Humane Studies Fellowship

The Humane Studies Fellowship is a renewable, non-residency fellowship program for IHS alumni that awards up to $15,000 per year to help graduate students succeed in their PhD program.

The Humane Studies Fellowship program supports study in a variety of fields, including economics, philosophy, law, political science, and sociology, but all fellowships are awarded to graduate students whose research interests place an emphasis on advancing the ideas of a free society.

Research interests from previous Humane Studies Fellowship recipients included:

  •      Market-based approaches to environmental policy
  •      The legal development of privacy and property rights in 18th-century England
  •      The role of patient autonomy in bioethics
  •      Impediments to economic growth in developing countries
  •      The relationship between U.S. presidential politics, fiscal policies, and economic performance

Additional Benefits for Recipients

Custom Card Institute for Humane Studies grad student funding

The fellowship is more than just a $15,000 check to help you pay for graduate school. The Humane Studies Fellowship also comes with individual graduate student advising to help you plan your academic career.

It provides access to an extensive support network of over 5,000 liberty-advancing scholars to further help ensure your academic success- both before and long after you receive your degree.

Notable among this community are academic luminaries such as David Schmidtz of the University of Arizona, Tyler Cowen at George Mason University, and Randall Kroszner of the University of Chicago.

The Humane Studies Fellowship is a renewable $15,000 award. You may re-apply each year of your graduate school studies.


Eligibility for the IHS Humane Studies Fellowship and other requirements

The Humane Studies Fellowship is an exclusive award for graduate students who are alumni of IHS programs and events.

(New to IHS? Check out the IHS PhD Scholarship!)

You will be required to submit a number of supporting documents such as your CV and personal recommendations.

In the course of the academic year you will also be required to accomplish either of the following:

  1. Present your research project at a conference.
  2. Have your research project ready for submission to a peer-reviewed journal by September 2017.


For further questions and more information please see the Humane Studies Fellowship FAQs below.

The application for the 2016-2017 Humane Studies Fellowship will be available in November. 

The Application Process

All applications must be submitted through our online application system.You will be able to start and save your application and submit it at a later time. If you have not already registered on, the application requires a short registration process.

Essay Questions

In 500 words or fewer:

  1. Describe the research project you will complete as part of the fellowship.
  2. Tell us how your research project advances liberty.

Required Uploads

To complete the application for the Humane Studies Fellowship you will need to upload the following:

  1. Your CV.
  2. A recent writing sample of 3,000 words or fewer. If your preferred writing sample is longer than 3,000 words, a partial sample of that work is acceptable.
  3. An electronic transcript from your current (or most recent) institution. Unofficial transcripts are acceptable.

If you have defended your dissertation proposal, please submit your proposal.

Supporting documents must be uploaded to the application as electronic files (.doc, pdf, etc.) as we no longer accept supporting materials by mail. Please begin collecting supporting materials early, as certain items may take time to compile. Instructions for how to submit supporting materials are listed at the end of the online application.


You will need to submit two recommendations for your application. We will send requests to the names you provide us for their letters of recommendation once your application is submitted.

Make sure your the people writing the letters of recommendation for you know the deadline for submitting their materials to IHS. The deadline for submitting letters of recommendation is February 15, 2016.

Checking the status of your Humane Studies Fellowship application

You will be able to check the status of your application, upload additional documents, provide updates, and change your recommenders in your IHS account.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the size of the Humane Studies Fellowship award?

The Humane Studies Fellowship program awards up to $15,000 that can be used toward tuition, fees, living costs, and other expenses associated with a PhD program.

Is previous participation in an IHS program required to be considered for a Humane Studies Fellowship?

Yes, to be eligible you must have previously participated in an IHS program (like a summer seminar, summer research fellowship, or research colloquium) or received funding (like a PhD Scholarship, Hayek Fund for Scholars, PhD Application Fee Waiver, Conference & Research Grant, or the Hayek Fund for Future Scholars).

When will decisions be announced for next year’s Humane Studies Fellowship?

Notifications will be sent on May 1, 2016.

Would doctoral candidates in the hard sciences like chemistry and biology be considered?

Generally no. Humane Studies Fellowships are granted to graduate students in the social sciences with a demonstrated research focus in the ideas of a free society. Qualifying fields of study include economics, philosophy, law, political science, history, and sociology.

What is required if I win a Humane Studies Fellowship?

Recipients are required to show proof of full-time enrollment at the beginning of the fall semester and during the academic year and must either present a paper at an academic conference or have a paper ready for submission to a peer-reviewed journal. (Please note: a conference presentation includes graduate student conferences or an IHS Research Colloquium.)

If I did not receive an award last year, may I reapply for the Humane Studies Fellowship this year?

Absolutely! The Humane Studies Fellowship is an annual award that previous applicants may reapply for each year of their full-time studies. Candidates new to IHS, however, must apply for a PhD Scholarship.

I am a previous Humane Studies Fellowship winner. May I apply again?

Yes. Award winners may reapply for each year of their graduate studies.

I am studying at a university outside the United States. Am I eligible to apply for a Humane Studies Fellowship?

Yes. IHS will consider alumni studying at international institutions, though preference is given to applicants who live or study in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. If you are not an IHS alum, you should apply for the IHS PhD Scholarship.

Can a Humane Studies Fellowship award be used to cover travel for research to an archive?

The Humane Studies Fellowship can be used to pay for tuition, fees, housing costs, and other expenses associated with a graduate PhD program. For research funding, we suggest applying to the Hayek Fund for Scholars which awards up to $750 for conference fees, travel, and other related expenses. Those grants are processed on a rolling basis throughout the year.

New to IHS? Please apply to the IHS PhD Scholarship.