Mellon II, or the "Andrew W. Mellon Doctoral Research and Writing Seminar II" is a semester-long, three-credit workshop intended to guide and mentor graduate students who are launching the dissertation writing process. The goal of the seminar is for each participant to complete a full draft of a dissertation chapter, an outline of the remaining dissertation, and a conference or fellowship proposal.

Faculty Participation in the Mellon Seminar:
The Mellon Doctoral Research and Writing Seminar is convened by a single faculty member. Consideration of a convener team of two faculty members from two different departments is possible. Faculty from non-PhD granting departments may apply to teach the Mellon Dissertation seminars. The dissertation seminar conveners should evidence a commitment to graduate mentorship and dissertation supervision. Faculty conveners need not presume expertise in the fields represented by PhD candidate participants. PhD candidates will still work closely with their departmental mentors on the substance of their dissertation chapters. So faculty conveners will draw upon their ability and interest in providing input on structures of argumentation, conceptualization, the use of evidence, formal chapter organization, clarity and quality of prose. The faculty convener should ideally be able to model engagement with scholarly work beyond one’s immediate expertise and to foster a collective conversation about writing that aims to support the writing process. Faculty members who wish to convene or co-convene a dissertation seminar should submit a one-page statement on their views of PhD training at the dissertation stage and how they might understand their role as a guide towards launching the dissertation. We note that faculty conveners should not presume that leading this workshop will add to their work load in a longer-term sense by producing an obligation to become involved in the participants’ dissertation completion or supervision.

Role of Department Chairs:
The course should count as part of the faculty members’ (or member’s) regular teaching load for that semester. Each interested faculty member should procure the endorsement of the Department Chair for the proposal to teach the Mellon Graduate Seminar. The Dean of Humanities Office will also be involved in reviewing Mellon Graduate Seminar proposals. Department chairs may additionally request up to $7500 for replacement teaching (ideally to hire a graduate student to teach an undergraduate course). Given the commitment to provide funds for doctoral students during the writing phase of their training, this funding for departments cannot be guaranteed during this pilot phase.

Student Application Process and Selection:
The seminar leader(s), in consultation with the Dean’s Office, will select up to 10 PhD candidates who must have defended their dissertation prospectus before the start of the semester in which the dissertation seminar is offered. Participants must be at least in their fourth year of graduate training in a Humanities PhD program. The Mellon seminar must include students from a range of Humanities departments. Each doctoral candidate will receive $ 3500 for this one-semester course to support the research and writing process. Students may take the dissertation seminar for more than one semester. They may not participate in two dissertation seminars simultaneously (i.e. Mellon II and Mellon III, which include students at different stages of the dissertation writing process. Disbursement of these funds is contingent upon completion of the seminar requirements.

Eligibility: Tenured or tenure-track faculty in the humanities are eligible to propose a seminar.

Application Materials:

  • Seminar abstract of no more than 200 words
  • Seminar description and syllabus (Applicants should Indicate if they would like to conduct their seminar in fall semester 2020 or spring semester 2021 December 1, 2019 and can alternatively indicate whether scheduling is flexible)
  • List of potential graduate student participants
  • Department Chair Endorsement

[Please compile the above items into a single pdf document and upload below]

Deadline: Friday, March 6, 2020

Contact: Jeffrey Kripal (