Humane Studies Fellowship

Secure financial support to offset the cost of graduate school as you develop research and work toward a career in academia.

Our Humane Studies Fellowship has been named one of ProFellow’s Top 10 Most Popular Fellowships of 2018. We are proud to provide financial support and new opportunities for scholars on their journey toward a career in the academy.

Applications Close: March 31, 2019

The Humane Studies Fellowship is a non-residency, renewable award of up to $15,000 per year to assist students enrolled or planning to enroll in full-time PhD programs. Summer funding packages are available, but most awards will be given for the 2019-2020 academic year.

Awards Announced: May 15, 2019

Humane Studies Fellows not only gain financial aid but also get connected with IHS and its global network of scholars working at advancing classical liberal ideas in the academy. This includes access to academic advising, invitations to career development seminars, research workshops, discussion colloquia, and other networking events. When you become a Humane Studies Fellow, IHS becomes a partner and advocate for your academic success.

Accepted Fellows research a broad range of topics from migration and 18th-century property rights to bioethics and environmental policy. IHS welcomes scholars working within unique and diverse research  areas. We’re looking for anyone doing exciting classical liberal research in the humanities and social sciences. Apply today!

A few examples of the research interests of previous Humane Studies Fellowship include (but are not limited to):

  • 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


To be eligible to apply for the Humane Studies Fellowship, you must:

  • Be enrolled full time in a PhD program at any institution for the upcoming academic year
  • Have a research interest that contributes to the advancement of classical liberal scholarship

Previous Humane Studies Fellowship applicants and winners who will be enrolled as full-time PhD students in the 2019-2020 academic year are welcome to apply. Prior participation in IHS programs is not required. The fellowship is open to PhD students at any university – applicants do not need to be enrolled at George Mason University to be eligible. International students are eligible; however, preference is given to applicants who live or study in the United States, Canada, and/or the United Kingdom. Qualifying fields of study include economics, political science, philosophy, law, history, sociology, and similar disciplines in the social sciences and humanities. We generally do not fund students studying the natural sciences, medicine, or engineering.


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 that presentation at a graduate student conference or an IHS Research Colloquium is acceptable.

The Application Process

As part of the application process, you will be required to answer two essay questions and upload several supporting documents, listed below.

Essay Questions

Each essay should be 500 words or fewer.

  1. Explain your research agenda as if speaking to a colleague in your field and why it is important
  2. How do you plan to use your Humane Studies Fellowship award?
  3. Explain a current or prospective paper or research project you will complete as part of this fellowship, and how it advances an understanding of classical liberal ideas

Required Documents

To complete the application for the Humane Studies Fellowship, you must upload the following documents:

  1. CV
  2. A recent writing sample of 3,000 words or fewer. Partial samples of longer works are acceptable.
  3. An official or unofficial electronic transcript from your current or most recent institution.
  4. If applicable, please upload your dissertation proposal.

Supporting documents must be uploaded to the application as electronic files (.doc, pdf, etc.). We do not accept applications submitted by mail. It is recommended that you begin collecting supporting materials early, as certain items might take time to compile. Instructions on how to submit supporting materials are listed at the end of the online application.

Letters of Recommendation

We require letters of recommendation from two references who can speak to your qualifications for the fellowship.

As of December 15th, 2018, we are no longer asking for letters of recommendation to be sent via email. Under the Career Information & Essays portion of the application, you will be asked to submit the names and email addresses of your two references. Upon submission of your application, they will be emailed a link to submit a letter on your behalf. 

Please ask your references to submit their recommendation letters via the link prior to the application deadline of March 31, 2019. If your application was submitted on or before December 14th, 2018, you may have your references send their letters via email to:

If you experience problems with completing this step in the application process, please reach out to us at