racial/Ethnic Minority Graduate Fellowship
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• How many students apply for the fellowship each year?
About 20 students apply each year; however, 24 students applied in 2017, 22 students applied in 2016, 13 students applied in 2015, 19 students applied in 2014, 2013, 2012, and 2011; 23 students applied in 2010; 12 students applied in 2009; 16 students applied in 2008; and 56 students applied in 2007. Starting in 2016, two scholarships were awarded. At the 2017 Annual Meeting, the Board of Directors voted to change the scholarship to a fellowship.
• Do you have to be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident to apply for the SSSP Racial/Ethnic Minority Graduate Fellowship?
With the exception of DACA students, who are also eligible, applicants must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident at the time of application.
• How far along in a graduate program should applicants be?
By the time of the award (September 1, 2018), the student should have defended the dissertation proposal and have achieved advanced status in the doctoral program (completed course work, examinations, and approval of the dissertation prospectus). Masters level students are not eligible for this fellowship.
• Can the award be used to support the dissertation writing process after the research stage is completed?
Yes, the fellowship may be used to support the dissertation writing process after the research stage is completed. The ideal candidate is a student who is in the process of completing a dissertation, whether that be data collection, data analysis, or writing.
• Does an applicant need to be a student throughout the entire time for which the fellowship applies (2018-19 academic year)?
Yes, the distribution of the award occurs twice during the academic year (September 2018 and January 2019). Only applicants enrolled in their respective graduate programs during this period may receive the fellowship.
• How formal should the dissertation proposal be? How long does it need to be? Does it need to be the official prospectus
approved by the graduate program?
The dissertation proposal should be as formal as possible. The length of this document will vary dependent upon the protocol of an applicant’s graduate program; however, dissertation proposals are usually at least 15 double spaced pages in length. A document approved by a doctoral committee or graduate program is appropriate. While the proposal need not be formally approved by the time of application, it should be approved by the time of the award (September 1, 2018).
• Is there a requirement for the length of the personal statement?
There is no requirement for the length of the personal statement. It should be long enough to convey an applicant’s commitment to a career in scholar activism. The average personal statement is around 3-6 pages.
• Is there a specific form for the letters of recommendation or does it have to be on letterhead?
There is not a specific form for the references. References written on letterhead are standard. The letter of recommendation from the advisor should note either that the student already has or should have defended the dissertation proposal and have achieved advanced status in the doctoral program (completed course work, examinations, and approval of the dissertation prospectus) by the end of the Spring 2018 academic year.
• Should letters of recommendation be sent along with or separate from other application materials?
All letters must be included within the application packet. They must be in sealed envelopes and signed over the flap by the authors of the letters. It is the candidate’s responsibility to make sure that all letters of recommendation are signed over the flap by the authors of the letters and included in the application packet.
• How many copies of the application does SSSP require?
One copy is required; the Administrative Office will supply your application materials to the committee. Therefore, please print documents on one side only, and use paperclips where necessary instead of staples.
• Do application materials need to be sent all together in one packet?
Yes, all components of an application must be received together in one package. A complete application includes:
• the application form (obtained online, completed, and then printed out),
• official graduate transcript from doctoral program,
• resume or curriculum vitae,
• three sealed reference letters with each author’s signature over the seal,
• personal statement,
• dissertation proposal,
• budget proposal
Incomplete applications will not be reviewed. It is the candidate’s responsibility to make sure that his or her application meets all requirements to be considered eligible for evaluation. Each packet must include the components listed above; otherwise, your packet will not be forwarded to the Fellowship Committee for review.
• What happens if I forget to include one item in my application packet?
You should resubmit the entire application together, including three sealed reference letters, and the complete application must be received by February 1, 2018.
• Where should an application be sent?
Completed applications must be sent to: The Society for the Study of Social Problems, University of Tennessee, 901 McClung Tower, Knoxville, TN, 37996-0490. The Administrative Office will only forward complete applications to the Fellowship Committee.
• Do applications need to be received by the due date or just post-marked by the due date?
Applications must be received by the due date. Applications post-marked before or on the due date that do not reach the Administrative Office by February 1, 2018 will not be considered. It is advised that applicants mail their packets no later than mid-January to ensure a timely submission.
• When will applicants learn of the Fellowship Committee’s decision?
Applicants will learn whether they were selected for the fellowship by July 15, 2018.
• Is membership in SSSP required in order to receive the fellowship?
Yes, applicants must be current members of SSSP at the time of application in order to be eligible for the fellowship.
• Is conference participation required at the SSSP annual meetings?
Yes. The award recipient should plan on attending both the 2018 and 2019 SSSP Annual Meeting (normally scheduled in early to mid-August) as the award will be formally given at the SSSP Awards Ceremony in 2018 and will be required to present work that was supported during the award year at the 2019 meeting (award recipient will be provided $500 to offset travel expenses for the 2018 and 2019 annual meetings).
• If I am not selected, can I apply next year?
Yes, applicants not selected are encouraged to reapply the following year.
• How can I find more information about the SSSP’s Racial/Ethnic Minority Graduate Fellowship?
You can download an application and find out more information by visiting www.sssp1.org. (Follow the link to “Awards/Fellowship/Scholarship”). If the information there does not answer your questions, you should contact the 2018 Racial/Ethnic Minority Graduate Fellowship Committee Chair, Dr. Ana Muñiz, with all questions: