Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions about our program are divided into the following categories:

Fellowship Details
Application Documents
Selection Process
After Selection


Fellowship Details

What types of fellowships will be offered at the NDIAS for the 2020-2021 academic year?
The Institute offers two types of fellowships: Residential Fellowships and Graduate Student Fellowships. Both are residential in nature and fellows are expected to remain in residence throughout the period of the fellowship award.

When is the application deadline?
Applications for 2020-2021 Fellowships at the NDIAS must be submitted online by 11:59pm (EDT: Eastern Daylight Time) on Monday, September 16, 2019.

How will I know that I have successfully submitted my application?
You will receive a confirmation email from Interfolio stating that you have successfully submitted your application.

What are the residency requirements?
The NDIAS values the contributions made by each fellow to the formation of a residential, multidisciplinary scholarly community. For this reason, NDIAS fellows are expected to remain in residence at the University during their fellowship, to attend and participate in the presentation of fellows' research at the weekly seminars and other periodic seminars hosted by the Institute, and to contribute intellectually to an engaging and cooperative community of scholars at the Institute. Because absences at the weekly seminars weaken the collegial atmosphere and diminish the interdisciplinary contributions to the research of the presenters, fellows are asked to refrain from absences at the Institute on Tuesdays and Wednesdays as well as from any activities that interfere with the obligations of their fellowships.

May I apply for a period less than a semester?
Our fellowships are residential in nature, so fellows need to be present at the Institute throughout their appointment. NDIAS is interested in working with the particular needs of qualified applicants in the natural sciences. Fellowships for periods shorter than one semester may be requested by scientists who are unable to be absent from their labs for more than a few weeks. Applicants in the natural sciences who are interested in this option should indicate this need, the specific period being requested, and any specific operational needs in their fellowship application.

I would like to send my materials to you via email or in paper form. Why do I need to use your online application form?
Because of the high volume of applications received each year, the confidential nature of the application process, and the level of review provided to each application, we utilize an online application form and submission process through Interfolio to ensure the expeditious processing of all applications. The online application form will facilitate many tasks automatically, such as notifying your referees that you have submitted an application and asking them to submit letters of reference on your behalf. The online application form ensures accuracy regarding your mailing address and that we are working directly with your information, as you submitted it. Because of these processes, we accept only online applications through Interfolio.

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If I am not a United States citizen, am I eligible to apply?
Yes; you do not need to be a United States citizen to apply for fellowships at the NDIAS. If offered a fellowship, NDIAS and the University of Notre Dame will assist an incoming fellow in requesting the appropriate United States visa, if a visa is required.

I am not a Catholic. Will my application be considered?
Yes; we accept applications from scholars with appropriate proposals irrespective of their religious beliefs or affiliations. Applications are evaluated based upon the strength of the proposal, the likelihood that the applicant will be able to complete the research outlined in the proposal, the applicant's curriculum vitae, and letters of reference.

For international scholars, do you have an English proficiency expectation?
The NDIAS expects fellows to have proficiency in English for academic purposes. The work of the Institute is conducted in English, and fellows contribute during the seminars and in discussions with other fellows and faculty here on campus. We do not require results from test scores on the English language; however, if offered a fellowship, the Institute will need to verify necessary language skills.

Do you accept applications or proposals for shared or group projects?
We do not currently accept proposals for joint or shared projects.

May I reapply if I was not awarded a fellowship in a previous year?
Yes; applicants who were not successful in the past may reapply in any following year. Because of the highly competitive nature of fellowships each year, those reapplying with the same or a similar proposal are strongly encouraged to re-evaluate and to revise previously submitted proposals in light of the breadth of the Institute's intellectual parameters and to consider whether their research projects engage questions and methods from other disciplines (interdisciplinarity) and address major questions of value and significance beyond one’s field.

I am in graduate school but plan to graduate during the 2020-2021 academic year. Should I apply for a Graduate Student Fellowship or a Residential Fellowship? 
Graduate Student Fellowships are available only to applicants who will be and remain matriculating graduate students for the entire 2020-2021 academic year. Graduate students who will earn their terminal degrees during the 2020-2021 academic year (e.g., those receiving their degrees in December or January) may wish to consider applying for a one-semester Residential Fellowship for the semester following the one during which they graduated. For example, if you will graduate during the fall of 2020, you should apply for a Residential Fellowship for the spring of 2021.

Do you accept graduate students from institutions other than the University of Notre Dame?
Yes; graduate students from universities and colleges other than the University of Notre Dame are invited to apply, and the Institute welcomes the breadth and diversity of ideas that graduate students from many institutions can bring to the NDIAS.

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Application Documents

What are the expectations of writing samples from Residential Fellowship applicants who have completed their doctoral or other terminal degrees after 2014?
If you have completed your terminal degree after 2014, you must submit a peer-reviewed article or a book chapter as a writing sample. If no peer-reviewed article or book chapter is available for those applying in the same year as when they are receiving their terminal degree, then please upload a chapter from your dissertation.

Should graduate students submit writing samples with their fellowship applications?
No; graduate student applicants do not submit writing samples with their fellowship applications. This is a requirement only for Residential Fellowship applicants who have received their Ph.D. or other terminal degree within the five years prior to applying. 

How extensive should I make my bibliography?
The bibliography should demonstrate to reviewers your command over the subject matter of your proposal and the range of sources you are using. Applicants may submit a bibliography of up to two single-spaced pages and are therefore encouraged to be reflective and judicious with the sources referenced.

Do you accept supplementary materials such as musical scores, photographs, art works?
Yes; we can accept up to two additional pages of images, musical scores, drawings, or diagrams, of up to 100MB in size. These may include sound, graphic files, or other similar supporting non-text materials. For image files, we recommend that you put all your files into a single PDF to upload as a single file.

May I have more than one reference letter from my home institution?
Because NDIAS fellowships are highly competitive, applicants are encouraged to demonstrate in their reference letters that they have a strong professional reputation with influence and stature that extends beyond their home institution. We strongly recommend that applicants submit no more than one reference letter from colleagues or other referees at their home institution. Since this may not always be possible for graduate students or those who just completed their terminal degree, an exception to this guideline is permitted for these two types of applicants.

Do I need to complete my application before my letter writers are able to submit their letters?
No; your letter writers will receive instructions from Interfolio about how to upload their references as soon as you enter their contact information and request a recommendation in the system. They will receive these instructions and be able to upload their letters even if other parts of your application are incomplete.

Do my letter writers need to upload their references before I can submit my application?
No; you can submit your application even if your reference letters have not been received. Your letters will automatically be attached to your application as they are uploaded, even if you have already submitted the application.

Will I know when you have received my reference letters?
Yes; as soon as a referee submits a letter, you will be sent an automated email from Interfolio informing you that the letter has been included with your application materials.

Will reference letters be accepted after the September 16 deadline?
Following the application deadline on September 16, 2019, NDIAS staff prepare applications for distribution to review committees and external reviewers. Applicants are strongly recommended to inform referees of the details and deadline of the fellowship application in advance in order to ensure that they are ready to submit their reference letters on time and by the application deadline. In cases when reference letters arrive during the week following the deadline, NDIAS staff will endeavor to include these trailing letters with an applicant’s application materials. Because of the number of applications received annually and the rapidity with which we seek to distribute applications to reviewers, we cannot guarantee that trailing letters of reference can be included with 2020-2021 application materials after September 23, 2019.

Will I have access to the reference letters sent on my behalf?
No; all reference letters are confidential documents. We also do not share comments from reviews following the selection of fellowships.

My letter writer has already written me a general reference for use on the job market. Can I just use that?
We strongly discourage it. Letters that are too broad or have been created for general use with job applications are often not very useful to our reviewers when making their recommendations and selections. The best letters explain why an applicant and his/her project is a good fit for our program in particular.

