Graduate Fellowships

In 2024-2025, the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study will support five Notre Dame doctoral students with exceptional academic records whose research, teaching, and career interests centrally involve questions and the ethical values embedded within them. Ph.D. students entering the 4th or 5th year in the College of Arts and Letters who are engaged in dissertation research are welcome to apply. As an essential part of the Notre Dame Ethics Initiative, Ph.D. fellows will be vital members of the interdisciplinary NDIAS community of faculty and students committed to producing cutting-edge scholarship that makes critical contributions to key ethical debates and amplifying the impact of this research through creative public engagement. In addition to making tremendous progress on their dissertation research, Ph.D. fellows will accelerate their growth as transformative teachers by participating in the pedagogical development workshops of the signature course fellowship, funded by the John Templeton Foundation.

Apply Now for a Distinguished Graduate Fellowship

The application period for 2024-2025 Distinguished Graduate Fellowships is now open. Applications are due by 11:59 pm (ET) on Thursday, March 7, 2024.


Ph.D. fellows will fully participate in the Institute's academic program, including:

  1. Attending the Project Vision Summit for the Signature Course Fellowship in Washington State, July 29-August 1, 2024;
  2. Attending the NDIAS’s two on-campus annual retreats designed to help fellows develop teaching and research that is accessible to broad, public audiences–one at the beginning of Fall semester, and one at the end of Winter Break;
  3. Attending the late-Fall two-day Graduate Fellows overnight retreat on “Research and the Common Good”; December 6-7, 2024;
  4. Participation and presenting in the weekly Graduate Fellows Research Seminar;
  5. Participating in the weekly Tuesday-afternoon Faculty Fellows Research Seminar;
  6. Participating in Institute dinners, conferences, and public engagement events;
  7. Engaging in research and career mentorship with Institute faculty, staff, and project partners.

Ph.D. fellows will be expected to be in residence at the Institute for the academic year and will be offered shared office space.

While on fellowship, they should be free of departmental teaching and service obligations and will be expected to commit full-time to their dissertation research and teaching dossier development within the Institute’s academic program. If a particular teaching opportunity is relevant to the Fellow’s career plan during the fellowship, they may apply to the Institute for special permission to offer their course while on the fellowship. This will be granted only in exceptional cases.

Alongside active participation in Institute programming, Fellows are expected to

  • Give a “masterclass” lecture highlighting some facet of their dissertation research;
  • Present and workshop one of their early-stage “work in progress” pieces of writing;
  • Workshop a sample proposal for developing their own undergraduate signature course on some topic directly related to human flourishing;
  • Meet regularly with their dissertation advisors;
  • Make substantial progress on their dissertation during the fellowship period.


Fellows will be given a stipend of up to $39,000 plus fringe benefits payable over 12 months, topping up their normal Notre Dame Ph.D. support for the year. (This stipend level continues only for the year of the fellowship)

Fellows are required to be in residence from mid-August to May of the fellowship year.

Fellows will also be provided up to $1,000 in individual research/pedagogy development funding to cover expenses related to growing their research, expanding their teaching skills, and building an excellent course on human flourishing.

Ph.D. students from Notre Dame colleges outside of Arts and Letters and those who have already been awarded a Notebaert Premier Fellowship are not eligible for a stipend, but they are welcome to inquire about applying for the program if they are otherwise eligible for participation.


Fellows will be selected by a competitive application, referral, and interview process in March 2024. Applications are due by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Thursday, March 7. Applicants will be asked to submit the following materials on the NDIAS portal:

  • A one-page (single spaced) description of your dissertation research along with a draft table of contents for your dissertation by chapter. If applicable, note chapters that are fully or partially drafted;
  • Your Curriculum Vitae;
  • A statement of interest (no more than four pages, single spaced) that describes (1) the core question(s) of ethics, value, or meaning confronted in your dissertation project and its significance, and how you envision making progress on that question throughout your fellowship year; (2) how your knowledge and skills could contribute to the intellectual life of the NDIAS as we explore the 2024-2025 theme, The Good Life; (3) your vision for the kind of college teacher you’d like to become and the impact you’d like your teaching to have; and (4) how you envision serving and engaging interdisciplinary audiences in your research and career plans, sharing any relevant experiences you’ve had in an interdisciplinary context;
  • Contact information (email address) for two references. At least one should be involved in advising your dissertation research. Your references do not need to submit letters at this time but should be able to comment on your suitability for the fellowship program when contacted;
    An unofficial graduate transcript;
  • A letter signed by your DGS acknowledging your intent to apply to the program and ability to be released from teaching responsibilities for AY25;
  • A completed application form.

Selection Criteria

Ph.D. fellows will be selected by a panel composed of faculty and staff affiliated with the NDIAS. After determining eligibility, the panel will weigh five criteria:

  1. Quality of Research Profile: Excellent performance in the Ph.D. program to-date and exceptional potential for the proposed research project;
  2. Potential for Scholarly Impact: The likelihood that this fellowship will accelerate and deepen the Fellow’s research and have a clear impact on our understanding of an ethically significant issue;
  3. Potential for Pedagogical Impact: the likelihood that this fellowship will launch the fellow into a career as a dynamic and transformative teacher at a university;
  4. Interdisciplinary Potential: The Fellow’s research, teaching, and career interests align with the mission of the fellowship program. We aim to compose a fellowship cohort with diverse methods and evidence sources. Particular fellows should be firmly rooted in a single discipline but able to identify ways that other methods or sources of evidence might benefit their work;
  5. Collaborative Commitment: The Fellow’s demonstrated commitment to contributing to research culture in an interdisciplinary institute. We particularly look for evidence of initiative, optimism, curiosity, intellectual humility, and the ability to draw others into research questions;
  6. Thematic Fit: The Fellow’s interests fit with the “Good Life” theme structuring the 2024-2025 Faculty Fellowship program and the Signature Course Fellowship.

Applications should be submitted to the NDIAS's online portal.

The application period for 2024-2025 Distinguished Graduate Fellowships is now open. Applications are due by 11:59 pm (ET) on Thursday, March 7, 2024.

Questions about the program may be directed to Jeff Tolly, Assistant Director of Educational Initiatives, at

Apply Now for a Distinguished Graduate Fellowship