IHS PhD Scholarship

The IHS PhD Scholarship: $1,500 for doctoral students

To thrive as a PhD student, you’re going to need talent, work ethic, and money.

IHS awards the IHS PhD Scholarships each year to promising students dedicated to developing, teaching, and applying the principles of a free society.

Besides that immediate financial assistance, this scholarship opens up possibilities for your future to:

  • Become eligible in the next academic year to apply for the renewable IHS Humane Studies Fellowship that awards up to  $15,000.
  • Gain access to our vast network of liberty-advancing scholars.
  • Receive invitations to exclusive workshops designed specifically to help graduate students improve their research and further their academic careers.


Full-time graduate student enrolled in a PhD program during the 2017–2018 academic year are eligible for this scholarship.

Applicants should have a strong record of academic excellence as well as a demonstrated research interest that is rooted in the tradition of individual and economic freedoms.

The PhD Scholarship is intended for first-time participants in any IHS program. If you have already participated in an IHS program or received funding, apply for our renewable Humane Studies Fellowship instead!

Examples of Qualifying Research

Examining the cultural causes of the British Industrial Revolution to identify the origins of modern, innovation-led economic growth.

Investigating the role that identification with social groups for members of the American public plays in the adoption of general postures about the proper role of government and specific political attitudes.

Studying how moral authority can be had in conditions of diversity of beliefs and values, and how different moral communities can live and cooperate together.

Using Public Choice economics to discuss the policy implications for the use of military technology, particularly the use of "unmanned aerial vehicles" or "drones."


What You’ll Need to Apply


You need two reference letters from professors. Both of your referees should email their letters directly to funding@theIHS.org by March 15. Any time you plan to apply for a scholarship, recruiting professors to write these letters for you should be your first priority.

Writing Sample

You’ll upload a recent writing sample of 3,000 words or less to our application system. (You can use a 3,000-word excerpt of a longer piece.)

Descriptions of Your Research Project

To demonstrate the relevance of your research interests for the advancement and understanding of a free society, you’ll also need to prepare six short pieces of writing.

  1. A one-sentence description of your research project for a well-educated but non-expert audience.
  2. A one-paragraph description of your research project for a peer in your discipline.
  3. A brief (100 words or less) statement of your primary career goals.
  4. An explanation, 500 words or less, of how you plan to advance liberty after graduation.
  5. A list of the five intellectual figures or books that have most influenced you, with a single sentence for each stating how it has influenced your thinking on public affairs.
  6. An explanation, in 750 words or less, of one book, article, or general theory that is both highly regarded by scholars and, in your opinion, misguided in a way that is inimical to liberty. Explain why it’s misguided and why correcting its errors would improve the understanding of liberty.

Other Documentation

  1. Your CV.
  2. GRE, GMAT, or LSAT scores and percentiles. (Unofficial scores are acceptable.)
  3. A statement of all other funding you will be receiving (stipends, fellowship, etc.). This does not include tuition assistance.
  4. An electronic transcript from your current (or most recent) institution. Unofficial transcripts are acceptable.
  5. If you have defended your dissertation proposal, include your proposal defense as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

When will 2017-2018 PhD Scholarship applicants be notified of their status?

We will notify all applicants on or around May 1, 2017.

I’m an undergraduate currently in the process of applying to grad school. Am I eligible for a PhD Scholarship?

Absolutely! You can apply even if you haven’t selected a graduate school yet. Winners, however, must show proof of enrollment before receiving the $1,500.

I have participated in other IHS programs. Can I apply?

As a previous participant in IHS programs you can actually apply for the renewable Humane Studies Fellowship that awards up to $15,000 a year.

I am working on my doctorate in the hard sciences. Should I apply for a PhD Scholarship?

If you can demonstrate how your research will advance to the principles of a free society, you should definitely apply.

I’m in my second year of my doctoral program in Economics. Could I use the PhD Scholarship to cover travel costs for research?

No. But our Conference & Research Grant, which awards up to $750, can help with your travel costs.