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Selection Process

What are the selection criteria for proposals?
Fellowship applications are evaluated according to the following criteria: (1) the academic strength of the proposal; (2) the clarity and compelling nature of relevant methodologies and project organization and objectives, as explained in the proposal; (3) the applicant's ability to address major questions, meta-issues, and questions of value; (4) the potential for producing significant research; (5) how the proposed research aligns with the intellectual parameters of the Institute; (6) the applicant's ability to contribute to a cooperative community of interdisciplinary scholars, as explained in their letters of reference; and (7) the significance of the research proposed by each applicant vis-à-vis other proposals submitted.

How are fellows selected?
Fellowship applications are evaluated with great care and undergo four stages of review and evaluation to ensure objectivity and consistency, including internal and external reviews, to ensure objectivity and consistency. Because of the numerous criteria involved in selecting fellows, application files are reviewed and evaluated by discipline-specific review committees at Notre Dame as well as by leading scholars in the respective disciplines and fields serving as external reviewers. Final review and evaluation are conducted by the Institute's Selection Committee (made up of an interdisciplinary group of scholars). This final evaluation consists of a thorough review of applications and draws upon the evaluations of internal and external reviewers.

What is the acceptance rate of applications?
NDIAS fellowships are very competitive, with past annual acceptance rates of approximately 4%.

When will you contact applicants with offers of your fellowships?
We will contact finalists in the spring of 2020. After your submission, you will not receive additional letters from us during the selection process until you receive a letter in the spring informing you of the outcome of your application. After we have confirmed the entire class of fellows for 2020-2021, we will announce the incoming class via press releases and on the NDIAS website.

What if I decide to accept another fellowship offer before I know the results of my NDIAS fellowship application?
Please let us know if you accept an opportunity from another institution, especially if this should occur prior to the completion of our review period. If we know you will not be in a position to accept a fellowship offer from us, we can expedite consideration of other applicants.

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After Selection

If I am offered a fellowship at the NDIAS, can my salary be paid directly to my home institution?
Yes; fellowship salaries may be paid directly to a fellow's home institution utilizing a Visiting Faculty Agreement between the two institutions. This option may be of interest due to reasons of continuing faculty benefits, time-in-service and retirement accruals, and tracking of external funding by a home institution. A home institution's interest in this arrangement must be communicated to the NDIAS, as indicated in the fellowship offer materials.

May my home institution collect indirect costs (F&A) from my fellowship salary?
No; NDIAS fellowships are funded with internal Notre Dame funds and not through an external grant. NDIAS fellowships include no funding for indirect costs (also known as facilities and administrative costs or "F&A") and Notre Dame does not recover indirect costs (F&A) on these funds. During the term of their fellowships, NDIAS Fellows are in residence at the University of Notre Dame, live on campus, work in Notre Dame facilities, and interact with members of the Notre Dame academic community. Institutional support (including staff support, facilities, materials, housing, weekly seminars, preparation and execution of the Visiting Faculty Agreement, processing appointment and payments, etc.) is provided principally by Notre Dame.

If I am offered a fellowship, will I be able to bring my family with me?
Yes; many of our fellows have enjoyed their experience at the Institute in the company of their families. We offer fully furnished housing for our fellows arriving from outside the Michiana area. Institute staff will work with fellows with larger families to identify housing that accommodates their needs and their budgets.

What sort of travel allowance is available to those offered fellowships?
The NDIAS does not pay for the travel expenditures of our fellows or their families. Because we provide a stipend, subsidized housing, private office, access to University research funding, and other benefits such as health/medical benefits (for benefits-eligible fellows), fitness facilities, and weekly seminars at the Institute (including lunch), we do not fund travel to and from the Institute.

Do you offer deferments if I am unable to accept an offer this year for a fellowship?
No; we do not offer deferments. Because each annual pool of applicants is unique and highly competitive and due to the manner by which we select each class of fellows, deferment is not an option. If you are unable to accept the offer of a fellowship, another highly qualified applicant will be offered the fellowship opportunity.

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For PDF of Frequently Asked Questions click here